Alright, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: having a website or portfolio page for your business/freelance career is oh so important.
Think of the last time you were debating trying a new restaurant. You eagerly typed their name into Google and nothing came up. That business probably lost a lot of legitimacy in your mind, didn’t it? It immediately seemed shady, simply because there was nowhere you could go to view their menu, see their prices, and look at photos.
Well, the same rule applies to your business. You need a place to send people who are interested in your work. Plus, your website or portfolio page will also drive people to your business. So, it’s really a win-win. A no-brainer. A must.
Admittedly, my business site is currently undergoing a major overhaul (maybe that will be finished someday…). And, when I was working on my redesign, I did a lot of investigating of different websites and portfolio pages.
I found some that were done really well, and others that seemed to lack all of the information that absolutely should be included.
So, I thought I’d pull together a quick list of things that you should definitely list on your business website or portfolio page. Whether you’re currently working on your site or are looking at making some edits, use this as your personal checklist to ensure your website has everything it needs.
First things first, this is your opportunity to strut your stuff. So, pull together all of your favorite pieces and projects and showcase them on your site. Remember, your website is oftentimes going to act as your first impression to many different potential clients. Make sure that impression is your best one!
As I was looking through a bunch of different sites, I was absolutely shocked to see how many didn’t include basic contact information. Start with your name (hello, that’s important — yet tons of sites never explicitly state it!). Then, include an email address, phone number, or both. You need to list a place where potential clients can get in touch with you—so choose whatever one you’re more comfortable with. You can also include one of those simple contact forms. But, I always recommend listing a real email address as well. I think people are more inclined to reach out if they feel like their message is reaching an actual person—and not just floating around in cyberspace.
I, for one, like to actually feel like I know the person behind the business. And, that’s pretty hard to do if I have absolutely no idea what they look like. So, bite the bullet and have a friend with some photography skills snap a few professional and fun head shots for you. It adds a personal touch to your website, and also allows your visitors to feel a little more connected to you. They can put a face with the name (here’s your friendly reminder again: tell them your name)!
If I’m being perfectly honest, this isn’t something that I currently have on my site. And, I haven’t made any plans for including these on my updated site either. Don’t ask me why—it just got lost in the shuffle. But, testimonials from your clients are a great thing to include. It’s a basic principle of selling something, really. If a commercial tells you that a product is fantastic, you’re probably a little skeptical. Of course they think their own product is amazing. But, if a friend or colleague recommends it? Well, then you’re a little more inclined to give it a try. So, list some testimonials and it’ll instantly give your business some credibility and an instant reputation boost!
I’m not a big believer in stiff and formal websites—particularly if you’re in a creative industry. So, try your best to ensure that your website is an accurate representation of you. Use your favorite colors. Post some fun photos. Write copy that sounds like you. How exactly do you do that? After you’ve written something, read it out loud. If it doesn’t sound like something you’d say naturally, you need to keep working on it!
Sometimes a website isn’t quite enough anymore. We want somewhere we can go for even more information. So, include any relevant links you have. Link out to your blog, LinkedIn profile, or Twitter account. Give your visitors a few places that they can go and find out more about you on a personal and professional level. Of course, you just want to make sure those outlets always remain polished and appropriate!
What do you think is essential to include on a business website or portfolio? I’d love to hear what’s crucial in your eyes (ahem, so I can make sure I include it on my own website)!
Until next time!