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With the popularity of remote work growing at a rapid pace, freelancing is one of the most popular ways to make money. There are countless different services you can offer, and it’s an extremely flexible way to make money part-time or full-time.
If you’re a freelancer or just starting out, you need a portfolio website to help attract clients and build your business. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to quickly create an effective freelance portfolio site that will get results.
A portfolio is used to exhibit your skills and the services you offer to potential clients. Many freelancers make the mistake of not utilizing an online portfolio and instead rely solely on social media or other marketing methods to advertise their work. Social media is great for reaching wide audiences, but a purpose-built portfolio website will show clients that you’re professional, skilled, and serious about the services you provide.
Creating your own portfolio website couldn’t be easier and can be done quickly and from anywhere. With that being said, it’s important that you take the time to get your website right. Choosing a design, layout, and format that suits you, your brand, and the needs or interests of your clients is an important part of the process.
Here, we’re going to walk you through everything you need to know about creating your own portfolio website. Let’s start by thinking about why a portfolio website is likely to benefit you as a freelancer.
Why is a Portfolio Website Important
For freelancers, a portfolio website is an essential marketing tool.
Having a well-designed portfolio website allows potential clients or employers to access all of your best work in one place. These days, most freelancers choose to work remotely and connect with clients through online means, so being able to direct them straight to an easily accessible online portfolio is incredibly convenient.
Freelancing can be highly competitive, there are likely to be a plethora of extremely skilled and reputable freelancers out there offering similar services as you. By using a portfolio website to market your services effectively, you can inform potential clients of why they should hire you. Your site can exhibit the excellent work you’ve done in the past and the valuable services you offer.
Creating Your Portfolio Website
Thankfully, you don’t need to be a skilled graphic designer or web developer to get your own portfolio website up and running. There are several platforms that make it incredibly straightforward and simple to create your site without prior training or help from a professional.
Wix is one of the most popular options because it’s extremely feature-rich and makes it easy to create a professional website, even with no experience. They have an excellent collection of templates designed specifically for your portfolio website. The templates can be customized to create a unique, beautiful website that reflects your personality and style. Wix also makes managing your website extremely easy and there are multiple plans available to suit your needs.
Here’s a look at a few of the portfolio website templates you can choose with Wix.
Editing the Wix templates is simple. Replace the filler text and images with your own content to get your site up and running quickly. You’ll also have the freedom to customize details of the site and design if you choose.
It’s possible to get started with Wix without your own domain name, but we highly suggest that you purchase a domain name to present a more professional appearance (and it costs only about $10 per year with a registrar like Namecheap). You could use yourname.com or choose a specific domain name that suits your needs.
What Should Your Portfolio Website Include?
Once you’ve chosen your website’s domain name and selected a template you’re going to work with, the next step is to think about what your portfolio website should include.
You want the website to offer a comprehensive, well-rounded view of your skills, but you also don’t want to overload the site with information or content. Simplicity is a good thing and there’s no need to make your portfolio complicated or overwhelming. Here’s what you’ll want to include.
First things first, it’s important that your portfolio includes a short bio about you (usually part of an “About” or “About Me” page). It might be tempting to keep the focus of the site solely on your work or creations, but most of the time, potential clients want to know about the person they’re going to be working with. We all prefer to work with people we like, so it’s important that your portfolio site allows visitors to feel a personal connection to you.
Think of your portfolio almost like a resume. You’re selling not only your services but also yourself. Clients want to know that you are professional, reliable, and have proven skills in your chosen area.
Keep the bio brief, just a few hundred words should do. You could talk about your training or employment history, any relevant interests or facts about you, and key skills or information that might make you stand out from the crowd. Keep it positive and don’t be afraid to talk yourself up a little!
Some people find it easier to write the bio in the third person, so if you find it uncomfortable to write a whole paragraph all about you, maybe give this a shot.
Description of Your Services
Next up, give a description of all of the services you’re offering. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, give details about the type of designs you specialize in, since “graphic design” can be a very broad category. Talk about the specific types of projects you work on, like logo design, website design, brochure design, packaging design, etc.
