Online portfolios are more than just a trendy way to grab attention; for a growing number of professionals, they’re a must-have for success. It’s your platform to tell your story, describe your motivations, and show off your talents, connecting with customers, clients, and even potential employers.
Good news, then, that it’s so easy to create a stunning portfolio with tools like Website Builder. The hard work of getting online is done for you — so you can focus on the hard work you’re already doing.
Gone are the days when creative individuals would lug around cumbersome portfolios, briefcase in the one hand, Filofax in the other. Having an online portfolio allows people from all over the world to learn all about you, opening the doors to new opportunities and collaborations.
Artists and artisans, writers and designers, photographers and architects — such roles have always had a need. But in the digital age, multimedia websites cast the net wider for professionals showcasing online portfolios.
❝Multimedia websites cast the net wider for professionals showcasing online portfolios.❞
Thousands of gigabytes of images, days of music and video, entire libraries of ebooks, interactive presentations, and every other sort of downloadable — putting it online means you can show what you’ve got in all sorts of ways.
Social media channels tend to be restricted when it comes to what you can and can’t share. A professional portfolio website shows how serious you are about your work and gives you full control over your brand identity.
Videographers and animators can showcase visual storytelling. Podcasters, musicians, and voice-over artists can play audio of their performances. Game designers offer demos, software designers can share code snippets and apps.
Then there’s florists, hair stylists, and landscape gardeners. Bakers, sous chefs, baristas, and mixologists. Personal trainers, choreographers, nutritionists, events planners, tattoo artists, pet groomers…
The Essentials of a Portfolio Website
A well-crafted online portfolio will always feature a few essential elements. The first step is getting your own domain name. True, there are ways of getting your portfolio out there without your own web address. But having a domain name all of your own lends unmatched professionalism and credibility. Plus, it can make it easier for potential clients or employers to find you.
123 Reg offers hundreds of domain extensions, from the traditional “dot coms” to more inventive and original choices. With over 400 extensions to choose from, it’s easy to find a memorable name with a suffix to suit your portfolio. You’ll find thousands of the UK’s cheapest domains — and you might just be surprised to see how affordable a great domain name can be.
Your homepage needs to show visitors who you are and what you do. Within industries saturated with talent, a distinctive homepage will set you apart. A strong start, with clear images or a short video, can grab attention. Keep your message simple so visitors get your expertise right away.
A one-page homepage portfolio can be a great choice for freelancers, solopreneurs, and side hustlers who want a more focused impact. Visitors can learn most of what they need to know at a glance if it’s done in a smart way. Less is more. But for others, just the one page won’t do the trick. Depending on your field, you may prefer separate sections to show off a wider range of projects, offering a full sense of expertise.
Introduce who you are and your background. Give a glimpse of what inspires and motivates you — why you’re passionate about what you do. While a personal touch can make all the difference, it’s usually not the best idea to place a lengthy bio right there on your homepage. Consider a link to a dedicated page.
The heart of your portfolio website. This is where you’ll display your best work for the world to see. How you do so depends on the type of work you do, but you’ll want to convey a sense of your work immediately. Choose a digest of those works that represent you best. Remember to keep it visually engaging and easy to navigate. If you’re going for a multi-page portfolio site, make sure it’s easy for visitors to find and explore everything fast.
The showcase is the most important part of your portfolio site, so we’ll cover more on this as we move on.
Make it easy for potential clients or employers to reach out to you. If you’d rather not put your personal email address out there on public display with everything else in your portfolio, one option is to use an on-page contact form. Another would be to get your own custom email address (@ your-portfolio-website.com) for an added dash of professionalism.
Beyond the essentials, there are a number of different elements you can incorporate into a portfolio to give it that added edge. These can boost your ability to engage with visitors and convince potential clients or employers of your skill and expertise. For instance:
✓ Testimonials and Reviews
Adding testimonials or reviews boosts your portfolio’s credibility, providing social proof of your skills and professionalism. These endorsements help build trust with potential clients or employers.
✓ Case Studies
Case studies delve deep into your projects, detailing goals, your role, and how you achieved success. This analysis showcases your problem-solving abilities and highlights your contributions to project outcomes.
✓ Your Blog
A blog alongside your portfolio website lets you share insights, updates, and industry news. Dynamic content like this keeps your site fresh so that you’re showcasing your expertise and thought leadership, as well as your work.
✓ Your CV
A CV/résumé will certainly give visitors a better overview of your professional and educational background. While employers and head-hunters might like to see it, you may not want to put this out there for the public to see, for obvious reasons. If you choose to, be sure your CV is on the mark and and up to date.
Creating a portfolio with Website Builder
Website Builder makes portfolio-building as simple as can be thanks to its user-friendly interface and intuitive design features. You’ll find a wide range of themes and templates, making it easy to find one that suits your needs. Most of the hard work of web design is done for you — so getting a portfolio up online is no more than a few clicks away.
There’s no need to for tech skill or coding know-how. You can just focus on the look and feel of your portfolio to reflect your personality and work.
Start by selecting a template that aligns with your creative field and personal style. There’s lots to choose from. A clean and appealing design sets the mood for your whole site, making for a smooth and interesting visit.
Choose a colour scheme that works for you. Aesthetically pleasing themes are already there waiting, but you can make your own. If you’d like some help, there are tools out there like Paletton that help decide on palette colours.
Once you’ve found a template you’re happy with, you can then move on to customising it to make it truly own. Use the drag-and-drop editor to add your own content, images, and video.
