Updated April 19, 2023
Introduction to Web Designer Portfolio
As a web designer, an online portfolio is essential to get business. Every prospective client will 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 you do once and forget about. It would be best to keep updating it to strengthen your online presence. Whether building a new portfolio or updating an existing one, here are ten essential features for making the best impression.
10 Features of a 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 must ensure that every element of your portfolio is your best work. If anything is sub-par, remove it or update it to improve it. 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 most clients would want to see and gauge your skill levels with. Presenting your work in the right way can make a significant difference too. Many web designers present their work uniquely, impressively, or creatively. 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 ensures clients are not overwhelmed with too much to see. Most potential clients will not sit down and look through every design, so what you display has to be selected for the most significant impact.
Suppose you perform different designs such as logos, business cards, blog themes, etc. In that case, limiting yourself to just a few best examples in each category is a good idea instead of presenting one extensive collection of your work. Smaller and more selective portfolios are more accessible for visitors to peruse.
2. There should variety
While your portfolio needs 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 talents just like how you would include them on a resume. Your portfolio is a visual resume. Suppose you are focused on a particular medium or skill set like typography, incorporating branding, or layout design. In that case, you can still present a more diverse variety of designs to showcase your craftsmanship.
3. Clear communication
A portfolio website should concisely communicate the services provided and what you must offer your clients as a web designer. There are many different design types and specializations, and not all clients will clearly understand the services provided. It is best to assume that every visitor is unclear about your services and create a website that informs them of that. Visitors will likely get confused or disinterested if your website does not communicate effectively. Either way, you do not get work.
Similarly, you may decide 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 potential clients to reach out to you for a free quote personally. There is no clear right or wrong here. Either way is acceptable, but make sure you communicate this.
How much information it provides significantly influences a website’s communicability. Portfolio websites need to have specific items stated and explained. Still, 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 content, wording, or design elements. The best portfolio websites are pretty minimal in their approach. The basics remain the same: services are listed, qualifications are described, past work is presented, and contact details are given. Excess elements that are not necessary can be harmful. Many websites contain blogs, which is discussed later and is 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
Your portfolio will have your best work and various colors, styles, and designs. Given this cocktail, your portfolio may look 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 is presented, and the style must flow well and complement each other. You need to build a portfolio website that looks good and complements the proposed work. If you focus too much on the designs, you may compromise the website’s overall quality. Present your most polished work on an equally polished website, and you will get a more positive response from your clients.
Portfolio websites can feature some of the most creative designs. Since web design is a highly creative and artistic profession, your online portfolio should genuinely represent your skill and work. As such, you can take more creative liberties with your portfolio site without worrying about any possible negative results. Clients would prefer to see all your originality and creativity unhinged.
5. A good platform
A good-quality portfolio website is as essential as the work presented, and the website platform plays a significant role in its final quality. You could go for a WYSIWYG editor like Dreamweaver. Still, many web designers choose a content management system (CMS) because it is easier to use and set up and has responsive templates. As a seasoned web designer, you could create the entire website independently, coding and all. Just choose what works best for you and what would be suitable for displaying your work.
6. Responsive design
7. Personal branding
At this point, you should be able to make an excellent portfolio website, but would it stand out from other portfolio websites created using the same principles? It must stand out because personal branding is necessary for clients and other visitors to remember you. You need to stand out from thousands of other web designers; a personal brand does just that. Your personal branding could be a unique web design element, a theme reflecting your work, or 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.
Many factors weigh into their decision when a potential client visits an online portfolio. Some factors are pretty obvious; the quality of work being showcased is essential, as is the variety and style of work. As the client’s web designer, the cost is a significant factor in working with people who make the design process smooth, enjoyable, and successful. You need to show these traits through your portfolio website. Your 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 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 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 prompt visitors to contact them for a free quote or provide contact details for getting more information. It is pretty simple, but you get helpful 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 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 your choice, the contact information should be easy to find and accessible from any page.
9. Social Media elements
Social media today is increasingly ubiquitous and has become essential to any website. As such, it should also be a critical 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 on social media. They can also reach out to you via social media. But remember that your social media activities should reflect your overall brand, so keep things clean and reflect your style.
10. Add a blog
A simple portfolio website is excellent, 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 your work, design process, style preferences, and values. Moreover, it also makes your site more valuable and discoverable. Write blog posts optimized for the internet and provide helpful tips to clients and 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 on fresh and optimized content, so keeping your website fresh with new and informative blog posts will only increase your rating. Adding a blog can be pretty easy since most CMS systems enable blogging.
Another massive benefit of a design blog is that it establishes you as an industry expert, even though you may not always feel like it. Put forth what you know, and it might benefit someone somewhere and establish your credibility in the web designer community and among clients.
Follow these steps, and you will have a great portfolio website, but your work is unfinished. 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 do 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 ten stunning types of web designer portfolios in a descriptive manner. You may look at the following articles to learn more –