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How to Create an Effective Portfolio Website

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When it comes to digital design, portfolios matter a lot. Nothing will sell your design work as effectively as a stunning portfolio website. That’s why building it is a well-paid investment that can help you capture potential employers’ attention. 

New designers are often reluctant to make a portfolio as it may seem like a daunting task. And, creating a solid one requires time and effort, especially if you’ve never done it before. 

Whether you are an experienced designer, or a novice one, crafting your portfolio website comes with a handful of advantages, so make sure to get to work on it as soon as possible!

And to make things easier for you, here are eight tips on how to create an effective portfolio website!

1. Tailor your portfolio to your clients

As with other things in the digital world, the target audience is everything. Your portfolio needs to be user-centered. This means that knowing your clients should be your starting point when crafting your portfolio.

Once you’ve determined what your target audience looks for, tailor your portfolio in a way that showcases your skills that fit their needs.

2. Don’t forget to introduce yourself

Striking visuals are a great selling point, but too many portfolio websites just list the projects and display the designer’s work without any info on the person or team behind the work. Give your visitors relevant data, even before your visuals. 

People don’t hire portfolios, they hire people, so creating that initial connection with visitors is essential. 

You can get creative with your introduction, just bear in mind that a strong storytelling approach ensures a truly memorable experience. 

3. Aim for a simple and clean design

You want to focus your visitors’ attention on your message and your work, so eliminate all necessary information and decorative elements. Lots of white space with a simple typeface can be a great distraction-free base to frame your work. 

Try to be concise, and replace paragraphs of text with an image or a diagram when possible. 

4. Prioritize easy navigation

When creating a portfolio website, crystal-clear navigation is a must. A one-page layout allows the visitors to find all the information they need by simply scrolling through your website. In case your content is distributed across a few pages, the design needs to be consistent on all of them.

When you add categories and divide your work into segments, it’s much easier for your potential employers to scan and understand your portfolio and your work. 

5. Choosing a domain name

When you are building your website, you need a domain name. Making a strong first impression is crucial, and the right domain name can help you attract clients, and it can be very powerful in building your credibility. 

Keep it short and unique.

You can also personalize your website with a me domain to boost your marketing and branding efforts. It is also SEO friendly, and creates a call to action out of your brand’s name!  

6. “About me” page or section needs to be impactful

Make sure to provide your visitors with a compelling description of who you are and what kind of job you are looking for. The visitors who want to know more about you should be able to find this information with ease. 

Letting your personality shine through is an excellent way to humanize your portfolio. You can add information about your level of expertise, your passion, and your interests.

Avoid writing your entire autobiography since the “About me” page/section should be interesting, informative, and to the point.

Branding yourself with a concise bio is a great way for your clients to get to know you. 

7. Less is more!

People won’t spend hours analyzing all your projects. On average, they’ll spend 10-15 seconds checking out your portfolio. That’s how long you have to capture your client’s attention and make an impression, so lead with your best work. 

Displaying too many items can do more harm than good since they will compete for visitors’ attention. Carefully select projects for your portfolio and prioritize quality over quantity.  Follow the “less is more” rule and include only your most relevant projects.

And don’t forget to list the type of work you want to do more of. 

8. Show off your personality

The best combo is a professional yet deeply personal design. If you manage to spark emotions in your visitors, you are on a path to win them over. For instance, if you are experienced with graphical design, you can add impressive illustrations.

Also, you can emphasize abstract geometric shapes and typography to make your portfolio stand out among competitors.

9. Add testimonials

Social proof is a great way to develop trust and credibility. Make sure to put good recommendations, awards, achievements, and certification on display. They are a testament to your ability and experience.

Also, include social media buttons on your website to build stronger connections and keep your followers updated. And finally, your website portfolio needs to look great on all devices!

About the author

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Elaine Bennett

Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. She's a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing.

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