Golden Rules for Building the Perfect Web Design Portfolio

A portfolio of all your work is essential if you are looking for your next design job, be it full time or freelance. Employers and clients need to see your abilities, from which they will form a quick impression of how well you can execute their needs. By publishing your most spellbinding samples, you will be able to create a beneficial promotional tool that should work to expand your business opportunities. If you don’t have a portfolio yet, there is no better time than now to start building one. It will establish your credibility and expand your professional network. It could also help you in monetizing your blog for your web design endeavor.

You must understand that a personal portfolio is basically all about promoting yourself. With an online web design portfolio, you will get the chance to exhibit your work on a medium that accurately displays the work that you do. Potential clients will get a chance to see your amazing work and interact with your portfolio.

When you are creating a portfolio of your work, there are many things that you will need to consider — what to include, ways to describe them, ways to optimize your samples to how to promote your work. Listed below are a few tips and tricks that will help you in building that perfect portfolio.

Incorporate Your Finest Design Examples

The key to creating an excellent portfolio is remembering that quality wins over quantity every time. Just because you have worked on several projects, doesn’t mean that you should include all of them. Likely, not every project you worked on was fantastic. Take time to go through all your work and pick out only the ones that you feel are impeccable. Select works that exhibit the diversity of your experience and ability. It is also a good idea to include only the most recent of your samples. This will ensure that your portfolio accurately reflects your current expertise and skills. If you are just starting out and do not have much work to display, you can include mock-ups, personal design projects and the assignments that you did in school. This way you will also be able to express your unique vision and style.

Include Details

Do not upload pictures on your website just because they look good. Each picture must have a story to tell. Your design must always give the viewers a sense behind the work and what it has helped the organization to achieve. The story that you tell through your design must be able to express your role, the process that you adopted and its success. Be to-the-point so that people will have a reason to hire you. You might also consider creating a case study for each of the pieces. However, do not include it all on the same page. Create an option where the users can click to gather additional details. Your story must have a great beginning and an interesting conclusion.

Use a Call to Action

The best way to create an amazing portfolio is by first asking yourself what you expect from it. Some people might just want to increase their traffic and attract more readers, while others might want to get find a design job. Some also create a portfolio so that people can simply know who they are and what they do. You should have a clear idea in your mind regarding your expectations.

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A call-to-action button on each page will help accomplish your goal. For instance, if you want to get a new job, you could include a “Hire Me” button. This call-to-action button can be linked to your portfolio, blog or the contact page.

Highlight the Job You Want

It is always a good idea to highlight the job that you are interested in. Focusing on a niche that you are good at, or are interested in, can prove to be highly beneficial for you. This makes it easier for the client to anticipate your needs. For instance, if you specialize in a particular area of design, don’t forget to highlight it. It might be possible that you are transitioning to a new field, then you need to isolate any prior work and highlight only what you wish to do now.

Keep Updating as You Keep Improving

To maintain an impressive portfolio, reflect your talent well and keep updating the showcase as often as possible. Be sure to get rid of the pieces that you feel no longer reflect your best work.

As you keep on working for new clients, you are also getting the chance to create wonderful pieces for your portfolio. Even if you feel that the project isn’t very motivating, you must be sure that quality work is ensured each time. This will provide you with better opportunities in the future that can aid in further expanding your portfolio.

Website Optimization

No matter how great your website looks, it isn’t going to help you in any way if it isn’t optimized. By optimizing the images and the site as a whole, you make it easier for the audience to connect with you. Your site will rank higher in the search engine results and that helps to grab better opportunities.

You can optimize the images by resizing or compressing them. There are several tools that can help you with that. Ensure that your site loads quickly and the audience knows how to get in touch with you. Try including a contact form on each page. Learn the basics of SEO and implement them. You should notice that your site has started performing much better.

Be Straightforward

It is crucial to understand that no one is going to waste time in dealing with portfolios that have a complicated design or navigation. What you need to do is be absolutely straightforward with your website. When a prospective client visits your website, they should see only your best work.

