You publish a guest post. You get a few “likes” and “tweets.” The recognition feels nice. But now what? Content can’t help you without a promotion strategy. You design a website. The client loves it. Your self-esteem grows. What next? I won’t make you guess. The answer is: you need to showcase your best work on an online portfolio. Here’s how…
Decide where to host your portfolio.
There are many ways to publish an online portfolio. It’d be impossible to cover them all in elaborate detail. Thus, I’m going to provide a few options for different types of freelancers. And then I’ll help you with the Big Picture stuff.
Freelance writer? You have two options. Make a WordPress* site. They have an abundance of resources to guide you. If you prefer a speedier and less complicated solution, check out Contently. You can simply copy/paste links to your guest posts. Their system will create an attractive portfolio without any coding required.
Freelance photographer? You need a design that’s more visual. Wix is a nice solution. You don’t need to know how to code. They provide a drag-and-drop editor that’s easy to use. If you’re looking for more options, visit Digital Trends.
Freelance web designer and developer? You might want to code your own portfolio. In most cases, minimal is better. Not this one! The more interactive your portfolio, the more impressed people will be. Here’s some good examples.
*Wordpress is a decent solution for any freelancer. I’m expressing this in a footnote to prevent repeating myself.
Be selective about your samples.
Your portfolio shouldn’t be too busy. Ask yourself: “What types of projects appeal to me and/or are most profitable?” What work samples will illustrate my ability to do that kind of work most effectively?”
Here’s a personal example. I’m a writer. My favorite subjects are health, fitness, dating, relationships, social media, psychology, and running a freelancing business. As a result, my portfolio only contains samples about those topics.
Let’s assume you’re a web designer and developer. Your most lucrative and enjoyable assignments have come from small business owners. So, why not limit your portfolio to web designs for small businesses? You’ll be perceived as an expert in that niche.
To drill this point home, here’s one more case study. You’re a photographer. You like to take pictures of anything, but 90% of your paying clients are new parents. There’s clearly a market for baby photos in your community. So, why not concentrate in that direction?
Lastly, you need to be mindful of quality. As your skills grow, you’ll produce better work. Constantly update your portfolio to reflect your best samples. Treat your portfolio like a “greatest hits” collection (not a B-side). And by “constantly,” I mean at least once or twice per month.
Drive traffic to your portfolio.
When you write a guest post for a website,** they’ll typically provide you with an author bio (and the ability to include a link or several). To see what I mean, note my author page on Pakwired. Add a link to your online portfolio. The goal: make it easy for readers and/or potential clients to find you.
**I’m publishing an article about how to do that soon. If you wanna read it, note the next (and last) footnote.
This tactic is most helpful for freelance writers (since we’re in the business of words), but any freelancer can benefit from it. Also, share your portfolio on social media. Don’t be excessive. Once or twice a month, write a status that says: “I’ve updated my portfolio to reflect my most recent work. If you’re in the mood to read, click the link below.”
You should also include a link to your online portfolio in the following places:
- Twitter bio
- About page***
- Email signature
- LinkedIn profile
- Facebook profile
***If you don’t have an about page and/or want to boost the quality of yours, bookmark the Freelancing 101 series here and come back soon (because I’m posting a blog about how to write an engaging about page in a week or two).
Are you aware of any other tips that will help people publish and promote an online portfolio? If so, tell us in the comments. Go ahead and share this article with any friends who freelance. They’ll appreciate the actionable insights.
Read More Articles in the Freelancing 101 Series:
- 5 Questions to Ask Yourself before You Become a Freelancer
- How to Be Productive at Home (When You’d Rather Be Watching Netflix)
- How to Learn a New Skill (without Stressing Yourself Out)
- How to Get Your First Paying Client within a Month
- How to Set and Negotiate a Rate You Can Live with
- How to Write a Pitch That Convinces Clients to Hire You
- How to Write an About Page That Resonates with Your Audience