How to Create an Eye-Catching Online Portfolio

Want to create a portfolio that will grab the viewers attention? Within this article we list all the tips and trips.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

online portfolio

Although a creative and perfectly written CV can help you stand out from the crowd, employers look for more than just experience listed on a piece of paper when screening candidates. They want to see physical evidence of your work, and feedback from others that you are good at what you do. Cue the online portfolio – here you can demonstrate all of that and much more.

With these top tips, you’re bound to grab their attention and secure that all-important interview:

Be Clear About Your End Goal

It’s important to have a goal in sight as to why you’re building your online portfolio. Is it because you’re looking for a new job? Going into freelancing? Moving into a new field? Whatever the reason, think about how you want to portray your personal brand and your related experience. According to personal branding expert Joyce Akiko, “Crafting an online brand is the first step in landing a new job when you don't have a degree or previous work experience in that area. Making sure it aligns with your end goals is key - do your research up front."

Simplicity Is Key

Whether you are building your own website or using a template, it’s important to have a simple site with easy navigation. Hiring managers don’t have time to spend digging around for your samples. Make sure they are easy to locate and that your content is well organised into subcategories. For example, a writer can categorise his work by type of content produced; ebooks, blogs, articles, and ad copy. They shouldn’t be lumped together as one category, they should be easy to find through a navigation bar or a pull-down menu.

Use the Right Portfolio Building Resources

Some professionals who are familiar with coding and digital marketing may choose to build their own website. But, this isn’t necessary – there are a number of portfolio building sites that are easy to use with templates that will match your career and personality.

Here are six top tools to build an outstanding professional portfolio online:

  • Clippings me: me is one of the largest writing portfolio websites that allows the creation of writing-specific portfolios with custom URLs. It's free for up to a certain number of clippings. For additional features like Google Analytics integration and portfolio privacy, there is a fee from $5.99/m.
  • Wix: is the code-free way to customise a website to your needs. It has an extremely user-friendly drag and drop editor, as well as many apps that can be added throughout your website to build a better experience for visitors. They offer a free version with additional subscription packages.
  • Weebly: allows professionals of all levels to create a mobile-friendly Start by selecting a pre-designed theme from their database; their free or paid features can be customised to suit you.
  • Wordpress: is the renowned blog publishing application and content management system. The platform has a wide range of free features and plugins, with the option to pay and receive more benefits.
  • Dunked: allows you to build your personal website with your own domain name easily. With fast and reliable hosting, search engine optimization and analytics, Dunked is a favourable choice amongst young professionals. It backs up all your work to the Cloud, so you don’t have to worry about losing any of your projects.
  • Crevado: is a free and easy-to-use solution for people in the creative industries wanting to showcase their work. It’s easy to use with drag and drop capabilities and smart privacy controls to protect sensitive work.

Tell Your Personal Story

When visitors are looking at your site they want to know who you are, as well as what you can offer. Inject a bit of personality wherever possible. This could be through a caption or a personal blog that you are writing. Be sure to include a headshot so visitors can add a face to the name. If you have other creative talents don’t be shy to show them on your portfolio. Even if you are a content writer and are passionate about photography, you can add a few examples; just make sure they are categorised correctly as we mentioned above.

Be Selective

We can be extremely biased when it comes to our work and are proud of every sample and design that we put our blood, sweat and tears into. But, you must be super selective when deciding what to add to your site. Take a step back and pretend it isn’t your work and see if you have any criticisms - if you do, scrap that piece! You can also select examples that received good feedback as you know they were impressive. A few numbers to follow are no less than 10 examples and no more than 30. It’s all about the quality, not quantity when it comes to showing off your masterpieces.

Digitize With Care

Don’t scrap any print designs, just make sure you digitize appropriately for an online display. If you aren’t handy with high-quality scanners, or cameras, hire a professional photographer to capture the images for you to upload to your site. It’ll be worth it in the long run when you can show your most-proud pieces to potential clients and managers.

Use Eye Catching Images and Share the Back Story

When you are preparing your online portfolio you need to think about the design of each project. The images need to captivate and catch the attention of the viewer. Matias Corea, Chief Designer at Behance said: “The first image should be engaging enough to make people want to look at the entire project.”

Have a Contact Feature

As with your CV, your online portfolio must also have some contact information; this can include your email and a link to your online social media accounts (if they are professional). A step further would be to create a contact form where potential clients and managers can communicate with you through your online profile. This is a surefire way to increase commissions.

Add Credibility

You can add credibility to your work by including references, be sure to ask first if it’s okay to include a link to a quote. You can include a testimonial next to the client’s project if they’ve given you excellent feedback. It’s so much better for other people to express their happiness with you, rather than you blowing your own trumpet.

Keep It Fresh

Although your online portfolio has an amazing design, it’s no good if it’s not updated with any recent work. Mexico-based designer and illustrator Christopher Mooij “agrees that regular updates are crucial – and not just those showing finished work. He said ‘let people know what you're working on, or what you've done over the past few weeks…Obviously, those posts shouldn't be filled with your personal diary: make it smart.’” You should essentially be updating your online profile once or twice a month.

Now you should be fully equipped to make your online profile shine and showcase your amazing talent through samples of your work.

Do you have any other tips to share with fellow workers who would like to create an online profile? If so, drop us a comment in the section box below…