Even if you are predominantly a print designer, there is no excuse in this day and age for not having an online portfolio – you may already have a physical portfolio but a website is now expected in addition.
Your design portfolio is critical in the cut-throat creative industry – some potential clients will make a decision whether to hire or commission you on the basis of your portfolio alone. It provides a summary of your ability and experience, and gives clues about your approach, imagination, and whole creative process.
With this in mind, here are 10 reasons why you need to put your portfolio online, including some tips on how to build a strong web presence.
01. It’s quick and simple to set up
Not that long ago you needed a fair chunk of web design skill to set up even the most basic site, but no more. There are many companies offering complete online portfolio solutions, and with Squarespace it is just about as simple as you can get – you just choose a template and then drag and drop your images straight into the page. And that means you can spend more time doing what you do best – being creative.
02. You can add fresh content regularly
Fresh content is key to any website, particularly when it comes to promoting it using search and social. Therefore a strong online presence should include a blog and gallery where you can keep people up-to-speed with your projects and anything else of interest – just remember to keep your posts relevant and linked to your work. This helps to keep your site fresh even during dry spells.
Want to freshen up the look of your site (or create your online identity for the first time)? With many website templates available on the likes of Squarespace, you can create a beautiful and professional portfolio in an instant. Make tweaks to fonts, colours, layout and more on your pages to get them just–so, all without writing a line of code.Squarespace also allows you to complement your portfolio with your own gorgeous blog, so you can ensure your readers are always up to date on your new projects!
03. You can curate pages for the job you want
The piece of work you’re most proud of isn’t necessarily the most appropriate for each job you’re pitching for, so it’s a good idea to group types of work together or even create a bespoke selection tailored to a specific client. Portfolio websites allow you to create this with ease, and you can link to that specific page of your site.
04. Clients can instantly contact you
Your online presence should have a page that makes it clear how visitors can get in touch with you – in fact your homepage is the best place to inform people how they can reach you. Different people prefer different methods of contact, so make it easy for them by supplying as many ways to contact you as possible.
Social integration is a must, of course, with Squarespace providing integration for everything from Twitter and Instagram to Tumblr and Dribbble.
05. Get endorsements from previous clients
Like it or not, people are not just going to take your word for how great you are! Recommendations in the form of quotes from your clients act as reviews of your services and can be published on your site. You may feel that the quality of your work should speak for itself, but testimonials add a level of trust, reassurance and authenticity that clients are seeking.
06. You can shout about yourself
Think of your portfolio website as an organic resumé – all you have to do is keep the content up-to-date and clearly signposted and it will shout about your ability for you. It can exist as a self–confident presentation or the ultimate client pitch, demonstrating your professionalism and talents in a way that you may be too shy to do in real life, so really go overboard and sell yourself!
07. It can be as big as you like
A physical portfolio will get bulky and unwieldy if you include every single piece of work you’ve done and detailed information about your design process. Not so a website – you can pack in everything you want and ensure it can all be easily accessed with a well-ordered menu system.
08. It’s always at hand
So you meet a potential client at an event – instead of handing over a business card or carrying your print portfolio wherever you go, instead you whip out your smartphone or tablet and flip through the most appropriate elements of your portfolio there and then, talking through each example.
Squarespace, for example, has a free portfolio app for iPad and iPhone, and no internet connection is needed so you don’t have to worry about a wifi connection or network outage – it’s right there in your hand just like a physical portfolio would be.
09. You can show off your clients
A popular method of displaying your pedigree is to show off your previous clientele. If you have worked with a well-known company, it’ll add more weight to your skills but even if not, simply listing previous completed jobs will give new clients confidence in your abilities.
These are easy to add to an online portfolio, and you can drop in links to the clients’ sites too.
10. You can add ‘live’ work
Linking to pieces of your design work that previous clients are currently using is a living demonstration of your skills. Whether they like to admit it or not, this evidence of trust placed in your ability by other employers helps to give potential clients peace of mind that you’re as good as you claim.