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When web designers think of the process of designing a web, they tend to pay attention to technical matters like code, wireframes and content management. Designing a great website is not about how you integrate social media site or having a smooth graphic, but it is about creating a website that will align with a central strategy.
You have been contacted by a client in need of website maintenance like they would like to update some content on their homepage.
You ask for the URL of their website, after logging in, you discovered the website make use of ancient or outdated technology.
Now, you have to make a difficult choice. Do you install the necessary updates on their website? Or do you suggest a website redesign?
As a creative professional, the success of your business is dependent on your portfolio. Therefore, you must ensure it represents your skills and experience to the fullest, and also demonstrate how your business will be a valuable asset to potential clients.
Showing a client what you have done is the best way of describing what you can do. Make your online portfolio available to them.
One of the very first things to do as a new freelance web designer is creating an online portfolio. Your online portfolio as a newbie should contain finished projects you are proud of.
For those who are experienced in freelance web designer, I pretty sure you have a portfolio. However, ensure you avoid the mistake many experienced freelance web designers have made by updating your portfolio frequently highlighting your best work.
There are many different ways web designers present their case studies. No matter how you decide to display your work, here are some golden rules to have in mind.
Go for Quality, not Quantity
Choking your portfolio with all your finished project is not a good idea. Potential customers will not have time to go through all your projects – they will only glance through and select something of interest. Therefore, ensure you reveal only your strongest work. 10-20 projects are enough to demonstrate your skills and experience. Be ruthless, don’t include a project you are not proud of in your portfolio.
How about in situations where you are switching to a new line of work, and you want to include such service on your website – but have no samples to show; then create mock ones!
It is essential you have something to display – even though it was not for an actual client or company– to demonstrate your abilities.
Simplicity is key
Every experience designer in the industry understands the importance of simplicity. Ensure every element on your website is intuitive and straightforward, the essence is that it makes your site looks professional and not like something done by an amateur; which may cripple your reputation before a potential customer takes a look at your work.
The key point here is that a simple portfolio website makes your message crystal clear to clients. It allows clients to grab the idea behind your portfolio easily and also eliminates confusion. Thus, stick to simplicity.
Give Detailed Explanation of Your Work Process and Decisions
Your understanding of constraints should be revealed in your case studies and also how you can brainstorm solutions for problems with these constraints in mind–i.e., how you arrived at a problem solution from a problem statement. Case studies should not be visual alone– you require much text just as you need images; ensure your images contain useful information that will reveal key points about your service. Avoid using filters on your images – everything there has to demonstrate your professionalism. Everything in the case studies must pull its weight for your cause.
You have to display humility – a reflective critique of your personal work, what to improve or change or possibly prevented in future projects. What was learned? It is also useful that you acknowledge the other team members you worked with; it reveals you are an active team player and can collaborate well with others.
Focus on Your Specialty
If you offer different services, it would be better putting them on a different page. Then use different keywords to optimize each one. By doing so, your portfolio website will rank well in search results for important keywords.
Also, there is a possibility for a client to contact you with a particular service in mind, go through your other project in the process, and subscribe to your service as well.
Your portfolio should contain your best design work or most marketable recent accomplishments. Many web designers fail to include awards received or important courses they have taken of recent in their portfolio. Creating a list of what you have accomplished can determine if a client will hire you or your competitor.
You can include a list of all your accomplishment on your portfolio website. You should consider creating a separate page for this list along with links to it.
Include a Client Testimonial
Boasting of your skills and experience is never enough, but having someone attest to and confirm those skills is more important. Ask your customers to share how you assisted them. Fear not trying to reach out and ask people for quotes you can make use of on your site. People who appreciate your work will respond immediately to giving an attractive testimonial.
Create a “Call to Action”
Always include a call to action (CTA) that guides users to contact you at the bottom of each case study. Each page should have a call to action that will offer viewers a viable step to take. It could be “view resume” or “hire me” or “get a quote.”
Do not use a generic call to action, ensure each CTA is specific to the work performed in every project.
Once you have completed your case study and it appears pretty impressive, don’t just include it in your portfolio page – it is time for some little marketing, ensure you pass it across social media platforms. The idea is to gain more audience and drive more organic traffic to your site.
Attracting potential client is one part, web designers are interested in seeking new inspiration and connecting with other reliable designers. Sometimes, a web designer may decline a particular project because they are busy or because it does not align with their strengths. When something like this happens, they will check their contact with other web designers that are reliable and innovative and recommend them for the client.
Ensure your Portfolio is up-to-date
Always have in mind that your portfolio is never complete. Technology, trends, and techniques often change quickly; thus, create a reminder to review your portfolio regularly – every six months is not a bad idea.
Following the rule of thumb, anything that’s older than three years, outdated or looks tire should be removed. This will show that you are familiar with recent trends and continue to develop new skills.
Over to You
How do you represent your creative work and market your services effectively using your online portfolio? Do you have any tips to add? Please share with us in the comments section.