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I'm doing some work on a portfolio site for a freelance writer. Their published work can be seen on various other sites/blogs and I'm thinking about the best way to link to these works.

A straight anchor link (opening in a new window or otherwise) seems clumsy and runs a risk of losing the reader.

I'm also considering keeping a top banner of the portfolio site and opening the published work in a frame, or even taking this idea further and doing some kind of lightbox opening iframe. The main problem I can see with using frames is that the linked site may well have some JS running to detect being loaded into a frame and reload the main window.

Does anyone know of an elegant solution for something like this? Any ideas welcome.

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Add screenshots. Do not link at all. Sites will change and may no longer reflect your (client's) work. – Marjan Venema Jun 17 '12 at 9:24
@MarjanVenema - Why didn't you post this as an answer? – Yosef Waysman Jun 17 '12 at 12:24
@MarjanVenema since this is a writer's portfolio that doesn't seem quite as relevant as it would for say a designer. I'm not as familiar with writer's portfolios, but I'm not sure I've ever seen one that had pictures of articles rather than links to the proper copy – Ben Brocka Jun 17 '12 at 14:09
@BenBrocka: Good catch. Didn't register with me that it was for a writer's portfolio. Actual content won't be changed as a site will eventually always be. Only problem I see then is the same as we don't like answers that are just links here: link rot. The content may be moved or deleted. But I guess that eventually it is the responsibility of the writer for whom this side is developed to keep tabs on his links. – Marjan Venema Jun 17 '12 at 14:22
All good points. Thanks. I can see the point about screenshots but screenshots of what is mostly a bunch of text seems a bit weird, though it's also important to see the words in context (with the header of the sites they're published on) – alex stacey Jun 18 '12 at 17:30

There are two different and basic solutions here depending on the type of copy being written.

Copy tied to a specific design

If the copy is tied to a certain layout or is a one-off page, advertisement, or other piece of limited "lifetime" of availability then you probably want to capture a screenshot of the site and post thumbnails. The thumbnails could then open up a larger image/PDF version of the work. If you can tie in some visual to break up the listing of text on your site that's great, but not necessary with a copywriter's portfolio I would say.

Copy not tied to a specific design

If the copy is more like written articles for a newspaper, or anything lengthier it probably can be considered detached from the original design and artwork. In this case you could link to the actual content using an inline text link. Presumably the viewer of your profile is going to be taking a close look at how you write the content on your portfolio as well as on the sample site/article/post so you should feel comfortable just using text. In theory you could still post a clickable thumbnail which would open up the site in a new window or a frame. The frame keeps the viewer on your site, but you run the risk of certain sites not playing well in a frame. I think this is something you'd need to evaluate on a case by case basis -- but keep the behavior consistent on the individual portfolio.

Common Problems

There is a problem common to both of these types of copy, in that the target sites may move or change. You'll need to stay up to date with your screenshots and descriptive copy on your portfolio in order to ensure there's no mismatching, out of date links, or out of date thumbnails.

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