What is a portfolio url

The anatomy of a perfect portfolio website to showcase your work

Time to roll up your sleeves! Today we're delving into portfolio websites and which industry experts should use them. Learn how to create a great looking website that showcases your work and the meaning of your work in a unique way. You want visitors and prospects to remember you on their next project.

What is a portfolio website?

A portfolio website is one unique opportunity to present your work and inform others about you. It is like an evergreen platform for your projects, case studies and information about you. Additionally, it's one of the best ways to express your personality, experience, and skills.

Having your own website means that customers can always find you and approach you if they are interested. If you don't have an online presence these days, you are lagging behind. 😉 A portfolio is a great way for photographers, designers, developers, and a wide variety of artists to showcase their work online. It lets you reflect your identity through your works - photos, graphic design, sketches, etc.

What is a portfolio website?

A portfolio website is one unique opportunity to present your work and inform others about you. It is like an evergreen platform for your projects, case studies and information about you. Additionally, it's one of the best ways to express your personality, experience, and skills.

Having your own website means that customers can always find you and approach you if they are interested. If you don't have an online presence these days, you are lagging behind. 😉 A portfolio is a great way for photographers, designers, developers, and a wide variety of artists to showcase their work online. It lets you reflect your identity through your works - photos, graphic design, sketches, etc.

  • Web design
  • Web development (outsourcing, online shop)
  • Graphic design (logo design, corporate ID, flyers, catalogs, packaging)
  • Marketing (digital marketing, print design, SEO optimization, PPC advertising)
  • Art design (illustration, video, audio, photography)

But that's not all, this also applies to interior designers, artists, models, writers, etc. The main idea is that you are a creator yourself and have to present your work. Portfolio website enables you to do this in high quality.

Example of why you need a portfolio

What if someone needs a logo for a new product, service, or business? Most start a simple search on Google (or get suggestions from friends or business partners). So first of all, that's what you want you can be found. To demonstrate from your customers' perspective, here's a little experiment.

Using the majority method, I used google. I just start by typing "logo designer portfolio" in the search bar and hope to find a real person who could create my logo. And there it is, a bunch of potential logo designers who make themselves available there. I browse their websites and they all seem pretty good. Well, making a choice is just a matter of preference, taste, and budget.

Google 1st page search results for "logo designer portfolio"

As you can see, I am spoiled for choice. I can choose a person or an agency. I can find out about each individual's services, see their portfolios, read about them and study their project flow. Basically, their websites give me a sense of who they are, what they do, and what to expect when I choose to work with them.

Now that you have at least one reason why you need a portfolio, it is time to understand the most important things that should be on your website.

Essential elements for your portfolio website

Every project needs a formula - a purpose. Without them, it will be very difficult to impress them.

When creating a portfolio website, first ask yourself what the purpose is. 🤔Click to Tweet

The basic formula of a portfolio website includes a logo, tagline, your best work, and contact information. Sometimes it works, but in many cases it's a bad realization. To put your portfolio in a different light, consider other key elements that will improve the user experience of your portfolio: case studies, testimonials, blog, and even a project you're working on. These are important elements.

As you work on designing your portfolio site, think about the elements that your prospective clients should be able to find. Ask yourself - what is the purpose of your portfolio? Do you want to sell your services, are you looking for a job and want to be hired, or is it a website about you? The main focus of your portfolio site should get the attention of visitors, and the following elements will help you with that.

A showcase of your work

It only takes a few seconds to lose a visitor's attention, so use those seconds wisely. Your prospects will see the visuals first, and if they like what they see, they will keep looking for more details. In other words, you need an impressive and engaging presentation of your work.

This can be done in many ways - photo slideshows, video presentations, thumbnail galleries, etc. For example, if you are a logo designer, make sure you are showing a high quality image of a logo in several variations. Put the logo on products, business cards, show it in different colors - this will expand your competence.

Take a look at this portfolio website. This was created by London-based designer and author Tim Smith. He shows his work in a thumbnail gallery.

Portfolio website with a thumbnail gallery

Your about page

Your about page lets your prospects see who's behind the job, take a look at who you are, and if they'd like to work with you. You may be wondering where to start? Start with the most important thing - with yourself. To make it easier, here is the checklist of the most important elements of the About page:

Your name

It sounds obvious, but that many portfolios don't have it. What if your prospect wants to research about you, e.g. LinkedIn? Hi, I'm Matt ... is a great start to continue a story about yourself.

A picture of you

A picture gives a more personal touch. A portrait of you or a nice photo of you working on a new design. It's the most original way to make visitors feel who you are. Make it simple but inviting.

Information about yourself

Show your personality by telling a story about your professional and personal experiences. Your education, what you've learned, projects you enjoyed working with, awards and recognitions. Use this page to show your skills, your way of thinking and your passions. Make it short, enjoyable, and memorable.

Below is an "About" page sample from an art director, Marcin Dmoch. He presents himself with a bright color design and little stories that tell of his professional experience and his best projects. He has also attached a downloadable resume so that the file can be easily printed out or forwarded to others. It's a clean design that includes all of the key elements needed for an effective About page.

