The Ultimate Guide to your Neopets Portfolio
We've all seen them, lurked around in them, and admired them. We're talking about what seems to have become a staple for a lot of Neopians on the site: the portfolio! They've been around for several years now, and in many different variations. This article is a guide to those of you who want to create your own portfolio, or are just curious to know more!
Almost every Neopian has goals they're striving towards, and a portfolio is an easy, organized and fun way to keep track of them. This article will get you started with tips for your layout, content and organization.
A lot of you might now be asking yourselves, "But why do I need a portfolio? Sounds like a lot of work!" A portfolio can be exactly what you want it to be. Want a place to showcase your pets and your goals for them? Go ahead! Have a special project you're working towards? Then a portfolio might be just the thing you're looking for to track your progress and celebrate those milestones!
It can also help you come up with new things you want to do on Neo and make your daily Neopian life easier. For example, keep track of your game avatar progress by directly linking the games you need for each avatar and pertinent guides. Keeping all your goals and projects in one place helps you be organized, goal-oriented and may even push you to work harder towards your goals. And that's pretty neat, right?
First things first: You need a layout, preferably something you can easily understand and edit to your liking. Many CSS sites offer premade layouts now that you're free to alter to suit your needs. If you're a coding buff, why not browse around for inspiration and code your own?
When starting out, you should keep a few things in mind. First of all, you should make sure the layout you use is accessible and works in all browsers and screen resolutions. If you're not sure, have your friends help and check for you! It's also important that your visitors can easily access the contents of your portfolio, so make your pages easy to navigate.
You ideally want something that looks clean and organized, but don't be afraid to add a splash of colour! A portfolio should be entertaining and interest the visitor in your life on Neopets, so use your creative side and find a way to make your portfolio unique. If you think your page looks a little dull, you can add an image float to draw attention, or a nice patterned background.
But how do I organize it?
This is simple enough! Break your content into sections. You'll have your front page for introductions and anything else you want and have room for. Then, sort your navigation bar into sections. Your 'About Me' section can also include information about your main account and side accounts. Typical navigation sidebar links are: About Me, Pets, Projects, Goals, Achievements, Site and Portal. But you can put whatever you want there! Do what works for you, and if you're unsure if something fits into a page, ask a friend for help.
If you're afraid you don't have enough content for a portfolio; try and relax. You can always expand and add more things later. Content expands as you work on your goals, and that's why you have the portfolio. If there are specific sections you're unsure about, you can always write, "work in progress" and add information at a later date. And you'll be enjoying updating it when you've thought of a character for your pet, or achieved your first game trophy!
Introductions and Front Pages
When people enter your portfolio, the first thing they'll see is your front page. Here's the place for you to introduce yourself and the purpose of your portfolio. Write a little bit about yourself, why you have a portfolio, and perhaps something to draw your visitors in. Many Neopians have added achievement bars to their front pages to showcase which goals they've recently completed and what their current focus is. You could also use your front page to display your biggest achievements, if you prefer that. You can even put your dailies links there if you like. As long as you don't display a blank white page to welcome your visitors, you should be good!
About Me and Accounts
Here's the place for you to expand on who you are, what you enjoy doing on Neopets and anything else you'd like people to know. Remember that those who click the link to your portfolio are there because they're curious to know more about you and your interests, so this section is important! Do you collect a particular kind of item, enjoy restocking, love to battle in the Battledome? Write it down! And if there's something you don't enjoy (like bobbing for apples or pets who are painted Woodland), why not jot that down as well.
This is also a good place to write about your accounts, and you can be creative here! We've seen portfolios that link side accounts and have little goal stats for them, such as: Have they been lent "The Big Three (Super Attack Pea, Bony Grarrl Club and MSPP)" avatars on their accounts? What are your plans for the account? Do you have one account for pets that are painted Magma only? Or perhaps you've got a themed account for pets whose names start with G and are only 5 letters long? Let the reader get to know you and your interests, you can write however much or little you like.
This section often makes up a big chunk of a portfolio, for obvious reasons: it showcases your neopets! Typically, this section features all of a user's neopets, both from their main account and any side accounts they might have – but that's where the commonalities end. Every "neo-family" section seems to be different from portfolio to portfolio, because there are just so many options and details one might choose to include about their pets.
Tables come in handy for this section, especially if you have a lot of pets. Most users like to give one dedicated subsection per each pet to fill out whatever details they find pertinent, and having tables helps to keep these parts organized. So what information should you include within this section? The answer: anything you want!
