The best way to: Create a Portfolio Web site

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

In the event you’re a artistic, chances are high you have got a portfolio of some kind (bonus factors in case your portfolio lives on a web site)! A portfolio is an effective way to showcase your work, and generally is a useful device to draw future shoppers.

That being stated, an incredible digital portfolio includes extra than simply throwing fairly footage up on a web site (irrespective of how gifted you might be). A standout portfolio requires context—it must be clear and concise, and your web site guests ought to be capable of shortly perceive who you might be, what you do, and what you must provide. Primarily, a great portfolio requires a stable model technique.

Unsure the place to start out? We’re right here to assist—and we’ll make it enjoyable! Beneath we’ve outlined 7 strategic steps that may allow you to construct your dream portfolio web site. To make it simpler, be happy to obtain our technique worksheets right here, or you’ll be able to kick it old-fashioned with a pen and paper. For every query requested within the following train, write down something and every part 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, you need to let your persona shine by way of in the way you current your self to the world. In spite of everything, you’re most likely attempting to draw shoppers who align along with your values, pursuits, and total vibe. This is the reason showcasing your persona in your web site is so vital. 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, outline your viewers, and greatest show your content material to attain your required outcomes. Every thing is interconnected.

Let’s begin by defining some traits about your self. Think about 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 appear to be?

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

Now it’s unlikely that every part you wrote down will in the end make it to your web site—and that’s okay! What’s vital is that you simply really feel you have got 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 come in useful as you start to create content material on your portfolio.

Step 2. Outline your objectives — Observe your desires!
Now, it’d appear to be 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 with a purpose to obtain your large 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 may 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 objective is to guide artwork exhibits or to discover a new job!) Write down as many objectives as you want, irrespective of how large or small they might appear.

By defining your objectives, you’ll be able to then decide a transparent path of motion to take to attain them. Success doesn’t occur in a single day (most often…), 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 performing a bit wacky? We’ve all seen this 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 the event you don’t know who you’re chatting with—in different phrases, in the event you 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 might be when defining your viewers, the higher. Realizing 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 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 objective of your web site? Assume to your self: What would you like your web site guests to do once they navigate by way of your portfolio? Which actions would you like them to take in your web site apart from simply taking a look at fairly footage?

On web page three, column one, we’re going to discover what you need your guests to really 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 you already know when (and the place) to say, “I can resolve 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 assessment your choices, objectives, and viewers. Circle or spotlight every part that resonates with you—what are you attempting to attain and entice? Search for connections that may 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 vital because the content material itself). For instance, in the event you promote items of paintings, you’ll most likely 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 exhibits element, and a picture of what the piece seems to be like framed. And don’t overlook the logistical data: What are the scale? How do you cling up the paintings? How ought to you take care of it? That is data your viewers will count on to see.

This precept nonetheless applies even in the event you don’t promote bodily items. In the event 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 in the event you 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 might be just like the company’s shoppers. Along with your portfolio, you’ll be able to present—not simply inform—them why you’ll be a rockstar addition to their crew.

Seize each alternative you must clarify the way you course of data, the way you resolve issues, and the way you discover options. And bear in mind, in the event you solely showcase photos of your work, you’re most likely leaving some huge cash on the desk—and who desires that?

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

Now it’s time to prepare the circulate of data in your web site. A web site map is an effective way to get began with this. Mainly, you need to make it possible for discovering data in your web site is user-friendly and intuitive. By making a web site map, you’ll be able to visualize the place you need all of your content material to stay. What’s going to the principle classes—or webpages—in your web site be? What data will stay on every web page?  

When creating your web site map, draw packing containers for the entire webpages that may hyperlink out of your navigation menu (that is the header that’s usually discovered on the prime of a web site). Underneath every of those webpage packing containers, determine the kinds of content material you’ll placed on every webpage. You may also 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 will require some critical brainstorming, however stick to us—it’s value it! Listed below are some web site map examples to get your artistic juices flowing:

Step 7. Personal your on-line house — Safe your area title
When you’re glad along with your web site map, the web site portfolio train is full. Yay! You’re properly in your technique to making a standout portfolio web site.

One last item we have to contact on earlier than we go is selecting a reputation on your web site—after which securing your area title. A website title 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 title that ends in .com or .ca—there are tons of different choices accessible which may higher resonate along with your model. In the event you’re a artistic, there’s .design or .artwork. Or perhaps, in the event you’re a part of a collective or volunteer group, .membership is ideal for you ( is a good instance of integrating your model title into your area title).  

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 superb, 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 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 lots 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 resolution to your viewers—and following these steps will allow you to do exactly that.

Concerning the Writer — Isabelle Poirier
Izzy is a model designer from Ottawa, Canada. By day, she runs IP Design, a design studio targeted on constructing group by way of memorable experiences. IP Design has a distinctly trendy aesthetic and provides 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 unbelievable design and artwork occurring of their communities and past.