If you are a freelance web designer, it’s important to use a website to showcase your previous projects and provide contact information. If you’re still unemployed, a website can become an effective portfolio to show prospective employers about what you can do and how good you are. If you’re currently employed in a studio, a blog can attract new clients and keep loyal customers; your employers may even give you a bonus for attracting new clients.
A portfolio website is entirely about self-promotion. Your name should become your primary brand name, no one will know about your existence as a skilled web designer, if you don’t make a conscious effort to make yourself known.
These are things you should have in your website
- Tagline: Once users know who you are, they’ll want to know more about you. It is a good opportunity to use a tagline, it should be short and snappy; and more importantly can attract attention.
- A tagline may describe:
- * Who you are
- * Where are you from
- * What do you do
- About Me
- Encouragement to act
- Integration with social networking
- Proper language and communication
It is often the first thing users see on your website. Because most people read from left from right, you should put it on the top left. As the result, intuitively, it’s the first thing users see on your website and a logo can help people identify your website. If you want to sell yourself online, it’s important to use your name as the logo. The logo should be clickable and it should go to the homepage. This is a common convention on any website.
When you sell yourself using a website, you should add a section dedicated for portfolio. This is an essential component of your website, as potential clients or employers can determine, whether you’re the right person. As a web designer, your portfolio section should contain high quality images and URL of your previous projects. You should also provide some descriptions to help visitors understand more about those projects. If possible get a testimonial for each project, so people will know that you’re an experienced and skilled web designer. If you’re working on a project, you may also let visitors follow your progress by giving them the URL to the live version.
Although you have a perfect tagline, you still need to describe your services adequately. You can expect a visitor to accurately guess what you can do based only on your portfolio. You shouldn’t leave prospective clients wondering whether you can offer the right type of service. Break down your services and make them clear, for example, other than the web design, you may also provide services for logo, graphic or animation design. If you only design websites, you can become more specific, for example you may have specialization on designing corporate website or online store.
This site is all about you. You should let everyone see the person behind it. Share your story, for example how many years you have been designing websites? What are your unique abilities? Where you came from? The more details visitors get, the more likely you get contracts. You shouldn’t be camera-shy, of course you don’t have to pose like a model either. You can use a well-composed photograph that show when you’re working with a computer. A picture is psychologically important for prospective clients as they know who they are dealing with. This can add an element of trust. You shouldn’t be reluctant to show off your recognitions or awards in this section. Let people know that you are that good.
Although often hidden or may be even ignored, contact is a key element in a portfolio website. After prospective clients have browsed your site and are impressed with your portfolio, they will need to find a way to contact you. A contact page should be easy to access and placed in obvious location, for example, the link to the contact page shouldn’t be placed in the footer. You can use a contact form to help people contact you; however it would be better to let visitors to chat with you.
Many personal websites add a blog section. With a blog you can write about latest developments in your daily works and prevent the site from being too static. You should encourage people, especially customers to subscribe to your RSS feed so you can give them updates and attractive offers. Although a blog in your website is useful, it has some consequences, for example, you need to write blog posts regularly and manage comments. Comments are another good way to communicate with people. Many useful tools can prevent spam effectively, so you shouldn’t ask people to register, also you shouldn’t use Captcha, as they will only discourage people from commenting and make your blog less dynamic and effective.
You should encourage prospective clients to act, by using an “encouragement-to-act” button that attract users’ attention. Try to use appropriate encouragement words, such as “Request a quote” or “Hire Me!”.
Now that you’ve got people attention, you should try to make them follow you. Let them know that they can follow you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and others. Social networking is a good way to maintain a loyal group of followers.
It is important to conduct yourself properly. You can use a personal and friendly, but respectable tone, because it’s a personal portfolio website. You shouldn’t make your website feels like an emotionless corporate site. Although you don’t need to act too seriously, you shouldn’t ramble; try to be precise and clear.
These are a few things you should do to make your portfolio website even better:
- * If you live in a large city or a place where demand for web designer is quite high, you should let people know your location. Prospective clients prefer people who live near their location; however, you still open the possibility for those who live in other continents.
- * Try to validate your website completely. Validation is an essential factor for professional websites; prospective clients may check whether our website is valid.
- * Link both images and text. Some people intuitively click on images to see whether it can bring them somewhere.
- * If you are a new web designer, with no previous experience, you should share your WordPress themes and other useful web-related products. You may also create some subdomains on your website to showcase your web designs.