With almost everyone hooked to the internet 24/7 around the globe, having an online portfolio has become the norm. Bringing a physical, printed, and bound portfolio book to a job interview doesn't quite make it anymore. Add more oomph to your resume by supplementing it with an online portfolio that showcases your best work and laudable accomplishments you've made in your field of expertise. Knowing how to make an online portfolio (and a well-thought-out one, at that) adds to your credibility and can work wonders for your career or your business, depending on your objectives.
What Is an Online Portfolio?
An online portfolio is essentially a website that contains the following: photos and images with captions, sample written works, or links to videos you have uploaded on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media platforms.
Depending on your objectives, an online portfolio can also enumerate and elaborate on the services you provide and the roster of clients you have already served. Positive reviews and testimonials from satisfied clients and previous employers can work wonders for your reputation, so keep those in mind when creating an online portfolio.
The Benefits of Having an Online Portfolio
Having an online presence is not only beneficial for you, it is also advantageous for your potential clients and employers. It provides them with a convenient sneak preview to get to know your skills, services, and work output better before going through the selection process. Hiring managers and clients rely on an online portfolio because it expedites the process of selecting the best candidates or services that suit your potential client or employer's needs.
For graphic designers, photographers, writers, comic book illustrators, and animators, having an impressive online portfolio could mean gaining a new project or winning a long-term relationship with a new client. A showcase of their best work through an online portfolio highlights their unique qualities and skills set — it's what distinguishes them from their competitors.
Rising above the clutter may seem like a huge challenge and undertaking when it comes to the worldwide web. And with new platforms surfacing and evolving each day in this tech-driven age, it pays to keep yourself updated on current trends.
However, knowing how to make an online portfolio and having an online presence is only half the battle. You need to create one that stands out — both in form and in content.
Don't fret, though. This is what we're here for — to guide you through the process of how to make an online portfolio. Hopefully, with our support and advice you'll be able to present your most outstanding work and get the job or the client you've been aiming for.
You will learn how to make an online portfolio that works best for your needs and purposes in no time.
11 Tips on How to Make an Online Portfolio
While it may seem discombobulating at first, making an impressive online portfolio doesn't need to be too complicated. Keep things simple and straightforward, both in terms of your online portfolio's content and form. The key is to know how to make an online portfolio that delivers your intentions clearly and effectively.
To help you learn how to make an online portfolio, keep these useful tips in mind:
Choose a Website Builder That Suits Your Needs
With so many website builders at your disposal, choose one that works best for you. If you possess basic knowledge on web design and website creation, website building platforms such as WordPress and Wix can work for you. You can use both platforms for free, albeit with limited features. Paying for a premium plan carries advantages though — you can customize your domain name and get priority support.
If your skills in web design are inadequate, don't worry. Options such as Behance and Coroflot provide more manageable platforms.
Create a Website That's User-Friendly, Straightforward, and Easily Navigated
Don't make it too difficult for the viewer to work his or her way into your portfolio. Organize your online portfolio's content in a manner that makes it easy to locate what the viewer is looking for. The hiring process is stressful enough for hiring managers, looking through your stuff should be less difficult.
Select Only Your Best Work
This is actually the most difficult phase, since it involves a lot of decision-making. Choose ones you are most confident with for each category (if you have several of them) so you can write an impressive description and rationale of your work product and the process behind creating it.
Put yourself in your potential client or employer's shoes. If you were them, which work product of yours do you think would draw their attention and make the most impact? Criticize your work objectively and rid yourself of any emotional attachment to help you pick the ones that stand out.
If you want to specialize in a particular category, focus on showcasing your best work in that field. For example, if you're a writer who wants to pursue more copywriting projects, highlight your past excellent endeavors in copywriting instead of just generally including any type of outstanding writing you've done.
Optimize Images the Right Way
Website building sites often tell you that there is a file-size limit when you're uploading photos and big files. Keep your image sizes in check and reduce the dimensions and resolution as needed. A website that loads slowly is just as bad as a website that's difficult to navigate. Don't forget to caption your images and give credit to those who have contributed to your efforts.
Pick a Theme That Enhances Your Images without Sacrificing Functionality
Prepare to be inundated with numerous themes, especially if you're using WordPress. This might make selecting the best theme difficult, but choose with these two important considerations in mind: it has to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Write Descriptions to Highlight Your Strengths
When writing the description for each project, focus on your contributions to the endeavor and how you made an impact to make it successful. This will give a potential employer or client the impression you can deliver the results they are looking for.
Reviews are king these days, so if you have a satisfied client or a previous employer who's willing to do a positive testimonial for your online portfolio, then by all means go for it!
Link Your Online Portfolio to Your Social Media Accounts (Both Professional and Personal)
Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram help increase your online visibility even further. Having social media presence also gives the impression you have the proficiency to utilize them for work-related purposes. There are website building platforms that allow you to link your social media accounts and profiles. Take advantage of these extra features to beef up your online presence.
Don't Forget to Include an “About” Page and a Means to Contact You
No other part in your online portfolio should summarize who you are and what your background is better than the “About” page. This is also the part where you can describe yourself in a lighter, less formal, and friendlier tone. Share a hobby, a quote, or a favorite vacation spot. Be creative and personal. Sometimes adding in a little humor helps, too.
If you're uncomfortable about sharing your contact information online, you can opt to use a contact form instead. A contact form sends queries directly to your email without having to divulge your email address. Responding to inquiries or comments promptly will create a good impression to a potential employer or client, so be diligent about answering them right away.
Ensure That Your Online Portfolio Site Is Browser-Ready, Responsive, and Mobile-Friendly
Because you depend on technology to showcase your work, there are technical considerations you need to keep in mind such as the different web browsers being used and how your website appears both on the web and in mobile devices.
With people always on the go, there is a bigger chance for them to view your online portfolio from their smartphones. You need to address the mobile capabilities of your online portfolio so it doesn't go through any technical glitches which can affect the way the viewer sees your website.
Most website building platforms have responsive and mobile-friendly capabilities. To check if your online portfolio site is browser-ready, try to open it on a desktop or a laptop using various browsers — both on a Mac or a PC.
The easiest way to check if your online portfolio site is responsive is by reducing the window size of your browser to what you approximate would be the size of a mobile phone screen. If you notice a change in the appearance of your images and text, as well as the orientation of your menu, then that means your site is responsive.
To check if your website is mobile-friendly, key indicators such as unchanging and static content, a smaller display of images, and a simplified navigation will appear on your phone screen.
Update Your Online Portfolio to Show You Are Constantly Improving Your Craft and Growing in Your Career
Potential employers always ask for samples of your most recent work, and with good reason. They expect your years of experience to be backed by exceptional and progressive work. While a college thesis would work for a fresh graduate seeking employment, the same material will become stale in a year or two. Keep building your portfolio because trends are changing all the time. By doing so, you will increase your credibility as an expert in your field.
Now that you know the basics of how to make an online portfolio, sort through and curate your best works. The next step is to get that online portfolio going! Follow the basic tips we've elaborated above on how to make an online portfolio to achieve the best results and response.
It will be difficult to criticize your work objectively at first, but just rely on your instincts. Think and act as a potential client or employer would. Remember to keep things simple, straightforward, and user-friendly while creating and building your online portfolio. Never stop improving your work product and output so you will have a steady and endless supply of better works to build your portfolio with later on.
We have moved into an era where technology is King. When searching for a job, having an online portfolio will give you a leg up on any competition that does not have an online portfolio. Fill that online portfolio with examples of stellar workmanship, and you'll be unstoppable. Best of luck!