You may have panicked memories of your fourth-grade teacher gazing intently at your blank paper as you’re admonished to “show your work!” when it comes to showing your portfolio website. However, showing your work is now a requirement in various industries, especially for those who make a living online.
From technology and development to architecture and the arts to planning and strategy, demonstrating the specific contributions you made to a project’s success is critical not just to demonstrate your experience but also to continue to attract new clients and ventures.
So, how do you go about building a portfolio website that not only attracts attention but also helps you develop your business? Keep reading to learn more.
What is a portfolio website?
A portfolio website is a simple site where you show examples of your work. It’s meant to serve as a testament to your expertise, abilities, and talents in such a way that potential employers or clients will quickly see your strengths.
However, the best website portfolios are more than just a set of screenshots. They show off the unique work you did (even if you weren’t involved in the project from start to finish).
The most critical elements in designing a portfolio website that showcases your talent, whether you’re a web designer, professional developer, or in almost any other industry, are highlighted below:
Even if you aren’t a copywriter, having a persuasive copy is critical for making a good first impression. Trust me; you don’t want a beautiful portfolio of sloppy grammar and dull copy.
Be as invested in and enthusiastic about the work you’ve done as possible, and be proud of your achievements, whether you’re creating a company, an app, or something else entirely.
Great copy is convincing, entertaining, and brings out the best in your work in a way that a simple screenshot can’t. Wherever possible, the explanation on your portfolio website should include not just what you did but also what the client’s result was.
What impact did your contribution have on their bottom line, competitiveness, or other company facets? That’s what your copy should cover and clarify for your readers.
Every project has a step-by-step process that leads to the final product. Although it’s natural to be proud of your finished product, many clients naturally want to know how you got there.
This can seem tedious and uninteresting, but showing the process that went into the final result demonstrates so much more than creative, design, or development skills. It shows that you understand digital strategy.
It will also show that you understand color theory, typography, and even the complexities of different programming languages to produce the client’s desired result.
Nothing is more aggravating than a portfolio website that does an excellent job of displaying your work but provides little guidance about navigating the portfolio.
Of course, be creative, but bear in mind that best practices still apply — straightforward, easy-to-understand navigation that guides the user through your work step by step is a much better choice than leaving them to guess their way through your portfolio.
Your Contact Info
Designers often create amazing portfolios, but they spend so much time perfecting their portfolio website that they fail to include how prospects can contact them if they want to learn more.
Don’t forget to add your contact detail (phone numbers and email) and social media handles. While some people might be hesitant to call or email, they will undoubtedly follow you on social media to see more of your work.
You’ll want to make sure your portfolio website has an elegant and pleasing look, much as you’ll want to make sure your copy is convincing. Take the time to create an engaging interface, and the last thing you want is a stale-looking portfolio website that repels potential clients.
Are you concerned because you’re not much of a designer? Don’t worry. You can easily find beautiful portfolio themes and templates online that will be a great starting point for you. If you want some inspiration, you can check out these amazing portfolio websites to give you some ideas, but make sure that you don’t end up creating something too similar to someone else’s. Remember- you want to be unique and original!
This may sound like a no-brainer for a portfolio website, but you’d be shocked how few people take advantage of today’s higher-resolution displays to ensure their pictures are of high quality.
Of course, there is a delicate balance to be struck in terms of load time, but portfolios are the one place where it’s appropriate to splurge on picture quality and showcase your work!
You’ve already seen a slew of portfolio websites where previous clients have written rave reviews of your work. However, the best portfolios include testimonials that were requested by the designers, developers, or artists.
They probably asked questions like, “What do you love most about working with me?” How have I aided you in achieving your business objectives?” Instead of saying, “Hey, can you give me a testimonial?”
Client testimonials on your portfolio website might seem obvious. Still, you’d be shocked how many portfolios overlook these vital components, which serve as the “icing on the cake” in convincing a prospect that you deliver value.
Call to Actions
The call-to-action is the cherry on top of the icing if client reviews are the icing on the cake. While adding a button or a connection after each portfolio listing should give them every reason to contact you, encouraging them to contact you for a free consultation or to learn more is often what motivates them to take the next move and reach out.
Avoid These Things on your portfolio website
We’ve gone through many of what should be on a portfolio website, but are there things that shouldn’t be on a portfolio website? Yes, indeed! Here are things to avoid when creating your portfolio website:
Don’t use your portfolio site as a repository for all of your work
You don’t want to drop all of your work into your portfolio. Showcase work that you’d like to do more of instead. It doesn’t have to read like a resume, but it should certainly highlight your best skills.
Pet projects are not permitted unless it’s something in demand.
Feel free to include such projects only if you believe they are examples of your best work. However, since they are personal or hobbies, they are mostly done in your spare time and may not be up to par with your other jobs. Use your best judgment here.
Don’t make the mistake of “setting it and forgetting it.”
Your portfolio website is not a one-time project. Avoid the temptation to “set it and forget it.” Rather, keep it up to date with fresh, challenging, and exciting projects that will give your potential clients the wow factor.
When you follow these pointers to create your portfolio site, you’ll not only have the ideal showcase of your talent, but you’ll also be able to display how your talents led to the result and produced happier customers, paving the way for more work.