The “gig economy” is surely taking over the world as the number of freelancers is constantly rising.
Worldwide companies are also open to remote and freelance workers more than ever, especially due to the Covid-19.
If you are a freelancer yourself, then the chances are that you are looking for job opportunities on dedicated internet platforms, like 73% of freelancers do. If we take into account that only in the US there are more than 50 million freelancers, the question is: How to get noticed among such high competition?
Well, it all depends on the skills you have and the (freelance) industry you work in. However, having an online portfolio can surely help. By that, we mean, a good, professional portfolio.
Let’s dive into more details…
Benefits of having an online portfolio
Besides having a profile on a freelance platform, if you put some effort in creating an online portfolio you’ll have more opportunities where to apply for a job. Not to mention that it is a great addition to a profile on any platform. If you are still having doubts whether you should invest (time and money) in creating an online portfolio, let’s list just some of its benefits:
- It is a very good first impression for employers, HRs, etc.
- It is a professional way to showcase your work
- It is a way to increase your online presence. If someone googles you, he’ll find your resume as well, not only social media profiles.
- It shows much more than a PDF resume. Here’s a chance to show your personality and attention to details by choosing a suitable design, content, etc.
- It is a great way to stand out from competition. Just imagine how many CVs an HR/employer gets and we can assure you that there are just a couple of applicants that have attached a link to their personal website.
- Ready to craft your online resume? Continue reading to find out what are the next steps.
You have options
If you type on Google the phrase “create an online portfolio” you’ll get a bunch of different results. Website builder ads, tools created for this purpose, web development agencies, freelance developers and designers etc.
How to choose the right option for your needs?Well, let’s narrow down your options starting with the budget you have. What are the costs of creating an online portfolio?
Hiring a freelance developer
If you want to work with a freelancer like yourself, you are probably aware that the rates vary depending on the freelancer’s expertise. Here are some stats:
As you can see from the graph, web development hourly rates are pretty high. If the design and implementation are straightforward, it usually takes between 64 and 96 hours to craft a website. Apart from development, you should consider the costs of content creation or proofread, if needed.
If you calculate all these fees you’ll get a really big number. Yes, we are speaking about a couple thousand dollars.
Of course, having a dedicated developer working on your site means that you can customise things as much as wanted.
Hiring a web development agency
Costs of hiring an agency to build your portfolio-website also depend on the agency’s overall rating, however, stats show that the rates don’t vary much from the freelancer’s. Here are some estimates:
An Informational/Small Business Website is the option you are looking for. You probably don’t need more than 8 pages so the $2000- fee should do it. Of course, keep in mind that these are just rough data.
DIY with a website builder
Nowadays, crafting a professional-looking website doesn’t necessarily require coding skills. There are a bunch of website builders (just google the phrase) with video tutorials and drag&drop features that make site-building really easy. Well, it is preferable to have some layout and design in mind, but if not – just go for a template and customize it. Don’t worry, they are great.
Website builders have different pricing plans. However, here’s one, just to get the idea of the estimate costs:
Apart from having to pay for a website builder package, there are some extra fees that you should count on. That’s why you should think about the monthly website builder plan since some have perks that will save you money.
Website domain: $12 – $60
Website hosting: $35 – $600
SSL certificate: $0 – $200
Website template or theme: $0 – $200
Apps and integrations $0 – $100
All in all, take some time to compare prices, templates, etc.
DIY with a portfolio maker
Similar to website builders, there are some portfolio makers that will help you to create your online presence even faster (again, just google the phrase and add your field of expertise, for example “copywriter portfolio maker”). Usually, they have a wider range of templates, or they have more templates for a specific industry and niche.
One other thing, we’ve noticed that their support team can really come in handy when looking for ideas. If you tell them a bit about your work, you might get advice on what is the best performing template for your job.
This option should be the cheapest one, however, additional fees like domain and hosting are also to be considered.
Here’re some pricing plans:
All set? It’s time to go to the next step.
Content is king
Now, this is a phrase you’ve probably heard a bunch of times. However, content is (extremely) important when creating an online portfolio, as well. Unless you are a designer, everything else, from your expertise to past projects needs to be wrapped up in suitable content.
Depending on the industry you work in you can choose your tone of writing, font style, slang and text phrases. There are some crucial elements not to forget to add:
- Homepage – let people immediately know what your profession is and how you can help them. Write a couple of sentences that summarise your previous work (similar to LinkedIn’s About section).
