The following is a guest post by a new friend of mine, Oliver Hyde. I think you’ll love what he has to say about creating an online portfolio website, I know I learned a thing or two! Enjoy 🙂
In photography, writing and design, a cleverly laid-out portfolio website can make the critical difference between scores of clients pulling at your sleeves or a sad and lonely freelancer with few gigs and even fewer client enquiries.
Although a portfolio website may not be your dream vision of what your online representation should look like, it still offers a straightforward way to showcase your work to potential clients and sway them to hire you, without the need for sending out loquacious emails and cracked-up CVs.
Here are a few tips on how to create a killer portfolio website and take your freelance career from shy and shaky to super-successful.
Ask the right questions and give simple answers
For you as a freelancer, an online portfolio is generally a collection of your best works, but to convince a client to hire you, you need to think like your website visitor aka your potential client.
This means identifying the main reason why your online audience clicked on your site to start with, what value they can get from your portfolio and how well does the displayed work answer their needs.
Whichever website tool you opt for, try to keep web design creative yet concise, and include short descriptions about your services and its benefits for your client. Add a share widget and CTA button (such as Buy Image, Order Now or Hire Me) to prompt viewers to do what you want them to do.
Optimize for success and present yourself in the proper light
Although your line of work is centred on art, being creative or providing a service, in order to attract new clients, you will have to think like a marketer.
Optimize your website logo with proper alt text, choose a layout that your audience will easily navigate and provide an About section that lists details about your qualifications, experience, previous clients and availability.
To back up your merits, include testimonials or recommendations by your loyal clients or employers and roll out your magnum opus to create an expectation in your potential clients/customers.
Follow the What you see is what you get principle: your work is the most eloquent recommendation for your service.
Guide them to reach out to you, not the other way around
A contact form at the bottom of the website is one way to guide interested parties to reach out to you, but if you want to maximize your website’s efficiency, add links to other interaction channels (social media) such as Facebook or Instagram.
Include clickable buttons or create a dedicated Hire Me page to minimize hassle for your website visitor. Also, display a link to your online community profile in your About section where interested visitors would be able to see more examples of your work before they decide to hire you.
Once your future client contacts you, be quick to answer: a delay may cost you more than just one client, as referrals – or lack of them – can significantly impact your success online.
Be specific about your skills and area of work
Many freelancers fail to show off the full range of their skill in their portfolio website and instead pick pieces representative of one or two categories only.
Would-be clients need to know whether you, as the freelance photographer, shoot only weddings, birthdays, food, landscapes or portraits, or focus only on videos, animations, artwork or décor in your line of work as a designer.
If you’re a freelance writer, include excerpts of your writing across genres – the greater the scope of skill you provide, the stronger your profile will be.
Competition is fierce, stand out!
As a freelancer, you are competing against millions of like-minded professionals out there, which is why your website needs to stand out in the crowd.
A carefully compiled portfolio accounts for half of your success – so make sure you nail it like a pro if you want to hear the “ka-ching” of your website traffic.
Oliver Hyde is an experienced business consultant from the UK. He loves to share his knowledge and insights. You can find him on Twitter.