When you work from home as a freelance professional, you will need to create a digital portfolio of all of your accomplishments. This portfolio allows potential clients to examine your work, see if they can “connect” with your style, and establish a trust between client and professional.
An online portfolio is simply a personal website that has a catalogue of all your work available. It is important to establish this portfolio as soon as you decide to freelance. If you are brand new to the industry, fill your portfolio with samples, and update the site as you begin to add clients.
Building Your Online Portfolio
- Website design – The first thing that you want to do when you build your online portfolio is establish a clean and fresh looking website. You do not want to use too many bold colours or over-populate the pages with text or graphics. You want the potential client to be able to concentrate on your work and not be distracted by the site.
- Promote Your Work – Not Yourself. Your clients want to know what type of work you produce, and they want to be able to feel like they can relate to you through that work. You must base your portfolio on your work and not use it as a social page describing all your personal details.
- Make Contact Information Easy To Find – If the client is impressed, they will want to immediately contact you. Make sure that it is easy for them to do this. Each of your pages should have a way for them to contact you posted somewhere on the page that is easy to find.
- Navigation Matters – Make sure that the person viewing your site can easily navigate through the site. Nothing is worse than becoming impatient with a site because you can’t find what you are looking for. Hard to navigate sites do not make sales.
- Information Overload – Do not over-describe your work; let the work speak for itself. The average Internet user will not pause long enough to read long paragraphs or extended explanations. They want to scan the page, grab the key words and examine the product, nothing more and nothing less. You must accommodate this frame of mind or risk losing the client.
- Avoid PDF’s If Possible – Just like the information overload described above, most Internet users will not download a PDF to review product information. Unless it is very necessary to use PDF’s should be avoided at all costs.
- Hard To Understand Text – Do not write text for your site that is too hard to understand by the average reader. You must take into account that when someone is looking for a freelancer in your industry it is because they do not have the ability or knowledge to perform the task themselves. You cater to their inexperience with the subject without making it look like you are talking down to your audience.
- Avoid “Advertisement- Styled” Designs – Consumers are very selective at what they choose to view on the Internet. With this in mind, many have learned to tune-out anything that may be considered advertising. Setting up your at part of your portfolio to resemble an advertisement, such as using flashing text or banner size graphics, will cause the viewer to ignore what that area of the site contains.
Paper Copies And Digital Back-Up
While it is becoming more and more rare for a freelance professional to go from business to business carrying a leather portfolio case and showing their works to clients, it is still something you should have prepared in the event that it is needed. You never know what opportunities may arise.
It is also very important that you have back-up companies of your portfolio in the event that there are any problems with your site. These problems can occur in many forms, and it is imperative that you are able to restore the site quickly.
Your online portfolio will become your number one marketing tool. It is the first thing that your client will see, and it will help them determine if you are the right choice for their task. Keeping and maintaining your online portfolio should be your number one priority, ensuring your freelance success.