No matter the industry and niche you’re in, if you’re working as a freelancer or a leader of your personal business, you need to have a personal website where you’re going to show off your work and market your brand. This is called a portfolio website, and it serves to show the world how you differ from other professionals in your field and why affluent clients should trust you more than your competitors. Needless to say, it’s no longer enough to simply have a portfolio website to attract the best clients, as you need to make your site stand out in an oversaturated online world through design, optimization, personalization, storytelling, and more.
Following the tips that we’re going to go over today will be instrumental in ensuring that you have the best website possible and that potential clients and partners have a clear incentive to put their trust in you. With all of that in mind, here are the five ways to make your portfolio website stand out in 2020 and beyond.
Tell a compelling story
It doesn’t really matter if you’re a professional writer, a graphic designer, or a consultant, you need to reel people in with compelling storytelling. Obviously, if you’re a writer you might feel compelled to write all the content on your site yourself, but if you’re not a wordsmith by heart, then you can always hire the services of a talented individual to create a truly captivating story and guide your visitors on a journey. The keyword that should hand around in your head here is journey, because you want the visitors to get to know you, your work, your brand, and recognize your unique value proposition almost immediately.
Now, while you do want to create a great story and provide as much information about your business, that doesn’t mean that you should stuff the site with fluff. Instead, you need to use a unique tone of voice and personality to spark the visitor’s attention, and then keep them interested with brevity and useful information. Most importantly, you need to tell the visitor exactly how you can make their life easier.
Prioritize content on your site
You might think that visitors want to check out your work immediately upon arriving to your website, but in reality, they’ll first want to get to know you and your brand. It’s like taking a person to a fancy restaurant only to order the desert first and leave in 15 minutes – there’s not much to make that evening special or memorable. Instead of losing potential clients like this, you want to save the best for last, which in your case is your work.
Before you showcase your past projects, make your website better by letting the visitor enjoy the entire experience and get to know you. Present yourself and tell them what you do, and how you have a unique perspective on their problems and your industry. Tell the visitor why they are in the right place and guide them through your process. Make sure they understand exactly what you do and how you can help them achieve their goals. Once they’re interested, you can put the cherry on the proverbial sundae by showing them some of your amazing work.
Personalize your website to make it memorable
Personalization is one of the key driving forces behind business growth and success nowadays, so to make your portfolio website stand out, you need to personalize it to your audience and make it memorable by personalizing the entire brand experience. You can start with the fundamentals and choose a personal domain name with a .me extension to make your brand stick in the minds of your visitors and make the site easier to remember. This will help people type it directly into the browser, share it on social media and forums, and just get the word out in the online world.
Next, do some market research and optimize your website to address the unique needs and issues that your target demographic is experiencing. While you can’t tailor the site to the individual, you can tailor it to your ideal group of customers and clients by using the right tone of voice, wording, visuals, values, and adapting your overarching brand personality.
Don’t clutter the portfolio page
When it comes to making your portfolio page as impactful as possible, the last thing you want is to make it feel cluttered. Yes, you’re probably compelled to put all of your projects on there, but keep in mind that overwhelming visitors with information is not the way to get them interested.
After all, you wouldn’t clutter other essential pages on your website, so why would you clutter the portfolio section? Make sure to showcase only a handful of your most successful projects, the ones you’re most proud of in order to portray your brand in the best possible light and keep the visitor engaged.
Introduce the essential UX features
Lastly, don’t forget to make your website easy to navigate and experience as a whole. You’ll need to optimize it for mobile browsing by using AMPs (accelerated mobile pages) to make your site easier to view on all handheld devices, and get on Google’s good side. Be sure to add a search function, some quick filters so that visitors can find specific services or products easily and integrate an XML sitemap to make navigation a breeze and allow Google to index your pages properly.
In the oversaturated online world, having a portfolio website as a freelancer is a must. Following these tips will ensure you build a truly engaging portfolio site that will inspire potential clients to put their trust in you and your work.
About the Author:
Keith Coppersmith is a business and marketing expert who has experienced both the rise and fall of many businesses. As a regular contributor at BizzmarkBlog, he enjoys writing and providing insight of the industry based on both practice and theory.