So, the amusements, celebrations and parties to welcome the year 2017 are over. And besides this thrill and fun, everyone of us has got some New Year Resolutions.
And the sole resolution of a Freelancer for the new year would be to attract potential clients to his work with a compelling freelance portfolio.
It sounds joyous being a freelancer. But there are tons of hassles a freelancer has to go through in order to keep things in shape. Keep getting higher-paying clients, having a consistent workflow and grabbing new business are the major worries.
Freelance Portfolio? Yes, this is a critical tool for freelancers (whether new or old).
You have got the skills, enthusiasm, and creativity to help a client achieving his/her goal. But nobody is going to know about your expertise unless it is portrayed in a right manner.
Why to Go for A Freelance Portfolio?
You have to showcase your capabilities in front of the world to demonstrate how you can be an asset for them. That is the reason why one needs to invest time, creativity and money in building a brilliant freelance portfolio that may stand you out in this crowded sphere.
Whether you are a freelance writer, copywriter, web developer, content marketer and so on; a portfolio is a must. It helps you to have a powerful online presence, builds your credibility and paves a way to attract bigger clients.
But how to design an attention-grabbing portfolio?
Here are the actionable tactics to design an outstanding freelance portfolio that will set you a part from the competition.
1- Be Clear About Expertise:
Tactic: You have to be specific about your specialty to demonstrate your stronger areas, where you want the potential clients to serve in.
It is the preliminary step while designing a freelance portfolio. You have to decide about your area of expertise. It is fine to call yourself a Writer, but Copywriter, Academic writer, Travel Blogger, Food or Fashion blogger etc. further narrows down the niche.
This specification lets potential clients be aware of your core skills. And you will be able to acquire relevant and bigger projects this way.
Check out how Yolander Prinzel has explicitly titled herself as Finance, Business and Insurance Ghostwriter. Such kind of clear specification (about your industry) is sufficient to pinch the clients about your areas of excellence.
2- Professional Domain Name:
Tactic: Always opt for a professional domain name with .com, .org or similar extensions.
This actionable tactic will save your portfolio. Having a domain name ending up with .WordPress or . Blogspot extensions make your domains look unprofessional.
You have to brand yourself as a highly professional freelancer from every bit of freelance portfolio. Just invest a little more and pay the yearly hosting fees for your portfolio website. This will allow you to have a domain with .com, .co, .org or similar extension. Every wise freelancer practices this tactic.
(So, you got why we are smashingwriters.com….)
3- Easy to Navigate Website:
Tactic: A clean, user-friendly and easy to navigate website opens the doors to acquire bigger clients.
You are building the freelance portfolio website to attract bigger clients and have more business in the new year. So, the website must be visually appealing, clean and easy to navigate that visitors can easily navigate through.
- Practice these tips to ensure a user-friendly website:
- Don’t overload your portfolio with unnecessary graphics
- Take care of menu items by putting them in an easy navigation bar
- Make sure about faster website speed
- Place clear and visually compelling images of past projects
Below is the website of Alastaire Allday, a freelance copywriter. With an extremely simple design, the website sounds neat, clutter-free and easy to navigate. All the menu items are clearly specified, so the visitors don’t find anything haphazard to navigate through.
Clicking on ‘Portfolio’, the visitor is presented with his milestone projects with a simplistic approach. And further clicking on ‘Read More’ button, you will be directed to the entire descriptions.
4- Compile Milestone Projects:
Tactic: Demonstrate your skills and experience by putting the best workpieces together.
How comes a freelance portfolio without past projects?
Next step is the most crucial phase that needs to be done proficiently. Obviously, your purpose of designing a tremendous portfolio is to bring new business. Without real work pieces, you are going to catch nobody’s eyes to your portfolio. Let’s start putting your best work pieces together.
- Milestone projects accomplished for bigger clients
- Projects for which you got rewarded
- Volunteer projects (done for non-profit organization)
This organization will shape your portfolio in a manner that speaks of your expertise. And it will be a sure way to get the desired leads in the form of higher-paying clients.
I fall in love with the uniqueness with which the web designer Bryan James has portrayed his past projects. This not only explains about his experience but sounds enough compelling to stop potential clients by the portfolio.
5- Include Explanation of Projects:
Tactic: Include the background and relevant details alongside every workpiece. This will elaborate more about your role as well as expertise.
A portfolio piece alone will not be able to retain others’ attention. There must be thorough descriptions alongside each workpiece. This lets your prospects have detailed insights about background of the project that you have finished.
And I would highly recommend that instead of providing description in the form of long paragraphs, breaking the descriptions into bullet points aids in retaining others’ interest. Add major points pertaining to:
- Project Name
- Client Details (just a fewer words)
- Your role in the project
- Final results (or any accomplishments)
Providing details in the form of points enhances the readability. And the clients will find easy to learn about your exposure and skills.
