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Turn your online portfolio into your digital business card

best marketing strategies for new career adviceThis is a guest post by Judith Schmidt

Why is an online portfolio important for business? Because your potential customer is online. Think about the last time you wanted to know something; where did you look it up? Yes that’s right.

So if you want to be found, there’s no better way than an online portfolio where you can show and share your work. No matter if you are a freelancers or an agency, a graphic designer, photographer or an artist: showcasing yourself and your work online is essential! Today’s decision makers don’t have much time and a professional and individual website is the easiest way to gain attention, build your reputation and to connect with potential customers. That’s why you should turn your online portfolio into your digital business card.

What makes an online portfolio successful?

An impressive portfolio is half your battle. Here are the most important tips and tricks to create a successful online portfolio and rock the world wide web:

Keep it simple! Reduce the number of pages, only integrate relevant content and focus on presenting what you do best. Use only short texts, especially on your “About” page. But try to be specific about your talents and you as a person and make sure you provide your contact details. Use relevant keywords in your texts and give credit to the people you worked with – they will appreciate it.

Stand out! Your work is what’s important in your online portfolio. Don’t overdo the design or it will drag attention from your content. But you can still use your own unique design and let your personality influence the style of your presentation. Content and design should not interfere but enforce each other. Work with fonts, use a logo and you already have created your unique corporate design.

Make it interesting! Promote your latest work and keep your portfolio updated. Regular news or a little blog will increase your traffic and also have a positive effect on your SEO. Take the time to define your brand and target market and then create a portfolio that will appeal to them. Know your audience and think about what information they could be interested in.

Spread the word! Use social media features, like a “share-button”, to promote your website. But make sure you embed channels intelligently and focus on those you are using for business. Include the link to our online portfolio in your email footer. Ask your friends and colleagues to link to your site and use relevant keywords to improve your Google rank.

Use a template! There are great services (see next paragraph) that allow you to create your online portfolio in just a few clicks. Using a template saves a lot of time and money compared to having someone programming your site up from scratch. Another huge advantage is that you can be your own web designer and update and edit your site anytime.

Which one’s the right for me?

These three examples of portfolio builders offer a range of templates with different features. They all include the hosting of your site. Make sure the service you use fits your needs as well as your budget.

Carbonmade – nice and simple

Until today, more than half a million sites have been “carbonmade”. Carbonmade is the right choice for web-newbies. It’s so simple and easy to use that even an eight year old could build a site in just a few minutes. There are only few features and customization options to choose from and the look is nice but simple. The free version lets you create an online portfolio with 5 projects and 35 images. For $12 per month you can upload 500 images and even videos.

Squarespace – sophisticated and advanced

This tool has everything you need and more. Tons of features, apps and options let you set up complex websites – there’s even an advanced blog function. Squarespace has templates that have a sophisticated and minimalistic look and can be customized down to every little detail. Users need a little experience – unlike other website builders, Squarespace doesn’t advertise itself as “easy to use”. Pricing starts from $8/month, there’s no free option.

ALLYOU.net – the creative’s choice

The newcomer gains increasing popularity among the international creative community. The neat design appeals to photographers and designers and the front-end-editing is pretty simple. There’s a free version and several upgrade-options for professional users (up from $8/month). ALLYOU.net can’t yet compete with other tools in terms of user numbers but the ambitious start-up from Switzerland is ready to play with the big kids.

Now you should be ready to create a professional online portfolio that works as your digital business card. Start today and web yourself!

Judith Schmidt has started her career as an event-manager in Bangladesh and gained experience in a big PR agency in Germany. Currently she works as communication manager for ALLYOU.net in Zurich, Switzerland and has become a real online portfolio expert.
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Photo credit: Murat Ertürk via Flickr cc

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About GregDillon

Greg is the founder of strategy consultancy GD | Inspires and spends his days strategising for various design agencies and clients around the world - see more at http://gdinspires.com. He is also a prolific entrepreneur having launched Strat-Talking.com - a website aimed at giving advice and insight to new, existing and veteran freelancers as well as commenting on all things strategic. Feel free to email him at: greg@gdinspires.com or follow on Twitter @StratTalking

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