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General Tips for Your Online Portfolio

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For many professions, an online presence or portfolio is the best way to showcase your work, and yes it’s more then just your curriculum vitae.  An online portfolio is vital to get noticed and to build your (freelance) business.

As with most aspects of freelancing, creating a online portfolio doesn’t come with a standard guidebook or manual. It’s totally up to you how to present your work (and yourself) to express your value, knowledge and experience. But there are certainly some general tips you can use to help the structure of your portfolio:

How To Showcase Your Work?

Only show your best work in your portfolio. It’s sounds quite attractive, especially when you are starting as a freelancer, to list every client you have worked for, or everything you have ever created. Limit the examples of your work, only point out your most important designs and don’t include the others.

Note: if it’s not the work you’re targeting for with your portfolio, than don’t include it. However, make sure your portfolio has body and shows your diverse abilities, that gives clients an indication of your professional range and the different fields of industry you’ve done projects for.

Regularly update your portfolio with new (master-) pieces or more relevant information about you and your professional directions.

How To Write Your Content?

Your (company) name and contact info (telephone-number, e-mail address, etc.) should be prominently placed on your site. Let your prospects and clients contact you via a contact form instead of just showing your email address. The less steps the visitor need to take filling out the contact form to get in touch, the more likely they will get in touch.

The importance of a good ‘About’ page can’t be overrated. This is where you tell your reader – preferably in the first person (me, myself and I) – a little about yourself: your full name, qualifications, experience, and so on, .. but keep it to the point. Also, posting a good picture of yourself won’t do no harm at all; your reader can put a face to the name.

A curriculum vitae is more than a good-looking paper that you ‘distribute’ at job markets; – it should be an essential part of your online portfolio. Always include a professional curriculum vitae, whether as a web page or a downloadable document.

It’s quite realistic to say you know a lot more about the skills you freelance in than your potential clients do, so it’s unlikely they will appreciate your work for the creative value alone. Don’t show the projects you are most proud of, showcase projects that provided the best results for your clients, e.g.: did the new branding generate 30% more customers after that (re)design you did?

Tip: When possible place your important content above the page-fold.

online portfolio


Simplicity is the key to good web design, you all know the phrase: Less is more. First of all, your projects need to stand out in your portfolio, allowing for the artwork to do the talking. If the site-layout overwhelms the projects on display then you’re not likely to succeed.

White space helps to give a professional and clean feel, the more visual elements you try to push into an area the more difficult it will be to maintain that feeling of professionalism. Consider cautiously every visual element you add to the design, otherwise remove it!

Ask yourself how many pages deep you want users to click for more information and how much information you want to fit on a page. This is an matter to be aware of before constructing your portfolio.

Make your navigation as simple as possible, navigation is an indispensable tool for creating usable and accessible websites. You really don’t want large numbers of people coming to see your portfolio having difficulty navigating through it.

Tip: Good SEO will improve the ability for potential clients to find you through the major search engines.

How to make a Online Portfolio

The answer to this question depends on your profession; A online portfolio of a web designer should not only have an hand-coded unique design, .. but it should also have proper typography, user-friendly navigation and other elements that clients will look for within their own projects.

It’s essential to understand the type of portfolio you are going to create. Online portfolios can showcase projects of all kind of fields of industry and so they should have different styles and, in some cases, usability.

Online portfolios tend to come in one of these three flavours: a weblog, a website, or a dedicated solution (for instance a flash-portfolio on CD). When you want to create a portfolio, choose wisely between using a CMS (Content Management System) or creating a static website.


To build a portfolio is not that difficult, making it good is. A good portfolio does so much more than just showcasing examples of your work, it should transforms visitors into potential clients.

A great portfolio is a perfect mix of your personality, spectacular work, simplicity and user-friendliness that makes your portfolio stand out from the rest and achieve success. Always remember that your portfolio has a goal: more traffic, more profits, more sales. By focusing on this end result, you’re focusing on what potential clients really want.

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Hopefully some of this is useful to you? Have you designed your online portfolio, why not share your experiences? The comment-section is completely yours …!


Author: Jan Rajtoral

Jan Rajtoral AKA Gonzo the Great is the Founder of and Designer at gonzodesign, providing design services across the full spectrum of Brand Identity, Graphic Design, Print and Advertising Design & Website Design.

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