How To Build A Portfolio Website That Gets You Hired

Karen Hayoun | 20.03.19 | 0 Comments

If you’re a photographer, graphic designer, or an artist you probably already know that the best way to showcase your work in the digital age is to build an online portfolio. A portfolio site showcases your work and what you are capable of. It’s one of the most efficient ways to find new clients for your freelance work – and it might even help you to land a permanent position. The advantages of having an online portfolio are numerous. They are easy to update, accessible to everyone, give you a chance to show off, and will result in more work for you (which, in turn, means more money). The question remaining is how to build a portfolio website.

Here are 11 must-follow steps if you want to know how to build a portfolio website that gets you hired!

Portfolio Website Essentials

1. Logo

A website’s logo is one of the first things a visitor will notice. It is also something people usually remember, especially if they have a stronger visual memory. If you want to build an online brand for your work, make sure your portfolio website has a custom logo. If you’re talented with design, you should try to design your logo yourself, as another example of your work. If design is not your thing, however, consider hiring someone to design a logo for you, such as on Fiverr or 99designs.

2. Tagline

Go for something short, memorable and straightforward. Something like, “High-quality graphic design services”, or “I love to play with words”. The tagline is there to tell visitors exactly what you do at first glance. Describe who you are and what you offer in a way that also shows your personality while ideally also demonstrating your benefit to your site visitors. The example below is from one of the Wix portfolio templates.

portfolio site example


3. Work examples

A portfolio is a collection of your best work examples. Pick them carefully, and showcase them. This is the central element of your portfolio website, so don’t hesitate to spend some time on it. A photographer? You might want to do some retouches and check that your pictures withstand professional scrutiny. A writer? Make sure there are no typos, grammar is at its best, and you didn’t breach any style protocols.

When deciding on which relevant experience to exhibit when you build a portfolio website, you also want to think about what kind of work you want to avoid in the future. For example, if you had a project writing instruction manuals for electronics but hated every minute of that job because you prefer more creative endeavors, do not include the instruction manual project in your portfolio! By featuring that type of work, you’re likely to get job proposals for the same thing in the future. Show off your work that excites you and that you’d be happy to do again.

4. Services

Even if you have a tagline and people got the gist of your profession, it is still useful to have a list of services you offer, inviting potential customers to contact you for a price quote. Define your specialty and that you can do so clients know what to contact you about. If you only have a broad field defined, such as writing or design, you’ll need to field a lot of questions. Additionally, potential clients may feel more comfortable contacting the person whose portfolio specifically mentions the type of work that they’re looking for. Instead of just “photography,” define it as pet photography, wedding photography, creative engagement photos, or real estate photography.

5. About

A portfolio is there to highlight and promote your skills. You are the main actor here. Therefore, an ‘about me’ page is compulsory. Moreover, people might feel more inclined to work with you if they get to know you better. Maybe they need to hear about an award you won. Or, maybe there is a nice story behind your abilities. Include a professional photo so people can put a face to your name. If you prefer not to write, you can get creative with your bio page by including a video introduction of yourself instead when you build your portfolio website.

6. Contact

It might seem obvious, but you will be surprised to hear how many freelancers build an online portfolio only to forget to include their contact details. How do you want people to get in touch? Some might google you, but plenty of visitors will just move on to the next result in the search rankings. Furthermore, be certain to make your contact information easy to find on your website.

portfolio contact example


7. Social media

Since social media is the preferred way people get – and stay – in touch nowadays, adding your social media contact details is always a good idea. You should then go further and try to promote your portfolio website via various social media channels. If you have social media accounts that you don’t use, don’t feel the need to include them. Make sure that you keep your social media pages professional in terms of photos and what you post. Even if you don’t share your social media accounts on your portfolio website, be aware that potential clients will likely Google you and find your accounts that way.

8. Blog

Blogging on your area of expertise is a great way of establishing yourself as an authority in the respective area, and is a great way of promoting yourself organically. Not only will a blog improve your search results – which means more people will see your work – it will also boost your credibility in the eyes of potential clients.

9. Education and certificates

If you have any relevant education or certificates, highlight them on your portfolio site! The key word is “relevant.” No one is going to care about your BA in anthropology if you’re trying to sell yourself as a UX coder on your portfolio site. Instead, include any courses you’ve taken on or offline related to what you do now when you build a portfolio website.

10. Testimonials

Don’t underestimate the power of testimonials! Social influence in terms of recommendations from your past clients makes a big difference in terms of whether you land a new gig. The truth is, most people are not going to volunteer to write testimonials for you, so make sure that you specifically ask them to provide you with the feedback. If they can include numbers and statistics in their testimonials, even better! For example, instead of just writing “John’s SEO skills are great,” it would be better for a testimonial like, “John’s SEO work resulted in a 70% increase in website visitors and 50% increase in conversions in the first month!”

11. Achievements and Awards

Finally, if you have any achievements and awards that you can highlight, do so! You may also want to include a list of speaking engagements and publications.

Building a portfolio website that gets you hired is really not rocket science. You don’t even have to hire someone to do it for you. You can do it yourself: read the reviews, compare website builders, and start promoting your skills online today.


This article was originally published on January 5, 2016. Its contact has since been updated. 

Karen Hayoun

Karen is a copywriter and social media strategist with extensive experience working with small businesses and corporations, both B2B and B2C. With her expertise in online marketing and knowledge of website creation, there’s no better person to turn to if you want to craft an incredible website that gets noticed.

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