Never try to slow the visitors by trying something that you have never done before. Choose something that is simple and yet elegant. Also, make sure that your site works perfectly well on all the popular browsers. If your site takes too much time to load or if your website appears to be broken, then there is an excellent chance that the lost viewers will never return.

Once you have designed your portfolio, remember to promote it so that people know about it. For clients seeking design talent, you have to bear in mind that it is your portfolio that shows that you are a professional. It is through your portfolio that the people will know that you have the ability to create amazing designs that will help their businesses achieve top goals.

Think of your portfolio as a tool for promoting your work and soon you will be able to impress potential clients.

[“Source-htmlgoodies”]

Building Loyalty: 7 Web Design Strategies to Earn Your Audience’s Trust

Building Loyalty: 7 Web Design Strategies to Earn Your Audience’s Trust

First impressions matter.

Your website is often the first place where your audience learns about you. It can help them decide whether they want to do business with you – or leave and never come back.

Designing and optimizing a website properly can help you gain your audience’s trust and loyalty and can benefit your business immensely.

Below are seven strategies that can help you earn your audience’s trust and loyalty.

1. Have a Solid Website Design

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A website with bad design, confusing navigation, and poor content can turn visitors away from your business quick. Conversely, an intuitive and appealing website can make visitors stay longer, increasing the chances of conversion.

Having a responsive and mobile-friendly website is of the utmost importance. A responsive website adapts to the screen size and device it is being viewed on so it looks great regardless if you’re using a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop.

More than eight in 10 Internet users will use a mobile device to access the web regularly this year, according to a forecast by eMarketer. Further, nearly 15 percent of Internet users, or 40.7 million individuals, will only surf the web via a mobile device (and this number is only expected to grow).

In addition, your website needs to be visually appealing and designed with your users in mind. Make it easy for your visitors to browse your website by using simple navigation, readable fonts and color combinations, interesting graphics, and appropriate white space.

To complement your design, your website content should be well written, engaging and helpful to your target audience. Doing a yearly website cleanup is a good way to keep your content fresh.

2. Be Transparent & Helpful

In order to build trust and gain loyalty from your audience, you’ll need to demonstrate competence and credibility. Show your visitors that you are a transparent organization by being true to your motives and interests.

Your About Us page is a good place to share information on what your company stands for, who your employees are, what you’re offering, how it works, and why you’re different from the rest of your competitors.

Creating a knowledge base and publishing blog posts are also good ways to engage your audience. Visitors are more likely to trust your website if you provide them with valuable content resources, answers to frequently asked questions, and blog posts that will help them solve their problems.

If you have an e-commerce website, make sure that your product descriptions are straightforward, accurate, and useful to customers. Be clear with what your cancellation or return policies are.

You can also share financial statements and press releases on your website.

Nonprofit organization Workshops for Warriors publishes their current and previous audited financials on their website:

wfw-financials

This is the perfect example of a transparent organization that leaves no questions unanswered for visitors and potential donors.

financials-nonprofit

3. Use Statistics & Case Studies

In order for your audience to understand what you do and how you do it, you need to provide concrete examples of your work and its results.

Creating a case study is a brilliant way to showcase your products and/or services, along with the positive results they have produced for your customers.

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It’s also beneficial to use statistics to promote your work. Gathering data, quantifying results and presenting real numbers show prospective customers that you’re serious about producing outcomes. Statistics put facts behind the claims.

4. Provide Social Proof through Customer Reviews & Testimonials

Adding a testimonial or review page on your site will prove that your business is reliable. People often depend on peer reviews to choose a business they can trust. They want to know if other people have used your products or services.

Reviews from respected people or influencers also add credibility to your business. Embedding reviews from your Yelp page to your site is good, too.

testimonials

You should reply to customer reviews whether they are positive, neutral or negative. Interacting with customers can also turn a negative review or experience into a positive one. Offering ways to make things right with the customer shows that your business really aims to provide customer satisfaction.

5. Showcase Awards, Certifications & Credentials

Another way to win the trust of customers is to post your awards, certifications, and credentials on your website.

