Monday, February 21, 2011

Website Woes & Tips, Part 2

Here are some tips to personalize a Carbonmade portfolio to make it feel more like a website.

Customize Thumbnails Into an Image Grid:

You can use the Carbonmade template as is for your website, with different thumbnails for each category (like the image below) or you can break up a larger photo for more visually impact.

For the most dramatic and successful use of this tweak, check out the amazing portfolio from Kristen Ulve. This portfolio uses the wide thumbnail option.  There is also this one from Gilad Seliktar that uses a grid of three thumbnails.  And my portfolio uses the 2 across grid format.

(My first version of the website and here is the new one)

To change the thumbnails, first go into your Carbonmade account and hover the cursor over the thumbnail image, a 'change thumbnail' button will appear. Click on it and it provides the dimensions of the thumbnails.  With  photo imaging software break up a larger image into boxes that fit the thumbnail dimensions.  

Turn Projects into Pages
With the paid portfolio you have 50 projects or pages.  These pages can use html to create pages that offer more information than what you may want to include in the About page.  I also think the about page can get overlooked and some things - like a "contact page" or 'services offered" deserve their own space. 

A few extra pages I included were: contract, follow me (with my social media links), presentations and books. 

HTML Cheatsheet - add images to your page, live links, make text bold or align your page with a few basic lines of html code.

Take Advantage of the Footer
Under the 'Personalize' tab you can add your name with a copyright date.  This area also accepts html code and you can add in the code for your newsletter subscription box, contact information and links to your blog, twitter and facebook.  This footer shows up on every page.  So at the very least, as your contact information here to so your clients can easily reach you. 

Customize Your Banner
Under the same 'Personalize' tab you can add in your logo to brand your website.  I use a hand-lettered logo that appears on my blog and print materials for a cohesive visual.

Your Own Domain
In general you don't want your portfolio to address to be - this is called a subdomain name, which is the default.  Carbonmade offers the option to use your own domain name so that your portfolio will publish as  It's more professional to have the domain name.  There are directions to follow and help available through carbonmade to set this up.  Another option would be have your domain name forward to your portfolio.  Check with your hosting company for details on how to set up a domain forwarding. 


  1. WOW!! Thanks so much for sharing... so much info. I've been looking for a portfolio option for what seems like forever and this looks like it will do the trick. I'm already using GoDaddy so my stuff should transfer well!!

    BTW - Your site looks great!!

  2. Nice post Heather! I like carbonmade for its foolproof design. Plus it loads so much faster than my old site.

    Check out Tricia Tharp's use of the homepage:

  3. Oh -- "Frizz" is Tricia! Ha! Both of your sites look terrific!