What To Include In A Portfolio Website [To Win Clients]

Your portfolio could be your biggest asset, knowing what to include in it can enhance your opportunities

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Maintaining a good number of clients is essential for every freelancer’s career to generate income and be successful, and having a portfolio website puts you in sight of hundreds of potential clients. Although of course, you will get good results only if you know what to include in a portfolio website to win clients. 

Nowadays many employers are going to a portfolio website to promote a job offer and to pre-select candidates, so you should make the most of your portfolio website to obtain the best results.

Why Do You Need a Portfolio Website?

The portfolio website is a virtual space in which you can show all the details about your experience and your freelance career, using the resources of digital communication. 

This means that in addition to text you can include files, graphics, animations, videos, etc. Having a portfolio website is very important because it increases the chances that a client will find you on the web.

Another important point is that you must do everything possible to make this portfolio website look attractive and professional. It should have a good image that projects your style and brand identity. Just by having a good image, you will project professionalism to your potential clients. 

The portfolio website has two main objectives: show expertise and build trust. All clients want a professional to join their projects and the best way to convince them that you are one is by taking your portfolio website seriously. 

Using some of the following platforms can help you to achieve that. 

Portfolio Website Top Options

WordPress

WordPress is a versatile platform that can be used by any type of freelancer since there are many types of templates available, it is a very popular option and you can use Bluehost to host your domain under a very cheap rate of $2.95 per month. It is very important that you buy a domain as this will give a much more professional appearance to your portfolio website.

Source: Pinterest

Wix

Wix is a good option for freelancers who want to sell products from their portfolio website and it also works very well for photographers and designers, or anyone who works with graphic arts. Wix is easy to set up, so you do not need any knowledge of web design to get an attractive result.

Source: Wix

Adobe Portfolio

Adobe Portfolio has a significant benefit for the entire Adobe tools user community: all your work created with Creative Cloud design tools can be easily shared in your portfolio website if you choose this platform. It is specifically designed for freelancers who work with graphic arts and the interface will always manage to look good on different types of devices.

Source: Artsy

Squarespace

Creating a portfolio website in Squarespace is very simple because it uses the drag and drop system. This platform is often widely used by freelance writers or people who are dedicated to writing information about their niche, but its templates make it a versatile platform for different types of freelancers.

Source: Peachs

Pages You Should Have on Your Portfolio Website

These are the sections that would be good to include on your portfolio website to get the best out of it.

About me

In this section, you will tell the client who you are. You can include your city of origin or the city where you currently live, your years of experience, and explain in what area you work specifically. 

You can also talk about your studies, the most relevant milestones of your academic history. You do not need to write too much, you can be brief but do not forget to be creative and convey who you are.

Work

This is the place where you will display your work. Make sure to choose those that you consider being the best jobs you have done and that convey your identity. 

Many freelancers think that the more things they show the better, but the idea is that you only select what represents you, it is not necessary to include the first works you did just to add more to this section.

Services

This section is essential for selling your products. This is where you will explain to the client what you do. You can put together several service packages at different prices so that your clients can choose the one that best suits their needs. Make it as informative and specific as possible so that your clients can understand the way you work.

Contact

This is the section that definitely cannot be missing from your portfolio website. Here you must include the means to contact you, be it an email, phone number, or social networks. Thanks to this, your potential clients will find a way to invite you to work with them.

What You Should Include to Build Trust

Think about this: someone visits your portfolio website and is interested in your content, but they do not know you and your page does not include testimonials from people who have worked with you or mention anything about your academic preparation or past work experiences. How could this potential client trust you? It is important to convey confidence and professionalism through your portfolio website if you want to increase your job opportunities.

Testimonials and Referrals

This is something that potential clients attach great importance to. They want to know if there are people who would recommend your services, that add points to you when being evaluated. 

