Simple Tips for Creating a First-Class Personal Portfolio

To a prospective client, you as a professional are often perceived only to be good as your portfolio. They’re checking you out for the first time, and if you don’t impress them enough, you just won’t get their work. And if you don’t get work, you don’t get paid. And if you don’t get paid, then – you do get the point. The point is, having a great web design portfolio can greatly increase your chances of gaining more work and earning more money.

What it ultimately comes down to is quickly answering the question “why?” for a visitor (as in why they should they hire you for their work) and showing your personality, making it easy for them to navigate around your portfolio and contact you, and making it clear what you can offer them.

Have a Clear Logo and Tagline

Let’s cover the basics first. Your logo is your brand; your tagline is who you are. In the short-attention-span internet age, you need to be able to capture attention and answer the question “why?” very quickly. Otherwise, the visitor will click the back button very quickly. Your portfolio is not exempt from this.

Make the logo representative of your style and personality, and make the tagline short and descriptive of the value you can give to a potential client. Remember: quickly answer the question “why?” or the visitor will bounce out of there quicker than a really bouncy ball.

Tip: There are some great sites offering beautiful logos absolutely for free. Check out one of the best ones at DesignMantic!

Make Your Portfolio Easy to Navigate

Make your portfolio super-easy to navigate. Simplify and streamline the menu items, reduce and consolidate pages, and keep the navigation style simple rather than getting clever with it. One of the best ways to introduce yourself using a single webpage is to create a page using CakeResume.

Make It Easy To Contact You

What’s the ultimate point of making a portfolio? To get clients - and get paid. The easier you make it for a visitor - a prospective client - to be able to contact you, the greater the chance you’ll end up getting his or her work - and get paid.

Don’t Show Everything – Only the Best

Think of your portfolio as your greatest hits album. Only showcase the hits - your absolute best, most impressive and representative work—and keep the lesser work samples off of your portfolio. Just how a flawless greatest hits album will instantly make a fan out of a new listener, a flawless design portfolio can instantly impress and interest a new prospective client.

Categorize Your Work

This is a continuation of the easy navigation tip. Categorize your work samples to make the browsing of your portfolio easier. Even, say, ten items are instantly easier to make sense of if they’re categorized by logos, websites, and banners, whatever.

Clearly Say What Work You’re Available For

You might be noticing a theme in these tips - make it as easy as possible for the visitor. And this tip is no different: clearly say what work you’re available for to the prospective client. Don’t make them figure out what type of work you do. Clearly say it.

Don’t Forget the X Factor – Your Uniqueness

This is an extension of the previous tip on adding info about yourself. Stamp your uniqueness all over your portfolio. In your wording, in your website’s design, and anywhere else you can. Because there’s tons of other professionals with equally-pro-looking portfolios out there, so why would a prospective client go with you?

Again, this goes back to the theme of answering the question “why?” for your visitors. Whatever your X factor is, it can help you answer that question. Assuming your quality of work is up there with the best, then maybe the prospective client relates to you as a person or shares a similar interest. Or they happen to like your quirks more than other designers they’ve been checking out that day. CakeResume can be an amazing way to create your distinctive personal brand.

Further Reading: If you’re looking for some portfolio design inspiration, check out this post: 45 brilliant design portfolios to inspire you.


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