6- Logos of Bigger Clients:
Tactic: Put the visually enhanced logos of bigger clients on your home page to grab prospects’ attention to your exposure.
I found it one of the most crucial elements for a freelance portfolio. And while researching a number of freelance portfolio examples (belonging to different niches), I observed that putting visible logos of your bigger clients (or companies) you have worked with, gives you an edge.
Kristi Hines (a freelance writer and digital marketer) has set eye-catching logos of bigger companies she worked with throughout her career. This automatically leverages on the probability of getting preferred by the top-notch clients.
7- Add Relevant Education/Skills:
Tactic: Showcase your education and skills relevant to the area of expertise for which your portfolio is designed.
It is a significant element that a freelancer has to keep in mind. If you analyze different freelance portfolio examples, you will come across this fact. The highly successful freelancers have mentioned their most relevant education on portfolios.
You may have got a certification in web development. But for a copywriter, it is not that much relevant to be mentioned. So, list down the education, training and certifications that directly relate to your target industry. And the clients will have more trust in your skills and credibility.
8- Add URLs Of Guest Posts:
Tactic: Guest Posting on popular blogs makes you trustworthy and connected with the audience and influencers of your niche.
Sounds time consuming? Yes, it is. But putting time in crafting guest posts for popular blogs is a worthwhile effort. These sterling pieces demonstrate your expertise in the specific industry.
Do you consider guest posting important only for freelance writers?
Then, you are absolutely wrong. There are plenty of blogs in every possible niche. Whether you are a writer, caterer, photographer, real estate consultant or whatever, there would be some worth following blogs related to your industry.
Searching some relevant blogs through Google will give ou an ultimate list of top notch blogs that you may consider writing for. Contact the blog owners, pitch them with the ideas that you want to write on and send your write ups for approval.
Once you get the posts published on a few credible blogs, you have got real work to display on your freelance portfolio. Include those URLs (of your guest posts) in your portfolio items, and the clients will be compelled to trust in your capabilities.
9- Keep an Updated Blog:
Tactic: A regularly updated blog makes your portfolio website fresh and dynamic. Thus, you will have more visitors that may turn into successful leads.
Though, I am putting this point on number 9. But its significance is on the top of everything. In order to keep your portfolio alive and fresh, you must feature a blog there.
A well-maintained blog is not only a place to post regular content. In fact, it brands you as an expert in your industry, facilitates your interaction with target users and results in a widen exposure. And such a massive exposure results in more clients and long-term projects as well.
10- Offer Content Upgrades:
Tactic: Practice content upgrades approach to leverage on the way to get visitors become your subscribers and potential clients.
A content upgrade is a breakthrough that converts an ordinary visitor of your portfolio’s blog into a subscriber. Just entering a valid email address, a user can avail that upgrade offer. This not only helps you grow the email list, in fact, it may give you an exposure to giant clients and influencers of your industry.
There might be different ways to offer such content upgrades. But some of the convenient ways are listed below:
- Offer PDF format of a blog post
- Step by step checklist (suitable in longer blog posts with 4,000 or more words)
- E-book on the same topic as of blog post
- Case study (that demonstrates real success stories and people find them worth reading)
- Exclusive interviews (of the notable freelancers belonging to your niche)
11- Use Video For ‘About’ Page:
Tactic: Craft a compelling ‘About Me’ page by embedding a video introduction to yourself and your skills.
The ‘About Me’ page is the one that you must pay heed to. This is the page where you have to tell other about your journey of freelancing and how you can help people in achieving their goals.
But designing this page in a compelling way increases your chances of getting considered by potential clients. Therefore, including a video-based introduction (besides text) about yourself will put a great impact on visitors.
Check out Philipa Willitis’ video that is embedded on her freelance portfolio website’ s home page.
12- Use Enticing Call to Action Buttons:
Tactic: Compel your prospects to take action (like send a quote, contact to hire you etc.) with the help of visible and enticing call to action (CTA) buttons.
Your ultimate aim is to convert visitors (or prospects) into clients. And a call to action button is there to compel the visitor to get in touch with you. As much a visible button, you position on your portfolio website, that much client will find it easy to contact or hire you.
Don’t forget to make it attention grabbing by using unique words and eye-catching fonts.
It is an essential to have a power packed freelance portfolio website to take your freelancing to the higher levels. And implementing the mentioned elements will put together a powerful online presence for you. This not only grabs more visitors but converts them into higher-paying clients and milestone projects.
Have you got more ideas that might bring worth to someone’s freelance portfolio? Share with us in the comments section.