How To Make Your Portfolio Better And Get More Clients: Part 1
Your online portfolio is one of the main windows for which potential clients can view ‘you’ as a whole. I deliberately said ‘you’ and not your work. This is because a portfolio isn’t just to show your skills at writing, designing, coding, or whatever else you may be freelancing in. It also represents your personality, interests and style. That is why it is very important to make sure your portfolio is PERFECT (and I mean that to its full extent). Want to know how to do that? Well, here’s how.
Note: This article comes in two parts, the second part will be posted in the future.
In this part of the article, we’re going to be talking about usability. Usability is a term coined when you assess how easy something is to use. If you can go to a website, know exactly where you are, and know exactly where what you’re looking for is, then that is an extremely easy-to-use website, and therefore an extremely accessable and ‘usable’ website. Let’s get on to the tips.
Titles, Tags, Sections, Links
When thinking about the usability of your portfolio (and I’m referring to your online portfolio throughout this article) it’s crucial that you make sure all your titles are easy-to-read and very briefly describ that particular area of your website. For example, the title of your ‘About Me’ page should not just be ‘About Me’, an improvement would be something along the lines of ‘About [Enter Name Here] – Design and Code Extraordinaire’. If you analyse the latter title, you realize that it perfectly sums up what you do and how good you are. It also immediately attaches those attributes to your name. All your tags, section titles and links should also follow the same general rule as explained above.
Colors & Fonts
What I’m about to explain here is pretty much common sense, but I’ve seen this mistake been made over and over (and over and over) again. Heck, even I make this mistake sometimes! But anyway, make sure you color your links in a distinctive manner that will easily make them identifiable as links. Using the standard blue or various shades of it is brilliant, but even if you’re using any other strong color for a link, make sure it’s uniform and looks like something you would click.
Oh and one other thing about link colors, don’t make text that isn’t a link blue if it differs to the rest of the text on the page. People will think that piece of text is a link!
In terms of fonts, just make sure they’re legible and suit the portfolio’s style. People usually go with one of the following:
- A few others…
I recommend you stay within those bounds for standard digital text. Although if you’re using text in imagery, it’s fine to differ.
Using various sizes of font to form a structure around the content of your portfolio is a great way of making it easier to use. For example, if you have an overall page title of ‘About Us’ for example, make sure it’s bigger than any other headers you have further down within the content of that page. It makes sense to do this, and psychologically gives your content an element of structure.
Positioning & Structure
The layout of your portfolio is extremely important. Personally, I’m an advocate of minimalism. I don’t like too much on a page as it distracts me for what the main core purpose of the site is (well, unless that purpose is to distract you with too many things). The reason I say this is because not everyone is tech/web savvy, and therefore navigate through your websites as quick as you. I’ve witnessed this first-hand, particularly in those of the previous generation, where they take minutes looking for a single link. Your whole aim when designing your portfolio is to make it as easy-to-use as possible so that you reduce the risk of visitor dissatisfaction which can lead to lost business.
Take my portfolio as an example, it has a single preview box with arrows either side to navigate between thumbnails. The idea behind it is extremely simple, but works well. I wouldn’t say it’s the most usable function in the world because I find that a lot of people don’t know what that image in the center is, and don’t know if they should click it or not, therefore I had to write up a small instruction on the side to guide them.
What you should be doing though, is try to mimick the simplisity of design that a lot of portfolios out there show. That way, you’ll be able to create a portfolio that is a lot better, and in the long run potentially increase the amount of business you gain from that portfolio.
Always remember that the best portfolio isn’t necessarily the most ‘flashiest’.
Part 2 of ‘How To Make Your Portfolio Better And Get More Clients’ will be posted in the future. If you enjoyed this post, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to our RSS feed.