If you’re trying to build a brand as a designer, then you’re going to need a portfolio. A portfolio website is one of the quickest and easiest ways to showcase your work to both current and potential clients, in addition to extra features such as providing quotes, showing off your expertise, and marketing your brand.
Even if you have a physical portfolio, most clients today will expect to also be provided with a website where they can explore your work and learn more about your brand. However, if web design isn’t your best skill, you might be wondering what you can do to easily and cheaply put together a portfolio for your brand that stands out from the crowd. The good news is that it’s getting much easier for anybody to achieve this. Here are some top tips to help you reach your goals.
Tip #1. Use a Website Building Tool:
You want to make your brand stand out and kick-start your design business, but you simply don’t have the kind of money available to pay a web developer to put together a kick-ass portfolio for you. The good news is that this situation is becoming less of a problem. Today, you can find a wide range of website building tools that anybody can use, whether you’ve got a background in web design or have never made a single web page in your life.
You can quickly put together a online portfolio websites using this kind of design tool, and since you’re already a creative person, you should have no problem easily picking it up and determining what looks good and what doesn’t. The best part – DIY website building tools can be relatively inexpensive, making them the perfect choice for designers who are just starting out and want a professional base to show off their work without costing them dearly.
Tip #2. Be Yourself:
Secondly, designing your portfolio website is all about building your brand and making it stand out. So, bear in mind that whilst it’s great to look to other sites for inspiration, you should always endeavor to be yourself and show off who you are and what you do. Don’t copy somebody else’s website just because you think it looks professional and successful.
Creating an individual website will ensure that your work stands out for all the right reasons. In addition, it can also help you put your personality stamp on your work, which is vital in the creative industry today. This will not only help your potential clients get to know your work and what you’re capable of, but in addition, they can learn more about you and who you are as a person. Don’t be afraid of letting your creative personality shine through.
Tip #3. Be Available:
In addition to showing off your best work, your online portfolio should also act as a gateway for those who wish to get in touch with an enquiry. Your site should make it easy for visitors to learn how to get in touch with you, whether it’s via web chat, email or a telephone call.
Devote some space on your homepage, or even better, design a dedicated contact page to help anybody who’s interested in your work to get in touch and learn more. Try to offer as many different contact options as you can. Embedding a chat function into your website is a great idea since it means that people can quickly send you messages that you’ll be able to answer immediately from your laptop or smartphone.
Tip #4. Keep Things Speedy:
Don’t risk it with an online portfolio that takes a long time to load. Research shows that the average person is willing to wait just three seconds for a site to load; after that, you’re risking a much higher chance of potential visitors simply clicking the back button and going elsewhere.
There are several factors that relate to load speed. Firstly, make sure that you choose a reputable hosting provider that can cope with the amount of content on your site and ensure that it’s loading in no time. Secondly, try not to clutter your site with any unnecessary content that could affect loading speed, such as large images or videos. Instead, stick to the basics and include only what is necessary to make sure that your work stands out.
In addition, make sure that you are performing regular speed tests on your site, to stay in the know about this issue so that you can quickly rectify any problems that crop up.
Tip #5. Be Mobile Optimized:
Today, less and less people are viewing websites on their laptop and desktop computers, with mobile gadgets such as smartphones and tablets quickly taking over. Since more people will be viewing your website on their smartphone, being mobile-friendly has never been so important.
If you are using a website building tool, make sure that you opt for one which is automatically mobile optimized to ensure that viewers are getting the best experience from your site regardless of the device that they are using to view it on. Similarly, if you’re investing in a web designer to build your site for you, ensure that a responsive design is part of the package. In addition to less visitors staying on your site due to difficulty viewing, a design that isn’t responsive to all devices is less likely to be favored by search engines such as Google, meaning that you’re automatically going to appear lower down in search results.
Tip #6. Create Fresh Content Regularly:
Whilst we’re on the subject of search engines, it’s important to keep in mind that Google loves to see fresh and updated content. Don’t simply make your portfolio and leave it there as a static site – make sure that you’re always adding fresh stuff as often as you can to please your viewers. Not only will this encourage visitors to come back and learn more, it’ll also help to improve your search ranking and make your brand easier to find.
A blog is a great way to keep your site constantly updated with new content. Your blog can be a place where you share design tips, talk about your experiences or offer how-to guides to your existing and prospective clients to help them make the most of their investments. In addition to providing fresh content, you can also use your blog to show off your knowledge and expertise, establishing yourself as an authority in your industry.
Tip #7. Include Your Clients:
Last but not least, don’t forget to include your clients on your website. This is especially important if you are trying to build a brand, since collaborations with well-known brands can help you appear more trustworthy and experienced.
Reach out to past clients who’ve been happy with the work that you’ve done for them, and ask them for a few words recommending you and your work that you can display on your site. If you’ve got great reviews on third-party review sites, it’s a good idea to embed these into your portfolio for prospective clients to read. Remember that good reviews are vital for building trust in a brand, so don’t hide yours away.
We hope that these tips were helpful for building your stand-out brand portfolio!