Eight ways to increase traffic to your portfolio site

SEO can be tricky, so follow these eight simple tips to ensure your site stands out from the crowd

Digital self-promotion is the most cost-effective and powerful means of elevating your professional status. It goes without saying that you need an online calling card – but just being online doesn't attract an audience. You'll also need to know the tricks of creative SEO. Here are eight steps for making your site stand out from the crowd...

1. Do your research
Before you start making any website improvements or building links, you’ll need to do some research. Start by determining which keywords you want to target based on what type of traffic you want to attract. This will be based primarily on how much traffic and competition the keywords have.

2. Be realistic
It’s also important to remember that you want relevant keywords that are likely to convert into a sale or a lead from a potential client. Bigger traffic isn’t always better, so don’t focus on the big audience grabs. Go niche and specific, and target words that relate to your services as a designer.

3. Use the right tools
Make sure you use Google’s Keyword Tool. It’s the most well known to online marketers, enabling you to find keywords related to the ones you enter and see how many searches they get per month, both globally and locally. Apply it to your keywords and heed its results.

4. Check the competition
By using a nifty tool like SimilarSites you can find lots of competitors and see what keywords they’re optimising for. There’s nothing wrong with examining the site of another designer or illustrator and deploying similar techniques to theirs. It’s a simple idea, but very useful.

Luke O'Neill

Drill down past the landing page (opening image) of graphic designer and illustrator Luke O'Neill's website, and you'll find large images and an explanation of each project featured: www.lukeoneill.co.uk

5. Optimise your site
Once you’ve determined the keywords you want to target, you’ll need to move on to optimising your website’s content and code. The way you structure your site and the content you place on it helps Google determine what it thinks your site is all about, and how it can best promote it.

6. Be fast
The speed of your website can have a big influence on your rankings. Google’s Page Speed Tool is free, and provides lots of great tips on how to improve the general speed of your site. Some simple tweaks can make all the difference here.

7. Link build
The main objective in link building is to identify link prospects that will benefit your site and foster relationships, with the ultimate goal of securing a link. There’s a lot of information to keep track of, but sites like Majestic SEO and ontolo can help hugely.

8. Track and analyse
Fundamentally, SEO is all about testing, so monitoring your results over time is extremely important. Track that into site numbers and client leads, and you’ll have a set of metrics that tell you how successful your online campaign is.

Don't miss the Self-Promo Handbook
You'll find more tips on how to increase the effectiveness of your online portfolio – plus a plethora of pro tips on how to boost your industry presence, from branding yourself to designing a killer campaign – inside The Self-Promo Handbook, which is on sale now in WHSmith in the UK, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million in the USA, Chapters in Canada and other retailers worldwide, or buy a copy online.

The Self-Promo Handbook

The Self-Promo Handbook is the third in our Computer Arts Presents series of practical creative manuals