26 February 2015

8 Things A Great Portfolio Website Should Have

At a time when everything seems to be a mere click away on the internet, having an online presence is no longer just an option, but has become a necessity for businesses both big and small.

This is especially true if you are someone who makes a living out of doing creative work. Whether you are a designer, illustrator, photographer or writer, a well-made portfolio site can help you attract the attention of potential clients, making your work and brand stand out in a competitive market that is teeming with talent.

Here are some useful tips to help you build a welcoming online space that would make your visitors want to linger. If you already have a website, does it already contain these eight important elements that a great portfolio website should have?

Fret not if you are not an expert at the technical parts of building websites—Squarespace’s collection of handy creative tools would make the process of making your website as simple and hassle-free as possible, all without writing a line of code.

A Unique, Timeless Domain Name

(Image via Analog Supply Co.)

In a world that operates increasingly on the internet, a personal domain will become one of the most important parts of your identity. When deciding on a domain name, it would be wise to keep it simple and as close to your personal or professional brand name as possible. For instance, using a “FirstnameLastname.com” format for your domain name is a straightforward way of making sure that it is unique and timeless.

This would also mean that when people search for your name or brand on a search engine, there is a good chance that your website would be at the top of the list of search results. Not only does this make you easy to find online, it would also prevent ill-meaning individuals from using it against you in the future.

An Easy-To-Read And Informative About Page

(Image via Branding Bad)

The About Page on your website serves as an online elevator pitch about you and your work. It is a great way to present small, easily digestible bits of information about who you are, what you do and what you have to offer.

As people’s attention spans dwindle at an alarming rate, a short but well-written About Page can be the thing that visitors use to decide if they should spend more time on your website. If you are able to bring across your message in an articulate and interesting manner, it would likely lead to more clicks elsewhere on your website.

A Well-Designed, Distinctive Logo

(Image via Squarespace’s Logo Maker)

Your logo may be the first thing that a visitor see on your website—and ideally, he should be able to easily recognize it if he come across it again. Large corporations have routinely spend huge sums of money on their visual identities, and for good reason. A well-designed logo goes a long way in helping to establish your brand and give potential clients a visual element for remembering you by.

If you are a small company that is not able to invest thousands in a new logo, you should try out Squarespace’s free professional Logo Maker to create your own striking logo—it takes just a few minutes.

A Responsive Design That Works On All Devices

(Image via Squarespace)

With the proliferation of mobile devices and tablets, a static design that is optimized for computers with bigger screens just does not work that well for a tech-enable generation that consumes online content mostly on the go.

To create a more enjoyable experience for your website’s visitors, make sure that it has a responsive design that scales up or down to look great on any device. You can feel free to pick any of Squarespace’s gorgeous template as they are all equipped with this feature that ensures your website look fantastic everywhere.

An Attractive Landing Page

(Image via Squarespace’s Cover Pages)

A beautiful landing page can make a wonderful first impression. It is also a fabulous way to introduce your visitors to content that you would like for them to view before directing them to other areas of your website. In particular, they are a very memorable way to share audio and video content, such as an album, a song or even a podcast.

Cover Pages is one of Squarespace 7’s amazing new features that allows you to put together a stunning landing page or a single page website in just a few minutes. Whether you are using it as a hub for your social media accounts or to showcase a new project, this is an easy, convenient and striking way to present your work.

Gorgeous, High Quality Images To Accompany The Text

(Image via Mash Graphics)

Even if you run a mostly text-based website, chances are you would still need to use images to bring your point across. As the internet gets increasingly image-heavy, with people having less patience to wade through paragraphs of text, the saying that “a picture says a thousand words” is now more true than ever.

With Squarespace 7’s Getty Images Integration feature, you would have access to over 40 million images from a collection of high-quality creative and editorial photographs, which could be used to compliment the writing on your website to make your content more compelling.

A Simple, Convenient Way For Customers To Make Purchases

(Image via Hunt Amor)

It is not uncommon these days for designers and other creatives to sell their work directly to the public via their websites. Online stores allow business owners to reach out to potential customers in faraway places that they would not be able to serve with traditional brick-and-mortar stores. To successfully sell online, it is crucial that the shopping experience on your website is simple, convenient and enjoyable.

Try out Squarespace’s Commerce feature to not only build your store, but to build your brand. Offering a free domain and user-friendly tools to help you design your e-store, its mobile-friendly template also make shopping on the go effortless for your customers.

A Hassle-Free Management System & Reliable Technical Support

(Image via Squarespace)

Updating your website with new content should be a quick and hassle-free process, and ideally, you should be able to do it from anywhere. Invest in a good management system, complete with metrics trackers that let you monitor progress and reach, right from the start to prevent problems from cropping up in the future. Your website should also always be live, so constant technical support is important as service reliability would keep your visitors coming back.

To help you manage your website with ease, Squarespace has introduced a new suite of iOS apps, which includes the “Blog” app for easy updating and the “Metrics” app for monitoring website analytics. It also offers 24/7 support via live chat and email.

This article is sponsored by Squarespace.