: 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 artistic, likelihood is you could 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 software to draw future shoppers.

That being stated, an incredible digital portfolio includes extra than simply throwing fairly photos up on an internet site (regardless of how gifted you might be). A standout portfolio requires context—it needs to be clear and concise, and your web site guests ought to be capable of rapidly perceive who you might be, what you do, and what it’s important to provide. Basically, a very good 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 aid 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 skool with a pen and paper. For every query requested within the following train, write down something and every little thing 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 artistic company, it’s best to let your persona shine by way of in the way you current your self to the world. In spite of everything, you’re in all probability making an attempt to draw shoppers who align together with your values, pursuits, and total vibe. Because of this 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 might be, it’s simpler to determine your objectives and aspirations, the right way to outline your viewers, and the right way to greatest show your content material to attain your required outcomes. All the pieces is interconnected.

Let’s begin by defining some traits about your self. Take into account this your “bullet level bio”.  

Get your aforementioned pen and paper out, or observe 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 main 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 facets of popular culture, subcultures, hobbies, pursuits, and many others. For instance, possibly you’re keen on 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 corporations would you wish to work with?
  2. What market or trade do you need to work in?
  3. The place would you wish to be featured?

Now it’s unlikely that every little thing 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 could have sufficient data 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 fashion! It’s all about taking incremental steps so as to obtain your massive objectives. 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 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, possibly your aim is to guide artwork reveals or to discover a new job!) Write down as many objectives as you want, regardless of how massive or small they could 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 (normally…), 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 appearing somewhat wacky? We’ve all seen any such character cliché, however generally the very same factor is going on 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 chatting with—in different phrases, if you happen to don’t know your viewers—you’re talking right into a void.

That’s why the subsequent 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 observe your journey?
  5. Who’s your viewers?

The extra particular you might be when defining your viewers, the higher. Figuring out who you’re chatting with 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 together with your particular viewers. Simply bear in mind: You might 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 aim of your web site? Assume to your self: What would you like your website guests to do after they navigate by way of your portfolio? Which actions would you like them to take in your web site in addition to simply taking a look at fairly photos?

On web page three, column one, we’re going to discover what you need your guests to really do in your web site. Listed here 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 bit 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 realize when (and the place) to say, “I can remedy your drawback—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 evaluate your choices, objectives, and viewers. Circle or spotlight every little thing that resonates with you—what are you making an attempt 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, if you happen to promote items of paintings, you’ll in all probability need to {photograph} every bit in relation to different bodily objects (so the scale of the piece is well understood), have a close-up picture that reveals element, and a picture of what the piece appears to be like like framed. And don’t neglect the logistical data: What are the scale? How do you grasp up the paintings? How ought to you take care of it? That is data your viewers will anticipate to see.

This precept nonetheless applies even if you happen to 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 if you happen to 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 approach that aligns with that company’s aesthetic and/or spotlight your individual shoppers which can be just like the company’s shoppers. Together with your portfolio, you possibly can present—not simply inform—them why you’d be a rockstar addition to their crew.

Seize each alternative it’s important to clarify the way you course of data, the way you resolve issues, and the way you discover options. And bear in mind, if you happen to 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 could have all this fabulous content material in your web site portfolio. Now what?

Now it’s time to arrange the stream of data in your web site. A website map is an effective way to get began with this. Principally, you need to make it possible for discovering data 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 dwell. What is going to the principle classes—or webpages—in your web site be? What data will dwell 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). Underneath every of those webpage bins, determine the varieties of content material you’ll placed on every webpage. You can even take into consideration what you’d wish 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 may require some severe brainstorming, however persist with us—it’s price it! Listed here are some website map examples to get your artistic juices flowing:

Step 7. Personal your on-line area — Safe your area identify
When you’re joyful together with your website map, the web site portfolio train is full. Yay! You’re properly in your solution to making a standout portfolio web site.

One very last 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 deal with—that is what individuals 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 accessible that may higher resonate together with your model. If you happen to’re a artistic, there’s .design or .artwork. Or possibly, if you happen to’re a part of a collective or volunteer group, .membership is ideal for you (ottdesign.club is a good instance of integrating your model identify into your area identify).  

The choices are limitless, so have enjoyable with it!

And right here’s an insider tip: .CLUB and .DESIGN are on sale right now at Insurgent.com!

How to Build a Portfolio Website - Computer with Worksheets

You’re all set!
Now you could 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 selections that profit your profession. Your portfolio web site is the gateway to attaining your objectives—it’s not one thing to take frivolously. Though it may be daunting, going by way of all these steps can prevent quite a lot of time, power, 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 provide a artistic answer to your viewers—and following these steps will aid 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 centered on constructing group by way of memorable experiences. IP Design has a distinctly trendy aesthetic and affords daring, conceptual strategic options. By night time, 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 convey creatives collectively by way of these initiatives and showcase all of the unimaginable design and artwork taking place of their communities and past.