Being a creative freelancer is difficult. As a creative, you don’t handle strict deadlines well and admin tasks can drive you nuts. But even though you hate everything corporate, you still want to have a website to appear professional. Portfolio websites serve two purposes: first of all, they showcase your work, and secondly, they make people trust you. Websites are like real estate assets, they create a perception of a legitimate business.
On top of it all, a portfolio website can make life easier for the clients, as no one likes to spend hours clicking long and funny looking links sent by email. By sending the client a link to your website you give them a convenient and easy way to explore your portfolio. You also create a great customer experience, which makes the clients come back for more. Lastly, a portfolio website is your business card online. It contains all the information about you and the services offered and makes contact exchange easier.
Here are the 10 steps to a perfect portfolio site:
1. Choose the right WordPress theme
There are millions of WordPress themes, but only a few thousand portfolio themes. It’s always a good idea to choose a special portfolio theme instead of trying to convert a normal theme into a portfolio. Though nothing is impossible and we’re happy to help you with this endeavor.
The best WordPress portfolio themes are Oshine, Divi, and Uncode. But the fact that they are so popular makes it hard to stand out. If you want to show your creativity, choose a unique theme that looks great and feels right. Or even better, create your custom WordPress website. A custom website has many advantages: it is unique, you can develop custom features, and it will make your creative work shine brighter among others.
Take the time to customize your theme. Your website may be just a small part of the business but nevertheless, it’s a very important part. The better your website the more leads you can get.
Your portfolio determines the overall look of the site. You want to show the clients your previous work as well as what you’ve been up to recently. Portfolios for different creative professions require a different approach. For example, photographers will favor high-resolution images in a very large format. Journalists will be more concerned about showing the titles of the media outlets they’ve worked for. Web designers can link portfolio pieces to live client websites. It’s a good practice to link all the individual portfolio images to live websites. It’s also recommended you include a short description of each project, list the skills you practiced or acquired and describe the final result.
It’s considered highly professional to list a testimonial from the client next to your portfolio piece. If the project had several stages, it’s always good to show the development of your project and include the description of each stage.
A logo isn’t the first thing people see anymore. People usually see the main headline on the page, but as a creative professional your logo is probably your name, so you want it to be prominent. Logos are usually put at the top left corner of the website. They are then linked back to a homepage.
A logo should represent your personality. While your portfolio is a major deciding factor for the clients, having a great logo shows that you take your business seriously. A unique logo also differentiates you from others and can be used in promotional materials and social media.
Sometimes portfolio pieces are enough to explain what you do. But if your work is a little bit more complex, you want to explain what you do and who you are in writing. Even visual creatives, such as photographers and graphic designers, need a short description of what they offer. Some clients are so busy they don’t really have the time to review portfolios. By giving them a clear and short explanation of the services offered and featuring it on the front page, you save clients a lot of time and they will be grateful for it.
Before you write your tagline think about a very short succinct description of what you do. It can be hard to pinpoint your specialty if you take on many disparate projects. For example, if you write, edit, manage social media and create content you might be an influencer as well as a creative copywriter. Think about a definition that gives you the advantage among others and resonates with you personally.
4. About page
Take the time to write a bio for the about page. People like to read about others. A thoroughly written bio instills trust. In the bio, tell your potential clients a little bit about yourself, where you are from, what you’re passionate about. Also, list your experience and particularly interesting projects you’ve been a part of. The purpose of the About page is to make people see that you’re a real person but also an expert in the field.
In this age of online communication and social media, we rarely see people face to face. But it doesn’t mean that how you look doesn’t matter. Clients want to see the real person and the only way to show it is by putting your profile picture on the site. Even though they might not talk to you in real life, knowing how you look gives them a piece of mind.
5. Contact information
Contact information is where you capture potential leads so this page should push people toward action. List as many ways to contact you as possible. Integrate a web form on the website so that potential clients don’t have to jot down your email.
A big mistake that creative freelancers make is hiding the contact information in the footer. Clients rarely have the time to deliberately search for information on the website. Ideally, you must have a separate menu section with contacts or you can add your contacts to the About page. Even better, list your contact data under each blog post and portfolio item.
It’s always nice to have a blog. A regularly updated blog shows the clients that you’re active in the field. A blog can also become a source of valuable information for them, reinforcing your image of a field expert. Additionally, a blog is an important website asset that affects your SEO rankings and can help you attract new leads.
The more blog posts you write the better. But your content must also be of high quality. Don’t write to hit the target, write because of sharing as a purpose in itself.
Additionally, you can spark up conversations in your blog by enabling the comments section. Comments increase engagement and the more people are engaged the more likely they are to order your services.
Details matter. Your tagline and the about page summarize what you do, but most clients would want the description of concrete services you provide. Having a services section on your websites prevents clients from guessing and saves everyone time.
Be concrete, but don’t limit yourself. State clearly what you offer, but also explain that you welcome all the interesting projects. You don’t want to miss out on opportunities just because you only offer certain types of services. As a beginner creative freelancer, you also want to try your hand at different projects before you find your niche.
Creative freelancing is based on having a great portfolio. While other service-based freelancers can engage in sales and marketing tactics and show off their resume, these tactics are rarely available to creative people. Creative design defines you as a person, it’s your biography, story, and an indispensable part of your personality. So if you have an awful portfolio, no website can help make you successful. If however, you have great work to show, and your website supports your image of an expert and a creative person, who is bursting with ideas, you can be sure to find success in the online and offline worlds.
Have any other tips on creative portfolio websites? Our Nashville web design company would like you to share them below!