If you’re a creative looking for work, a simple resume just doesn’t cut it anymore. You have to showcase your best work and make sure you get that dream job. But putting a portfolio together is no easy task. You have to figure out a structure, a design and even a platform to display it on. A portfolio website is the choice most professionals go to. And it’s not hard to see why.
But what makes a good portfolio website? What will make it stand out from the crowd and impress your customers? To answer all those questions – and more – we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that will make your portfolio website pop.
Choose a Platform
Before you get to work, you have to choose which platform will host your portfolio website. You can work with a designer and a programmer for this – but let’s be honest, that’s the most expensive option and not many people can afford it. The easier (and better) option is an online service that comes with some sort of presets you can use.
Wix has some of the best online portfolio templates on the market, for example. All you have to do is choose the one you like, customize it as per your preference and launch your website.
On top of that, a website can also be used as a great networking tool. You can use it to connect to potential prospects, while offering them an interactive way to get to know you better. It’s also easier to link on social media such as LinkedIn or Behance, since you won’t have to attach anything.
Choose the Work that Defines You
After you’ve chosen your preferred platform, it’s time to sift through all your projects and choose some of the best ones. We wouldn’t recommend adding ALL your projects on your portfolio website – it will only overcrowd it and, let’s face it, no one is patient enough to browse through dozens and dozens of pages.
So be selective. Browse through your work and choose the projects that represent you and that you’re most proud of. If you’re a designer and want to display the smaller tasks you did, you should create a dedicated section for those.
Tell the Story of Your Work
After you’ve chosen your best work, it’s time to tell the stories. It’s not enough to just display some screenshots or videos. All of those have to be backed up by some achievements. You should keep in mind what your client wanted to achieve and how you helped them do that.
The description can be brief – short and to the point – but it can also take the customer through the whole journey. Describe how everything started, how you came up with the design and how it led to growing your client’s business.
If you can, we recommend choosing the top four or five projects and writing entire case studies for them. A clear case study will give context to your work and will give any client some clear reasons to hire you. And if you can, add some testimonials as well.
Optimize Your Online Portfolio Website
No matter how pretty and clean your site looks, that will amount to nothing if you don’t properly optimize every element. This is usually a hard and tedious job to do but it’s as important as the design itself. A fast-loading web page will lower the bounce rate and will keep your prospects more engaged.
You should always resize your images before uploading them. Make sure they match the space in your chosen template and that you don’t go overboard. After you’re done with that, you should also compress these images. We recommend using the .jpg format as it loads faster. If you’re set on .png, there are dozens of websites that offer free compressing services.
Promote Your Portfolio Website
This step doesn’t really count as a “building block”. But all your hard work will be for nothing if no one sees it. So, promote your portfolio website any way you can. One way to promote your work for free would be joining a designer community and showcasing your work. For example, Reddit has a few dedicated places for designers where you can display and ask for feedback on your work.
Of course, you can also post it on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram) and if you can afford it, Google Adwords does a great job of promoting your services. And surprisingly, word of mouth is still a thing – just count on your happy customers to promote you further.
Give Your Prospects What They Want to See
Adjusting your portfolio from time to time isn’t as tedious as it sounds. Especially if you found the perfect job in the field you’ve been dreaming of. So, if you’re interviewing for a specific position, don’t be afraid to make some small edits to your portfolio website. You won’t display food pictures if you’re applying for a medical design job, for example.
When applying for a specific job, you should also keep in mind the requirements of that job. Take your time to carefully read about the required skills and browse through your (hopefully) future employer’s website to get a feel of their tone of voice. Recruiters always want to see relevant experience and you should always try to showcase that.
While you’re working on your perfect portfolio website, it’s easy to forget the main purpose – this shouldn’t be a museum for each small project. It’s not a notebook either so don’t just go around throwing in ideas. At the end of the day, your portfolio is a money-making tool.
It proves that you’re a professional who deserves to be hired. It proves that you’re able to juggle many tasks at a time and it’s also a great way for you to establish connections. The sooner you start looking at your portfolio as an instrument, the sooner it will start making you money.