The way to: Create a Portfolio Web site

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

In case you’re a artistic, chances are high you have got a portfolio of some type (bonus factors in case your portfolio lives on an internet site)! A portfolio is an effective way to showcase your work, and could be a useful instrument to draw future shoppers.

That being mentioned, an amazing digital portfolio includes extra than simply throwing fairly footage up on an internet site (irrespective of how proficient 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 provide. Primarily, a superb portfolio requires a stable model technique.

Undecided 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 to 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-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 via in the way you current your self to the world. In any case, you’re in all probability making an attempt 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 necessary. 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 realize 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 schooling?
  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 abilities are):

  1. What are your major abilities?
  2. What are your secondary abilities?
  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 on. For instance, perhaps 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 prefer to work with?
  2. What market or trade do you wish to work in?
  3. The place would you prefer to be featured?

Now it’s unlikely that all the pieces you wrote down will in the end make it to your web site—and that’s okay! What’s necessary is that you just really feel you have got 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, abilities, pursuits, and dream alternatives? These connections will come in useful as you start to create content material in your portfolio.

Step 2. Outline your objectives — Observe your desires!
Now, it’d look like 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 in an effort to obtain your huge objectives. These incremental steps—or mini-goals, as we prefer to name them—are methods to realize 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 objectives are—and placing them down on paper:

1. What do you wish to accomplish? (For instance, perhaps your objective is to ebook artwork reveals or to discover a new job!) Write down as many objectives as you want, irrespective of how huge or small they might appear.

By defining your objectives, you may then decide a transparent path of motion to take to realize 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 understand how in a film, if a personality is speaking to themselves on the road, we would get the impression that they’re appearing a little bit wacky? We’ve all seen the sort of 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. In case you don’t know who you’re chatting with—in different phrases, for those who 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 desires to purchase your merchandise?
  4. Who desires to comply with your journey?
  5. Who’s your viewers?

The extra particular you’re 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 along with your particular viewers. Simply keep in mind: You is probably not 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 objective of your web site? Suppose to your self: What would you like your website guests to do once they navigate via your portfolio? Which actions would you like them to take in your web site apart from 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 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 when (and the place) to say, “I can clear up your downside—right here’s how”.

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

Check out your train sheets and evaluation your choices, objectives, and viewers. Circle or spotlight all the pieces that resonates with you—what are you making an attempt to realize and entice? 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 wish to take into consideration the presentation of this content material (that is simply as necessary because the content material itself). For instance, for those who promote items of art work, you’ll in all probability wish to {photograph} each bit in relation to different bodily objects (so the dimensions of the piece is well understood), have a close-up picture that reveals element, and a picture of what the piece seems like framed. And don’t neglect the logistical info: What are the scale? How do you grasp up the art work? How ought to you take care of it? That is info your viewers will count on to see.

This precept nonetheless applies even for those who don’t promote bodily items. In case you’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 for those who 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 manner that aligns with that company’s aesthetic and/or spotlight your personal shoppers which are just like the company’s shoppers. Along with your portfolio, you may present—not simply inform—them why you’ll be a rockstar addition to their group.

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, for those who solely showcase pictures of your work, you’re in all probability leaving some huge cash on the desk—and who desires that?

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

Now it’s time to prepare the circulation of knowledge in your web site. A website map is an effective way to get began with this. Mainly, 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 stay. What’s 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 containers for the entire webpages that can hyperlink out of your navigation menu (that is the header that’s usually discovered on the prime of an internet site). Below every of those webpage containers, determine the varieties of content material you’ll placed on every webpage. You can even 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 may require some critical brainstorming, however follow us—it’s value it! Listed below 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 along with your website map, the web site portfolio train is full. Yay! You’re properly in your technique 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 website identify is basically your web site’s handle—that is what individuals will use to seek 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 just aren’t restricted to utilizing a site identify that ends in .com or .ca—there are tons of different choices obtainable that may higher resonate along with your model. In case you’re a artistic, there’s .design or .artwork. Or perhaps, for those who’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 have got 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 reaching your objectives—it’s not one thing to take frivolously. Though it may be daunting, going via all these steps can prevent a variety of time, vitality, and generally 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 artistic resolution to your viewers—and following these steps will enable you to just do that.

Concerning 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 via memorable experiences. IP Design has a distinctly fashionable aesthetic and provides 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 convey creatives collectively via these initiatives and showcase all of the unimaginable design and artwork taking place of their communities and past.