Tips on how to: Create a Portfolio Web site

A visitor submit by Isabelle Poirier of IP Design and the Ottawa Design Club.

If you happen to’re a artistic, likelihood is you have got a portfolio of some type (bonus factors in case your portfolio lives on an internet site)! A portfolio is a good way to showcase your work, and is usually a useful device to draw future shoppers.

That being mentioned, an ideal digital portfolio includes extra than simply throwing fairly footage up on an internet site (regardless of how proficient you’re). A standout portfolio requires context—it needs to be clear and concise, and your web site guests ought to have the ability to rapidly perceive who you’re, what you do, and what it’s a must to provide. Basically, portfolio requires a strong model technique.

Unsure the place to start out? We’re right here to assist—and we’ll make it enjoyable! Beneath we’ve outlined 7 strategic steps that can enable you construct your dream portfolio web site. To make it simpler, be happy to obtain our technique worksheets right here, or you’ll be able to kick it old-fashioned with a pen and paper. For every query requested within the following train, write down something and all the pieces that involves thoughts. Consider it as a mind dump.

Prepared? Let’s get began.

How to Create a Portfolio Website - Exercise Book

Step 1. Outline who you’re — It’s your time to shine!
Whether or not you’re a freelancer, solopreneur, or artistic company, it’s best to let your character shine by means of in the way you current your self to the world. In spite of everything, you’re most likely attempting to draw shoppers who align along with your values, pursuits, and total vibe. For this reason showcasing your character in your web site is so necessary. Sure, you’re promoting items or a service, however you’re additionally promoting your self.

By exploring and understanding who you’re, it’s simpler to determine your objectives and aspirations, tips on how to outline your viewers, and tips on how to greatest show your content material to attain your required outcomes. Every little thing is interconnected.

Let’s begin by defining some traits about your self. Think about this your “bullet level bio”.  

Get your aforementioned pen and paper out, or comply with together with our downloadable exercise worksheets.

In your first column, jot down your solutions to the next questions:

  1. The place do you reside?
  2. The place are you from?
  3. What’s your background?
  4. What’s your training?
  5. What’s your character like?
  6. What are a few of your life experiences?
  7. What does your skilled journey seem like?

Within the second column, let’s outline what you do (or, what your expertise are):

  1. What are your major expertise?
  2. What are your secondary expertise?
  3. What’s your work course of like?
  4. What outcomes do you present to your shoppers?

You’re doing nice. Within the third column, let’s discover your pursuits. We name this the “3 C’s”—tradition, catalysts, curiosities:

  1. What types of tradition are you drawn to? (This may be features of popular culture, subcultures, hobbies, pursuits, and so on. For instance, possibly you’re keen on Star Wars and Neapolitan pizza.)
  2. What excites you?
  3. What are you interested in?

The fourth column is all about your dream alternatives:

  1. What firms would you wish to work with?
  2. What market or trade do you wish to work in?
  3. The place would you wish to be featured?

Now it’s unlikely that all the pieces you wrote down will in the end make it to your web site—and that’s okay! What’s necessary is that you just really feel you have got sufficient info to work with.

Check out your solutions and see what stands out to you. Are you able to make some connections between your character, expertise, pursuits, and dream alternatives? These connections will come in useful as you start to create content material on your portfolio.

Step 2. Outline your objectives — Observe your desires!
Now, it would appear to be your dream alternatives are approach out of attain, however don’t fear—it’s regular to really feel this manner! It’s all about taking incremental steps as a way to obtain your huge objectives. These incremental steps—or mini-goals, as we wish to name them—are methods to attain recognition, social proof, and/or work expertise that can assist get you to the place you wish to be.

This subsequent immediate (second web page, first column) is all about determining what your objectives are—and placing them down on paper:

1. What do you wish to accomplish? (For instance, possibly your aim is to e-book artwork exhibits or to discover a new job!) Write down as many objectives as you want, regardless of how huge or small they could appear.

By defining your objectives, you’ll be able to then decide a transparent path of motion to take to attain them. Success doesn’t occur in a single day (typically…), however you may get there by working incrementally and checking off mini-goals as you go.

Step 3. Outline your viewers — Who’re you speaking to?
You know the way in a film, if a personality is speaking to themselves on the road, we’d get the impression that they’re appearing a bit of wacky? We’ve all seen the sort of character cliché, however typically the very same factor is going on on our web sites—with out us even noticing! We’re the wacky character speaking to ourselves on-line. If you happen to don’t know who you’re talking to—in different phrases, should you don’t know your viewers—you’re talking right into a void.

That’s why the following few questions are so essential to reply (within the second column, web page two):

  1. Who’s your web site for?
  2. Who wants your companies?
  3. Who needs to purchase your merchandise?
  4. Who needs to comply with your journey?
  5. Who’s your viewers?

The extra particular you’re when defining your viewers, the higher. Figuring out who you’re talking to will assist information the content material (particularly the copy) in your web site portfolio. Attempt to refine your model voice and tone to 1 that resonates along with your particular viewers. Simply keep in mind: You might not be for everybody, however that’s okay—meaning you’ve discovered your area of interest.

How to Create a Portfolio Website - Exercise Pages

Step 4. Outline the actions you need your viewers to take — What does your web site portfolio result in?
Greater than only a easy CTA (“call-to-action”), what’s the final aim of your web site? Suppose to your self: What would you like your website guests to do once they navigate by means of your portfolio? Which actions would you like them to take in your web site apart from simply fairly footage?

