Do Not make Clients hate Your Portfolio
It is not that there has been an acute crisis of great web designers just because you are not getting a single person whose portfolio looks impressive. Well, this is a common problem with great designers, they are so much engrossed their day job and freelancing projects that they hardly get any time to fine-tune their portfolio as to make the prospective clients feel good and satisfied. However, I am not against working your tail off, it is your call but what I like to inform you that by not updating your portfolio, you might be missing out on some awesome clients that could have transferred your career otherwise.
To impress a client, you need to have a solid portfolio that looks and feels good and should be properly updated. Any half-hearted attempt is just going to spoil the broth. Portfolio is the first thing that is going to communicate your message to prospective customers and that means, you need to be extra careful while putting your best foot forward in this job.
Only the Bests should be Featured
While creating a portfolio, you need to put the focus squarely on the quality of the work. Features only the best of your design works and get them featured on your portfolio. Clients really do not have time to flip through all your works. They look for the best and portfolio is the best way to highlight your greatest works. Moreover, I do not see any reason why you will be interested in showing your average works to prospective clients. Add only those designs that you are proud of and it will do the trick.
Do Not Blah, Blah and Blah
Clients are not that interested in knowing who you are in your personal life or how many goals you have scored in your school days. They are looking for a guy who is capable of doing a particular job and that means, you should play it straight. Without extending the portfolio with unnecessary details or raw data, you should feature your achievements in the field you specialize in. This will make your portfolio look more compact. If you have added links, double check that they are all working, otherwise you will feel embarrassed at the end of the day.
Call to Action
Since the primary object of having a nice portfolio is to get as many clients as possible, you should not make it tough for the clients to find out your contact details. Do not play around with the contact information. Just place it in a prominent position that can be viewed easily otherwise, it may frustrate the clients and they may move on. If you are desperate to get new clients, there is no harm in adding a call to action button or request a quote button. This will simplify the task of getting in touch with you and probably this is what you really want.
Be a Brand
Promoting yourself as a brand in your niche, has its own share of advantages. However, I am not asking you to follow all those branding gurus who seem to be aware of all those marketing secrets, which are still unknown to the world. Nope, you just need to follow some standard tips and tricks and there you go.
Have a Completed and Unified Presence
It simply means that you just need to use the same logo and tagline in all your social media and other profiles as far as possible. For say, you should use the same picture in your portfolio and in your social media profiles, as this will make it easier for the clients to relate. This thing can be expanded a little bit if you can manage to use the same color scheme throughout your social circles. The main reason of using the same logo and tagline is you will be taken more seriously as a professional. This is the reason why a growing number of freelancers are adopting this technique just to establish them as serious professionals.
Do not Be afraid
Do not shy of featuring yourself as a professional because there are some clients who would love to work with solo professionals rather than with a big design firm. Cost is certainly a decisive factor here but more than that when you are working solely for the client, it is quite sure that you will be able to devote more time to his project. So, one thing guaranteed, quality will not suffer, no matter what. Use a nice catchy tagline that suits your theme and you are most likely to see some differences in the conversion ratio.
Integrate Social Media Presence
You may love or hate social media sites but the thing is that most clients reach us through it and that means, you cannot turn a blind eye to it. So, accept this truth and move on. Add links of your social media profiles in your portfolio so that prospective clients can send your friend request and the friendship can be transformed into a new business deal.
You can simply use icons of different social media sites to integrate them. However, make sure whatever accounts you are adding, should adequately represent who you are or what you do.
Do Not make it too showy
Your portfolio should not be another place to showcase your creativity. You will have enough opportunities later on. Rather than making the portfolio overtly complex by adding creative tidbits, you should make it as simple as possible. Depending on the client type, you can go for a simple or artistic one. It is more or less like A/B testing. Unless you have professional experience, you will find it really hard to believe that simplicity will win over gaudy creativity.
Michael Evans works for Site2you and a regular contributor to its blog.