Web Developer Portfolio: 20 advice to attract more customers through your work & services (part 1)
What do you (honestly) think about your web developer portfolio? Does it represent well your work and your way of doing professional things? Does it really help you to attract new projects or get a good job? I bet you’ve already asked yourself these questions and tried to figure it out if your approach is the right one. (feel free to post your answer in the comment section or even to share with me why are you proud of your portfolio and consider it a good example).
I was hanging around the other day on the internet, randomly reading different articles on different topics, and, after a while I’ve realized something: in less than an hour I’ve stumbled across at least 20 questions about how a web dev portfolio should look like, what it should contain and what it shouldn’t, and what clients and employers are really expecting to find out on a portfolio page.
I’ve decided that this sounds like a fresh and exciting topic for a new post, so I’ve selected the questions that seem to be most relevant for a web developer (beginner or experienced).
I’m a marketer, not a developer, But, in the past 10 years, I had the chance to work with many web developers and designers (employees and freelancers) and even to help them promote their work online to get new clients/ new projects.
So, here I am, trying to provide useful advice for developing a dev portfolio, based on the top 20 questions (10 in this article + another 10 in our next post – stay tuned!) I’ve discovered online and, of course, on my experience:
Which is the best way to present a Web Developer Portfolio?
If you intend to develop a career in this domain, don’t waste your time and personal brand on temporary pages. Invest a little for a long term success: create a dedicated portfolio page that entirely represents you and your work from the very first 30 seconds.
What elements should I include in a portfolio?
I know it’s not polite, but I’ll answer your question with…another question: what would be the top 5 things a prospect would want to know about you?
You may be thinking that in 10 seconds you can’t say much about your work. And that may be probably true. On the other hand, you should think about these 10 seconds as they are for scanning the structure of your page.
So, focus on 5 things you want to communicate with your customers instantly:
- Who are you and what it’s your experience in web development (About)
- What kind of projects have you developed until now (Work)
- How do you work (Remote?)
- What others (clients) think about your work and about working with you (Reviews)
- How can prospects get in touch with you (Contact)
Images versus text. Which is most important for my potential clients or employer?
Pictures are valuable – that’s for sure. But don’t count exclusively on them because it is risky and less efficient than you may think.
A picture is worth a thousand words. But 20 images on the same page may speak too loud, too simultaneous, and on too many topics.
In other words, each project needs a brief description. Create first a structure for this description (when the project was done, what it was about, results/ impact, client’s feedback, etc.) and follow the structure step by step, project by project. Otherwise, your page visitors will become too soon tired and lost in the middle of a labyrinth.
What elements should NOT be included in a developer portfolio?
My first advice is to:
You probably often hear “Sell your work big time. Use great words to describe it!”
But is that what a prospect/visitor wants to read about? Think of what he is looking for and try to respond to his expectations.
- Do not over-sell your skills
- Do not put ALL your project on Work section – nobody’s looking for an archive
- Do not make it look too personal (using a friendly tone doesn’t mean a full confession about your hobbies and friends)
- Keep professional projects and personal ones in different threads
- Do not overload your page with CTAs (call-to-action)
Is it wise to offer related services as well?
Yes, it is as long as these services are well connected with your web dev activity.
In fact, including in your offer some extra (related) services may be a relief for many prospects. Take into account to offer also (if possible) services like web design, web hosting (through partners), SEO, etc.
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How should I find reliable partners to increase the quality of my projects?
Count on external reviews, testimonials, forums and social media groups. These resources can guarantee you that:
How do I make my online portfolio to stand out?
It’s rarely easy to stand out on such a competitive market.
- But you can make it possible if:
- Create a simple, clean and modern design;
- Choose a relevant domain name;
- Your page has no downtimes (reliable hosting);
- Mix smart your content (videos, demos, images, etc.) for projects examples;
- Use a professional, but also a human tone of voice;
- Make available dynamic forms and CTAs for contact info;
- Include relevant case studies and reviews about your work’s success.
Big brands or complex projects? What should come first?
Your visitors will notice quickly if you have some important brands on your web developer portfolio, and this simple fact will increase your notoriety in…seconds.
Help them remember that behind every giant name stand people who put passion in their work.
So don’t forget to place the big brands’ list in a visible space of your page.
On the other hand, big brands presence on your page may stimulate prospects’ curiosity (“what types of the project did s/he developed? Are those projects remarkable? Has s/he any recommendations from those brands?”)
Advice: don’t leave any relevant detail behind and consider every complex project as a relevant topic to talk about (on the work section, and your blog, as well).
How much should I invest in my Web Developer Portfolio ‘s design?
I know you want to make your page special and unique and impressive. But the truth is that investing too much in your page design is a complete waste of time and money. Complex designs can be overwhelming for people that visit your page.
Use a simple, dynamic, and functional design. It’s mandatory for your visitors to find all the info they need quickly.
Is it wise to try earning extra-incomes through my Web Developer Portfolio ‘s page?
Mixing knowledge with business is the best recipe for success. Use your blog from portfolio page to create valuable content for your audience (e.g., potential customers) and integrate affiliate links smartly and naturally to generate sales. Be sure that the provider you are promoting:
- sells good products
- has good reviews
- is relevant for your page and for your blog post
Some takeaways (instead of conclusion)
- Create a dedicated web page for your portfolio;
- Insert only info that is relevant to your potential clients/employers;
- Leave reviews, case studies and well-structured projects to speak about your experience;
- Choose a simple, functional and suitable design for your page
- Create an intuitive and 5-points structure for your portfolio page;
- Do not try to oversell your skills or your work;
- Use a friendly tone but post relevant info only;
- Extend your offer (offer related services like web hosting or web design);
- Give a double meaning for your page: to promote your projects and to self-branding in your industry;
- Integrate affiliate links in your blog’s pieces of content;
- Check your partners and providers’ credibility through external reviews, testimonials, and case studies.
The second part of the article Web Developer Portfolio: 20 advice to attract more customers through your work & services will be published soon – 10 more information about HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR PORTFOLIO.