Make use high-quality images. Show off your best work and feature it prominently. This is a way to grab attention and make a strong first impression. For each, consider adding a brief description that outlines the project’s goals, your role, and outcomes.
The intuitive interface is geared towards quick updates. So, your portfolio can remain a dynamic reflection of your evolving skills and accomplishments.
You can easily integrate social media into your portfolio website, allowing visitors to share your work with professional networks.
Website Builder also features built-in SEO tools to help you optimise your site for search engines and improve your chances of being found online.
Be mobile – and tablet – ready
Mobile-readiness is no longer an option. Most people view pages on phones these days, so your portfolio needs to work well across all devices.
With Website Builder, the tricky parts of responsive web design are all done for you. Your site should look great whether that’s on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. You can preview just to make sure.
Tablets can be especially important when it comes to portfolio websites. Imagine you’re in a job interview, making a pitch, or meeting clients at a cafe — it can be a classy move to whip out that iPad. Having a responsive, interactive, swipe-able portfolio works wonders.
When you’re happy with your portfolio, publish. But remember the journey isn’t over there. You’ll need to update regularly. Add new skills, qualifications, and experience to your portfolio to showcase your professional development.
The flexibility of Website Builder makes it easy to align your website with the latest career news, your aspirations, together with evolving trends in your field.
WordPress is a versatile platform packed full of features for awesome portfolios. According to 2023 W3Techs data, WordPress alone accounts for 45.8% of all websites on the net. Needless to say, it’s a popular choice for building online portfolios.
Choosing WordPress gives you a lot of flexibility and a wide range of tools to show off your work with professional flair.
Start by choosing a relevant theme that suits your profile or brand, then add your own content. There are lots of portfolio themes to download. Most are free, whereas others might offer premium designs with more sophisticated features.
Unlike Website Builder, you’ll need to use downloadable plugins and widgets as the building blocks for your site. With the right combination you can craft a distinctive portfolio that captures attention.
Customising your site to reflect your personal brand and style is straightforward from the WordPress dashboard. You can adjust colours, fonts, and layout options to create a unique look for your portfolio.
WordPress is just a little more technical, but again — there’s no need for coding (unless you want to). Just be sure to keep plugins and other add-ons up to date.
WordPress Plugins for Portfolios
Using plugins in WordPress is a must to get the most out of the platform. WordPress plugins are additional pieces of software that can be added to introduce new features and tools. They need to be installed through the WordPress dashboard. Some of the best for portfolio websites include:
Portfolio: With its not-so-imaginative name, the Portfolio plugin is an all-in-one solution to help you create a portfolio for more or less any sort of work that might require one.
Elementor Page Builder / Portfolio for Elementor: A drag-and-drop builder with portfolio widgets. It’s user-friendly, allowing for easy design of custom pages without coding, ideal for creatives who want full control over their portfolio’s look.
NextGEN Gallery: A gallery plugin for managing and displaying images. NextGEN Gallery boasts advanced features, it’s perfect for photographers and artists who need detailed control over their image portfolios.
Envira Gallery: A responsive WordPress gallery plugin. It provides drag-and-drop gallery creation and is designed to make your visual work look stunning on any device.
WPBakery Page Builder: A drag-and-drop interface for creating custom layouts. Similar to Elementor, WPBakery offers flexibility in designing portfolio pages, suitable for any creative work.
GridKit Portfolio Gallery: Designed for portfolio and photo galleries. It allows the creation of responsive and customisable grids to illustrate work effectively.
Visual Portfolio: Allows users to create and manage portfolios with various layouts. This plugin is aimed at enhancing visual appeal and making your work stand out.
Portfolio Gallery: Focuses on creating responsive portfolios. With several layouts and hover effects, it’s tailored for creatives looking to showcase work in an attractive way.
Responsive Filterable Portfolio: Ideal for creating portfolios that can be filtered by categories. This feature helps visitors easily find the specific work they’re interested in.
Portfolio Filter Gallery: Offers attractive and responsive galleries with filtering capabilities. It’s designed to improve user experience by categorising content in a smart way.
Novelist: A niche plugin geared towards literary work. It provides a unique portfolio style for authors, making it easy to display writings in a really organised style.
Plugins like Yoast and All in One SEO can help you to improve your site’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) — that is to say, how to do all the right tricks to appear higher in the rankings on search engines like Google.
Once installed, remember that plugins may need updating occasionally. Again, that’s usually just a 1-2 click process.
Whether you’ve gone the Website Builder or WordPress route, the next step is to get it seen by the right people. Promotion is key to increasing your visibility and attracting potential clients or employers. Share updates and new projects on social media platforms linking back to your portfolio. Link to your profile on LinkedIn and other more specific networks that are important to your industry.
Email marketing can also be a great way to reach out to your contacts — a regular newsletter that showcases your latest projects, achievements, and updates about your portfolio can keep you top of mind. With Website Builder from 123 Reg you can set up your own pro email address and manage your mailing list.
Coming up with a standout portfolio website is key for showing off your talents and catching the eye of potential clients or employers. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can build a sleek and professional online presence that truly represents your skills and expertise. Remember to start with a clear introduction, followed by a showcase of your best work. Adding in extras like testimonials, case studies, and a blog can help boost your credibility and keep your audience engaged.
With user-friendly tools like Website Builder and WordPress, building a portfolio page (and keeping it fresh) is a breeze, so you can be sure it grows along with your career and meets the needs of your visitors. By putting these tips into action, you’ll be well on your way to creating a portfolio website that sets you apart from the crowd and helps you achieve your professional aspirations.