Over the last 5 years, I have used dozens if not 100′s of designers and found some designers get their portfolio very wrong! You have to expect your website’s visitors and clients to be completely uneducated in how to use websites. Therefore, make it idiot proof! Here is a list of 14 tips and suggestions for your online portfolio.
Make it easy for people to contact you
This is my number one point, so often when looking for work to be done I can’t find out an easy way to contact the designer. You need to make it easy for people to contact you because there is no point in having an amazing portfolio if no one can contact you for work. Don’t just have one form of contact either. You can list your email, phone numbers, and also be contactable via social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Another idea is to tell them when they can expect to hear back from you. Often potential clients want to start ASAP and so if they can expect to hear from you sooner than other designers then they may pick you over them.
Make it clear who you are
On your portfolio, you need to make it clear who you are. Remember to list your previous experience, so clients know who you have worked with and on what types of projects, etc. Its also useful to list your time zone so clients know what hours you are up and where about in the world you are located.
Your work speaks for itself
Make sure you have a strong portfolio. Don’t list every bit of work in your portfolio, especially if its similar. Display the best, and you will sell yourself at a high standard.
Make it clear what you are offering
Make it clear to the client what you are actually offering to them. There’s no point in getting to the mid project stage and the client is saying, for example, “can you buy this domain for me then?”, if you didn’t make it clear that you aren’t buying the domain but just hosting it.
Make your prices clear
Make your prices clear on your portfolio. You could say web design 5 pages for $… so that it’s clear for customers to know what they are actually paying. When working with potential clients they sometimes don’t see the value in your service and don’t expect to pay very much, so if you are a high end designer, make it clear that you are and your average rates. A great example of making clear how much work will cost is PSD2HTML.
Make your portfolio perfect
If your portfolio is perfect, your customers will think that their website can be the same. This doesn’t just include spelling mistakes, but the navigation, user interface and cross browser compatibility.
Full size previews
On your portfolio, make sure if you are displaying thumbnails that they link to a full size preview of the design. Your customers don’t want to strain their eyes. Plus, a full screen size makes sure clients can see your full potential.
Make it clear you are a real person
On your portfolio, come across as a real person. Maybe put a picture of yourself, so clients know that they are working with a real person. Often, potential clients are put off thinking you may scam them:make it clear this won’t happen because you are a real person offering real services.
Explain the process
Clients can always get confused about the process because every designer is different. You could provide a diagram of how you complete the design process with clients. For example, the design faze, drafts, deposits and so on…
Upsell the client with services they actually need
Maybe on the page where clients get a quote from you, you could sell the client services they might actually need. This may be domain names, hosting, or website management. Read my guide on how to make more money online doing web design, where I discuss how to sell hosting and other things to clients.
If you have been featured by a big company, show off
Designers around the world have been featured all over the place, in newspaper, magazines, news websites and have been interviewed. This adds to your credibility and so it’s important to show it off!
If you work with a big client, show off
The same goes if you actually work with a big client. Say if you designed a poster for Sony’s Playstation 3, why not show off the fact that Sony is one of your clients?
Testimonials: let your past clients write a personal recommendation
By all means let your clients write a statement about your services, and what working with you was like. I’m sure when displaying the testimonials you can link back to their company. Its a win win situation for both you and the client.
Call to action
If you offer a call to action, clients are more likely to buy your services. For instance, if you give 10% discount if the client orders a logo design by a certain date, or if you ask them to fill out a form asking for a quote.
To Your Success,
P.S. What do you think made a big difference to the success of your portfolio?
P.P.S. Don’t miss my recent article on How To Make A Lot More Money Doing Web Design