What Is The Best Way to Create an Online Portfolio?

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An online portfolio is a platform to showcase one’s work, skills, and competencies. When done right, it can attract a wider audience and help you get more clients.

More so, online portfolios make professionals look more credible as it boosts authority and skills in the industry.

Not to mention online portfolios are a great way to keep track of one’s achievements and developments. Regularly updating it makes it easier to land clients and collaborations.

However, building one can feel complicated – you may feel puzzled about which platform to choose, the best theme to pick, and which projects to display.

If you’re unsure of how to create an online portfolio, this article will guide you through it. We will discuss the steps to starting one, so you can be well on your journey and start landing clients.

1. Choose Your Platform

The first step to creating a successful online portfolio is with the right website building platform. There are a few options to choose from, but the best one depends on your needs and preferences.

That said, WordPress is the most popular choice as it powers over 42% of all sites across the web. This includes portfolios of famous artists, such as Alanis Morissette, LL Cool J, and Felicia Day.

The platform’s popularity is due to its flexibility and scalability since it offers over 50,000 plugins to maximize one’s website. With the right extensions, users can add features to enhance the functionality and overall design.

For example, plugins such as Portfolio Gallery and Visual Portfolio are great for users who want to showcase their work in a beautiful layout.

To use WordPress, you’ll need to get web hosting, which is a service responsible for storing the site’s files and data and makes it accessible to visitors online.

For novices, finding and choosing the right web host can seem complicated. However, a hosting provider like Hostinger can help ease the process. It offers a beginner-friendly control panel with an intuitive interface, making it easy to manage for users with any skill level. 

Another alternative for beginners is website builders. You can also use a portfolio builder for specific niches such as Viewbook for photographers, Pixpa for creatives, or Clippings.me for writers.

Keep in mind that each option comes with its pros and cons. Therefore, make sure to understand your needs before committing to a platform.

2. Design the Portfolio

Design your portfolio to be visually appealing because 94% of visitors’ opinions will be influenced by its visual design.

Great visuals will also attract more attention, which is key to getting visitors engaged and making them browse your website longer.

As an ideal platform to showcase your skill to potential clients and collaborators, make sure your portfolio is worth exploring to keep them interested.

Some essential elements to create a visually appealing website include:

  • Logo. Having a logo on your portfolio site is excellent for creating a solid brand identity, which helps you appear more professional and credible to visitors.
  • Graphics. A study by Adobe shows that over 66% of web browsers judge a website on the quality of its graphics. So make sure it’s high quality and relevant to your brand.
  • Color scheme. Use colors that represent your brand. For example, red represents excitement and passion, meanwhile green communicates stability and trustworthiness.
  • Font choice. Your font choice plays a part in how visitors perceive your website. For instance, serif fonts are associated with formality and authority. Meanwhile, sans-serifs are used to achieve a modern look due to their clean and sleek appearance.
  • Effects. Effects provide visitors with a unique browsing experience. Consider adding scrolling and hover-over effects to bring more dimension to your portfolio site.

That said, make sure to keep your portfolio design simple and minimalistic so visitors can explore your site easier.

3. Showcase Your Best Projects

It’s critical to curate your previous works and showcase only the best ones. If not, you risk overwhelming visitors with unnecessary information – thereby lowering the chances of them using your services.

Consider asking for help from friends and colleagues to review your projects objectively. For more accurate insight, you can also reach out to other professionals in the industry. You’ll be surprised to find out your best works may not be your favorite ones.

Once you’ve made some choices, display them straight on the homepage to grab attention. 

Keep in mind to use plenty of negative space to make your portfolio appear clean and clutter-free. This is important because minimalistic designs are more appealing than complex ones.

That said, you can still display a large number of your projects. Just make sure to showcase them in an attractive layout.

A great example would be Francis Meaney. He does a great job compiling over 70 pictures of his wedding photography into a slideshow. Another one is Anton Cristell, an architect who displays his works in a well-organized grid gallery.

Source: Anton Cristell’s website

4. Clear Contact Information

Whether you aim to land more clients or get people to reach out to you, it’s important to have clear contact information on your portfolio site.

To do that, make sure the contact details are easy to find. Consider adding them not only on your Contact Page, but also to the footer and other necessary areas.

For example, Melanie Daveid includes her contacts at the end of each project to encourage visitors to reach out.

Source: Melanie Daveid’s website

Additionally, consider including different ways people can contact you. Aside from emails and phone numbers, try adding social media channels where people can check you out before reaching out.

John Green’s portfolio site is another excellent example of incorporating clear contact information.

Instead of listing his contact details, he organized a way of contacting him based on the inquiry. For instance, contacts to press and publicity, movie rights, and purchase signed copies of his work would lead to different email addresses.

5. Optimize for Search Engines

The last step to creating a successful portfolio site is making sure it’s discoverable. 53% of web traffic comes from search engines, and most users don’t scroll past the first page of search results.

The first step to optimizing your website is performing keyword research, so you can include relevant words to your content and increase visibility. Great tools to help with the task include Google’s Keyword Planner and Ahrefs.

Additionally, prioritizing page load time also contributes to optimizing your website for search engines.

Moreover, site speed also affects user experience because 83% of visitors expect a page to load in less than three seconds. If it takes more time, 53% of visitors from mobile devices will leave the page.

Another aspect that can help optimize your site is making it mobile-friendly.

Making your website mobile-ready is vital since mobile devices generated 54.81% of global website traffic at the beginning of 2021 and will only continue to grow.

Conclusion

Online portfolios are valuable assets for professionals within various industries. They help to attract more clients, increase credibility, and track the most recent achievements.

Given that, it’s critical to understand all the steps to creating an online portfolio, which can act as a roadmap for the process. When done right, it can set you apart from competitors and land more clients.

Let’s take a look at the steps mentioned in this article:

  1. Choose your platform. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can use a content management system like WordPress, a website builder, or a portfolio builder.
  2. Design your portfolio. Make sure your portfolio site is visually appealing by taking care of elements like its graphics, colors, fonts, and effects.
  3. Showcase your best projects only. Don’t overwhelm visitors with unnecessary information. As such, review and curate your portfolio to display the best projects only.
  4. Display clear contact information. Make sure your contact information is easy to find. Additionally, provide access to various channels such as emails, phone numbers, and social media.
  5. Optimize your site for search engines. Ensure your portfolio site is discoverable through search engines because they generate more than 50% of site traffic.

There you have it, five steps to creating an online portfolio. Now that you’ve learned how to prepare, it’s time to start executing and building. Good luck.

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