If you’re a freelancer, you need a portfolio website. Online portfolios are the best way of showing potential clients what you can do with your skills, whether it’s writing, designing, or developing.
You can add it to your CV or LinkedIn profile to provide viewers with a full picture of your experience and skills, but it also needs to stand alone and represent you in the most professional way.
Many companies request a portfolio before hiring a new employee or a freelancer in these types of positions. This is because they want to see if your design or writing style is in line with what they’re looking for. If you’re a developer, a potential client with limited technical knowledge will want to check if you’ve created websites or applications that look like what they need.
Portfolio websites are not limited to these specific specialties, and should be adopted by anyone that wants to showcase previous work as proof of their capabilities.
Building a portfolio website is not expensive or time-consuming and you don’t have to build a website or design it from scratch, even if you are a designer or web developer. Online portfolio website builders can help you achieve a very professional look in a fraction of the time and cost, and you still end up with a great looking portfolio.
Your portfolio’s design is your first impression, so it is important to choose a template that is in line with the services you offer and your personal branding message.
Wix has pretty much every sort of template you can image, and is easily suitable to represent even professional designers. The level of control you have over the design of each template means that you can really create anything you like. The templates are organized by category, and there are a number of them specifically for portfolio websites, though you can use any one of the other templates available if you have the design skills to edit them.
- Fully customizable.
- Mobile-friendly templates.
- The portfolio templates are more suited to designers and architects. The ones that are meant for other types of professionals are not quite as impressive.
- Editing the mobile site is done separately from the main site, which is time consuming and can be confusing.
BoldGrid gives you the benefits of using a website builder while still being built on the WordPress platform. All of the templates available to you are actually WordPress templates, so you can find thousands of really good ones for your website.
- Many different themes to choose from, some free and some paid.
- A lot of the themes are responsive and you can find pretty much any type you need.
- WSYIWYG editing on the WordPress platform.
- Finding the right WordPress theme can take a long time. You can use Google to find websites that sell themes, browse the WordPress site, or even design and create a theme of your own. All of these options are time-consuming, and can even be expensive.
Strikingly only has four designs under the “Portfolio” category, but they are each very different and with a little bit of editing could be customized to more precisely suit your vision. You can also browse their other templates, especially the 15 templates under the “Business/Project” category, which could be very suitable for a portfolio website.
- Extremely straightforward and simple.
- The designs look very professional.
- Customizing is difficult and not always possible, so choose your template wisely.
- Not a lot of templates to choose from.
Social Media Features
Social media should be a part of your portfolio website, but only if you are active on social media. Adding your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feed could be a great way to show potential clients how involved and active you are in your industry. If you are not active, however, you can still add social links to your LinkedIn profile.
Wix has a number of add-ons you can choose from the store, and sometimes already in your template, depending on the one you choose. This can be a quick way to add your social feeds, share buttons, like buttons, or just links to your different profiles.
Like Wix, BoldGrid lets you add plugins to your website with the different social features that you want. Since you’re basically using WordPress, you can find pretty much any sort of social plugin that you can imagine!
Strikingly isn’t as customizable as Wix or BoldGrid, but you can still easily add your social feeds and even customize the image that is shared when people share your website.
A blog isn’t a must, but it is highly recommended. If you have a blog that is managed properly and you upload quality content on a regular basis, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field, expand your business, and reach new clients.
Blogs are supported on Wix, BoldGrid, and Strikingly so that you can easily configure it and then add posts like any other blog platform.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is important and can help clients discover you more easily online so that you spend less time and effort drumming up new business.
Your site’s settings provides a number of SEO customization features. This is where you can edit your page descriptions, titles, and more with the SEO Wizard. More advanced SEO features are available in the app market via a number of different SEO plugins.
WordPress is known for its SEO benefits, so using BoldGrid is especially beneficial if you are familiar with SEO and have experience optimizing websites. You can download various plugins to have more control over your SEO activities, however the main downside is that you need to know what you’re looking for in order to do this. When it comes to SEO, BoldGrid is more suited for intermediates, unlike Wix and Strikingly.
SEO features can be accessed in the settings section of a website. This is where you edit your website’s information as it appears in search results, including site title, description, and keywords. You can also view analytics in this section, which is available for premium users.
Different portfolios will need different features, so it is important to define exactly what you want your website to include before choosing a website builder. For example, if you are a web designer, perhaps you want a website with a slider header that will showcase your main designs with animations.
There is one thing, however, that every portfolio should have: a contact form.
A user-friendly contact form, or contact page, will make it easier for your prospects to contact you. This can be done in a number of different ways.
The most common method, is to add a contact page with a nicely designed form for your visitors to fill out to contact you. Others choose to leave their contact details instead of the form. A more interesting method is to use popups on all of your website’s inner pages. This means that when a user visits a page of yours and reads through the content, a popup will be shown after a few seconds telling them to contact you for more information. A form can be added in the popup, or there can be a Call-to-Action (CTA) button that sends them to your contact page. This requires plugins so it is usually done on WordPress sites, however if you can code then you can also do this with Wix and Strikingly.
Either way, make sure that your visitors know how to contact you as soon as they visit your website and make the process as fast and easy as possible.
Creating a portfolio site is one of the best uses of website builder software. Check out our regularly updated list of the best website builders for portfolios here.