A portfolio website showcases your professional work and serves as your gateway to attract future clients.
If you’re a freelancer working as a photographer, designer, or another creative field, having an effective portfolio website is one of the best methods to showcase your professional work. This way, prospects can see how good your professional works are in your creative field.
But do you exactly create a portfolio website that stands out from the competition? As you already know, there’s already a lot of competition in almost every niche, so building an effective portfolio website is a must.
This guide will discuss pivotal ways to make your portfolio website stand out from the competition and other essential things to include in it. So, let’s get into the crucial details!
What is a Portfolio Website?
A portfolio website is the best way to showcase your professional work and allow others, especially prospective clients, to reach out to you. It acts as your bread and butter as a freelancer, particularly if you’re in the creative field.
It visually shows your dedication and professionalism to your craft much better and more clearly than a CV. This also presents actual cases and examples of your works that speak volumes.
Furthermore, it’s the only web space where everything is up to you. It gives you the power to build a unique platform with outstanding, optimised content, achieving a recognisable identity the way you envision it to be.
An online portfolio website is also the best way to make you available and searchable for new clients and potential employers. Moreover, a published portfolio on the web represents you as a master of your craft.
Do I Really Need a Website Portfolio?
If you want to showcase your work online and reach out to as many clients as possible, then you really need a portfolio website to do that. Whether you’re in a team or work as an individual, it’s valuable to have a distinct online approach to stand out from your competition.
A portfolio website delivers professional information about a company or individual and showcases their work professionally online. Having a website is a must for almost all businesses, and even when it’s optional, it’s always highly recommended.
Having your own website gives you new opportunities to build credibility, capture more leads, and learn about the people who visit your site.
How to Build a Portfolio Website?
If you’re a developer or web designer, this will come easy to you. The only thing you have to do is compile your experiences and begin developing and designing what you usually do.
But if by profession, you’re not a web designer or developer, you don’t have to worry! You can start from scratch or let a trusted and experienced website design company, like Xploited Media, do the work for you.
However, if you have the time and the patience to build a portfolio website from scratch, that would be great! You can follow our guide below to help you create an effective portfolio website for your creative works.
But before that, make sure to choose a website builder (e.g. WordPress, Wix, etc.) that’s more convenient to you and follow the given guide thoroughly to make your own online portfolio for free!
Now, let’s get into the six ways to build a compelling portfolio website that will surely stand out!
Step #1: Determine the Primary Goal for Your Online Portfolio
Every person has a different vision and goal for their portfolio. For instance, some professional freelancers are generalists and like to stay open to various types of clients.
Meanwhile, others specialise in a niche and have established potential target clients in that specific field. For example, a graphic designer may only specialise in the economic sector.
In contrast, other designers may have multiple areas of expertise they want to showcase, such as illustration and graphic design. An online portfolio with a clear vision and intention will stand out instead of one that’s dispersed and difficult to navigate.
In general, there are two ways you can structure your portfolio—you can design it as a brief intro to your work or as a marketing tool to grow your business.
One-Page Portfolio vs Multi-Page Portfolio
Deciding between single/one-page and multi-page designs can be challenging. With the rise of mobile and social media browsing, simple, speedy, and responsive single-page portfolio websites are among the most popular current web trends.
Meanwhile, multi-page portfolio websites, characterised by traditional navigation flows, are favoured and trusted by most users.
One-page Portfolio Website
A one-page website is simply a website containing only one HTML page. This means there are no additional pages, like the About page, Contact Us page, or Features.
The content is fully loaded on single-page websites on the initial page, making the experience fluid for the user. To navigate to various destinations on a single page site, users can click the navigation links that let them jump to other page destinations or scroll down the page to reach the different content sections.
Single-page websites aim to deliver simply the right amount of information to help users decide and act on it. This is why single-page design is usually used for portfolios, landing pages, and event-related websites.
This simple web design extracts any unnecessary bluster from the interface, allowing the user’s attention to concentrate on the most important content.
- Clean and Easy to Understand
- Straightforward Navigation Design
- Great for Responsive Mobile Websites
- Not SEO-friendly
- Limited Scalability
A multi-page portfolio website includes multiple pages and subpages within a menu. Unlike the single-page site, the only way to steer to and view other pages in a multi-page web design is to click on the links within the menu.
