Methods 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, chances are high you will have a portfolio of some type (bonus factors in case your portfolio lives on a web site)! A portfolio is an effective way to showcase your work, and is usually a useful device to draw future shoppers.

That being stated, an important digital portfolio includes extra than simply throwing fairly photos up on a web site (irrespective of how gifted you’re). A standout portfolio requires context—it ought 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 you must supply. Primarily, a very good portfolio requires a stable model technique.

Undecided the place to begin? We’re right here to assist—and we’ll make it enjoyable! Under we’ve outlined 7 strategic steps that can assist you construct your dream portfolio web site. To make it simpler, be at liberty to obtain our technique worksheets right here, or you possibly can 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 is best to 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 general vibe. This is the reason showcasing your persona in your web site is so essential. 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, the right way to outline your viewers, and the right way to 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. Contemplate 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 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 points of popular culture, subcultures, hobbies, pursuits, and so on. For instance, perhaps you like Star Wars and Neapolitan pizza.)
  2. What excites you?
  3. What are you interested by?

The fourth column is all about your dream alternatives:

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

Now it’s unlikely that all the pieces you wrote down will finally make it to your web site—and that’s okay! What’s essential is that you simply really feel you will 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 turn out to be useful as you start to create content material in your portfolio.

Step 2. Outline your objectives — Comply with your desires!
Now, it would look like 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 so as to obtain your massive objectives. These incremental steps—or mini-goals, as we prefer to name them—are methods to attain recognition, social proof, and/or work expertise that can assist get you to the place you need 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 need to accomplish? (For instance, perhaps your purpose is to e book artwork reveals or to discover a new job!) Write down as many objectives as you want, irrespective of how massive or small they might appear.

By defining your objectives, you possibly can then decide a transparent path of motion to take to attain them. Success doesn’t occur in a single day (usually…), 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 performing slightly wacky? We’ve all seen any such character cliché, however generally 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, when 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’re when defining your viewers, the higher. Understanding 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 keep in mind: You will not be for everybody, however that’s okay—which means 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 purpose 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 apart from simply fairly photos?

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 realizing 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 already know when (and the place) to say, “I can remedy your downside—right here’s how”.

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

Check out your train sheets and overview 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 need to take into consideration the presentation of this content material (that is simply as essential because the content material itself). For instance, when you promote items of paintings, you’ll in all probability need to {photograph} each bit in relation to different bodily objects (so the scale of the piece is definitely understood), have a close-up picture that reveals element, and a picture of what the piece seems like framed. And don’t overlook the logistical info: What are the scale? How do you grasp up the paintings? How ought to you take care of it? That is info your viewers will anticipate to see.

This precept nonetheless applies even when 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 when 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 personal shoppers which can be much like the company’s shoppers. Along with your portfolio, you possibly can present—not simply inform—them why you’d be a rockstar addition to their staff.

Seize each alternative you must clarify the way you course of info, the way you resolve issues, and the way you discover options. And keep in mind, when you solely showcase pictures 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 will have all this fabulous content material in your web site portfolio. Now what?

Now it’s time to arrange the move of data in your web site. A website map is an effective way to get began with this. Mainly, you need to be sure that discovering info in your web site is user-friendly and intuitive. By making a website map, you possibly can visualize the place you need all of your content material to stay. What is going to the primary classes—or webpages—in your web site be? What info will stay on every web page?  

When creating your website map, draw packing 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 a web site). Underneath every of those webpage packing containers, determine the sorts of content material you’ll placed on every webpage. You may as well take into consideration what you’d prefer 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 will require some severe brainstorming, however keep on with us—it’s value it! Listed below are some website map examples to get your artistic juices flowing:

Step 7. Personal your on-line house — Safe your area identify
When you’re blissful along with your website map, the web site portfolio train is full. Yay! You’re effectively in your strategy 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 identify. A site identify 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 website identify that ends in .com or .ca—there are tons of different choices out there which may higher resonate along with your model. If you happen to’re a artistic, there’s .design or .artwork. Or perhaps, when you’re a part of a collective or volunteer group, .membership is ideal for you ( is a good instance of integrating your model identify into your area identify).  

The choices are infinite, 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 will have a transparent roadmap to constructing a wonderful, on-brand portfolio web site. By following this strategic course of, you’ll be empowered to make good, educated choices that profit your profession. Your portfolio web site is the gateway to reaching your objectives—it’s not one thing to take evenly. Though it may be daunting, going by all these steps can prevent quite a lot of time, vitality, and generally even cash.

On the finish of the day, this train is all about implementing your model technique. You need to stand out and supply a artistic resolution to your viewers—and following these steps will assist you just do 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 centered on constructing neighborhood by memorable experiences. IP Design has a distinctly trendy aesthetic and provides daring, conceptual strategic options. By evening, she is the founding father of the Ottawa Design Club, a neighborhood initiative with speaker occasions, panel discussions, workshops, and zines. The membership’s mission is to deliver creatives collectively by these initiatives and showcase all of the unbelievable design and artwork occurring of their communities and past.