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How to Make a Portfolio Website That Stands Out

Learn how to make a portfolio website that showcases your work and helps you stand out from competitors with these pro tips.

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By Scott Winstead

how to make a portfolio website

Whether you’re an eLearning professional or you work in marketing, design, writing, photography, or art, a portfolio site is an important way to showcase your talent and grow your base. Your portfolio site is your chance to display all of your best work, tell your story, and highlight your capabilities and passions. It’s the place to not only tell who you are, but to let your excellent work speak for itself.

A strong portfolio site is an essential part of growing your brand, connecting with new clients, and making your online business a success. After all, no matter how great your body of work is, it won’t get proper attention if your portfolio site isn’t up to par. This is why creating the perfect portfolio site can feel overwhelming, especially for people who may not have a background in the tech field.

If you’re looking to craft a portfolio site that speaks to your target audience, but aren’t sure where to begin…you’re in the right place. In the guide below, I’ll share some essential tips and strategies on how to make a portfolio website that pops.

7 Tips to Build a Great Portfolio Site

1. Use a Website Builder

Even if you’re a master coder, building a website from the ground up can be time-consuming. Maintaining your site can also take valuable energy away from your real work.

The good news is you don’t have to know how to build a portfolio website if you have the right tools. Investing in a quality site building platform can streamline the entire process and keep every aspect of your online presence running smoothly.

There are dozens of highly rated site builders out there, so do some digging to find the one that best suits your needs.

Top Pick
Squarespace Squarespace

Squarespace is one of the top website builders available today, offering tons of beautiful templates for any type of website you can imagine. Building a website has never been so easy!

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Personally, Squarespace is my all-around pick for creating a portfolio site and managing your online brand. As someone who’s not a designer, I love that this platform is incredibly user-friendly and offers beautifully designed templates and features, including tons of portfolio site templates that make it easy to showcase work in a professional and visually appealing way.

The drag-and-drop interface means you can customize your site without needing to know a single line of code, and the integrated analytics tools help you track visitor engagement and understand how my content is performing.

Plus, the ability to add pages for a blog, contact information, and even an online store allows you to expand your online presence seamlessly.

Squarespace also offers handy features designed to help you build your customer base and stay connected with ease.

Whatever site building service you choose, make sure it will allow you to build a portfolio page that appeals to your clients and shows off your skills.

2. Make Your Work Stand Out

When designing your portfolio site, choose a layout that lets your work shine.

Your portfolio site shouldn’t be difficult to navigate or cluttered with tons of text and links.

Instead, your portfolio site should appear polished and professional, to create a positive first impression.

You want visitors to your portfolio site to immediately see what it is you’re showcasing.

Opt for a sleek, straightforward display of all of your best projects that clients can easily browse and view.

If you don’t have experience creating sites or don’t have “the eye” for graphic design, never fear.

Squarespace comes equipped with dozens of elegant templates you can use to get started.

Once you’ve selected your template, the platform allows you to customize fonts, headers, images, and more with their crisp drag-and-drop interface.

Making sure that your portfolio site is clear and attractive is an easy way to make your work stand out… and ensure that the right people can appreciate it.

3. Express Your Personality

One key way of making your portfolio site appeal to potential customers is by sharing your personality.

While you don’t want to clutter your page, a concise and engaging “About” section will help tell your story and establish your background.

This section lets visitors to your site see a glimpse of who you are and learn about what ignited your passion in the field.

You can also include prior experience and even testimonials or reviews from previous customers and clients.

Tell all about your education, your vision, or whatever details you think will enrich your ideal customer’s experience.

A few well-placed photographs can also illustrate who you are and what your brand is about.  Just make sure not to overdo it and create distractions from your actual work!

After all, your personal brand is just that: personal.  Sharing a bit about yourself can go a long way in making your portfolio shine.

4. Allow for Smooth Sales

If you’re selling a product or service, allowing interested clients to purchase directly from your portfolio site is a great idea.

You’re already highlighting all the excellent features of your work in your portfolio, so it’s the perfect place to include a sales option for new and returning customers.

Again, this is where having a sophisticated website builder like Squarespace can make all the difference.

The platform allows you to seamlessly integrate payment options into your page, without having to use an external payment software or program.

Customers can browse merchandise in your portfolio and even add items to their cart.

Checkout is easy, with the opportunity to pay via Stripe, Square, or Paypal.

This is a great way to effortlessly boost sales and increase your customer base, without having to operate a separate sales page or section.

5. Include Email Options

If you sell services instead of merchandise (or a combination of both), it’s a great idea to let customers sign up directly from your site.

Your portfolio is designed to pique their interest, so provide an option for interested folks to join a mailing list, submit their contact information, or send you a message.

This is an effortless way to catch potential customers’ attention before their interest wanes.

An email option allows you to convert curious visitors into returning customers and boost your brand’s network.

6. Keep it Current

Your portfolio site shouldn’t be a stagnant artifact.

Instead, you’ll want to continue updating and maintaining your site, so that potential clients can keep of track of your progress.

This means regularly adding new projects, updating your skills and services, and perhaps even incorporating a blog to share insights or industry news.

Keeping your portfolio dynamic not only demonstrates your ongoing commitment to your craft but also helps in boosting your site’s visibility in search engine rankings.

Remember, a portfolio that grows and evolves with your career can serve as a powerful tool to attract future opportunities.

7. Keep in Touch

Another aspect of keeping your portfolio relevant is keeping in touch with your customer base.

Once you’ve grown your email list, make use of it!

Maintaining a strong connection with your audience will help you keep your portfolio relevant and on-brand.

Send out a friendly newsletter.  Alert customers about upcoming sales.  Reach out to online groups that seem like they’d mesh with your vision.

Keeping in touch with customers and staying aware of trends among your target audience will help you make your portfolio as strong as possible.

Final Thoughts

Your portfolio is an extension of your brand, and, in a sense, yourself.

You want to communicate to audiences what you value, why your work is special, and why they might be interested in the merchandise or services you can offer.

Your portfolio is also the place where you can provide proof of your unique talents and capabilities.

It’s often the destination where visitors make their first impression about your style and skill.

Take the time to build an elegant, functional, and distinctive portfolio site to ensure that your online brand or business experiences the success you deserve.

Investing in a site building service like Squarespace can make this a much smoother process, and can save you time without costing quality. You can click here to try Squarespace for free to see if it’s the right portfolio builder for your needs.

After all, skimping on your portfolio site is like toiling away to create a stunning work of art, only to display it in a cheap plastic frame.

Do you maintain a portfolio site for your work?  Have any tips on how to make a portfolio website that I forgot to mention here?  I’d love to hear your questions and ideas in the comments below!

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