As a freelance web designer, are you always looking for new clients or do you want to collaborate with web agencies? Then it’s almost mandatory for you to own your own portfolio. In many cases, your portfolio site will be consulted without your presence, without your other information, probably from someone who has never seen or spoken to you.
I searched on the net for many portfolio sites and below I suggest my comments and opinions on how to tackle the task of making a perfect portfolio to promote yourself as a freelance web designer.
Identify your tribe
To start you should ask yourself, “What audience do I address?”. In this case your tribe corresponds to your potential client.
Why is a portfolio important?
I want to list below a number of reasons why creating a portfolio is an opportunity to take advantage of.
The portfolio serves to make you better known
The people who are looking for you will have a certain aesthetic taste, and they could probably also be web designers, graphic designers or developers like you. This audience wants to see the quality of your work, but also the personalization you offer for each project you create.
The portfolio helps you find more customers and increase orders
On the one hand you have the potential new customers to convince you that you are the right professional for their needs, on the other you also have the acquired customers, who may also want to see where you are physically, to meet you live and get to know you better, or to commission you new jobs because with you they found themselves well, and have no time nor want to get back to looking for new collaborators.
Here are some considerations to work with when creating an online portfolio …
01. Show your best projects
If potential customers are looking at several sites to figure out who to choose as a freelancer, you can bet that their decisions regarding the choice of their partner will depend on the list of your work. If your creations are appreciated, you have more chances to be contacted for a quote request.
Remember that a potential customer will probably check the first half-dozen of the jobs you listed in your portfolio. So if in the first projects you have selected, there are no your best sites created, most likely you will be discarded in choosing the ideal candidate.
The main rule therefore is to facilitate access to the page with the list of your works and to collect only the projects that you are really satisfied with and that make you proud. Only once you have made your best sites visible, can you add other materials of the same quality.
02. Describe your work in detail
Unfortunately, many portfolios only show the image of the work carried out. Some questions you should ask to create an excellent portfolio are …
- Who is my client?
- What was client’s problem?
- How did I solve client’s needs?
Even if you don’t need to write an essay, you offer some details that allow you to be appreciated by the potential customer, not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also on a practical level.
Another question to answer is …
- What role did I play in the project?
If you’ve done a small part of a more complex job, it could be negative to get noticed just for that. In case the customer contacts you, embarrassing hidden truths could be leaked.
Therefore, avoid reporting false information and always try to be honest. If you spread the word that you can’t be trusted, your online reputation could be compromised forever. If instead you did the job as a whole, make sure you take all the credit.
03. Make your site navigable and clear to consult
Potential customers have as little time to lose. They cannot explore a portfolio and extricate themselves from tiny links that are difficult to click or try to guess the design of miniatures that are difficult to understand. Make your portfolio quick to navigate, accessible and easy to consult.
The two key concepts are …
- Create a website with good usability
- Show your work clearly.
As for usability: navigation must be intuitive. When you need to show a job, make great previews that also contain the link to the original website. It prevents dozens of new windows from appearing on the screen. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to see a portfolio correctly even in various mobile devices.
Some potential customers are uncertain whether to build a site or a blog, and your portfolio could be a good way to increase their desire to be online with their own project.
04. Reassure the customer
Potential customers need to be reassured. You have to convince them that you are the right person for the realization of their online project. There are many factors that users find reassuring, some of the simplest are:
Show concrete testimonials. One thing is to speak well of oneself, another is that others speak well of you. Increase your confidence in those who visit your site. Providing testimonials from your satisfied customers is the right way to go. Having this kind of reassurance helps the client to quell any kind of uncertainty.
The best way to get a testimony? Ask it. Most customers (satisfied with your work) will be happy to provide positive feedback by email.
Add a list of important customers. If you have been lucky enough to work with big brands, highlight these customers from the recognized brand. Showing these works with rotating graphic banners in a special section, in addition to the portfolio, puts you as a true expert in the sector, as you have been chosen by prestigious brands.
Make sure you don’t post misspelled or broken links and make sure that the sites you show in the portfolio are working properly.
05. Show customers what they might need
You can also “leverage” your portfolio to educate customers about the services you offer, and how they could benefit from them. Help them reach a greater understanding of how to best use your experience.
Here’s what you can try to accomplish:
List and describe your services in detail. A customer who needs a simple logo may not know that their brand can also be used on live event presentations. A page that explains what can be done with their logo is a great way to get a customer’s attention on the services offered.
Describe the individual projects in your portfolio and how these have helped your customers. Enter detailed descriptions of what the user is watching. As your work you have solved a specific customer need, then add other details to tell this case study. Remember that many people cannot fully appreciate your work or the effect that good design produces.
Display solutions on how you can solve problems or how to improve a company’s potential. Explain to potential customers how they could achieve certain goals to increase their business thanks to your help. Add testimonials explaining how some business needs have been resolved. Testimonials can be used not only to reassure, but also as a method to educate other potential customers to achieve the same benefits.