How to Create a Digital Portfolio That Converts

One of the most important aspects of your freelance business is your website. After all, your site is how prospective clients find you when they need to hire a freelancer.

However, if you really want to promote your freelance services, you need to include a portfolio on your website to complement what you have to offer.

This way, anyone that lands on your website can see your previous work, check out what services you have, and easily get in touch if they decide they want to hire you.

Keep in mind, however, that having a digital portfolio is much more involved than merely showing off your past work and hoping people reach out to you.

Not to mention, it’s hard to separate yourself from the competition since freelancers far and wide are also displaying their work in their digital portfolios.

That’s why we’re here to show you how to make the most of your digital portfolio so you can drive more traffic than ever and convert more leads into paying clients.

1. Choose the Right Domain Name

When you’re building a business website, you need to choose a domain name that represents your brand identity and is easy to find (and remember).

That said, when it comes time for you to buy a unique domain name for your website, you should follow these tips:

  • Keep it short and sweet so people can easily type it into their browsers
  • Use keywords related to your business (yes, your name is a popular choice)
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens
  • Make it memorable so people can come back without having to search you out in search results
  • Watch for copyright and trademark issues
  • Choose an appropriate domain name extension (e.g. .com, .net, or .org)

Many people creating a digital portfolio use their own name as their site’s URL (as mentioned above in the tips section).

For example, Alex Swanson, a UI/UX designer that wants to help you with your online design needs, uses his name for his website’s domain name:

In the end, your website’s domain name is the first thing people will see when they visit your site from search engine results. It also affects your search rankings and defines your brand.

So take care to choose the right one.

2. Showcase Your Best Work

Unless you’re just starting out, chances are you have plenty of previous work to choose from to add to your digital portfolio.

But you don’t want to overwhelm people and show them everything you’ve ever done.

According to a survey conducted by TCG, the magic number of portfolio items is 8. However, anywhere between 6 and 10 should highlight your skills for people interested in your work.

When it comes to displaying your work for people to see, follow these best practices:

  • Start with your best piece and end with the runner-up, so people start and end with your strongest pieces
  • Make sure all work is recent and relevant to the services you provide right now
  • Provide pieces that show a variety of skills so people of all kinds will have something to relate to
  • Add visual elements if possible

Having a stand out portfolio is going to help you land more clients once they land on your website.

3. Add Social Proof

Adding testimonials and reviews to your website from previous clients, like James Yorke does on his Become Known website, is a great way to entice others to hire you too.

In fact, 85% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

So, how do you go about getting past customers to write a review for your business?

One way is by sending out a customer satisfaction survey to every client that you do work for when their project is complete.

Not only will this give clients an opportunity to share their praise for you, but it also gives them a chance to provide you with insight into what you can do better next time.

Remember, not every customer will respond to your survey, which is ok.

However, those that are either extremely happy or extremely dissatisfied with your work are the ones that tend to fill out and turn in surveys.

Just make sure to add a section on the survey that asks for an official testimonial or review.

Also, make it clear that you’ll be adding positive testimonials to your website, so people know how you’re planning to use their reviews.

4. Focus on the User Experience

Getting people to come to your website and check out your portfolio is not enough to get people to hire you.

That’s why focusing on the user experience, once people are on your website, is so crucial to building your clientele.

Monitor Site Speed and Performance

Portfolios are known for being image heavy. And, while this makes for a visually appealing website, large images tend to drag your site’s speed and performance down.

Since most people will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, it’s crucial you monitor your site’s speed regularly to make the user experience is seamless.

Use the free online tool Google PageSpeed Insights to see how fast your desktop and mobile sites are loading.

Also, receive suggestions from Google for optimizing your site’s speed and performance. For instance, minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML or enable browser caching to speed up load times.

Optimize Images

Again, many portfolios are image heavy.

So, in addition to monitoring your page loading speeds, you should always optimize your images to make sure they load as quickly as possible for site visitors.

Here are some of the best ways to optimize images uploaded to your portfolio:

  • Compress images using an online tool like or TinyPNG
  • Choose the right file format – PNG, JPEG, or GIF
  • Enable lazy loading, so images only load when a site visitor reaches them on your webpage
  • Add alt attributes to all images so search engine crawlers index your images right and you show up in relevant search results

If you do all of this, not only will site visitors be able to navigate your site easily, they’ll enjoy the best looking images, and your search rankings will increase thanks to fast loading times.

Use a Content Delivery Network

It’s not unusual for people from all over the world to scour the internet for freelancers with digital portfolios hoping to find someone they can hire.

Unfortunately, people that are geographically far away from your site’s central server will experience slower loading times because it takes longer for content to be delivered far distances.

That’s why you should leverage a CDN to reduce latency and boost site speed and performance.

Using multiple servers that span the globe, a CDN will deliver your website’s content from the server that’s geographically closest to the site visitor requesting to visit your site.

5. Build an Exciting Landing Page

Optimizing your portfolio for high search rankings is great for getting organic traffic to your site.

But the work doesn’t stop once people land on your website.

Aim to create a landing page that will show people the true value of your work.

Tailor your landing page to address your clients’ pain points, show them how you can solve them, and lead them to the next step, which is hiring you as their freelancer.

For instance, Cedric Vella, a freelance videographer and sound designer, uses his website’s landing page to give site visitors everything they need to know about him all at once.

With convenient links to his portfolio, about section, and contact form, no matter what people need when they come to his website, they can link to it easily.

Adding to that, his landing page serves as a one-page website too, so you can also scroll down the webpage to get all the information you need to know about working with him.

Though portfolio landing pages tend to be simpler than traditional landing pages that guide people down a sales funnel to purchase a product, they still have some common elements:

  • A clear CTA encouraging people to hire you, get a quote, or request a consultation
  • Visual cues to draw attention to your work or CTA
  • Information about who you are and what you do
  • A strong value proposition showing people why you’re the best
  • Social icons so people can connect via their favorite social media networks

The only way to continue adding to your list of clients is to keep the momentum going once people land on your website.

And the best way to do this is to show them a high-quality landing page that has everything on it they need to hire you.

Final Thoughts

Creating a digital portfolio that highlights your freelance services is just one part of the puzzle if you want to grow your business.

But, it’s an essential piece of the puzzle that plays a large part in whether you’ll be successful or not.

If you want your digital portfolio to perform well for you, attract potential clients, and get them to convert, follow these tips and tricks starting now.

You’ll soon find that with a little bit of time and effort, you can create a highly converting digital portfolio that stands out against even the toughest of competition.

You’ll also begin to establish yourself as an authority in your field, with people that come to your website knowing immediately what your value is and why they should hire you.

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