Summary: Create a clean, simple portfolio with top work, detailed case studies, intuitive navigation, mobile optimisation, and regular updates. Portfolio advice from a freelance web designer.

A portfolio website is your digital business card. Whether you’re an artist, writer, or designer, your portfolio is often the first impression potential clients or employers will have of your work.

Here are some tips to help you create an effective portfolio website that showcases your talents and attracts the right opportunities.

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1. Define your purpose and audience

Before diving into design, it’s crucial to understand why you’re creating a portfolio and who it’s for. Are you looking to attract clients for freelance work, or are you seeking employment at a company? Your audience could range from art directors and publishers to potential collaborators. Knowing your purpose and audience will guide your design choices and content strategy.

2. Choose the right platform

Selecting the right platform is key to building a professional portfolio. Popular options include:

WordPress: Highly customisable with numerous themes and plugins.
Squarespace: User-friendly with sleek, modern templates.
Wix: Offers drag-and-drop simplicity and a variety of design options.
Adobe Portfolio: Great for those already using Adobe Creative Cloud.

Choose a platform that aligns with your technical skills and the level of customisation you need.

3. Keep it simple and clean

A cluttered website can distract from your work. Aim for a clean, simple design that lets your projects shine. Use plenty of white space to avoid overwhelming visitors and ensure your site is easy to navigate. Remember, less is often more.

4. Showcase your best work

Quality over quantity is the golden rule here. Select a handful of your strongest pieces to showcase. Each project should tell a story and highlight different skills or styles. If possible, include a variety of work to demonstrate your versatility.

5. Include detailed case studies

For each project, provide a detailed case study that explains your process. Include:

Project overview: Brief description of the project and its objectives.
Your role: Clarify your role in the project.
Challenges: Outline any challenges you faced and how you overcame them.
Outcome: Highlight the results, including any metrics or client feedback.

Case studies give potential clients insight into your problem-solving skills and work ethic.

6. Make navigation intuitive

Your portfolio should be easy to navigate. Use clear, straightforward menus and consider adding a search function. Organise your work into categories, and make sure your contact information is easily accessible from any page.

7. Optimise for mobile

With so many people browsing on mobile devices, it’s essential your portfolio looks great and functions well on all screen sizes. Choose a responsive design template, and test your site on various devices to ensure a seamless experience.

8. About me section

Your “About Me” section is where you can infuse some personality into your portfolio. Share your background, experience, and what drives you creatively. This is also a great place to include a professional photo and links to your social media profiles.

9. Include testimonials

Social proof can be incredibly persuasive. Include testimonials from past clients or collaborators and add logos of notable clients if applicable. This builds credibility and trust with potential clients.

10. Keep SEO in mind

Optimising your portfolio for search engines can increase your visibility. Use relevant keywords throughout your site, particularly in headings, project descriptions, and image alt text. Ensure your site loads quickly and consider creating a blog to share industry insights and updates.

11. Regular updates

Your portfolio should be a living document, regularly updated with new work and achievements. This shows you’re active and continually improving. Set a reminder to review and refresh your portfolio every few months.

12. Include a clear call to action

What do you want visitors to do after viewing your portfolio? Whether it’s contacting you for a project, downloading your CV, or following you on social media, make sure you have clear calls to action (CTAs) throughout your site.

13. Get feedback

Before launching, get feedback from peers or mentors. They can offer valuable insights and point out any areas for improvement. Consider doing a soft launch to gather initial reactions and make any necessary tweaks.


Creating an effective portfolio website is about more than just displaying your work—it’s about telling your story and demonstrating your value to potential clients or employers. By following these tips, you can build a portfolio that not only showcases your talents but also helps you stand out in the competitive creative industry.

For those in Harrogate and beyond looking to elevate their online presence, I’m here to help you create a stunning portfolio website that captures your unique style and attracts the right opportunities. Let’s bring your vision to life! Feel free to get in contact…

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