To be a successful digital entrepreneur, you need a digital portfolio that not only sells you as a brand but attracts top-paying clients to your doorstep.
A good digital portfolio helps you land that new job, showcase your work, and reinforce the trust your potential clients will have in your ability to deliver. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t set it up the right way and they end up getting zero attention.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the steps you can implement to create a successful digital portfolio that’ll land you your next big client.
How to Create a Successful Digital Portfolio
To effectively design a digital portfolio that’ll get tons of views and bring in deals, simply follow these six steps below;
Step 1: Choose a platform to host your digital portfolio
The first step is to find a place to host your portfolio online – this is so you can easily generate links to share.
Luckily, there are tons of no-code platforms you can use to get started. There are options like WordPress, Wix, Behance, Dribbble, Webflow and so many more. Keep in mind that each of these platforms has its unique features and uses.
There are portfolio builders for specific skills. For example, if you’re a freelance designer, you’d want to opt for Dribbble because it was created for designers and similar creatives. Asides from being able to get inspiration for your portfolio, it’s also where most employers look when they need design services.
Contently is another platform specifically designed for writers. Here, you can create a free portfolio that showcases your professional expertise and get matched with brands looking for your expertise.
So carry out thorough research before choosing a platform. You can do this by;
Identifying your skill set and looking out for platforms specific to it
Thinking about where you’d most likely get clients from. For example, you might want to update your Linkedin to feature samples of your work if you get a lot of DMs
Ask around from other creatives in your industry and identify what features are provided on the platform
Compare the cost of purchasing and hosting your portfolio there: While some might be cheaper than others, they might not give you enough flexibility when it comes to organizing your content.
Finally, you need a platform that allows you to bring in your domain name. This brings us to the next step.
Step 2: Get a professional URL
Next, you need a professional URL. If you’re using the domain name extension of your platform, it can hurt your visibility in the long term. For one, if you switch to a different hosting platform, your entire URL will have to change. Think about how you’d have to recall business cards and the links you’ve already sent.
This is why we recommend opting for your own domain name.
So instead of having Ydesign.wordpress.com as a domain, you can simply have y.design. It’s catchy and way more memorable.
A unique domain name for your digital portfolio can also serve as a long-term investment when you want to expand as an entrepreneur. You don’t have to worry about repurchasing your preferred domain from someone else at that time.
Having your own domain name also gives you control over what your content should look like and how your brand should appear. You also take control of your entire business name and ward off any unnecessary competition.
Because face it – anyone can choose to buy your portfolio name with a .com domain extension and use it to attract your potential clients to their brand.
Not sure of what domain name to opt for, check for available domain names in your industry.
Remember to always have a professional URL as it’ll be the first encounter a client will have with your business.
Step 3: Setup your website pages
Now that you have the website, it’s time to set up your pages. Start by creating your portfolio sections and how the design should look. Now you can choose to work with a one-page or multi-page portfolio.
And while you can showcase more work with a multi-page portfolio, we recommend opting for a single-page design.
This is because you can capture your client by putting your best work on one page. It’s not distracting and since it’s more targeted, you’ll have higher conversions.
One more reason to choose the one-page design is that it’s easier to update. Over time, you don’t have to put in too much effort to maintain a single portfolio page. You’d also know when there’s a broken link or wrong detail.
A great example of a one-page portfolio by Dodo digital. Here, every link in the navigation takes you to a section on the same page.
When creating your portfolio sections, you should include at least;
Your work samples: Now this doesn’t mean everything you’ve ever worked on. It just simply means your best work so far. Highlight the projects your clients have loved the most or those that got a lot of engagement on your socials.
Reviews and testimonials: People respond faster to word of mouth. To trust your brand, they need to see that your current clients are satisfied with what you do.
Services: What services are you looking to offer your potential clients? For example, if you’re a freelance writer what kind of writing services do you offer?
Contact: This is perhaps the most important section of your portfolio because it’s how your leads convert. Ensure you put in your correct contact information so that people can contact you when they need to. We recommend adding more than one contact option.
How you structure your portfolio site is entirely dependent on your industry and the services you plan to render.
For example, as a designer, you’d show more visual elements than text. A writer on the other hand will show a lot of writing samples by either listing them out in blocks or writing a compelling copy that cleverly links these samples together.
Step 4: Optimize for SEO
Tons of entrepreneurs get discovered online thanks to search engine optimization. To join them, you have to make sure that your portfolio is ‘findable’.
Start by using well-optimized images across your page(s). This means having clear, high-quality images that aren’t too heavy as well. You also want to add alternative texts so that search engines can understand them. We recommend adding relevant keywords in your industry too.
Next, add helpful content. For example, if you’re a skincare consultant, you’d want to use content that highlights that in a helpful way. So something like “A New-York based esthetician that specializes in acne treatments”.
This helps clients looking for acne solutions in New York. Here’s an amazing example from Jessica Hernandez
Once you’ve set everything up, review your site speed and load time. You don’t want your leads to spend time waiting for your elements to load. This is one of the major reasons for drop-offs.
So review this on Google Page Speed Insights to understand how well your digital portfolio website loads and specific recommendations to make it better.
Step 5: Build a strong personal brand online
Lately, your social media accounts are now an extension of your digital portfolio site. We have tweets and profiles displayed in search results. Also sometimes people tend to review who they’d want to work with to see if they’d be a culture fit.
This is why you need to build professional social media accounts as part of your brand online.
A great place to start is Linkedin. Linkedin allows you to showcase your work in the featured section. Here, you can add samples of your work and then link to your portfolio if they’d be interested in seeing more than the slides Linkedin permits. Here’s an example;
If you’re into design or if you have appealing visuals, you can also share your work on Instagram. Here, you can create highlights and then name them based on what you want to show.
For example, you can have a highlight for motion graphics design and another for brand packaging.
Your bios are also a great way to immediately stand out as a thought leader in your industry. So ensure you put relevant keywords in them and state what your specialty is. If you offer design services, state what kind and add your location. Since you might get new leads on social media, add your contact information like an email address so clients can contact you.
Finally, post about your industry and work. You can set up a social media calendar to create a level of consistency in your posts.
Step 6: Review and share your portfolio
The last step to getting visibility for your digital portfolio is sharing it whenever you can.
However, before proceeding to share it with the public, review your content.
Here you’d be checking for typos, load time, and how well it presents your brand. You can share it in beta with a few members of your network to get their insights.
Once everything looks good, you can then share it for enhanced visibility. Start by adding a link to your social media accounts, resume, business cards, and communities you belong to.
You can also go the extra mile by adding it to your email signature especially when you’d be sending out cold emails.
Bonus: Keep it updated
Your skills improve over time and so does the quality of your projects. This is why it’s essential to update your portfolio website to reflect this change.
If your potential clients see low-quality work, they’d be scared off without knowing how much you’ve improved. So we recommend adding newer projects you’ve worked on and taking out some that you’re no longer so proud of.
Updating also includes your contact information and description. If you’ve changed your social media handles, your portfolio should show the latest one. This also applies to your phone number and email address.
Your digital portfolio isn’t just a means to get clients, but it’s also the future of your brand. By optimizing it for success, you’re preparing for expansion and business growth. You also invest in your brand by protecting it and saving potential future.
The best way to start is by securing a domain name for your business with Domainfy.