On web page three, column one, we’re going to discover what you need your guests to truly do in your web site. Listed here are some examples to get the ball rolling…

  • Is it reserving a session?
  • Is it hiring you for a job?
  • Is it shopping for your merchandise?
  • Is it filling out a questionnaire?
  • Is it shopping for tickets for a workshop?
  • Is it commissioning a bit of artwork from you?

By understanding who you’re speaking to (throwback to the train we did in Step 3), it may be simpler to ask your viewers to take motion in your portfolio web site. You perceive your viewers’s wants, so when (and the place) to say, “I can resolve your downside—right here’s how”.

Step 5. Outline your content material — Lastly, fairly footage! (However select properly)
Now for the enjoyable half—creating web site content material!

Check out your train sheets and evaluation your choices, objectives, and viewers. Circle or spotlight all the pieces that resonates with you—what are you attempting to attain and appeal to? Search for connections that can assist information the content material you place in your web site.

When you’ve chosen and/or created your web site content material, you’ll wish to take into consideration the presentation of this content material (that is simply as necessary because the content material itself). For instance, should you promote items of paintings, you’ll most likely wish to {photograph} each bit in relation to different bodily objects (so the scale of the piece is well understood), have a close-up picture that exhibits element, and a picture of what the piece appears like framed. And don’t neglect the logistical info: What are the scale? How do you hold up the paintings? How ought to you take care of it? That is info your viewers will count on to see.

This precept nonetheless applies even should you don’t promote bodily items. If you happen to’re a freelancer promoting your companies, showcase your work by creating case research. These case research will present potential shoppers your thought course of, the standard of your work, and the outcomes you’ve achieved for previous shoppers. Bonus factors should you add tangible information that demonstrates your success!

Likewise, in case your dream alternative is to be employed by your favorite company, showcase your work in a approach that aligns with that company’s aesthetic and/or spotlight your individual shoppers which can be just like the company’s shoppers. Along with your portfolio, you’ll be able to present—not simply inform—them why you’d be a rockstar addition to their staff.

Seize each alternative it’s a must to clarify the way you course of info, the way you resolve issues, and the way you discover options. And keep in mind, should you solely showcase photos of your work, you’re most likely leaving some huge cash on the desk—and who needs that?

Step 6. Outline your website format — All roads result in Rome
So you have got all this fabulous content material on your web site portfolio. Now what?

Now it’s time to arrange the circulate of knowledge in your web site. A website map is a good way to get began with this. Principally, you wish to be sure that discovering info in your web site is user-friendly and intuitive. By making a website map, you’ll be able to visualize the place you need all of your content material to reside. What’s going to the primary classes—or webpages—in your web site be? What info will reside on every web page?  

When creating your website map, draw containers for all the webpages that can hyperlink out of your navigation menu (that is the header that’s usually discovered on the high of an internet site). Underneath every of those webpage containers, establish the kinds of content material you’ll placed on every webpage. You can even take into consideration what you’d wish to see “above the fold” on every webpage (a.ok.a. the part of a webpage you see earlier than you begin scrolling) and combine that into your plan.

This could require some critical brainstorming, however persist with us—it’s price it! Listed here are some website map examples to get your artistic juices flowing:

Step 7. Personal your on-line house — Safe your area title
When you’re completely satisfied along with your website map, the web site portfolio train is full. Yay! You’re properly in your approach to making a standout portfolio web site.

One final thing we have to contact on earlier than we go is selecting a reputation on your web site—after which securing your area title. A site title is actually your web site’s tackle—that is what individuals will use to search out your portfolio web site, and it’s completely distinctive to you.

A cool factor about domains on this modern-day and age is that you just aren’t restricted to utilizing a website title that ends in .com or .ca—there are tons of different choices out there that may higher resonate along with your model. If you happen to’re a artistic, there’s .design or .artwork. Or possibly, should you’re a part of a collective or volunteer group, .membership is ideal for you ( is a good instance of integrating your model title into your area title).  

The choices are limitless, so have enjoyable with it!

And right here’s an insider tip: .CLUB and .DESIGN are on sale right now at!

How to Build a Portfolio Website - Computer with Worksheets

You’re all set!
Now you have got a transparent roadmap to constructing a superb, on-brand portfolio web site. By following this strategic course of, you’ll be empowered to make good, educated selections that profit your profession. Your portfolio web site is the gateway to attaining your objectives—it’s not one thing to take calmly. Though it may be daunting, going by means of all these steps can prevent a variety of time, power, and typically even cash.

On the finish of the day, this train is all about implementing your model technique. You wish to stand out and provide a artistic answer to your viewers—and following these steps will enable you just do that.

In regards to the Writer — Isabelle Poirier
Izzy is a model designer from Ottawa, Canada. By day, she runs IP Design, a design studio centered on constructing group by means of memorable experiences. IP Design has a distinctly trendy aesthetic and provides daring, conceptual strategic options. By night time, she is the founding father of the Ottawa Design Club, a group initiative with speaker occasions, panel discussions, workshops, and zines. The membership’s mission is to deliver creatives collectively by means of these initiatives and showcase all of the unimaginable design and artwork taking place of their communities and past.