According to Cool Club, no matter how good your portfolio website looks, testimonials from other clients are crucial for the potential client to make a decision. Actually, customers trust reviews by real users twelve times more than professionally written content, so make sure of asking your clients for a review of how it was to work with you.

Guest Appearances

Remember that being a freelancer is not just about telecommuting but knowing how to sell yourself to reach new clients. A good way to do this is to make sure of promoting your work through the media. If you can participate in a podcast or blog telling about what you do, you will improve your reputation as a freelancer. On the other hand, if a client sees you participate in any medium, they will know that you are someone real and respectable.

Certifications and Relevant Education

Every client wants the best freelancer to join their project. So how can you be that best freelancer? As in any other field of work, the workers who stand out are the ones that are best prepared. 

Between someone who does not have any academic preparation and someone who constantly renews knowledge about their area through courses or special classes, the client will be more inclined to choose the freelancer with the best academic preparation.

On the other hand, having courses or studies related to your niche can make you a better-paid freelancer than the average. Do not think you need to enroll in a university to do this; there are many online platforms that offer courses that can be very useful to you.

edX

EDX is an online platform for university-level courses with which you can take courses certified by recognized universities. There is a wide variety of courses and some are even eligible for college credit.

Udemy

Udemy is an online course platform where you can find audiovisual training on various topics. In fact, one of the advantages of Udemy is that it allows you to enjoy the classes in video, text, or audio mode. At Udemy, you can acquire all the skills you want to advance your career, and at reasonable prices too.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is a service of video courses to improve the skills of professionals. This personalized learning format will allow you to acquire knowledge in the skills most requested by employers in your profession. 

Remember that each course you finish will be certified. So, you can add that course as an achievement in your profile and give a greater added value to your training.

Call to Action

On your landing page, you can include a call to action, which is basically guiding your client to what they should do. You can raise a possible need, for example, if you are a photographer you could ask them if they want to immortalize an important moment, and if they wish to do so, you recommend reviewing the work you have done, see the services you offer and check your contact section so that they can write to you and so schedule an appointment.

What to Include to Show Your Expertise

There are still many people who are not aware of the basic rules to design a winning portfolio. Your “business card” should make an impact and show information, it should show your creative development and your best work, and at the same time, demonstrate the breadth of your capabilities. 

The purpose of this section is to impress your potential clients with the work you have done in the past. That will give them an idea of what you are capable of and what your niche is.

Compelling Work Samples

This is a way to give credibility to your work. For the client who is carrying out a selection process, the portfolio will be a key reference before making her final decision. 

Words can be beautiful, but no matter how much you tell your clients that you are the best in your sector, they will want to see it with visual examples. Showing work samples allows you to go from words to deeds, so you will also gain credibility.

Only include your best work. It is okay to show your path, but potential clients want to see what you are capable of now, not a full story of your progression from high school. Showing only your best work ensures that you will be judged solely on the quality of your performance.

Lotta Nieminen is an illustrator and graphic designer and for her portfolio website, she uses high-quality images of the work she has done. Using quality images is essential to catch the attention of your audience. By showing them something that is visually appealing you are telling them that you can make their product look as aesthetic and professional as your work samples.

Source: Lotta Nieminen

Aside from showing quality images of the projects you have worked on, you can also expose them creatively as Ashley Proulx did. Remember that the impression you will give your clients depends on this, and if you manage to offer something that is visually captivating, they will surely remember you after they leave your portfolio website.

Source: Ashley Proulx

Have a Blog

Including a blog on your portfolio website is a good tool if you are going to make good use of it. It is a great way to show your expertise through tutorials and opinions for the community. In addition, your blog might help other freelancers that need to learn a bit more about your niche and you can become a reference for them.

You should strive to create valuable content, no copy-paste. Generate good informative articles and make sure that your posts are a reflection of your personality, that will help you to differentiate yourself and generate a closer relationship with potential clients or with other freelancers.

