How To Create A Beautiful Professional Portfolio Online
Portfolios can help sell your work, your services, and your expertise to clients and to the industry at large. A robust portfolio can help share your vision and even your own personal style. They are an excellent way for designers from all walks of life to showcase who they are and what makes them stand out, but unfortunately, having a portfolio is not enough.
You can have truly beautiful projects, but if clients or other interested parties cannot easily or comfortably access this portfolio, then you aren’t showing them your great designs; you are showing them a poor experience.
Designers, architects, and artists alike are expected to provide customers and visitors with a stunning visual experience from start to finish. If your digital portfolio isn’t up to par, then your designs will not have the framework they need to stand out.
This guide will help you craft a beautiful, engaging digital portfolio that can help you expand your reach and your reputation:
Choose a Portfolio-Focussed Theme for Your Website
If you have an extensive web design background, then absolutely create a custom website for yourself. You will be showcasing your skills in more ways than one and will have a website and portfolio that no one else has.
However, just because you don’t have this background does not mean that you are out of luck. Many stunning themes are created to help designers and artists showcase their portfolios in a meaningful, engaging way.
It isn’t easy to draw clients in when they are looking at your portfolio from their mobile or tablet. Small screens pose challenges, which is why you need a stunning, and more importantly responsive, theme.
As you become familiar with your theme and how to customize it, you will eventually want to create a version of your portfolio and every major page for desktop/laptop, and then another one for tablet/mobile. This way, you can ensure a unique, seamless experience regardless of where your clients are looking at your site from.
Don’t Forget the Portfolio Sites
Sites like Behance and DeviantArt are excellent for showcasing your gallery to a wider audience. You will already have the items in question, so you can easily upload them to a profile on these websites and link them back to your website (and vice versa). You don’t need to post everything, but instead, try to use it to encourage people who like your work to explore your website, to sign up for your newsletter, to buy from your store, or to get in contact with you if they are interested in hiring your services.
Update Your Old Designs with Modern Software
If you created stunning work as part of your education or just for fun, then you can use these to kickstart your portfolio. If they were just rough sketches or less than professionally-looking hand-drawn prototypes, then you will want to give them a modern update. In fact, all designs need to be digitally created, regardless of where they started.
Logos and visual designs need to be created in a program like Illustrator so that they can be made into vectors. Architecture schematics need to be recreated in both 2D and in 3D with a program like Cedreo.
Updating and giving your old, great designs a new polished look will transform them from amateur to professional and will help you showcase your personal flair and what makes you stand out as a designer.
It will also be good practice to use excellent, industry-standard tools if you are not already familiar with them, allowing you to better serve your clients in the future.
Ensure There is Stellar Written Copy on Every Page
A written copy is the easiest way for Google and other search engines to find your site. It is also a great way to make your website more accessible. Every single image should have a written description. Every project should have a full methodology. Content should be optimized for SEO and to help sell your work.
When writing copy, you need to explain your process, and if the work was made for a client, how you wowed that client and listened to their directives to create a stunning project that exceeded their expectations.
What to Do If There Is More Than One Behind the Scenes
If you are the only designer, you will have a comprehensive about page, and then you will want to make it obvious that you did all that work. If there are others, then you need to ensure that everyone involved gets highlighted.
If you work together, have separate profiles explaining your backgrounds and how your combined expertise offers a truly unique and comprehensive service. If you outsource, then let clients know what parts are outsourced and highlight the fact that you have several exceptional partners to further their design.
An architect that has contractors that have beautifully brought their design to life is invaluable. You have people you trust to see your vision through, which means clients won’t have to hunt down to find the right contractor themselves. If you can refer contractors that you know, you may even be able to get a kickback for the referral if you work it out with your partners beforehand.
You can work alone or with others. Regardless of which situation you are in, market that fact and use it to help bring in more clients.
Ensure Your Web Design is Optimized for Search Engines
Great content is definitely a part of every great SEO strategy, but that’s just the start. There are many technical factors to consider as well, from site security to site speed to even responsiveness. You need your site to have it all and even have a strong backlink strategy in place so that you can get to the top of relevant search results.
You should, for example, be able to rank on the first name for your brand name.
Be Prepared to Market
A great portfolio is great advertising, but it’s something that will only wow clients once they are on your site. You need to use PPC marketing, social media marketing, and traditional OOH marketing to get clients to see your work and then go to your site to explore your full portfolio.