We’ve been so busy building “Experts” that we almost forgot to blog! But we’re back with some fresh “oven baked” content.
“I have taken to living by my wits” – Sherlock Holmes, in The Musgrave Ritual
If you are a creative soul (one who makes a living by their ‘wits’, by our definition) who’s been dithering about getting your own portfolio website, we believe that this post will help you jump off the metaphorical fence and land safely on the side of those thousands of writers, designers and web-developers who have successfully obtained a piece of virtual real-estate and turned it into their own private showroom!
Can’t code? No problem! Now, you can choose from literally hundreds of automatic portfolio builders that will let you customize your text, colour-scheme, site-map and much more. Many such utilities offer free domain names, access to image banks and complementary branding services.
So, once you’ve got it all figured out, you’ll want to know what it takes to make your portfolio a success. We’ve got you covered!
- PUT YOUR BEST WORK FORWARD, ONE STEP AT A TIME
In your portfolio, your work is the star of the show. Anything that detracts from the star’s speech is just background noise. Keep it down.
Showcase only the best of your work. If you want more projects in a particular sub-field, be sure to put up sample items from that very niche. And no, not all your portfolio items have to be from a past client. Feel free to highlight self-initiated creative projects, especially if you’re just starting out.
A frequently asked question is – How many items should I include in my portfolio? In our opinion, quality speaks louder than quantity. A portfolio cluttered with mediocre work can give an impression of inefficiency. Repeat after us – ‘White space is not my enemy.’
- SO, WHY DON’T YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOURSELF?
Instead of making a bland list of past projects, let your personality shine through your ‘About Me (or Us)’ page. What is your personal brand about? What is your unique super-power? Prospective clients want to know!
- ADD A BLOG
A well-maintained blog can catapult your website through the stratosphere. Here’s why:
- Regularly updated blogs encourage people to keep coming back. A lively comments-section also encourages participation (see Tip #5).
- Blogs let you showcase your authoritative expertise and your unique perspective. Keep it professional, here.
- From a SEO perspective, blogs allow you to target long-tail keywords and bag more visitors.
But what if you can’t update a blog regularly (not to mention, moderate the comments to keep out trolls!)? Remember – An aesthetic and informative one-page website would make a better impression than a sprawling site choked with digital cobwebs (Read: Blogs and/or portfolios that haven’t been updated since the Medieval Ages).
- FOCUS ON THE DETAILS
- Client testimonials, though important, are old hat. After all, how does the average visitor know that you didn’t write that gushing declaration yourself? Add context to your work by including case studies or additional information with each item in your portfolio. What inspired you to make that emotional short-film? How did your understanding of your client’s unique needs help you develop that snazzy logo? What inputs do you need from a small business owner before you write copy for their brochure?
- Add an online store (Listen up, experts!), or a tip-jar where necessary.
- Make sure your personal website is mobile and tablet-friendly.
- Stay away from formats that cannot be easily indexed by search engines. So, unless you’re an animation professional, a flashy Flash website is a no-no.
- ENCOURAGE VISITORS TO ACT
Know the best way to convert casual visitors into dedicated clients? Encourage them to be proactive!
Include social-media buttons on your page. If possible, offer an e-book to select visitors. Add a professional photograph and contact information. A contact form allows you to ask for specific information from inquirers (e-mail address, job designation, etc.).
Then, sit back and let would-be clients beat a path to your door!