This design type is best-suited to almost every project type. Some examples of multi-page web design can be seen in eCommerce sites, dashboards, and eLearning sites.
- Unlimited Scalability
- Easy to Follow Navigation
- Require Regular Updates
When deciding whether to design a single or multi-page portfolio website, there’s no such thing as a rule of thumb. It’s best to put your content first, consider the information you need to bring to your users, and make that information as accessible to users as possible.
Step #2: Manual Coding or Website Builder
Once you determine what type of online portfolio you want to create, your next step is to pick whether you should make that online portfolio yourself or use a website builder. If you’re not a coder, your best choice will involve using a site builder, such as WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace.
These website builders offer templates, making it easy to showcase your work online in a direct way. Building a one-page website will be easy to do using the templates available on these sites.
Step #3: Highlight Your Best Work Ever!
When making your online portfolio website, it’s best to know that you don’t need to include all of your work in your portfolio. Just put some of your work projects you’re proud of and demonstrate a range of experience and concentrate on the type of work you want to do more.
For instance, if you’ve been an illustrator and writer in the past, but are currently concentrated solely on writing, consider leaving your illustrator portfolio off your website. The more focused you are on one field in your portfolio, the easier it will be for clients to learn your strengths and how you can proactively help them achieve their mission and vision for their portfolio.
Add Narratives to Each Project
It’s irresistible to pile your work jointly and put it all online, but this won’t help make your portfolio stand out. It’s crucial to give your site visitors a brief explanation of the project you worked on, the challenges you were attempting to solve, and some wisdom into how you arrived at the final result.
Adding context to the final deliverable makes your portfolio more engaging and effective. As a result, many prospective clients or employers will go out of their way to contact you, as they’ve seen how satisfying your works are.
It’s also best to find the balance between text and visuals to avoid overwhelming your readers or potential client.
Step #4: Make a Gripping About Section on Your Portfolio Website
The about section of your portfolio website is the space where you relay to your future clients about what you do and who you are. This part should complement your portfolio and give readers some background info about yourself.
As much as possible, be more specific and results-driven when describing your work. You can use bullet points to highlight this to ensure the potential clients can quickly grasp what you can do for them when they hire you.
Always be creative about communicating the value you can bring to the clients without sounding generic.
Step #5: Build an Assertive Call to Action (CTA)
When you make your online portfolio, it’s best to include your contact information with a button leading potential clients to reach out to you by email or phone. This approach is straightforward enough, but having a contact page can also help you stand out.
If you go for a one-page portfolio, this is where you can point your clients to reach out if they’re interested in learning more about your offerings. This allows you to track who’s interested in your work and start a conversation, and tailor your portfolio to the potential clients who are reaching out to you.
For instance, if you’re a web designer with experience in multiple fields, you could provide one particular portfolio to a client in the restaurant business and a different portfolio to a future client in an eCommerce business.
This approach could serve as a solution if you’re not authorised to show particular work publicly due to confidentiality contracts.
Step #6: Make Your Online Portfolio User-Friendly
Another essential point to remember when building an effective portfolio website is to make it user-friendly. This way, users can easily navigate your website.
To do that, make sure that your buttons are easy to understand and the layout itself is easy to follow. Consider also using bold text and larger fonts so that readers could get the essence just by reading your headline, particularly when scrolling up and down on a page or PDF.
What Should an Ideal Portfolio Website Have?
An effective portfolio website should showcase your professional work, so you need to ensure that you’re using appealing visuals to persuade your visitors to look for more details on your website. Furthermore, it would also be extra valuable to put the following into your portfolio website:
- About Page
- Case Studies
- Call to Action
Having these elements makes your portfolio more engaging and effective.
Grow Your Professional Portfolio with a Website Today!
A portfolio website is a great and simple tool to gather all your best works and set them in one place for everyone to see. This will serve as your personal space, where you put all your best pieces and visually show everyone what you can do.
This can also serve as your outlet to express yourself genuinely. So, make sure to follow your own preferences when it comes to your online portfolio and be proud of it!