For businesses that offer creative services for clients – whether of the virtual variety, like website design, or physical variety, like home design – having an online portfolio is helpful in pushing prospects through the conversion funnel. Do you have one on your website?
How to Design a Compelling Website Portfolio
As a creative professional, your portfolio is your brand. It’s the first thing prospective clients click on when they land on your website. A compelling portfolio showcases your experience, skills, and style – it closes the gap between what you say you offer and what you actually deliver to clients.
The problem is that a lot of creative businesses sell their work short by failing to design an engaging portfolio. If you fear you might be in this same boat, here are some steps you can take to develop a more effective and high-converting portfolio that bolsters your brand image and drives revenue.
- Feature Symmetrical Design
Your portfolio should be easy on the eyes. This seems like an obvious piece of advice, but it’s astonishing how many businesses just throw a bunch of pictures onto a page and sort of say, “Here…have at it!”
From a layout perspective, one of the best things you can do is use symmetry to your advantage. Symmetry pleases the mind and will make your work look more professional and organized – even if it’s just a random collection of different work.
Popular portfolio layouts include grids, feeds (like a social media news feed), and slideshows. The latter is currently being overshadowed by the former two, but still has some utility. You can see examples of popular layouts here.
- Let the Work Do the Talking
It can be tempting to over-embellish a project or go into a lot of detail, but it’s usually best to let the work speak for itself. This is certainly an idea that Rob Gonzalez of SAWDUST, a UK-based design studio, believed in when designing his company’s portfolio.
“The idea was essentially to make viewing work as easy and accessible as possible,” Gonzalez explains. “We wanted all of our projects on one page at the same time, which would allow anyone commissioning us to easily be able to scan projects until finding the desired reference.”
- Be Descriptive
While it’s important to let the work do the talking, you can’t deny the importance of SEO. If you want the best of both worlds, you also need to provide some descriptions of the work that’s being presented in your portfolio.
Mid-Atlantic Door Group, Inc. provides a good example of this with their overhead door portfolio. In addition to sleek visuals, they’ve chosen to offer some descriptions that help contextualize the work and make the pages more searchable.
- Feature a CTA and Contact Information
A website portfolio is more than a visual display of your work. It should be a resource that helps drive business and produces sales. But it’s pretty hard to do this if you fail to include a call-to-action with contact information.
“[Contact information] is one of the most important elements of a portfolio website but is often hidden or even neglected,” web developer Lee Munroe writes. “A potential client has browsed your website, is impressed with your portfolio and can see who you are. Now they want to hire you. Your contact information should be obvious and easy to access; don’t hide it in the footer. Let people know they can contact you for a quote or a chat.”
Set Your Business Up for Success
Your portfolio is just one aspect of social proof for your business, but it’s of paramount importance. If you don’t have the work to back up your claims or justify your prices, you’ll never be able to build a sustainable business and drive enough revenue to keep the lights on. Hopefully this article provides you with some building blocks upon which you can establish a stronger, higher returning portfolio than you’ve ever had before.