5 ways to improve your online portfolio

As creative professionals, we live and die by our design portfolio. Yet, we all have been faced with the inevitable creative catch-22 – we are constantly producing new work that we would love to add to our portfolio, but find it difficult to dedicate the time to keep it current and up to date.

It's so crucial to keep relevant in this industry that we have to make the time for it. No excuses. It's time to update your portfolio. It's the end of summer, clients are vacationing, and no one seems to have any last minute requests… So take this much needed downtime to give your portfolio a makeover.

A good idea is to get some inspiration from great portfolio examples, but to start off with why not take on board some tips on reassessing and improving your creative portfolio website.

01. Take a step back

Black and white portfolio on iPad

Take a step back to see if your site is getting you the work you really want

Go through your site and see if it's really showcasing your most current skill-set. Have you ventured into more digital work recently? Have you taken an interest in video? Copywriting, etc?

Make sure your site shows any new skill-sets you may have to offer potential clients. Also, take a step back to see if your site is getting you the work you really want. For example, if you are a fashion photographer, but want to segue into advertising, make sure that you are highlighting shoots that are clear examples of your advertising photography skills.

It may even be worth it to set up your own mock shoots that showcase your skill-set and post those on your site. This way clients will know that this is really what you aspire to do.

02. Edit and update it

Now that you've assessed what you have and don't have on your site, it's time to edit. The creative industry is all about trends, so if the work you are showing seems out-dated and obsolete, clients are not going to want to hire you.

Since you probably stare at your site all day, it's easy to miss things. So have a friend look at it with a set of fresh eyes and see what looks passé and needs to go.

03. Optimise it for SEO

Colourful portfolio on iPad

Make sure that your portfolio site is HTML based, so that it's easier for clients to view

Is your site using SEO to help potential clients find you? If it's not, it's time to look into this. There are several portfolio builders out there to help you do just this. It's so crucial these days, as the internet is becoming more and more vast and your site is easily lost in the chaos.

Make sure that your portfolio site is HTML based, so that it's easier for clients to view, includes friendly URLs, crawlable content, and unique meta-tags that can drive traffic to your website. These make it easier for clients to find you in a vast sea of sites.

04. Make it social

We live in a social world. If you aren't already using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, you have to stop reading this and open these accounts! It's imperative to establish a social presence that is engaging and allows clients and visitors to see a glimpse into your style and work ethic.

It is also an organic way to get your name out there. If you have a site that allows you to connect your social accounts back to your site, chances are people will share, like, and comment on your work linking them back to your site, giving you better traction and visibility to your work.

05. Look busy

In the creative world, perception is everything. If you look like you are busy and getting tons of work, people will generally want to hire you. It's smart to establish a presence online and through traditional marketing to show your clients that you are busy.

Take a reel of behind-the-scenes footage at your next shoot and put it on your social accounts, take pictures of the editing process, show industry related events that you are attending, or send clients a postcard with your latest work.

It's always good to be in a client's present mind-set and the best way to do that is to get the word out that you are working and producing amazing creative content.

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Julian Dormon is the founder of BigBlackBag, specializing in professionally designed online portfolio websites perfect for photographers, artists, and other creative professionals. He's an amateur photographer and professional entrepreneur with a passion for all things beautiful.