5 Characteristics of Excellent Portfolio Sites That Stand Out From The Crowd
A portfolio site should clearly and concisely communicate with visitors about the services that are provided and what the designer has to offer to potential clients.
Tony Geer not only has an attractive portfolio site, but he also uses prime screen real estate to quickly tell visitors what he offers and allows them to contact him or browse through his work.
Leigh Taylor has a little badge on her site that lets visitors know that she is currently available for work.
Some freelance designers choose to post prices on their portfolio site, whether it’s an hourly rate or project-based pricing, and others choose not to post prices. Whichever method you choose, it should be communicated clearly on the site. If you’re using set prices, the details of services provided and what fits into those packages should be listed and explained, if necessary.
If you’ve decided not to display prices, which is the choice of most freelancers, it should be clearly stated to visitors how they can get more information about services and pricing, or perhaps get a quote for their specific needs. Most freelancers accomplish this by simply asking the visitor to complete a contact form that may help to get some of the details of the project in order to get a quote.
The method you choose for pricing is a matter of personal preference, but whatever you choose, be sure that it is clearly and concisely communicated.
Adaptd offers web design, web development, and SEO services, which is very clear from their navigation menu that is on every page. Once you click on one of the options you’ll see a clear description of each of the services, and they have chosen to list prices on the site as well.
When potential clients are looking at freelancers for their project, there are a number of factors that will weigh in to their decision. Of course, they’ll expect to see that the designer has the abilities and experience to do a good job, and cost is also a common concern. Just as important as these factors is the desire of clients to work with someone that they like and someone that will give them a good overall experience.
Most business owners or decision makers who are responsible for handling and overseeing the design process of their company’s website are at least somewhat intimidated by the process. They typically want to work with someone that will help to make it a smooth, enjoyable, and successful experience. If a freelancer is able to show some personality through their portfolio site, potential clients are far more likely to feel a personal connection and to see them working together.
Winnie Lim uses a brief message as a greeting to visitors that gives a personal touch, and it encourages them to read more on her About page.
Portfolio sites often feature some of the most creative designs. Because design is an artistic and creative profession, the website of a freelance designer is seen as a true representation of their work and their skill levels. Portfolio sites sometimes take more creative liberties without the potential negative results as other types of sites. In fact, in many cases potential clients will expect to see some creativity and originality from the site of a freelance designer.
Creativity can come in any number of different forms. Maleika Attawel uses a soft textured look on her portfolio.
4. Lack of Excess
The first point we looked at was the need for clear communication. One of the biggest influences on the communication of a website is how much information is provided. While portfolio sites have some necessary items that need to be stated and explained, getting rid of any excess will help the existing information to stand out more and to be easily understood.
In addition to eliminating excess wording and content, excess design elements can also be avoided. Some of the most elegant and highly-respected portfolio sites are very minimal in their approach. The basics of a portfolio site are very simple: a listing of services, description of qualifications, showcase of past work, and a means of contact. Excess elements outside of the necessary can often do more harm than good. Many portfolios are now including a blog (which we’ll look at later), but most other content and excess elements in the design will do little to help attract new business.
Rob Morris has a great looking portfolio site that features a clean layout with only the relevant information.
5. Examples of Past Work
Of course, a portfolio site would not be a portfolio site with examples of past work. This is what most potential clients will want to see, and in most cases they’ll be gauging your skill level based on these examples.
The quality of work in your portfolio is a major factor on the success of the portfolio site, but presentation can also make a big difference. In some cases designers display their work in a creative or impressive way that almost overshadows the work itself (which can be good or bad).