Showing off what you and your business does in the right way is sure to be a winner for your potential clients. If we’ve never bought from a company, we need reassurance that they know what they are doing and one way to provide this is to show them the work you’ve done for other people. By allowing your potential customers to see actual examples of your work, you are truly showing the world you have skills and you are darn good at them. This episode looks at how a portfolio page can elevate your business and make it much more desirable over your competitors. It will give people a flavour of the work you provide and means they know exactly what to expect from you and your fantastic business.
INTRO: This is the Help! My Website Sucks podcast – your bitesize guide to web design. I’m Amy Gumbrell, a freelance WordPress web designer and when I’m not building udderly functional and beautiful websites, I love talking about them. In fact I’m on a mission to make websites next level easy and to make sure that your website doesn’t suck.
The portfolio page will be a key player in your sales process without too much effort from yourself. Sounds like your sort of thing? Ok so I’ve told a teeny weeny lie there – of course before you can create a portfolio page, you need some material for it i.e. finished projects that you’ve worked on so we’ll explore how best to do this. By the end of the episode, you’ll have a better understanding of how a portfolio adds value to your website and you’ll see how it fits in with plans for your own website project.
Firstly I want to breakdown exactly what I believe a portfolio page actually is. This is based on the websites and businesses I’ve worked with (and a sprinkling of common sense!) For me a portfolio page represents a hand-picked selection of projects that the business owner chooses for the benefit of potential clients. It isn’t just creative businesses such as graphic designer, web designers and podcast producers that may want to showcase their work – you’ll find that those in industries as diverse as construction and finance will also need a way of presenting case studies of work they have done and how they maximised their client’s budgets or created the most amazing housing complex.
In fact instead of a single portfolio page, many opt to build their entire website around their portfolio which are called yep, you guessed it – portfolio websites – let’s tackle that another day. Think of it as your online CV – your chance to sell yourself and show off the best bits of what you’ve been doing. For example at Two Cows Web, I work with lots of different businesses and so I use my portfolio page to provide reassurance that the websites I create are responsive which means that look awesome and function even awesomer on all devices. The image I display is the finished website on desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile. As well as the visual, I like to offer a short summary of the project itself too for those who need more information about how myself and the client arrived at the final website. My portfolio page is such an integral part of my sales process, and to be honest I’m not sure it could do without it!
Now we know what a portfolio is for, let’s talk content – how do we put together the ultimate portfolio page…
First step: Do some awesome work. Second step: Put all your awesome work in a folder and have a look at them side-by-side. Third step: Curate them.
Select the projects that stand out and reflect your skills and abilities. You may be a graphic designer who has many branding projects under your belt but by focussing on the ones that properly show off different services or aspects of your business, you stand a better chance of drawing in potential clients instead of swamping a page with everything you’ve ever created. Less is more my friends. Oh and here is a great point to mention my favourite tip for business in general KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE– your website is not for you, it is for your potential customers so your portfolio needs to also reflect this. What are your potential customers looking for when they arrive at your website? What are they hoping to see in your work?
So how will you know if anyone looks at your portfolio? Two Words. Social media. Of course your website should be easy to navigate and your portfolio page should sit proudly in your menu BUT there are ways to drive more people to see your work and that is through the power of social media. You have ready made content sitting there that people WILL be interested in. For example if you are an architect and have just finished working on a ground-breaking project, you will probably want to shout about it on social media. I know I would. Instead of creating a long written waffley post about the project and sharing umpteen photos of it, you can use social media as a teaser and then entice those who want to find out more to get the full story on your website. This full story can be added to your portfolio with those extra photos you have and the longer summary about the project. In fact people love seeing their business paraded online as a way of getting a bit of free publicity and as long as they are happy with your work (I’m assuming they are – you are awesome of course!) they will then share your post that shares their specific project. Bam! you’ve got more engagement and increased chances of people seeing the work and heading to your website to find out more.
I’ve got a couple of things to mention before we wrap up today’s episode. Firstly making your portfolio page accessible and easy to navigate is a lovely touch when thinking about the overall design. By categorising the projects and allowing people to filter by category to only view the projects they want to see, it allows them to drill down quicker to the examples that are really going to speak to them. This may not be possible if your services are very similar but you would be surprised some of the categories that I’ve seen work over the years. For example you may want to break down your examples into industries, size of business, colours, styles and so on.
Secondly there is a cross over of a portfolio page with a testimonials page- be sure to have a listen to that episode. Testimonials from your clients is a great way to build trust on your website and adding them to your portfolio page next to the project they are talking about is a fabulous way to add value to your portfolio. Potential customers can read about the project, see some images of the project and they even get to read some kind words form the happy client. What a lovely package to present to new customers!
And so to the end we must go but not before a quickfire round of what else you should consider when putting together a portfolio page…
- the images should be top quality
- the project copy should be succinct and focus on the key points – waffles are for breakfast (or tea) not for your portfolio page.
- get into the habit of ‘collect, select, reflect’ – keep your portfolio updated and reflect whether it still effectively showcases your skills in that very moment.
OUTRO: If you’re hearing this message, you’ve reached the end of another Help! My Website Sucks podcast episode. Thank you so much for listening – I really appreciate it. If you need help with your website, get in touch at twocowsweb.co.uk and until next time bye bye for now!