Introduction to Web Designer Portfolio
As a web designer, an online portfolio is absolutely essential to get business. Every prospective client will definitely see your portfolio at least once and base their decision on how good your portfolio is. Building a portfolio can be pretty tough, and it is not something that you do once and forget about. You need to keep updating it to strengthen your online presence. Whether you are building a new portfolio or updating an existing one, here are ten features that are essential for making the best impression.
10 Features of Web Designer Portfolio
Web designer portfolio is as follows:
1. It should have your best work
Your online portfolio is only as strong as the weakest photo in it. In other words, you need to make sure that every element of your portfolio is your best work. If there is anything that is sub-par, remove it or update it to make it better. Do not just assemble all your design work, good and bad. It is recommended to feature just around eight to 20 pieces in your portfolio. Some people may recommend more, others fewer, but nobody would tell you to put everything you’ve made in your portfolio. Curate your work for the best quality.
A portfolio website would be incomplete without examples of past work, which is what most clients would want to see and gauge your skill levels with. Presenting your work in the right way can make a big different too. Lots of web designer present their work in a unique, impressive or creative way. Sometimes, the method of presentation can overshadow the work itself, which is both good and bad.
Curating your work to present only the best examples also makes sure that clients are not overwhelmed with too much to see. Most potential clients will not sit down and look through every design in any case, so what you display has to be selected for the biggest impact.
If you perform different designs such as logos, business cars, blog themes and so on, it is a good idea to limit yourself to just a few best examples in each category instead of presenting one big collection of your work. Smaller and more selective portfolios are easier for visitors to peruse.
2. There should variety
While it’s important for your portfolio to have your best work, there should also be some variety to the collection being showcased to present your broad skill set. If you have a skill, your portfolio should flaunt it. Whether it is logo design, editorial design, or anything else. Showcase your variety of work and skills just like how you would include them on a resume. Your portfolio is literally a visual resume. If you are focused on a certain medium or skill set like typography, incorporate branding or layout design, you can still present a more diverse variety of designs to showcase your craftsmanship.
3. Clear communication
A portfolio website should concisely and clearly communicate the services that are being provided and what you as a web designer have to offer to your clients. There are a lot of different design types and specializations, and not all clients will have a clear understanding of the services in offer. In fact, it is best to assume that every visitor is unclear about the services you are offering and to create a website that clearly informs them of that. If your website does not communicate effectively, visitors are likely to get confused or disinterested. Either way, you do not get work.
On a similar note, you may face a decision about whether to include prices on your portfolio website. It could be an hourly rate or based on the project. You may also choose not to disclose any price and ask for potential clients to personally reach out to you for a free quote. There is no clear right or wrong here. Either way is fine, but make sure you communicate this clearly.
A major influence on a website’s communicability is how much information it provides. Portfolio websites need to have certain items stated and explained, but it is crucial to remove any excess to help the necessary information stand out more and make it easier for viewers to understand.
The excess in question could mean any content or wordings, or even design elements. The best portfolio websites are actually quite minimal in their approach. The basics remain the same: services are listed out, qualifications are described, past work is presented and contact details are given. Excess elements that are not necessary can actually provide harmful. A lot of websites contain blogs, which is discussed later and is actually good, but most other content and excess element do little to attract new potential clients. Keep a clean layout and only present relevant information.
4. A sense of unity
Now, your portfolio will have your best work and a wide variety of colors, styles and designs. Given this cocktail, your portfolio may end up looking like a confusing mix of styles and themes. Avoid this at all costs. Your online portfolio has to have a sense of unity. The work being presented and the style of presentation must flow well and complement each other. You need to build a portfolio website that looks good and also complements the work being presented. If you focus too much on the designs, you may end up compromising on the website’s overall quality. Present your most polished work on an equally polished website, and you will get more positive response from your clients.
Portfolio websites can feature some of the most creative designs. Given that web design is a highly creative and artistic profession, your online portfolio should be a true representation of your skill and work. As such, you can take more creative liberties with your portfolio site without worrying about any possible negative results. In fact, clients would prefer to see all your originality and creativity, unhinged.
