“When things are slow, I’ll do it.”
“In the summer, I’ll get to it.”
“I’ve just got to set aside some time to take care of it.”
If you want a steady stream of high-quality, great-paying projects that are well suited to your interests and skill set, you should invest some time and energy into building an online portfolio.
Need more reasons? A great online portfolio:
Ready to get started? We’ve rounded up seven great resources to help you put together a perfect online portfolio and seven things to consider when you’re ready to populate it with your amazing work.
Here are some sites that creatives like you are buzzing about as perfect platforms to harness your awesome. See which one is right for you.
You’ve got a range of sites to check out to help you refine or create your online portfolio. Now let’s get into some best practices when it comes to showing off your work.
If you have a lot of projects under your belt, it’s tempting to add them all to your site to demonstrate your incredible range. Fight the urge. Even the most interested prospective clients won’t have the time or inclination to spend more than a few minutes on your site. Instead, catch their eye with samples of your very best work and make them center stage. You can devote an interior web page to your work history and client roster.
Even the most interested prospective clients won’t have the time or inclination to spend more than a few minutes on your site. Instead, catch their eye with samples of your very best work and make them center stage.
This one is more for you than for “them”. We’ve all taken gigs that were totally outside our wheelhouse or just bizarro one-offs for a paycheque. Here’s a simple but profound tip: If you wouldn’t want to do a project like that again, don’t put it on your online portfolio. There are a lot of odd niche markets out there; don’t court the ones you’d rather not revisit with a sample of that type of work.
It’s true that your work should be at the center of your online portfolio, but don’t neglect your bio. For most clients, the right fit is just as important as the right talent. Include a few paragraphs that demonstrate that you have a singular point of view and explain your approach to your work. Imagine you’re in a meeting with a client you’re dying to work with—what would you want them to know about you? Now write that. (Or pay someone to do it for you.)
Every great project has a story. Don’t be shy about adding a well-crafted paragraph or two that shares some cool details about how a particular project rolled out. The best stories have a really great obstacle (or 10!) that had to be overcome. Without being negative or disparaging about other people, share how you adapted, dodged, rose above or flat out rocked a hurdle.
If you’re the unicorn that can design, animate, shoot video, photographs, code and write award-winning work… congratulations! For the rest of us mere mortals, take a cue from your clients and partner with or hire someone to take on the side of things you don’t excel in.
If you’re a writer without a great sense of visual design, bring in a graphic artist to advise you how to position your work in your portfolio. If you’re a photographer who struggles to express yourself in words, hire a writer to help craft your bio. We can’t be everything to everyone… even ourselves.
We know your work will speak for itself—but it shouldn’t have to! It’s good business practice to ask your clients for a testimonial after a successful project. What better place to showcase their glowing words than on your online portfolio? Devote a page to it or add their input alongside the sample of the work you did for them.
When you’ve put together an online portfolio that sings, you need to shout it from the rooftops. Put the link in your email signature, send an email to previous and prospective clients, friends, family, neighbors and your dentist announcing the launch/refresh of your online portfolio and invite them to take a peek. The portfolio link should be front and center on your LinkedIn profile and in the bios of every social media platform you participate in. And when you’ve added something new? Share the link again!
This is an archived post from the FreshBooks Blog and was originally published in June 2016.