Publishing case studies on your blog is undoubtedly a clear and truthful advantage over the competition where you show how your proposals have yielded positive results in real cases. Therefore, it is the best proof that you can offer and what will make clients appreciate and value your work process. 

SEO is a way of optimizing the articles you write and it will help your website to rank well in web search engines. Implementing SEO on your blog will also make it easier to find and increase your chances of potential clients seeing what you are writing about. You do not need to be an expert to do this, in fact, there are many videos on YouTube that you could watch where they briefly explain how you can do SEO optimization.

  1. Pedro Ribeiro’s website is a good example of you can integrate a portfolio with a blog. On his page, this developer shows you where you can see his work and also shows you different articles that he has written that are very helpful for other freelancers in the same niche.

Source:  J. Pedro Ribeiro

On the Tylor Reimer‘s website besides finding work samples about graphic design, you will also find a section called “journal”, and that is the place where they write about their work processes or curious things related to their niche.

Source: Tylor J Reimer

Include Videos

The text you include in your website is important, but the visitor usually pays more attention to the images, colors, and photographs of a site. Just as photos are a great resource in website design, videos can also have great benefits for your site. The best part is that you do not need a huge investment to create a compelling video for your audience.

This video can be about you greeting people who visit your website and talking a bit about who you are and what you do. That will make people relate your work to your face and this generates more trust and credibility. 

There are many other things you can do, everything is open to your creativity. You could also do tutorials or small segments where you share a bit of your valuable knowledge in your niche.

What to Include to Impress Your Client

Your portfolio is the door to your creative work. Show what you are capable of, what skills you can offer, how you generate ideas, and what makes you a valuable freelancer. When the portfolio is well prepared, it is your ticket to get new clients, commissions, and recognitions.

Think about this: Every time a potential client enters your website for the first time, they get the first impression of who you are and your work. If you cannot convey who you are and what you do in that first impression, surely the client will not take the time to find out more about your work. Take into account the following aspects and if you can master them, you will offer a very good impression.

Web Design 

Do your best to have a website that is pleasant for those who visit it, in the sense that it is practical and that its operation is not clumsy, as this can exasperate users.

Certosoft explained that the proper functioning of a web page is essential for users to spend time there, which can later be translated into sales or acquisition of services. 

These are statistics that will make you understand the importance of having a quality portfolio website.

Source: Certosoft

Make sure your website is easy to navigate, has a professional appearance that shows who you are, and fits your style. When it comes to design, there should be a contrast between the letters and the background that is visually comfortable. For example, use a white background with black letters or vice versa. 

Avoid using garish colors that prevent the reading of your content. This does not mean that you cannot use other colors apart from black and white, but you must learn to combine the colors you want to use so that it is comfortable to look at.

Select well the font that you will use for the text of your website. It should be easy to understand and look professional, avoid using fonts that are difficult to read, especially when they are in a small format.

Think of something that can make it stand out from the rest, maybe a different and creative design. Do not forget that everything you publish in your portfolio must be of quality, photos, and videos. You could also add a photo of yourself so they can see who is behind that web page.

Have a Logo

Everything you transmit as a freelancer is what you are as a brand. It is something that you carry with you and you cannot ignore, much less if you are freelance and you have an online presence. 

Regardless of the name that you finally choose for your freelance business, it is extremely important that you work on your personal brand and an important step for this is to have your own logo.

The logo is a fundamental aspect of your personal brand, regardless of the experience you have. A logo helps build your identity and transmit your values to customers. Besides, the logo is a differentiating element, by which customers will remember you in the market. Having your own logo enhances your professional image and allows customers to easily remember you.

Here are some other tips that might help you: 

  • While looking at existing logos can help you develop your own idea, make sure your design is original. That is what will make you stand out.
  • Do not take the choice of color lightly, each color has a different implication and will give an early idea about your brand.
  • When considering the typeface for the text, be sure to avoid weird fonts, use space, and modify existing fonts to your liking.
  • It is important to have a balanced, simple and distinct combination, you want your logo to be interesting, but not for someone to have to wonder and analyze the logo to know what it is about.

