Website Portfolio Do’s and Don’t’s
A website portfolio shows the world what you can do as a designer. Your portfolio is important to getting new business and retaining old. Follow these do’s and don’t’s of creating your portfolio to increase your chances of pulling in new business from site traffic:
Keep your navigation simple and streamlined. It should be easy for potential clients to see what you offer, past designs, contact information, pricing, and other vital information that they need before they can hire you as a designer.
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Your portfolio site is not the time to break out all the latest design skills you have learned. A classic look to your portfolio page is best. If you want to add one or two flashy elements, keep them elegant and controlled, such as with a fancy slideshow of past projects.
Your website should look the same on every page. Potential clients see your page as an example of what their website will look like when completed, so it is important to use a design that reflects well on you as a designer and looks the same from page to page.
Social sharing buttons
If you store updated content on your portfolio site, such as a blog or frequent photo updates, use social sharing buttons to allow visitors to share your name with others on their own. This form of promotion is highly effective, and can lead to word-of-mouth business.
Highlight best work
You don’t need to put every design you ever created on your portfolio site. Highlight the best 5-10 sites and leave the rest off the site. This will give clients an idea of what you can do without overwhelming them.
Clear contact info
Make sure it is easy for potential clients to contact you. Place a way to get contact information on every page, such as an e-mail button or an on-site contact form that allows potential clients to get in touch without problems.
The images you choose to highlight on your portfolio are important. If your photos look amateur, then potential clients will not want to use your services. If possible, hire a professional photographer, such as Ronald James, Bruce Weber, or Herb Ritts. A professional photographer can help your portfolio stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Use weird colors
A weird color blend may look artistic to you, but to a potential client it looks unprofessional and cluttered. Stick to classic color designs for your portfolio. You want your past work to stand out, not the website itself. This is one of the best ways to avoid confusing potential clients.
Too much text
People don’t come to your portfolio site to read. They want to see what kind of designs you make and what you can do. You don’t need to tell people what you can do so much as show them what you can do. If you have too many words on your site your visitors may get bored and move on to another designer’s site.
Strange fonts or font colors
Black text is easiest to read. Strange fonts and italics can confuse readers, making them not want to use you as a designer. Your portfolio site should be straightforward and classic to attract a variety of customers.
No contact info
Nothing is worse than a customer visiting your site and not finding a way to contact you. If you have no contact information on your website, then potential clients cannot reach you for new business. Always make sure your contact information is correct and easy to identify on your page.
Customers will want to know a little about you before hiring you as a designer. Include a short bio with some of the names of the sites you have designed, any relevant skills, and relevant education. This will give visitors confidence in your abilities.
There is no need to overwhelm visitors with strange information on your website. Even if you think a video is the funniest thing you have ever seen, place it on your social page, not your professional one. Avoid the use of affiliate links and ads on your professional page as well.
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