You want this section to be informative, but it doesn’t need to be a huge amount of information. Too much text on a portfolio website can be distracting and overwhelming (this is different if you are showcasing your writing skills, in which case text is obviously very useful).
Try to let your work do the talking as much as possible, with short descriptions or text excerpts where needed.
Samples of Your Work
Leading on from the previous point, your portfolio must include examples of your work. The purpose of a portfolio is to showcase your skills and the work that you’re able to produce, so this is arguably the most important aspect.
If you’re offering multiple different services as a freelancer, for example, if you specialize in business management but also offer consultancy services, customize your site so these services are visible on separate pages or areas of the website. You want to keep the portfolio cohesive and easy to navigate to make it simple for potential clients to find the relevant work and decide whether you’re likely to be a good fit for them.
Make sure that any work you display on your website is legally yours. In some cases, when work is submitted by freelancers it becomes the legal property of the client, so you might need to get permission from them to display the work and be sure to cite these items appropriately.
Don’t feel that you can’t also include samples of work that have not been used or created in a professional capacity. If you’re looking for work as an illustrator but have not yet secured any professional work, build a portfolio of illustrations that accurately reflect the kind of work you would like to specialize in and upload your favorite ones to your portfolio website.
It’s also a great idea to include some testimonials from previous clients or employers. These act as references or proof of your professionalism and competency. (See some good examples of website testimonials here.)
Most clients will be happy to give you a short testimonial once your work for them has been completed. Alternatively, comments from the public can also be used here. For example, social media comments or any write-ups you may have received in the media make excellent testimonials.
Contact Information and Links to Social Media Profiles
Finally, if you want to get clients through your portfolio, it’s vital that potential clients are able to easily contact you to learn more about you and your services.
All portfolio websites should include contact information. In most cases, an email address will be sufficient, but you might also choose to list a phone number, just be sure to protect your privacy and never list your personal address or any potentially sensitive information online.
If you use social media in a professional capacity to document and advertise your freelance work, you could also include some links to these pages so that clients can get more of a feel for the type of person and freelancer you are.
Tips for Creating an Effective Portfolio Website
Here are some final tips for creating a portfolio website that will effectively and accurately market your work as a freelancer; enabling you to secure new work opportunities and increase interest and engagement levels with potential clients.
Keep it Simple!
It’s easy to get caught up in the design of your portfolio website, particularly if this is your first time designing and building a website. But remember that it’s the content of the portfolio that really matters.
Of course, you want your site to stand out from the crowd, but let this be achieved through the excellence of your work, rather than bright colors and overwhelming graphics on your site. As we’ve said, the portfolio templates on Wix let you find a great balance and create a visually pleasing, clean-looking portfolio website.
Let Your Personality Show Through
Don’t be afraid to include small nuggets of information that let clients know more about you as a person. As a freelancer, your personality is a part of your work. It informs the services that you provide, the way you communicate with clients, and the type of work you take on, so don’t be afraid to let this shine through in your portfolio and show clients what makes you unique in your respective field.
Include a Call to Action or Incentive
Offering a discount or free quotation or consultation to clients who have accessed your portfolio website is a great incentive and likely to increase your engagement levels. This allows them to see more of your personality, work ethic, and skillset without yet committing to a contract, which is extremely appealing to clients. It also gives you the chance to prove yourself and earn work from clients who might be a little slower to make a decision.
Be Selective About the Work You Share
It can be tempting to share all of the work you have ever done on your portfolio site. While this might be great for showing your versatility and the scope of work that you have carried out, it can also be overwhelming and ineffective.
Display your favorite samples of work that effectively show your talents and skills, without inundating clients with excessive information or content.
Promote Your Site
Finally, your portfolio site will not be effective if nobody sees it! Promote your site through social media and on relevant groups or pages. Anything you can do to increase traffic to your portfolio website is likely to result in more interest in your work and subsequent work opportunities.
Promoting your site and services is a big topic that we can’t cover in detail here. If you’re looking for some guidance, you might be interested in How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Freelance Business.
A portfolio website is a vital tool for any freelancer looking to advertise their services online.
By following the steps listed here, you can create an engaging portfolio website to effectively market your services and increase your client base.