Give an Insight into Your Work Process

Each freelancer works in a particular way and that is what can differentiate you from others. In your portfolio website, you can show your clients how your work process is, what you do before starting a project, how you reach a conclusion with your client to start working with them.

Showing your clients your work process will also generate more confidence in what you do and that can encourage them to take the final step to hire you.

Additional Tips & Recommendations

Know Your Target Audience

You must define very well a prototype of the ideal buyer of your products or services. Then, the strategies to connect with them, using their preferences and needs, and thus you will have fewer difficulties. 

You have to be clear about who you are addressing and know as much as that audience is like. By segmenting your target you focus your efforts on a more specific audience and you tend to have less competition.

For example, if you are a graphic designer, think about what audience the style you have as a designer is ideal for. If you usually work with corporate designs, you will surely want to work with sober clients or companies. If you like flashy colors, avant-garde designs, and trying new trends, you might be better off working with artists.

The point of this is that imagining your ideal client and addressing a specific audience will help you focus your efforts on the right type of people and you will know how to sell your services to get the attention of that specific target.

Pick Your Tone of Communication

Many times you enter a portfolio website or a corporate blog and you have the feeling that the articles are cold, out of context or, in essence, seem to be written by a robot. This is because the tone of communication they have chosen does not match the brand image they intend to give.

Commonly for business, formal language is used to demonstrate professionalism. However, things have changed a lot lately because what if you do not feel identified with a style of language that sounds too serious? 

It is possible to maintain professionalism in a more informal way. Do not pretend to be someone you are not and find a tone of communication that represents you but is still suitable for work issues.

Keep Your Portfolio Website Quick

A mistake that many freelancers make is to create their portfolio website and think that everything ends there. After creating your portfolio website you cannot abandon it, you must constantly update with new work you have done or with any other valuable content. 

You should also be careful that it is always working well since a slow website can be annoying for people who visit it and that can hurt your chances of finding new customers.

Your work needs to be easy to see and it should be easy to navigate your portfolio, with concrete and concise data from your biography and contact information, otherwise, you will lose your audience. Make that browsing your portfolio is as intuitive as possible.

Always Keep Your Portfolio up to Date

Only include your best work. It is okay to show your path, but potential clients want to see what you are capable of now, not a full story of your progression from high school. Showing only your best work ensures that you will be judged solely on the quality of your performance.

Never let your portfolio fall behind, in terms of content and in terms of design. Every time you do a new job, remember to upload it to your portfolio as well. Update it with interesting content: blog posts, sketches of projects you are starting, customer testimonials, work experiences, etc. 

Also, be attentive to the latest trends in web page designs, so you can keep the appearance of your web page updated so it never looks outdated.

Ask for Recommendations

While you must be competitive to be selected for job postings, it is a mistake to think that other freelancers in your niche are your enemies. Having a network that you can consult when you have a question is something valuable, so never be afraid to ask for recommendations.

The most experienced freelancers can tell you what has worked for them and what has not, so you can avoid their own mistakes or put their advice into practice. 

You can also ask freelancers who are not in your same niche for recommendations, for example, if you are not a web page designer, you can still go to one to give you good recommendations to create your portfolio website.

A Portfolio Website Will Take You to the Next Level

Little by little, the traditional printed resume is becoming obsolete as there are professions in which it becomes necessary to present a job catalog to support the competencies that are claimed to have. Having a portfolio website is essential to connect with your target audience and present them with everything that you can offer them as a professional. 

Knowing what to include in a portfolio website to win clients is essential to growing as a professional, since having more clients means more earnings and gaining more work experience. 

If you select well the work samples you are going to show, keep your portfolio website optimized, and make sure of giving a good image, you will surely expand your client network.

Remember that everything that increases your presence on the web will always help you get new potential clients and eventually create a stable workflow.

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