Is creativity an essential factor in your industry? Are you designing, developing, or creating whatever type of art? If the answer is yes, you’re already short on time to build an outstanding portfolio website and to go a step ahead of your numerous competitors. That’s, of course, in the case you don’t already have one.
Nowadays, when the Internet is gaining speed and developing solutions we could never even think of, striking out of the common communication pattern is essential to every business. It doesn’t matter who you are and who you’re working for – you have to make your work accessible to more clients, and to showcase the uniqueness of what you’re doing!
Let’s see how the internet and its most powerful building platform called WordPress can help you build a breathtaking portfolio website.
1. Think of the purpose first
Before you jump on the bandwagon and start designing, think which is the purpose of creating a portfolio website at the first place. What are you trying to achieve?
The goals usually coincide, due the fact that everyone plans what he wants to achieve, and focuses on becoming more competitive. These are the four most frequent portfolio goals:
- Finding a job
- Generating leads/boosting sales
- Building a brand/Improving the reputation of an already existing one
- Networking/Participating in a community
2. Choose an appropriate theme
Even a basic WordPress theme is enough to respond to your needs, but it won’t take you to the most eye-catchy solution ever. The theme has to be beautiful and powerful and to showcase the content in an attractive manner.
Free themes can do the work if you’re just starting, but don’t expect that much extra functionality or advanced customization features like the ones of premium themes. Upgrading to a pro version is a key factor for a professional appearance. You can find in the ThemeFuse collection many outstanding portfolio themes for creative professional, artists, creative business or anyone else aiming to showcase their work in high quality.
3. Consider plugins
Changing the theme on an already built WordPress website is not always a good idea because it requires both complete redesigning and advanced knowledge so that you won’t mess up the entire functionality of your website. What sounds much better is to add plugins, where the choice is almost unlimited.
With the proper plugins in hands, you can transform only one section, and make the website look like a new, amazing product that integrates flawlessly with your overall design.
4. Showcase your art
This is probably common sense, but it is still important to mention: you should settle for nothing less than an attractive website which can show off the best of your work in an engaging manner. While this stands as the first and foremost portfolio website activity, you’d be surprised by how many people fail to do it properly. And it is not because they forget to attach images, but rather because they choose unattractive layers or odd navigation methods, and push visitors away even before they’ve actually seen their work.
Our massive, multi purpose theme The Core offers multiple types of Portfolio showcases, with 2, 3 or 4 columns as well as different styles and types of displaying the portfolio blocks, like landscape, portrait or square. Also, the category options include the possibility to set up an icon for each category, so you can easily design your eye-catching portfolio.
5. Use HD images
Being a portfolio website, it has to boost with quality images that draw attention at first sight. To be even more honest, the quality of those images will be decisive for the success of a website. That’s why we advise you to present HD (high definition) photos and to choose appropriate sizes and colors which match the overall style of your website.
6. Mind your content
Putting more and more of it won’t help, so you should choose wisely. Few nice photos with a great title will do a better job than tenths average ones, so give you time to go through everything you have to display. If you are not blown-minded, users won’t be either, so let common perception do the job. On the other extreme, don’t let your specific and thinned taste defeat the common understanding of beauty, and choose the pieces everyone would like instead of those you prefer.
Mind relevance to: you’re entering a specific field, and your posts need to resemble that. If you’re writing, use publications or projects you’ve participated in. If you’re designing, attach images of your designs and creations. Scientists on their behalf publish lab reports, the same as accountants publish the financial analysis. That should tell you everything.
Finally, write a short description for each of the samples, just to help users familiarize with the context. This is especially important for projects, where we advise you to highlight the problems that project solved, and how it benefited your clients.
7. Round up a number
Nobody can tell you how many samples to include. My personal say would be 10 to 20, but that’s just for the sake of not exaggerating and letting users defocus. Still, if you’re a baby photographer, the more – the merrier! It simply depends on the nature of your business.
The sad truth is that not all of your samples will be seen (no visitor has enough time for that!), so focus on the best ones and try to lead attention towards them.
8. Make navigation more intuitive
Not even the greatest portfolio website will become popular if visitors are struggling to navigate it. Keep it easy and simple, and don’t let users be discouraged by complex menus and uncommon navigation methods. The artsy part is reserved for the samples, so don’t make experiments here: we know it is tempting, but the point is still to make work visible, the same you’d do in a real gallery.
9. Prioritize and categorize your work: that’s the secret!
This is the best thing you can do for your online portfolio, and the furthest you can go: from here on, work is going to start to sell itself. The critical decision is the first one when you compare and choose the pieces that are going to be displayed. In terms of categorization, try to be as professional as you can: Graphic designers, for instance, should divide their work as logos, posters, brochures, flyers, etc.
Last reminder: The ‘stars appear the latest’ scenario is not applicable here!
10. Update it regularly
Updating and refreshing will without any doubt surprise visitors, you will be impressed by how much effort you invest to keep your website ongoing. It doesn’t have to be a huge change: edit few images, change the color or add an attractive sidebar. Users will appreciate it!
11. Share your story
The ultimate goal of displaying your work is being contacted by impressed viewers, who will ideally browse for more information about you and your activities. Make sure that contact information is easily accessible, and include compulsory social network links for them to follow. Write a short, but comprehensive description of your background, capabilities, and expertise, or share everything you think is relevant for prospective customers to know. Don’t forget, your online portfolio speaks of you just as much as it does of your work, so make it look clean and convincible. Use storytelling in everything you do while blogging.
12. Don’t compromise on loading speed
Not everything is about what users see on your portfolio website: the quality of their experience accounts for a large part of their positive impression, so don’t let them wait for the pages to load. The general truth is that viewers don’t have time, and will describe your website as a non-recommendable one just because they waited one second more than usual. People are harsh, so do the necessary to accelerate your website’s speed in advance. Check out our FREE ebook to discover best practices and tips to improve your page speed score. And use a good hosting domain!
Putting together a portfolio is important for creating an outstanding online presence and showcasing your work in style, and using WordPress to build it is definitely one of the best tools.