For example: Helping SaaS companies to achieve sustainable growth by implementing and optimizing marketing processes., or A certified web designer focused on crafting great web experiences. You get the idea, right?
- Your downloadable resume. Add a button that leads to a PDF version of your curriculum vitae. It goes without mentioning that your CV needs to be perfectly written and to comply with the overall website design. There’s plenty of tools that can help you with this matter.
- Projects you’ve previously worked on. Add a couple of sentences about each project, results that you’ve achieved, specific tasks that you’ve worked on, etc. If you have some slideshows this is a perfect place to attach them. If you worked on many smaller projects, list just those you are really proud of. Nobody will read 50 project-descriptions!
- Add a page dedicated to services that you provide. For example, if you are an online marketer you should list PPC, SEO, community management etc. and give a brief explanation of each one of them.
- About me – craft a page where you will explain a bit more about what you do, your education, but hobbies and personal interests as well. This is an ideal section to show your character – just make sure it is aligned with the industry you work in. You don’t want to hire a doctor just because he has a good sense of humor, right?
- Contact page where we recommend using a contact form, just because it seems more professional.
These are just some basic elements you should cover, of course, you should browse for some examples to get inspired.
If you don’t have the right copywriting skills here’s a chance to hire a fellow freelancer that can help you out.
When it comes to languages your content should be written on, it all depends which countries you wish to target. Of course, English is a must, everything else comes just as a bonus.
Design is equally important
You already know how important it is to leave a good first impression. Same goes for your website. Colors and the website layout should also tell a story.
If you are seeking a job in a corporate environment choose a relevant colour palette: However, you don’t have to go just for grey and dark blue – any dim colour will do the trick. Don’t forget to use an appropriate font style as well. Arial, Lato, Georgia and similar are surely a good choice.
Freelancing as a copywriter, designer, marketer…or similar, gives you an opportunity to be more creative with your website design. Take advantage of it! Unleash your creativity, choose bright colours, use engaging characters, dynamic graphics, etc. As for the fonts, now you can opt for Ubuntu, Open Sans, Verdana, or even some more catchy ones. Look for good web design agencies to find creative website examples – they’ve surely nailed it!
If you are crafting a website on your own check for tools and apps that can help you to create custom graphics and images. They are really not that hard to use and most of them have free plans that will satisfy your needs.
We strongly advise you to use just images that are royalty free – most of the above mentioned tools already have an integration with Unsplash or Pixabay. Same goes for the elements, such as buttons, arrows, etc. Add some dynamic icons, change button hover colours, add some special effects, etc. Don’t be scared to modify the template you’ve chosen!
Do your SEO homework
What good is an online portfolio if no one gets to see it? Ranking well in search engine results requires a lot of work. Despite it is an ongoing task there are some things here are some pointers to get you started:
- Write a blog, with unique, fresh and informative content.
- Do keyword research to find the right keywords for your website. There are many tutorials and tools available online to help you out.
- Write meta titles and descriptions for each page you create
- Write alt texts for your images that will explain to Google what the image is about
You can also install an SEO plugin or an app, depending on the platform your website is built on.
Optimise your online portfolio for mobile
Having a mobile friendly website is very important. There is no need to mention how many hours per day we browse on our cell phones, tablets, etc. Your potential employer is as well.
Although the majority of website/portfolio builders claim that their sites are mobile friendly, there are a few rules to keep in mind:
“For the small screen, you’ll want to declutter the mobile version of your site, keeping only the most crucial elements visible. Furthermore, pay attention to the fonts and colors you use and make sure they’re legible. Reduce the amount of typing required and consider adding a search bar to ease navigation.” explain the developer from one of the biggest website builders today.
You see, even they advise to double-check if everything is looking well on a mobile device.
How to get the most out of the website you’ve worked so hard on?
Well, start by adding it to all of your online profiles: from social media to freelance platforms. You never know who will stumble upon it.
When applying to jobs, instead of sending a resume just leave a link to your website. If there isn’t a suitable option where you can add it, just add a note that you would like to present more details of your work by sending a link to your portfolio-website.
Reach out to your previous employers and colleagues by sending them the URL to your new website. You can always use the excuse that you are looking for their opinion.
Is it worth it?
Yes! Having your own portfolio website will make you stand out from competitors and increase the chances of getting gigs apart from freelancing platforms. Depending on your budget and website building knowledge, find the most appropriate solution and start getting those gigs!