Design businesses have never been more needed than they are today. With an increasing number of individuals becoming entrepreneurs and starting their own online companies, the need for professional logos, web designs, social media designs and more is on the rise.
This is great news for creative professionals, with the job market holding more opportunities for them than ever before. If you’re looking to start your own design business, providing these kinds of services to businesses of any size, then you’re definitely choosing the right time to start.
But, with so many design brands out there, making yours stand out from the crowd is going to be key to your success. You might be wondering what you can do to set your design brand apart from the rest and convince potential clients that you’re the one to choose. The best way to do this is with an online portfolio that showcases your best work, shows off any work that you’ve done for high-profile clients, and lets potential clients really get to know you, your skills and abilities. Read on for our top tips on making your design business stand out with a creative portfolio.
Tip #1. Create a Simple, Elegant Website:
First and foremost, the design of your website is crucial when it comes to creating a portfolio that stands out from the crowd. In addition to being modern and instilling trust in your visitors, you’ll need to come up with a website design that truly complements your brand and puts you forward as a strong contender in the market.
No matter how great the work that you’re going to be showcasing is, a bad web design could quickly become your brand’s downfall. Bear in mind that as a creative professional, people aren’t just going to be judging the work itself, but also the platform that it’s being displayed on.
The good news is that even if you’re not a web designer, there are plenty of resources available. You can quickly learn how to create an online portfolio for your brand in mere minutes using an easy and simple website building tool such as Format, even if you have no prior knowledge of web design or coding.
Tip #2. Consider Your Search Engine Ranking:
Search engine optimization (SEO) has never been more important for creative professionals today. If somebody’s looking for a new graphic designer, videographer or other creative artist, the majority of the time a Google search is going to be their first port of call. So, you’ll want to make sure that your website and brand is high up in those search results to get noticed.
There are several things that you can do to improve your portfolio’s search ranking. For starters, make sure that your site is secure by investing in SSL certification. This is even more important if you’re going to request that users enter their personal information into any page on your site, from signing up to an email newsletter to making a payment to you.
Secondly, ensure that your site is responsive. Using a responsive design means that no matter which device your users are viewing your portfolio on, they are getting the best experience. Nobody will want to browse through your work on their smartphone if it means that they’re constantly having to pinch and zoom to get the best view. With more people than ever before choosing to browse the web on smartphones and tablets, accommodating them is absolutely essential and will ensure that your site doesn’t drop in search rankings.
Tip #3. Load it Up:
If you want to annoy your viewers before they even get to your site, then a page that takes ages to load is a sure way to do this. But of course, you want nothing of the sort – your goal here is to make sure that people who visit your site are so impressed that they go on to work with you in the future. So, don’t make them wait to see your work.
Load speed is a very simple factor which can have disastrous results for your brand if not taken care of. Statistics show that today’s web users are not very patient when it comes to waiting for a site to load. In fact, waiting more than three seconds drastically increases the risk of them giving up and going elsewhere. So, make sure that you choose a reputable hosting provider that can handle quick loading of all the content on your site. This is especially important if you’re planning to upload large files such as HD images and videos, which can take longer to load and slow the entire speed of your site down.
Tip #4. Tell a Story:
Don’t just post your work to your portfolio and leave it there. Engage your viewers by providing some context and telling the story behind each project. This will not only help your potential clients learn more about your work, it’s a great way to start building that crucial professional relationship and giving them the opportunity to learn more about you as an individual.
There are several ways in which you can do this. A blog section of your portfolio can be a great platform for telling your stories, in addition to creating regular, fresh content to keep your site updated and new, which always wins favor with search engines. Or, if you wish to keep things minimal, simply include a short description with each project to explain more about why you did it, what you learned from it, and why you enjoyed working on it.
Tip #5. Get Your Past Clients Involved:
Today, if you’re looking for a new brand to buy from or a person to work with, you’ll know just how important reviews, recommendations and testimonials can be. For example, you probably wouldn’t commit to booking a stay in a hotel or resort without first loading up TripAdvisor and getting a better feel for the place through the words of people who’ve stayed there before.
So, make sure that you harness the power of reviews and recommendations on your portfolio. A few positive words from your past clients can make all the difference when it comes to building trust with people who may have never heard of your brand before. This is especially true if you’ve worked with any popular, big-name brands. If you’ve got glowing reviews on third-party review sites, make sure that you link to those, too.
Tip #6. Be Active on Social Media:
Last but not least, don’t just stop with your portfolio website. Make sure that your brand stands out by being active across a wide range of social media profiles. Use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at least and make sure that your branding is consistent throughout. Instagram is particularly useful for creative professionals since it allows you to quickly get to the point of showing your work off through images and short clips.
Post regular content on your social profiles; this will encourage your followers to engage with you and help you build more brand awareness. Shareable content is key – not only will this reach your own followers but also everybody they share it with, helping to gain more exposure for your brand.
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