You might write blurbs for each pet about how you got them. Did you adopt them? Did you spend months on the Pound Chat trading for your perfect pet? Or did you tirelessly save up for that Stealthy Paint Brush and finally debut your pet's new color on their birthday? Discussing these little details makes a large impact in showing not only how much your pets mean to you as well as how hard you worked to bring your family together. Another option is to include checklists or task lists for all your goals for each pet. Is your Faerie Aisha in desperate need of a matching petpet and p3? Does your oh-so-vain Usul want some new sparkly Beauty Contest trophies? Or maybe your Skeith has been bugging you about training so he can take on that pesky Space Faerie. Write these pet-specific goals down so you don't forget, and so you can start chipping away at them rather than merely thinking, "I'll get to that someday." You can even have multiple lists for each pet, such as a "to-do" list (ie: new petlookup, gourmet trophy, character design) and a "to-purchase" list (neopoint wearables, new paint brush, or a battledome set).
If you're into customization, you might choose to display some of your favorite pet customizations you've designed over the years, or ones that you'd like to have in the future. This helps to break up the big chunks of text that the neo-family section often tends to have – after all, we all love to talk about our pets! Creative folks also may utilize this spot to talk about their pet characters and stories, or the artwork they've created for them. Anything goes, but if you have a lot of artwork or long pet stories for each pet, it's best to use your portfolio as a brief way to highlight each pet and then link to the full stories that you have on other petpages. For example, consider doing a short summary for each pet, including their likes and dislikes, and then a favorite picture you drew of them – with links for others to view more.
As you can see, the neo-family section can potentially become quite complex – but it doesn't have to be. These are just a starting point of what you can use this portfolio section for. Don't feel obligated to include anything that doesn't feel useful or valuable to you. Incorporate as many elements you feel necessary, and put your own spin on it. A portfolio is meant to help you organize and achieve your goals, and if you're too overwhelmed by your choices to the point that you're not actually accomplishing anything – simplify it! All portfolios are good portfolios, and as long as your neo-family section is helpful and wonderful to you, that's all that matters.
The goals and collections sections of a portfolio tend to go together since the two are much intertwined. You might see them as separate sections within a portfolio, or they might be in one larger organized section. They also often have sub-sections or categories depending on the user's particular interests at that moment in time. Thus, it's easy to see why this section can be the most important within a portfolio. Having clearly defined goals and collections lists can help you to prioritize your time on the site while making progress to improve various areas of your account.
Therefore, the first thing you should do when organizing this section is to determine what your goals actually are. It's possible you have a lot of them, but most users tend to have a couple priorities. Avatars are a common one, but it's possible you might be really into trophy collecting, or you just love galleries. These are areas that you might want to focus your attentions on when you start organizing this section of your portfolio. However, you also want to identify all of your current goals on the site - short-term, longer term, and ultimate goals. No matter how impossible your dream seems, you should write it down.
After you've determined some areas to focus on and your list of goals, it's time to organize them. One method that seems particularly effective is to separate goals from collections. The difference seems to be that collections can be part of goals, but not vice versa. What you'll do is create one sub-section for your goals, and a second for your collections, whatever they might be.
Again, tables come in handy here, especially for the goals section. You might want to organize your goals into separate categories, either by priority or by sections. If you have a lot of pet goals (this might overlap with the pet section a bit) then perhaps you'll organize them into one column, and then another column will be dedicated to all the avatars you'd like to earn. The priority method would have one column dedicated to current goals, yearly goals (your goals that you intend to achieve by the end of the year), and ultimate goals (the ones so big you need to chip away at them gradually). Or you might have a "general" goals column where you list various things that aren't easily quantifiable or are never-ending (like, "spend more time focusing on side accounts"). Whatever method you choose, try to create a bulleted list for each category so you can easily identify what you need to work on.
As for collections, this is where it gets a little tricky. Chances are when you made your goals list, one of your goals involved collecting something – stamps, avatars, gallery items, wearables, or maybe something else. It's also likely you have many collections that you might be working on simultaneously. This is why it's a good idea to separate these from your goal list, otherwise it could get messy. You might write down "collect 300 gallery items" on your goal list, but your collections section should include an actual list of what you are wanting to collect, also known as a wishlist.
However, since you might have many collections that require many items, this could be a lot of information to include within your portfolio (remember that it's best to use your portfolio as an organizational tool and thus you should strive for detail without going overboard). So rather than having a list of hundreds of gallery items you want to collect, and then another for wearables, and another for stamps, you might want to pick a selection of highlights for each collection. Pick the 50 gallery items you want most, and throw them up there in a checklist. When you buy items, replace them with other ones you like quite a lot but still need to purchase. Same goes for something like stamps – pick two album pages or maybe a handful of the most expensive stamps you're after to showcase, rather than all of them. You can also store the full lists for your collections on a different petpage and then link to them, while only showing a small selection on your portfolio itself.
