Design and UX

Guide to Building a Portfolio Website

A portfolio website is the fastest and most effective way to showcase your skills.

Your Quick Guide to Building a Portfolio Website

A portfolio website is the fastest and most effective way to showcase your skills. Whether you’re a designer, a marketing professional or a consultant, portfolio websites give you an aligned platform where you can show your best work and build your personal brand.

So, how do you build a portfolio website capable of having a lasting impact on your audience?

The process may be simpler than you think. With so many website-building tools and templates to choose from, you can have your site up and running in less than a day.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Make it Easy to Use and Find

First, your website needs to offer an excellent user experience. Customers won’t hire you if they arrive on your portfolio and find it’s impossible to navigate or understand. An excellent portfolio is easy to explore and simple enough to find.

To get the navigation right, start with a simple template. Your portfolio should have sections where your customers can browse through your latest projects, check out customer testimonials, and learn about your skills as a professional. Don’t forget the contact page, so clients can reach out.

To ensure your website is easy to find:

Choose the right domain name: Buy a domain name that’s easy to remember, and relevant to you. The name of your company, or your own name might be suitable. Just make sure that you’re not using words that are complex, long, or difficult to spell.

Consider SEO: When building your portfolio, ensure the back end is well-tuned for Search Engine Optimization. Having the right site map in place, fast loading times, and keywords assigned to each page is a good start.

Drive people back to your website: Link your portfolio to your social media pages and vice versa. This will help more people to track you down. You can also use things like content marketing to make your portfolio rank higher on the search engine result pages.

Step 2: Put Your Best Work First

The main purpose of a portfolio is to demonstrate your skills and work to potential candidates. Unlike other websites, where links to products and offers might be the most important thing, this web solution is all about showing off what you do.

Make sure that your customers get an instant introduction to the results you can offer from the moment they arrive on your portfolio homepage. It only takes a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention. So, consider using statistics, like “20% higher sales” to instantly demonstrate your value.

Make it easy for customers to see what you can do on the front page, then guide them towards your use cases and previous projects, starting with the most impressive ones first. You can add as many examples of your work as you like, but most potential employers will only check out the first few, so make these count.

Step 3: Collect Testimonials and Feedback:

The great thing about portfolio websites, is they allow your customers to get an idea of what you can accomplish before they hire you. One of the best ways to really sell yourself, is to let the happy clients you’ve already worked with do the marketing for you.

Every time you save a picture of a design or add a case study to your portfolio, make sure it’s accompanied by an amazing review or testimonial. Genuine statements from customers about the problems you helped them to overcome, or the results they achieved are best. If possible, include a picture of your customer too, as photos significantly increase clickthrough rates.

If your customers aren’t sure what to write, you can always offer to write a testimonial for them, and just get their approval at the end. This is actually something a lot of clients will request more often than you’d think.

Step 4: Introduce Yourself

The main focus of a portfolio website is highlighting the work you can do and the results you have to offer. However, the people who visit this site will also be looking for an insight into who you are and how good you are to work with. An insight into your personality, attitude, and work ethics will give a customer an idea of what they can expect from you.

Create an “about” page where you can discuss the things you’ve done to develop your skills over the years and give a little background on who you are. Try to use your design and copy to convey the kind of personality people want to associate with you. For instance, short, friendly phrases might be more approachable in some industries.

Tell your story but try not to overwhelm your audience with too much information. Offer snippets into who you are, then give your customers the options to reach out if they want to learn more, or even follow you on social media.

Step 5: Make Contact Easy

Finally, if your portfolio does the job of selling your services and skills correctly, the next step will be encouraging your customer to reach out. Making it easier to connect with your brand through a contact form on your portfolio website is often a good idea. Don’t ask for too much information on this form, just a name, email address to respond to, and a quick insight into what they want to discuss.

If you’re offering consultation services, you can also use website widgets and plugins to add a booking system to your site. Bookings allow you to arrange meetings with your customers in a matter of seconds. During these conversations, you have a chance to further sell your skills, and answer any questions your clients might have.

For customers who aren’t ready to get in touch yet, offer them a chance to sign up for your newsletter to stay updated on your recent projects or blog posts. This is a great way to nurture leads. Alternatively, provide links to your social media accounts so they can follow you there.

Building the Ideal Portfolio Website

Designing an attractive and informative portfolio website is a fantastic step in unlocking new opportunities. Whether you’re a freelancer, business owner, or consultant, your portfolio showcases your skills in a way that drives new conversions and connects with clients. As you continue to attract new work, remember to update your portfolio regularly to keep it current. 

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