5. A good platform
A good-quality portfolio website is as important as the work being presented, and the website platform plays a big role in its final quality. You could go for a WYSIWYG editor like Dreamweaver, but lots of web designer choose a content management system (CMS) because it easier to use and set up, and has responsive templates. If you are a seasoned web designer, you could choose to create the entire website on your own, coding and all. Just choose what works best for you and what would be right for displaying your work.
6. Responsive design
7. Personal branding
At this point, you should be able to make a really good portfolio website, but would it really stand out from other portfolio websites made using the same principles? It needs to stand out, because personal branding is necessary for clients and other visitors to remember you. You need to be able to stand out from thousands of other web designer, and a personal brand does just that. Your personal branding could be a unique web design element or theme reflecting your work, or just a unique logo design or icon. It should be something that will catch the eye of the viewer and help clients and employers remember your website among thousands of others.
When a potential client visits an online portfolio, there are lots of factors that weigh into their decision. Some of the factors are pretty obvious; the quality of work being showcased is important, as is the variety and style of work. Cost is a major factor as well, and so is the client’s web designer to work with people who make the design process smooth, enjoyable and successful. You need to show these traits through your portfolio website. Your personal branding should be able to create a personal connection with clients and convince them that it would be easy to work with you.
8. A custom domain name and call to action
Some people may call a custom domain name absolutely essential, and it makes sense why they would say that. However, you can still host your online portfolio on a non-customized domain. A domain name adds some autonomy and credibility to your website, though, and it comes pretty cheap too.
Ultimately, you want your portfolio website to attract new customers. So it only makes sense to add a call to action to your website. The call to action does not have to be overly aggressive. Most websites simply prompt visitors to contact them for a free quote or provide contact details for getting more information. It is pretty simple, but you get useful contact details.
Once you incorporate a call to action for visitors to contact you, it is critical that you also make it easy for them to contact you. Most portfolio websites have a simple contact form. Some simply present the email address of the web designer, allowing the visitor to make the final decision of whether to initiate contact. Either method has its benefits and drawbacks, but no matter what you choose the contact information should be easy to find and accessible from any page.
9. Social Media elements
Social media today is increasingly ubiquitous, and it has become an essential element in any website. As such, it should also be an essential part of your portfolio design. Incorporate social media buttons to strengthen your online presence and enable visitors to share your work or view your presence in social media. They can also reach out to your via social media. But remember that your social media activities should reflect your overall brand, so keep things clean and reflective of your style.
10. Add a blog
A simple portfolio website is great, but integrating it with a design blog will be even better. A blog element will add more character and information to your portfolio site. It will give visitors more information about the way you work, your design process, style preferences, and values. Moreover, it also makes your site more valuable and discoverable. Write blog posts optimized for the internet and providing helpful tips to clients as well as other web designers. Optimize your posts for search engines to boost the page rank of your portfolio website and put it among the top picks. Google fixates a lot on fresh and optimized content, so keeping your website fresh with new and informative blog posts will only up your rating. Adding a blog can be pretty easy too, since most CMS systems enable blogging.
Another huge benefit of a design blog is that it establishes you as an industry expert, even though you may not feel like it all the time. Put forth what you know, and it might benefit someone somewhere, and establish your credibility in the web designer community as well as among clients.
Follow these steps and you will have a great portfolio website, but your work is not done yet. Visibility is important. You cannot simply set up a website and expect it to draw traffic unless you boost its search engine page rank. There are a few ways to do this. The first is to submit your website or images to image galleries that already see lots of traffic from potential clients. Blogs work well too, and so does SEO techniques. Competition is stiff, so stay on your toes and keep working on your website, even after it reaches on top of search engine result pages and starts drawing in traffic.
This has been a guide to Web Designer Portfolio. Here we have discussed the basic concept, with 10 stunning types of web designer portfolio in a descriptive manner. You may look at the following articles to learn more –