How to Rock Your Own Web Design Portfolio to Get Clients


How Important is Your Portfolio?

Your portfolio is a dynamic, ever-changing collection of your works, skills, accomplishments, and experiences. It puts a spotlight on your best works and achievements as well as your values and experiences.

Every information you include in your portfolio is critical because it will not only reflect your capabilities but will also serve as a marketing tool to attract potential clients.

So how do you create a portfolio that rocks and attracts potential clients?

Today’s episode of the 1WD Show features Wes McDowell, the Creative Director of The Deep End, a digital and branding agency, and he will share how to create a portfolio that does just like that – attract potential clients. 

Wes pointed out that most of the time, web design professionals indeed create a portfolio but never really give careful thought that they can do more about it than just showcasing who they are and what they know. He added that your portfolio shouldn’t look like it’s just an afterthought, but you can make it to actually look like a 24/7 ambassador that represents your brand.

1. Videos

When you look at the websites of most creatives, they’re nowhere to be found. You can see the projects and accomplishments they have done, but the website remains faceless and impersonal. Bear in mind that companies hire people. They want to see who they’re going to be working with and before that, they want to see if you are a good fit for the company.

You can utilize videos to work for you in this way, making your website more human and giving it more personality. Placing your photo or image in your web site is good, but placing a video ups your game because they can see a real talking and thinking human being.

But what do you put in your video?

Your video should serve as a welcome greeting; therefore, it should have a welcoming vibe to it making visitors and potential clients feel welcome. Just like when you’re greeting someone face to face, you should also express how happy you are to see them visit your site. Introduce yourself briefly and give them an overview of what you do.

Never sell your product or services on the video. Rather, it should just be enough to pique their interest to make them know more about you and what you offer.

2. Case Studies

Putting all your successful projects in your portfolio is good, but creating a case study from them is even better. Case studies don’t just show your proficiency, but it also shows your understanding of various design principles that you have used in your projects. In addition, it shows people the process the project has undergone and the challenges you have faced to complete the project. Most importantly, though, case studies build confidence in your potential clients that you can do and finish the project.

What should you include in your case studies?

Your case studies should help other people see your creative process and, at the same time, gain knowledge from it. It’s true that all of us have their creative side, but not everybody uses their creative energy in the same way. Thus, your visitors are always curious how you do it.

Your case studies don’t just have to be the projects you did for others, but it should also include projects you did for yourself. Furthermore, it also shows potential clients other skills you might have. For example, most of your projects might focus on web design, but a fun project you did focuses on creating mobile apps.

Some necessary elements that you should include are:

  • Overview of the project
  • Services you provided and tools you used
  • Client testimonials (a video testimonial is much better)
  • Dedicated page
  • Screenshots

3. Separate Pages for Each Project

Another mistake most creatives make is thinking that their client can find every project they have made. You have to understand that visitors to your website will not play the “treasure hunt” game and find all your projects one by one. Like a good host, you have to make it easy for your visitors to find them.

The best way to do this is by creating thumbnails for your projects on the landing page of your portfolio. Each thumbnail should be clickable, leading to that individual project’s own page. Then, each page should have a heading specific to each project or industry you have designed for. This serves as an opportunity to  create long-tailed keywords for each of these projects so that it will be easier for potential clients to see them when they search it on the Internet.

4. Call to Action

Your call to action will be the deciding factor whether visitors will decide to become clients. You don’t just want people to look at your work rather, you want them to call you and, eventually, hire you. Wes suggested, as what he does, that your call to action should have a quote which funnels them to a page with a contact form.

That page should include specific questions that would give you more information regarding what the client wants or needs, so you can call or email them back with a quote. Don’t go for general CTAs. Instead, make it crystal-clear and laser-focused because you want to get hired.


Don’t expect projects to just fall into your lap just because you have a portfolio. Make all the elements inside it purposeful. All of them should lead to the fulfillment of that one single goal – YOU GETTING HIRED.

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