Upgrade Magazine

HEADLINES

5 Tips on building a killer portfolio

Building a killer portfolio is never a one-time thing. You cannot expect a portfolio site you built a few years ago to hold up against competitors today. The killer portfolio you create today will suffer the same fate in a few years.

Photo by @rawpixel from Unsplash.com

By Lily Asis

An online portfolio that showcases your best work is useful for a number of reasons. Whether you are a designer trying to win more clients or a realtor looking for a way to feature the properties you manage, creating an online portfolio is a fantastic way to get started. The online portfolio site can also act as the anchor to all of your social media (and other online) activities, making it even more important.

Creating an exceptional portfolio is more than just displaying your best work on a web page. In order to build a killer portfolio, there are some extra steps you need to take. To help you get started, we are going to discuss the top five tips on building a killer portfolio in this article.

1. USE THE RIGHT PLATFORM

A good content management system or a platform can really make creating and managing your online portfolio much easier. You want a platform that offers the right set of features and sufficient flexibility so that you can make a killer portfolio with ease. You also want to think about scalability and future upgrades. Will the platform accommodate the extra work you add to your portfolio in the future? Is it reliable enough for long-term use?

There are a lot of platforms to choose from too, with some better than the rest. For maximum flexibility and ease of use, however, Format is a great platform to use. The portfolio builder has all the features you will ever need, including a built-in ecommerce functionality to help you sell your work. Format is also notorious for being reliable. The team behind this platform takes care of the difficult tasks – such as keeping the server running well – for you.

You want a platform that offers the right set of features and sufficient flexibility so that you can make a killer portfolio with ease.
Photo by @rawpixel from Unsplash.com

On top of that, there are a lot of Format themes to choose from. This means you can start with a portfolio that already looks sleek and stunning even before you start customizing the website and adding your work to it. Since branding is a big part of developing a killer portfolio, having a good set of themes as your starting point is a huge plus. You can integrate your own branding elements without a problem.

2. CURATE YOUR WORK

Displaying every piece of work that you have done isn’t how you build a killer portfolio. What you want to do instead is really dig deep and curate your best pieces to add to the portfolio. If the work isn’t stunning enough to wow the audience, leave it out of the website and find other pieces to feature. Details such as consistency, the overall feel of each entry, and the stories behind them really matter; we’ll get to that last bit in a moment.

Remember that you are building an online portfolio and not a catalogue. A portfolio needs to be interesting and appealing enough for potential clients. That’s how you win more business and how a killer portfolio can really help. You have to be willing to leave some of the more common projects out of the portfolio too. Rather than displaying everything, for example, you can choose one of several similar projects to feature.

A portfolio needs to be interesting and appealing enough for potential clients. That’s how you win more business and how a killer portfolio can really help.
Photo by @anete_lusina from Unsplash.com

Curating your work objectively isn’t always easy. After all, every piece of work is special. If you are not sure about which pieces to feature and how to display the exceptional works you have done over the years, get help and ask close friends – those who can see your work objectively – to choose some of the pieces for you.

3. TELL A STORY

As mentioned before, displaying illustrations, designs, or photos alone isn’t enough. A killer portfolio must also tell a story that the viewers enjoy. You already have so many stories to tell, including the backstory for every bit of work and how you feel about the end results. All you need to do is find a way to integrate those stories into your portfolio.

Backstories are particularly interesting because they let you share more about the process behind a piece of work. Potential clients can learn more about your thought processes and how you approached a project. These details are often the details that push them further towards hiring you or using your services. You also want to share how passionate you are about the project.

A killer portfolio must also tell a story that the viewers enjoy.
Photo by @johnschno from Unsplash.com

Once again, using the right portfolio building platform is important. Make sure you can add stories in the form of articles and even videos to further amplify your work. You will end up with an online portfolio that can convert when the stories are integrated nicely.

4. OPTIMIZE!

One of the big challenges of building an online portfolio is optimizing it for performance. You want to feature a lot of photos and videos on your website, but you also want the site to load quickly and perform well when accessed. Your task is finding the right balance between displaying high-quality images and keeping the site optimized.

There are more things you can do to optimize your site. You can optimize the images as you export them for online use. Removing metadata and color profile information can help reduce the size of image files substantially. Taking extra steps to compress the images and other materials without reducing quality is also worth considering.

You want to feature a lot of photos and videos on your website, but you also want the site to load quickly and perform well when accessed.
Photo by @arnelhasanovic from Unsplash.com

Optimizing your site for performance is only the beginning. You want your online portfolio to be marketable as well, which is why you need to start thinking about social media sharing, search engine optimization or SEO, and other digital marketing instruments as soon as you begin building the online portfolio. This way, you can optimize every part of it for better, more effective digital marketing.

5. KEEP IT UP TO DATE

Building a killer portfolio is never a one-time thing. You cannot expect a portfolio site you built a few years ago to hold up against competitors today. The killer portfolio you create today will suffer the same fate in a few years.

Updating the portfolio is a part of the process. For starters, you want to add new, fresh work to the online portfolio regularly. This allows the online portfolio website to also show how you are progressing, and the improvements potential clients can expect from your future work. At the same time, adding new entries to the portfolio lets you feature trendy projects and more pieces that follow the latest trends. In some industries, keeping up with the latest trends is important.

You also want to update the portfolio site and its design regularly. Once again, the goal is to make your online portfolio website appear fresh and relevant at all times. When using platforms like Format, updating the core functionalities of the website is no longer something you need to worry about; you can just focus on the look and feel of the portfolio.

You cannot expect a portfolio site you built a few years ago to hold up against competitors today. The killer portfolio you create today will suffer the same fate in a few years.
Photo by @rawpixel from Unsplash.com

Building a killer portfolio is about making small adjustments and fine-tuning everything about the website. These small changes add up even when you don’t always see the immediate benefits of making them. Now that you have the best tips and tricks to use, getting started with building your own killer portfolio should be a walk in the park. The difficult part is handling all the extra clients and projects you get once the portfolio is up and running. Do you think you are up to the challenge?

To Top