It’s no secret that those of us who work in creative industries have to hustle. The outside world often assumes that our jobs are easy because we love them, and that we don’t have to work as hard as they do at their nine to five jobs. They are so wrong. Our work is 24/7, yes we love it, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, but it is also exhausting and frustrating to feel like you are doing all you can and no one is appreciating your work the way you had hoped.
Try not to lose hope or get discouraged there’s plenty of things you can do to enhance your presence in the creative world and having a website portfolio should be number one on your to-do list. It can be overwhelming and that’s why a lot of people will put it off. Look at it as a challenge, but also as a way to showcase who you are as an individual. This, after all, is where those of us in creative professions have the advantage. We get to make a portfolio that is entirely unique to us and that is a beautiful thing. I took weeks creating my own portfolio and there were many hours of research and consulting with close friends trying to decide which would work best and there are still things today that I want to change eventually.
The hardest part is making yourself sit down and begin so we put together some helpful tips to make the process a bit less daunting.
1. Show AND tell
Yes, the details and aesthetic matter, but its also a storytelling tool. Above everything you put into your portfolio you want to make sure that it is telling the story of YOU. It’s more than snappy photos, engaging videos, gorgeous typography, and slick interactions, so make sure you remember what you want your audience to see at the core of your portfolio, and that’s who the artist it.
Before you even put your work up on a website you should have edited it thoroughly and have other people also look it over. You should always have text on your website portfolio as well. Draft this out ahead of time and then pass it on to others to go over. Ask them to read it for clarity and conciseness; two things that are very important to the success of your website. Keep in mind that whatever you write up for the first time probably won’t make it to the site.
3. Write a unique mission statement or personal purpose statement
Spend time crafting a personal bio or sentence that separates you from the pack. Avoid overused words like clean, minimal, elegant, etc. if you want to stand out from the crowd. Find a language that is an extension of your brand.
4. Make it easy for people to contact you
Always consider your users and make sure they will be able to find your contact information right away. If your site doesn’t make it clear how visitors can get in touch with you, they won’t try very hard to find out. Devote space on your homepage to telling people how they can reach you. Different people prefer different methods of contact, so supply a couple of ways that they can do so. Make it as simple as possible for them.
5. Keep it quick
The average person waits less than three seconds for a page to load before abandoning the website altogether. Choosing a suitable hosting package that allows for fast page-load speeds is crucial to the success of your website. Not every web host is the same so choose carefully to avoid a slow site. Keep in mind that for optimal UX design users should be able to navigate around your entire website in as little as five clicks. This will keep people engaged with your content for longer and more likely to return again
6. Create fresh content
Of course, you want examples of the best work on your site but you also don’t want to be using things you’ve been posting elsewhere often. Variety is key and as creatives, we have so many things we could make into masterpieces. Google also loves fresh content, so a great way to improve the search ranking of your site is to keep it up-to-date through a blog. Always keep your posts relevant and linked to what it is you do, as that’s why people are looking at your site, to begin with. Google also loves video, as do visitors – a short, engaging video could help keep people on your site for longer.
7. Shout out to your previous clients or projects
Another way of proving your legit is to show off your previous clientele. This tells potential new clients that you have been trusted to do important work before and shows you have a track record. If you have worked with a well-known company or brand, it’ll add more weight to your skills.
8. You are not just deliverables
Yes, your work is important and you want to showcase that, but never forget that none of your work would be possible with you; the mastermind behind the magic. Make sure that people know you as a professional person through your website.
9. Make sure to use target language
Who is your target audience and what is the overall aim of your website? Your portfolio site should showcase your skills and personality, so invest time in thinking about exactly what your message is – and who it’s aimed at – before considering how to best communicate it. You want the message that your site sends out to be consistent with the work you do. This will also help with your SEO and hopefully bring more people to your site organically.
10. Accept that your portfolio will always be evolving
I think this is the most important thing to remember because you want to be regularly updating it when you have new work to showcase. You’re always going to be producing new work and your portfolio needs to reflect that. It’s easy to create a portfolio and think, “Ok, I’m all done” this should never be your mindset. Make it a habit to be on your site often checking things and making sure it’s as relevant as possible.