10 Essential Elements to the Perfect Web Design Portfolio


The path from prospect to paying client may have many twist and turns, but there are still a few constants that occur in every sales cycle.  Whether you establish immediate rapport or need multiple meetings with your prospect, at some point you will want to show your work. 

Here are the ten essential elements to creating the perfect web design portfolio.



1. Know Your Audience

Who is your target audience? If you are not clear on the wants and needs of your ideal client, how will you solve their problem?

Your portfolio should appeal to your audience and show how your expertise can help them.


2. Show The Benefits

We are story loving creatures. A story creates an emotional connection and shows the benefits you offer, rather than simply listing the services you provide.  Your portfolio should tell a story and let potential clients know you understand their pain and have the solutions to their problems.


3. Include Social Proof

People want a reason to work with you, and social proof is a major motivator to take action. When clients learn about the benefits others received, they will want to jump on the bandwagon.

The next time someone tells you how much they enjoyed working with you, whip out your cell phone and record a 30 second video.

Don’t forget the written testimonials, and a Yelp listing with positive reviews establishes your expertise.


4. Highlight Your Awesomeness

When selecting items for your portfolio, pick the best.  People get confused with too many options, so only select those designs that show how awesome you are, and remember – less is more!

While you should include links to live sites, mockups can be used when needed (http://www.cssauthor.com/free-mockup-templates-psd-designs/, https://dribbble.com/tags/mockup ), just make sure they are high quality mockups.


5. Say Cheese!

Pictures, pictures and more pictures. Articles with pictures are clicked more often and have better retention, and it’s the same with video.

Pictures and video should be high quality and reflect your brand.

Don’t forget the fun. Professional photos are great, but you can also include a fun pic, such as a hobby or interest.  And smile – no one wants to see a gloomy Gus!


6. Keep it Clean and Simple

Unless your expertise is developing the next big thing, keep it simple. A responsive, clean and modern site can be created with a simple WordPress theme for less than $60, which can then be easily customized.

Don’t use big, fancy words.  Don’t give promises you can’t keep and don’t try to show you can do everything.

Do one thing, and do it amazingly well.


7. Be Specific

Clients want to know how you are going to help them solve their problem.  Use specific, clear and concise language that speaks directly to them.

Instead of “Web Design and Internet Marketing experts” say “Building and Maintaining websites for small businesses in Oklahoma” or “Helping healthcare companies sell products online”


8. Be Accessible

The last thing your client needs is difficulty contacting you. Show your phone number and contact information in an easily accessible link. Include a map of your location and a live chat option, if possible.


9. Professional Hosting

Don’t skimp in an effort to save a few dollars.  Stay away from the $1.99 shared hosting sites. Instead, host on a fast, secure and professional website.


10. Details Matter

Pay attention to the details. Spelling, grammar, layout, colors and spacing all have an impact on the overall design.  Don’t lose the deal because you didn’t double and triple check everything.

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