If you’re a freelancer, you probably already have a solid Facebook page, current LinkedIn account, or Twitter presence. But if you’re looking to land top clients and thrive in a saturated market, relying on social media isn’t enough. You also need an outstanding online portfolio.
The benefits of a digital resume are tenfold — seriously.
A portfolio website can help you establish your personal brand, show off your talents and skills, land new jobs and clients, and solidify your professionalism in a way that social media just can’t on its own.
So first, let’s talk about what makes up a good digital portfolio. Because, obviously, if you’re going to do it, you want to do it right. Then I’ll show you how you can use DreamHost’s own website builder to get your portfolio online in less than 10 minutes.
Yup, just 10 minutes!
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What Makes A Good Online Portfolio?
If you include the following must-have elements into your digital resume, rest assured potential clients will be wowed by your talent — and your website.
1. Unique Domain
It should go without saying that your online portfolio needs to be its own website — and that means you’ll need to choose the right domain name. As a freelancer, it’s often smart to either pick your own name or the name of your business for your domain name. While .com is still a very popular TLD, there are many more options available — at DreamHost, we offer 400+ domain extensions. All those domain options mean you can find a TLD that perfectly fits your business and your personal brand, whether it’s .photo, .guru, or .band.
Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Domain Name Registration
2. Responsive Design
The best news about creating an online portfolio: You don’t have to know how to code to get a professional website up in minutes. Instead, when you use WP Website Builder, you can pick your favorite mobile-responsive website theme and then just add your own content.
Remember: It’s vital to have a mobile-responsive design. Today consumers spend 87 hours per month browsing on their smartphones — and only 34 hours surfing on a desktop. If you want to reach all your future clients or potential employers, having a mobile-friendly website is not optional.
Related: Here’s Why Responsive Design is a Must for Small Business Owners
3. High-Resolution Images
There are several reasons why good graphics matter, but here’s the most important: The images you choose can make or break your website. That’s because your graphics are the first thing visitors see first. If the pictures look good, visitors will stay engaged and assume you know what you’re doing. But if you’ve got unattractive images or poor-resolution photos, your website can drive visitors away.
4. Samples of Your Best Work
The main reason a prospective client goes to your website is to see your work samples. So whether you specialize in writing, design, or another skill, give them what they came for! Consider including 10 to 20 pieces of your best work or projects to showcase. If you don’t have real-life samples because you’re just getting started, feature spec work on your website instead.
Related: How to Create a Freelance Writer Website That Actually Gets You Writing Gigs
5. “About Me” Page
Not only do potential clients want to see your work, but they also want to get a sense of who you are from your professional portfolio. An “About Me” page is a great way to showcase your personality and pitch your work ethic. Think of it as an evergreen cover letter.
Videos are the most widely consumed content on the internet. As you build your portfolio, consider showing off some of your samples and introducing your work in a well-crafted video that can be easily uploaded to your portfolio.
Related: How to Start a YouTube Channel
7. Contact and Rate Information
It’s common to have your central message on your main page, and then add other pages to your website for secondary information — think “Contact Info” or “Pricing.” If you’re looking to pick up freelance work with your portfolio, you need to make it easy for potential clients or employers to navigate your site. Here are five fail-safe rules for structuring your website’s menus and pages.
It’s as simple as that!
When you give your personal brand an online presence, you set yourself apart from other professionals and are one step closer to landing the perfect client.
How To Get Your Portfolio Online
To boost your job prospects, you need to create an online portfolio website. But getting one up and running doesn’t have to be a complicated — or lengthy — process. Here’s how to create a great-looking portfolio site, step by step. (No advanced web design expertise necessary!)
1. Connect to WP Website Builder.
To get started, you’ll need to select “WP Website Builder” as an option during your DreamHost purchase. Then, we’ll automatically install WordPress and our website builder tools, BoldGrid’s Inspirations and Page and Post Builder, for you. Once you’ve logged into WordPress, you’ll see the Inspirations setup page.
If you’re already set up with us (yay, you!), log in to your WordPress site or access your site from your DreamHost panel. On the left menu, select Inspirations. Here, you’ll access the tech that powers our premium site builder.
You’ll see the BoldGrid three-step outline. Click the orange Let’s Get Started! button to begin.
2. Pick your theme.
Browse through the theme categories on the left side of the screen to find the template that works best to showcase your work. Hover over your prefered theme, and then click the Select button.
And don’t stress. The WordPress theme you choose doesn’t have to be perfect at this stage. Later on, you’ll be able to edit your theme to align with your brand.
Related: How to Choose the Best Website Template for Your Site
3. Add contact information.
Now it’s time to add some simple contact and social media information. WP Website Builder uses this information to set up social media sharing for you, but you can also skip this step if you’re not interested.
4. Finish and Install.
When you’re ready, click on the Finish and Install button. While you wait for the quick-start wizard to set everything up, feel free to take a well-deserved break.
5. Edit your theme.
Now it’s time to add your personal touches. Make adjustments to your theme — editing colors, placement of text and other features, and fonts. Add and build out page options based on the functionality and look you want, explicitly gearing your layout to promote your work. Then it’s time to add some killer images and original content. Flex those creative muscles!
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Ready to Get Started on Your Portfolio Site?
Now that you know how easy it is to set up your own website, there’s no reason not to have your own online portfolio — unless, that is, you want fewer paying gigs. It’s time to start showcasing your work beyond social media accounts.
With a decked-out online portfolio website, you can position yourself in search engines for discovery and boost your job prospects. The best news? With DreamHost’s WP Website Builder, creating a professional online portfolio has never been easier.