Portfolio is the reflection of one’s work and skills; any potential employer actually goes through your portfolio and sees your previous designs and work you have done. Going over your portfolio he decided to either hire you or not. Most employers search on the net; those portfolios which have something different to offer will get noticed and consequently will be hired.
Popular Portfolios document all “stories” previous work and inclinations of the designer. They should tell everything an employer needs to know, and state so clearly about his work that he may land up at his most desirable project.
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Online portfolio can be viewed by a huge number of people and can act as a live project showcasing the person’s skills. An online portfolio can be tailored in a manner in which the person’s interest of work, taste, and inspiration is showcased. The online portfolio can showcase all the previous work or a collection of the most appreciated ones, even designs showcasing the expertise may be well enough. Reaching out to far off continents where you may get employment, online portfolio is the only way out.
To call these ways tips would not be right because these are the methods which will get your online portfolio notice. Implement these thoroughly and see boom in your work.
Problem — Many times designers are not sure of their target audience and they mistakenly target the entire domain. A logo design specialist needs to identify people/corporations who are in the area of logo design on various networks (social).
Solution — Getting to know your real target audience is equally important as to be master of your trade, because then you can get to them and eventually make potential clients. One way to do that is going in social forums and networks and start following them on conversations and participating with them, this makes a certain trust and people start noticing you and you get in touch with your desired audience. Community based news groups as in ‘LinkedIn’ can offer great help.
It’s really important to know the target audience for your work and accordingly you need to present your online portfolio. If you have a broad client base or you are looking to make new clients, generally both is the case, you need to constantly keep upgrading your content with your new projects and of course the front-end must be catchy enough to hold newer clients for long. When people start viewing your portfolio, it’s your job to turn viewers into potential clients.
Problem — Most new designers are not sure of the technology they want to use or the processes they want to employ for building there online portfolio. Such mistake often turns out critical at times.
Solution — Now before making your online portfolio you should think of your needs and accordingly choose the platform for your website such as WordPress, joomla, Drupal or simple CSS/HTML. Each one has its own pros and cons. The websites must be light and they must be cross browser friendly they must not take time to open and must not come with hassles.
One more important thing is that you need to update your websites quite often, so make it less complex and get in touch with technology blogs or news where you can learn the simplest ways to do changes and all.
Problem — What is the use of a webpage where people have to go through a tutorial to surf through it? Navigation in a webpage must be kept as simple as possible, many times one cannot find decent information even with heaps of data loaded on the page, keep it simple.
Solution — It’s important to make simple pages in portfolio and present it in a straight forward manner, do not make others, to see your creativity even when they don’t want to as most of the time the employers don’t have enough time for that. Try to follow the approach where navigation is done from top to bottom and with details mentioned as of Home, News, About, Contact etc so that anybody at first visit to the webpage should have a complete idea and can navigate very easily.
The kind of media you have used in your portfolio and how quickly it loads is critical. Flash sites are now being replaced by HTML pages, mostly for this reason only and they are also in no way lesser in visual appeal after CSS and AJAX code in HTML sites than Flash sites.
Problem — A photographer on his portfolio will have to put image gallery, slide shows depicting his work and more and art interests, suppose he makes a portfolio with rows and columns of thumbnail images and a write-up, who will hire him?
Solution — It’s very important to clearly define the strategies for the design part and according to needs you can employ them.
Problem — Just start counting the number of designers who are working in the same domain as you, how many are going to be champs? All those who can leave an impression on their viewers apart from many other factors of course will get the pie. Are you Approachable 24/7 ?
Solution — All those who can leave an impression on their visitors or give away some freebies to download and install or do anything which will a make them remember their potential clients can expect better conversion into clients. You need to be approachable when working internationally, time difference creates difficulty but emails can always be sent over and time may be set for meeting over skype or set up a chat. You should always keep your location updated on social networks and as already told earlier follow various groups like Yahoo, linkedIn or Twitter List.
Remember that your potential employer may just visit your portfolio once but that one visit should leave a mark on him and you must make your portfolio unique enough to make him remember this and make him download the PDF of your portfolio to be viewed offline.
Problem — What good will be a portfolio webpage when you pay higher in rents than you are earning or even when the hosting is so bad that it gets crashed quite frequently.
Solution — Choosing the write hosting firm is critical in any organization, as in case of the very big firms they spend millions on it as they can’t afford to be down for even a moment but when a designer who’s looking to get employed seeks his hosting then “cost and relative efficiency” both must be balanced.
Problem — Don’t put heaps of work and get your viewer in a tizzy, what good would a portfolio be when all categorizing has to be done by viewers will while surfing through hundreds of designs.
Solution — Your portfolio should not look like a ‘garbage can’. You should not put all your work on your portfolio and don’t stack it with a huge number of designs as hardly any potential client will go through them all. Put your “selected” OR “recent” work on display, this way you are making very easy for your potential clients to choose from and eventually for you to get work.
Focus on the skills you are selling and your portfolio should speak of them; make it clear what your expertise are and how passionately you take up your job.
Problem — Why not have multiple Portfolios, When you can?
Solution — Post your portfolio on Community portfolio sites such Deviant Art and Behance they will get you the attention and more people, but to be noticed it’s important that you should have a proper link back to your website where detailed work could be viewed by interested clients.
Go for multiple portfolios for the different services you offer, focus on individual expertise and target specific markets, it’s better to show products to your clients categorically. Create different portfolio for corporate clients and keep your “more creative” work aside for the experimental once.
Problem — When you want to land up higher in search results, get greater credibility and confidence what’s better than best SEO practices.
Solution — Do take care while designing your portfolio that it has all the words coming in at your website’s title bar or at even at different places so that it comes up in probable searches, SEO can get you great traffic if properly utilized.
If your focused more on ‘downtown’ area then make sure your putting that in ‘About’ page and it should come naturally quite a number of times to get noticed by searches and consequently your webpage will get higher priority if ‘downtown’ is the keyword used in search. Taking about search engine optimization, you should know that ‘HTML based’ websites are more search engine friendly rather than ‘Flash based’ sites.
Problem — You need to include real life instances and latest happenings so that they may understand your work better.
Solution — Do your own branding, your portfolio should reflect your work and expertise as this (portfolio) is like the first project which your potential clients will be viewing. Make your portfolio speak of your work and connect with the people.
Clients who are viewing your portfolio may not be in the design field and they may be just random people having little appreciation for design work, you need to tell them about your work and the creativity involved. Quite often people are interested in knowing about your previous work or even see the content you share, you can tell them stories about your work you did where you have got appreciation or even about those design changes that got much more traffic coming in, or even a story you made to digg front page.
Problem — It important to test all functionalities of your website well before launching. When something goes wrong then there a very less probability that someone might inform about it.
Solution — You need to make sure that your online portfolio is compatible in all working environment and do cross browser test effectively for all available updates of various browsers. You never know how a particular change you made will appear in a particular environment and negligence in this may result in losing clients, because if they find even a minor fault maybe because they were using some older version of the browser, loss would be yours.
While writing this article, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other great tips or resources to improve online social life. Feel free to share it with us.