The only exception to this rule tends to be avatars. With avatar collecting, it's not as commonplace to see gigantic lists of avatars needed to be collected, so it's more manageable to put them on the portfolio itself. It's almost preferable to have an avatar sub-section on your portfolio and include every obtainable avatar that you still need, so you have a quick reference for yourself. Many people organize their avatars further within this section by category (games, luck/random, battledome, items, etc.) but as always, this is at your discretion.
This section isn't as commonplace in portfolios as the other ones we've touched upon, but it is sometimes very valuable, depending on what your larger goals are. You might have seen individual project pages in your time spend on the site - usually one large, ultimate goal that a user is working towards. This is the same idea, just abbreviated to fit the portfolio format. Whereas a standalone project page might be detailed and lengthy, a project section in a portfolio tends to be more succinct. Perhaps you have a more obscure goal that you're chasing after, like a rare plushie for your gallery that costs a hefty amount of neopoints. Use your projects section to explain this goal, detail how you're going to attack it (for example - breaking your total goal into smaller milestone with shorter deadlines) and show your progress. You might also want to explain why this goal is so difficult - maybe the plushie was a rare plot prize, and there are few in circulation. When you are working towards a big goal, you'll probably talk to others on the site about it and it's great to have a section in your portfolio that you can quickly reference and send to others who might be interested in your quest. Project sections aren't always necessary, but when you have those bigger goals (stamp avatars, unconverted pet dreams, site spotlight, etc) it can be a great idea to help track your progress and motivate you while highlighting whatever quest you have chosen to embark upon.
This is, by nature, a section that might not have much content in the beginning, especially if you're just starting out. That's okay! Any goal you manage to complete or make progress on that you're proud of can go on here. Finally painted your basic Blue Draik into that coveted Transparent colour? Take a screenshot or an image to commemorate it and be a bit verbose in this section. We like to write down the date of the accomplished item and then go into a bit of detail. For the Transparent Draik you might write "September 1, 2015: After a lot of saving up, I finally had enough neopoints to offer on a Transparent Paint Brush. On September 1st, I painted my Draik his final colour!" Then you might write exactly why you're so proud of this achievement.
Even if it's something as simple as, "I restocked my first unbuyable (price over 99,999 NPs) today," it deserves a place among your achievements if you're happy to have done it. Reward yourself! It's good to celebrate milestones or halfway points, because some of your goals might be long-term. If you're training your pet to reach 750 health/strength/defense stats, getting to level 200 is a big milestone, so celebrate! Here, anything goes. Except maybe "Won a Old Left Rotten Boot at Underwater Fishing today. With the Right Boot I got last week, I've got a matching set!"
The portal can be divided up or organized in several different ways. First things first, get your own site-related things out of the way. Credit where credit is due: if someone created css you've used, graphics, or anything else you might have put on your portfolio, give them a link with credit! Also, be sure to neomail and ask permission if you're not sure if something is free to use or not.
Next thing up: you need a button! Some people might want to link to your site, or you might even want to link it yourself from your userlookup. There are plenty of great graphic artists on Neopets, so if you're unable to make a button of your own, or perhaps want several button options, request them from a site. Nice buttons make people want to click them, so get requestin' (or creating)!
The second purpose of the portal is different for some, but we think we can all agree it's a great place to store helpful links. Resources for different things, such as: buttons/graphics, css sites, fonts and guides, petpages for characters you like, friends sites you enjoy visiting, and links to your other sites (if any).
If you have room, you can include links for dailies/avatars you still need. The portal can be a great way to consolidate everything you visit often. Put all your Lottery ticket links in there, or the Buried Treasure link, direct links to all the game avatars you're missing (you can even link to pertinent guides, if any). It makes it easier for you to remember and most importantly, find them all. Plus, it's relatively quick content to put up and update. You can add or remove from it frequently without much hassle, and since it doesn't require a lot of actual content creation, it's easy to get it running when you're starting out. This way, you don't have "Coming Soon"-signs pasted around everywhere, and that's a good feeling! Once it's out of the way it might inspire you to complete more things, since a page full of content feels so great when you're in the beginning stages.
It's important to remember that a portfolio is never truly completed; it requires updating and care. If used properly it can be a great tool to help you reach your goals, and that's why it's important to take care of it. Spend some time once a week to make sure things are current. An out of date portfolio will become a challenge to update if you only stop in once every four months! It grows as you achieve and evolve on Neopets, so keep up with it!
This guide isn't by any means meant to be the be-all, end-all for a portfolio. Use it as a jumping point for your own ideas, and browse around for inspiration. There are so many inspirational and fantastic portfolios with great content out there that one guide can't cover everything.
But however you choose to design and organize your portfolio, remember that it can be a great tool for accomplishing things if you use it well. So have fun and get things done!