Are you a freelancer or a professional working as a writer, web designer, developer, or photographer?
If you work in a creative field and need to show potential clients your work at scale, creating a portfolio website is a great way to showcase your talent and skill.
It can be challenging to whittle years of experience and work down to a single portfolio. And it’s just as difficult to know what to include in your portfolio and how to present it to potential clients to win new projects.
Read on as we tell you how to create a professional portfolio website that helps you to stand out in your industry or niche.
Start by Determining Your Goals
Every professional has a different vision for their portfolio website, and each person has different goals for their online portfolio.
Some people are generalists and would like to attract as many clients as possible, while others are more specialized and want to target specific niches and clients within that field.
Others still may have a few different areas of expertise, such as illustration, animation and graphic design, that they would like to showcase using a single portfolio.
Determine the primary role you want your professional portfolio to play.
Portfolios with clear structure and intention always stand out from the rest and are easier to navigate.
Your portfolio can be structured as a marketing tool for your brand or business, or as a visual introduction to what you can do.
Pick the Structure of Your Portfolio
Portfolios come in two main variants: one page and full page. Most freelancers and professionals use online portfolios to introduce people to their work.
Their target clients don’t discover them through their websites, but use their portfolios as a way to learn more once they have already been introduced via digital adverts, social media posts, referrals, or professional contacts.
However, if you aim to assist people in finding your services through search engines when they’re looking up your industry, you can also use your portfolio as an introductory tool.
If this is your aim, you will need a strong SEO strategy and search engine optimized content to achieve the web traffic you’re looking for.
Website Builder or Coding by Hand?
Now that you’ve decided which type of portfolio you want to create, you need to decide whether you will build your site with your own code or use a website builder.
The latter is much easier, especially for people who do not have any coding experience.
You can build attractive and functional portfolio websites using templates and pre-fixed themes. This makes it simple to showcase your work online, especially if you choose to create a one-page website.
Upload Only Your Best Work
Very few professionals include their entire work history in their online portfolio websites.
This is really only done by people who are fairly new to their careers and don’t have much work to showcase. If you’re a seasoned freelancer, you should choose only your very best work to add to your portfolio.
Choose work that illustrates a wide range of experience and talents that pertain to the services you are currently offering.
The more focused your website is, the easier it will be for clients to decide whether or not your services will suit their requirements.
Add Descriptions of Your Work
Your potential clients need to know exactly what you’ve done in each project you completed.
One effective way of making your portfolio stand out is to add descriptions of each piece of work, explaining the project you worked on, the challenges you solved, and how you created your final result.
You can also add after-project results. For instance, if you developed an app that has 2 million monthly users, be sure to include that information in your description!
Wow Your Audience with Your ‘About’ Section
Your ‘About’ section gives you an opportunity to tell potential clients who you are, what your skills are, and what you can do.
It enhances your online portfolio and gives your visitors more information about you and what people hire you to do.
The more specific and results-focused you can be about how you bring value to your clients, the better you’ll be able to make an impression using your website.
Write Up a Strong CTA
Your online portfolio needs a call to action (CTA) to compel potential clients to contact you.
Include a contact section or page on your website that tells clients exactly how to get in touch with you if they’re interested in your services.
Add all of your relevant contact details, including your email address, contact numbers, and social media handles and links.
The final key to creating a professional online portfolio is to make it as user-friendly as possible. Avoid walls of small text, cluttered pages, and unnecessary information.
Optimize your website for mobile devices and ensure that it’s simple to navigate and that your contact information and CTA stand out for the best results!