Methods to: Create a Portfolio Web site

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

If you happen to’re a inventive, likelihood is you may have a portfolio of some kind (bonus factors in case your portfolio lives on an internet site)! A portfolio is an effective way to showcase your work, and generally is a useful instrument to draw future shoppers.

That being mentioned, an excellent digital portfolio includes extra than simply throwing fairly footage up on an internet site (regardless of how gifted you might be). A standout portfolio requires context—it ought to be clear and concise, and your web site guests ought to be capable to shortly perceive who you might be, what you do, and what it’s important to provide. Primarily, a great portfolio requires a strong model technique.

Unsure the place to begin? 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 may kick it old style with a pen and paper. For every query requested within the following train, write down something and all the things 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 might be — It’s your time to shine!
Whether or not you’re a freelancer, solopreneur, or inventive company, you must let your persona shine by in the way you current your self to the world. In any case, you’re in all probability attempting to draw shoppers who align along with your values, pursuits, and total vibe. Because of this showcasing your persona in your web site is so vital. Sure, you’re promoting items or a service, however you’re additionally promoting your self.

By exploring and understanding who you might be, it’s simpler to determine your targets and aspirations, how you can outline your viewers, and how you can finest show your content material to attain your required outcomes. The whole lot 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 persona like?
  6. What are a few of your life experiences?
  7. What does your skilled journey appear 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 elements of popular culture, subcultures, hobbies, pursuits, and so forth. For instance, possibly you like 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 things you wrote down will in the end make it to your web site—and that’s okay! What’s vital is that you simply really feel you may have 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 persona, expertise, pursuits, and dream alternatives? These connections will come in useful as you start to create content material in your portfolio.

Step 2. Outline your targets — Observe your goals!
Now, it would seem to be your dream alternatives are manner out of attain, however don’t fear—it’s regular to really feel this fashion! It’s all about taking incremental steps so as to obtain your massive targets. 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 targets 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 targets as you want, regardless of how massive or small they might appear.

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

Step 3. Outline your viewers — Who’re you speaking to?
You understand how in a film, if a personality is speaking to themselves on the road, we’d get the impression that they’re performing just a little wacky? We’ve all seen the sort of character cliché, however typically the very same factor is occurring 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 providers?
  3. Who needs to purchase your merchandise?
  4. Who needs to comply with your journey?
  5. Who’s your viewers?

The extra particular you might be 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 at least one that resonates along with your particular viewers. Simply bear 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? Assume to your self: What would you like your website guests to do after they navigate by your portfolio? Which actions would you like them to take in your web site moreover 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 below 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 chunk 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 you understand when (and the place) to say, “I can remedy your downside—right here’s how”.

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

Check out your train sheets and evaluate your choices, targets, and viewers. Circle or spotlight all the things that resonates with you—what are you attempting to attain and entice? Search for connections that can assist information the content material you set 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 vital because the content material itself). For instance, should you promote items of art work, you’ll in all probability wish to {photograph} every bit in relation to different bodily objects (so the scale of the piece is definitely understood), have a close-up picture that exhibits element, and a picture of what the piece seems to be like framed. And don’t neglect the logistical info: What are the size? How do you grasp up the art work? How ought to you take care of it? That is info your viewers will anticipate to see.

This precept nonetheless applies even should you don’t promote bodily items. If you happen to’re a freelancer promoting your providers, 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 knowledge that demonstrates your success!

Likewise, in case your dream alternative is to be employed by your favorite company, showcase your work in a manner that aligns with that company’s aesthetic and/or spotlight your personal shoppers which can be much like the company’s shoppers. Together with your portfolio, you may present—not simply inform—them why you’ll be a rockstar addition to their workforce.

Seize each alternative it’s important to clarify the way you course of info, the way you resolve issues, and the way you discover options. And bear in mind, should you solely showcase photographs of your work, you’re in all probability leaving some huge cash on the desk—and who needs that?

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

Now it’s time to arrange the circulate of data in your web site. A website map is an effective way to get began with this. Principally, you wish to guarantee that discovering info in your web site is user-friendly and intuitive. By making a website map, you may 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 bins for the entire webpages that can hyperlink out of your navigation menu (that is the header that’s usually discovered on the high of an internet site). Beneath every of those webpage bins, establish the sorts of content material you’ll placed on every webpage. You may as well take into consideration what you’d wish to see “above the fold” on every webpage (a.okay.a. the part of a webpage you see earlier than you begin scrolling) and combine that into your plan.

This will require some severe brainstorming, however stick to us—it’s value it! Listed below are some website map examples to get your inventive juices flowing:

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

One final thing we have to contact on earlier than we go is selecting a reputation in your web site—after which securing your area title. A website title is actually your web site’s handle—that is what folks 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 simply aren’t restricted to utilizing a site title that ends in .com or .ca—there are tons of different choices obtainable which may higher resonate along with your model. If you happen to’re a inventive, 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 countless, 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 may have 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 reaching your targets—it’s not one thing to take calmly. Though it may be daunting, going by all these steps can prevent numerous time, vitality, 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 inventive resolution to your viewers—and following these steps will enable you do exactly that.

In regards to the Creator — Isabelle Poirier
Izzy is a model designer from Ottawa, Canada. By day, she runs IP Design, a design studio targeted on constructing group by memorable experiences. IP Design has a distinctly fashionable aesthetic and gives daring, conceptual strategic options. By evening, 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 carry creatives collectively by these initiatives and showcase all of the unbelievable design and artwork occurring of their communities and past.