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About page of a portfolio website

Case studies

Case studies or presentations are the best way to demonstrate the full range of your projects. Each project should have its own story that shows the progress of the whole process from start to finish. Break up this creative process with lots of photos and notes showing what's behind each project.

In this way, your visitors can get an idea of ​​what your projects look like and how you have developed from the initial planning phase to completion. Here are the components to include in your case study:

  • Purpose of the project: Why did you start the project.
  • Aim: What you have achieved.
  • Method: How you achieved it.
  • Project duration: How long did it take you to do that.
  • Your role: What you have contributed to the team or project.
  • Final product overview: Pictures, videos, links, etc.

Here is a good example of case study presentation from Darian Rosebrook, a web designer and branding consultant. He uses his portfolio to present work to date through an article that reveals the essence of each project.

Case study on a portfolio website

Another example is Kinsta. While they don't have a portfolio website, their case studies page is a good example of a well-thought-out design that is meant to help potential clients see the work they are proud of.

Case study Kinsta

Does it take some time to build a case study part? Sure, but it's a must have for any portfolio website.

Testimonials

Setting out a few words from your customers can be very meaningful to those who just landed on your page. You can list your skills and say how great you are, but Letting others say it can have a huge impact. Get in touch with your previous customers and ask for quotes that you can use on your website. People who enjoyed working with you will be happy to praise your good work with a testimonial.

Check out this example below from graphic designer Francesca McWhirter. To really spice up her referral page, she starts with a dynamic hero image and then continues with the customer voices below.

Portfolio website customer testimonials

Call to Action (CTA)

A call to action complements the purpose of your portfolio. To help you develop a call to action for your website, remember the purpose of your website. What actions should the visitors take? Your website should offer different ways that customers can contact you. Make sure to include your business email address even if you use a contact form, as some customers prefer this form to forms.

In the example below, the creative agency Lounge Lizard offers various ways of contacting its customers. You can use an email address or fill out the “Request a Proposal” form to get a quote straight to your inbox.

Portfolio website CTA / contact

A blog and content syndication

Blogging is a fantastic way to share your mindset and add value to those who want to work together. Creating regular blog content gives visitors a reason to revisit your website. It's great for SEO too - Google loves quality content!

Blogs aren't the only approach, however. Social media also works great to get your work going. For example, Instagram, with its 1 billion active users, is a great way to showcase your work, style, and show off your unique personality. It helps build trust and attract a relevant audience. Content marketing can also mean having your own YouTube channel, podcast, or webinars. Choose your preferred path and express yourself. A good example is the creative artist Elsa Muse, who writes her own blog and publishes it on Instagram.

Portfolio website - blog

Don't forget to publish your work! Just like with content syndication, you can upload your best work to places like Behance and Dribbble. Even if you have an amazing portfolio website, these other networks should be used for additional free traffic.

Extra points to include

Your portfolio website can contain anything. Aside from the basic key elements, there are other elements that can make your website stand out even more. A working prototype demo, free samples of icon sets, free software, themes, and even plugins.

If you have any guest appearances on blogs, podcasts, press, entertainment channels - don't forget to mention them. Interviews are great for further reading when customers want to learn more about your personality and work. Be proud of your achievements and don't be afraid to publish details about your awards.

What you need to build a portfolio website

When building a website, it's important to make sure it's effective, functional, and easy to maintain. Choosing the right tools is important in building a professional looking portfolio site. One of the best and most popular platforms for website building - WordPress is a perfect solution for freelancers. WordPress gives you power out of the box and offers functionality through countless available themes and plugins.

The WordPress theme controls the visual aspect of your website: the design, the colors and a layout. Conversely, plugins are extensions of WordPress that take over the core of the WordPress software and edit or remove its functionality.

Page elements like contact forms, image slideshows, marketing pop-up bars are parts of your website that are usually created and added using a WordPress plugin. You shouldn't overdose your website with too many plugins as this can (not always) make your website heavy and slow. Instead, you can build your WordPress site with a website builder and a few other "must-have" plugins. This can save you time and help you get your portfolio off to a flying start (artists don't usually have a lot of time to create their own pages, do they?)

After you've chosen the platform, the next thing you need is a domain name and hosting. If you're a freelance designer, putting your name in the domain name for personal branding can be great.

A high quality WordPress host like Kinsta ensures that your website stays online, is quick to navigate and is always available for your potential customers. Using the hosting features provided, such as a CDN, can help ensure that all of these beautiful showcase images are loaded at lightning speed around the globe. And don't forget to optimize it!

Summary

Use your portfolio as an opportunity to surprise and impress your potential customers. With a portfolio website, you can showcase all of your work in one place. Not only does this look good for the client, it can also help inspire you for your next projects.

Tell others about your skills and personality. Express your uniqueness through case studies. Be discoverable and keep up with your competition. There are no rules and anything goes as long as you make the visitor smile and remember you.


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