Every freelancer should have a WordPress portfolio. I know plenty of people will create their own websites under their own domains, built from scratch and lovingly places on the internet like it is their own child. But I honestly believe that a WP-based site is far superior. Mainly because I am not patient or knowledgeable enough to create my own site without help, but still want a hand in crafting and maintaining my portfolio.
Just call it personal bias.
If you are scoffing right now, consider these benefits of using WordPress:
- It is easily customizable.
- There are a ton of themes available.
- You can turn it into anything, from a blog to a storefront, all by adding simple tweaks.
- It is already SEO optimized.
- There are a billion plugins.
- It’s just awesome.
Anyone wanting to get started right away (why wouldn’t you?), here are five tips for creating a great freelance portfolio.
- Find a Good Theme. WordPress themes are a dime a dozen, but they are not all created equally. What would work for a basic blog might not for a portfolio. Not to mention, it might not have the visual appeal that shows off your creativity. No matter what industry you are in, showing your versatility and talent for creative works is important. It should be immediately apparent, the general design of your site giving a quickfire glimpse into the personal you want to show off. There is an endless number of portfolio optimized themes, and a Google search will bring them all to your fingertips. But some of my favorites are the minimalist Hero, the trendy Cubrik and the creative Mendeleviumoid.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Customize. Once you have your theme, you don’t have to keep it as-is. Almost all (if not all) themes are able to be adapted to fit your needs. From changing grid sizes to switching out colors, you should make sure you have modified it to be exactly what you are looking for. Another benefit to this is taking a theme others are sure to have and making it stand out, so it doesn’t look like your portfolio is a cookie-cutter version of someone else’s site. While your work should be the primary focus, tweaking the design to enhance the way you show it off is still a critical part.
- Pick and Choose Your Best Work. For some reason I have been coming across a lot of portfolios lately that are just jam packed with examples of the freelancer’s work. There is nothing wrong with providing plenty of choice, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming. Break down the categories of work you have done, and then provide a few examples of each. You want to show off your talent, not give a comprehensive history of every client you have taken through your career. Remember that most potential clients are only going to bother looking at maybe three or four pieces of your work before making a decision. Make it easier for them to see the very best, without burying it in a bunch of stuff that is mediocre.
- Provide Context. A pet peeve of mine when hiring a freelancer is not having any context to the work they are showing. Once I was having to hire a freelance web designer for a project. Their portfolio website was impressive, and the work they had provided was very pretty. But they offered no information at all on who the site was for, or any of the work they had done. Nor when they had done that work, which gave me no frame of reference for the technology they were experienced in, or how frequently they took on clients. I ended up going with someone else.
- Update Frequently. There are going to be a couple of pieces out there that are more timeless to you, which you will continue to show for years to come. But you should be regularly updating most of your portfolio. I would say you should have a 20/80 ratio of old work to new, though how new depends on how much work you take on. If possible, try to update your portfolio every three to six months. It keeps your work fresh and relevant.
Do you have any tips for creating a great freelance portfolio on WordPress? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: freelance.