What Does A Good Online Freelance Portfolio Include?
Creating a great portfolio is essential if you want to build a successful freelancing business online. After all, your potential clients need to be able to figure out the sort of person you are, and the style and quality of your work.
Because many of these clients may be remote, and therefore unable to meet you in person, it is vital that your portfolio is able to speak for you, and give visitors to your website a reason to pick you over the competition.
Here are some of the things you should include in your online portfolio, and how they can help you impress the right prospective clients. Use your portfolio as a place to sell your personal brand, as well as your services.
Before visitors to your website even look at your portfolio, there’s a good chance that they will want to find out more about who you are. As such, it is important to have an easily-located ‘About’ page (or segment).
This gives you the chance to connect with your audience on a more personal level, by letting them know what sort of person you are, and what you might be like to work with. So let your personality shine through, and don’t forget to include a photo.
You can also give some details on how you got started, and what your current aspirations are (including any side jobs you’re pursuing). This is also a great opportunity to include some details of your education, which can help to reinforce the impression that you are an experienced professional capable of providing a stellar service.
Be sure to include details on how to contact you, or link directly to a page that does. Ensuring that potential clients can get in touch with minimal hassle will mean they’ll be far more likely to consider you. If they cannot immediately find this information, they may give up and look elsewhere.
It goes without saying that the core of a great portfolio is the work included within it, but it is still all too easy to get carried away and create something that fails to show off your strengths sufficiently. As such, rather than including everything you’ve ever created, stick to examples of your best work, projects you’ve enjoyed, and projects that demonstrate the various areas of your expertise.
Provide context for your examples, so visitors can understand what the aims were, and how you were able to achieve your clients’ visions. Where possible, include testimonials, press, and other mentions that provide positive social proof. If you have won any awards for your work, these are also great to include.
Focus on work that showcases the things you like to do, and don’t be afraid to highlight your “specialty”. Also, keep in mind that you can describe the work you have done for a client without having to show the work itself. This can be particularly relevant when talking about projects where the clients must remain anonymous, or where you don’t have permission to share the work itself.
Finally, try to present a variety of work, and highlight your most recent projects. This demonstrates that you are versatile and willing to work outside your comfort zone. Additionally, don’t be afraid to include practice projects in your portfolio, or even discuss work that you feel could have been better, explaining how you might have improved it. This demonstrates accountability, and shows continuing growth and development as a professional freelancer.
It’s not just the content of your portfolio that matters, but how it is presented. As such, you should invest some time in polishing your website, ensuring that it is responsive, easy to navigate, and on-brand.
A professional domain name is essential, as is a clean and carefully thought-out layout. Make sure that your business logo and branding remain consistent throughout, and keep your portfolio up to date, so clients can always see your most recent work and know that you are still active.
Introduce your portfolio with a description of the services you offer, and a clear CTA. Naturally, you should also follow SEO best practices to increase your brand’s authority and help people find your website more easily.
Finally, wherever you use imagery throughout your website, be sure to use high-quality and scalable images. This will help to keep loading times down, and will increase the professional appearance of your portfolio and your website as a whole.
A big part of building your client base is making lasting connections with visitors to your website. They may not need your services immediately, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to them in the future.
A great way to encourage visitors to sign up to your mailing list is to provide something in return. This could be anything from a consultation to a free resource such as a whitepaper or an ebook (the Designrr ebook maker is great for gathering up your online material into an attractive downloadable). Not only does this incentivize potential clients to share their details with you, but it also gives you an extra opportunity to showcase your expertise.
A good strategy is to include a CTA encouraging visitors to sign up to read more after you have wowed them with a first taste of your work.
Keep in mind that recent changes to data protection laws in Europe may affect how you collect and store data from clients in those areas, so be sure to read up on your obligations to be sure you are compliant.
Ultimately, the primary objective of your portfolio is to show off not only what you can do, but who you are, and why your potential clients should want to work with you.
Your portfolio should be a genuine reflection of your interests, skills, and personality, not only for the sake of your professional integrity but also to ensure that you attract the right clients for you. This in turn means you will be happier in your work, allowing you to produce higher-quality material and develop a stronger reputation through positive reviews.
Kayleigh Toyra: Content Strategist
Half-Finnish, half-British marketer based in Bristol. I love to write and explore themes online freelancing and customer experience marketing. I manage a small team of writers at a boutique agency.