Entering industry contests with your best work is another simple way to show your work output. Although it takes a lot of time and manpower to pull together content for contests, an award for great work is impressive for current and prospective customers.

Here’s an example from Honest Body Fitness:

certifications-honestbody

Certifications demonstrate your company’s appreciation and support of constant education and knowledge building. Every industry goes through changes and it’s important to stay up-to-date and current with classes, conferences, and webinars. Investing in your employees’ industry knowledge is also a plus.

6. Develop Your Own Voice

Developing the voice of your brand in an interesting and relatable way is vital in order to connect you to your target audience.

Your corporate branding should have a personality and it can be derived from your business’s mission, vision, and values. Your brand’s voice should be implemented on your website content, social media, and customer service efforts.

VetPowered’s website is a great example of a brand with a voice. (Yes, that tone follows you around the whole website.)

vetpowered-tone

7. Take Advantage of Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to create initial trust and continue to build that trust over time. Providing your audience with industry information, business updates, coupons, and advice through email shows you truly care about providing solutions to your audience.

There are four types of emails that build loyalty, according to Constant Contact:

  • A compelling, friendly, and engaging welcome email.
  • The useful, informative auto-responder series.
  • A check-in and feedback request email.
  • An email offering an exclusive benefit.

It’s that easy!

The Takeaway

Building trust with your audience starts before you ever come into contact with them. People judge brands based on their research and how they connect with a company’s website and social media content, so it’s important to find a voice for your brand to build that trust.

With great website design and content, companies are building loyal customer bases. Share your work, results, and awards to be as transparent and honest with your audience, and trust will soon follow.

searchenginejournal

Building design success from failure

featured_mistakes

The longer you work as a designer, the more opportunities you’ll have to look back and say, “What was I thinking?” It’s a natural part of your evolution. Over time, both your skills and your portfolio will grow. As a result, you’ll undoubtedly find projects you’d do differently if you could go back in time.

Personally, I’ve designed (at least) a few websites that were total clunkers. Some of it is just that design trends change over time. But there are also sites that were just plain bad in any era. A few of them are still online and I can’t wait until they go away, hopefully to be replaced with a highly-profitable redesign.

But we humans, usually, learn from our past. And for designers, so much good can come from these experiences. Let’s explore the positives you can reap from the worst designs of your life.

FAILURE CAN BE GOOD FOR THE SOUL

From the time we’re born, we are taught that failure is something to avoid. Some of us have quite a desperate fear of it. But in all reality, failure is a part of everyone’s life.

Learning to accept failure will ultimately lead you to a better place.

If all you’ve tasted is sweet success then you’re missing out. While none of us set out to fail on a project, there is an opportunity here for self-improvement.

Take a look at why the project failed, and, just maybe, it’s only a failure in your eyes. Look at the factors involved and figure out what, if anything, you might do differently if you had another chance.

When looking back, you may find that a client took your great idea and “tweaked” it until there was nothing left but rubble. Or, maybe you just royally messed up. Whatever the cause, you should be able to pinpoint some areas where you can improve.

For example, if client interference is a major culprit, you might learn to have a frank discussion with future clients about the pitfalls of such behaviors. Or, you might learn to leave that bold (hideous) color scheme alone.

Learning to accept failure will ultimately lead you to a better place. From it, you can move on and do better the next time around.

DISCOVER THE BENEFITS OF FOCUS

Often, I’ve found that my design work is at its worst when I’m having trouble focusing. It’s easy to feel the need to keep plowing through your work – even when you’re just not feeling it. That’s when you’ll learn that it’s time to take a step back.

Go do something non-work related for a bit. When you get back to the old drawing board, you’ll feel more refreshed and ready to take on the task at hand.

Obviously, you don’t want to miss any important deadlines. But above all, quality will be appreciated more than speed. A design fail that occurred during a time where you felt rushed is a clear sign to slow down and do things right. Lesson learned.

SIMPLE IS BETTER

There have been times when I tried to make something a little too perfect. Maybe I took a client’s direction too literally. Or I attempted to impress someone by doing something I’d never done before, and probably wasn’t too comfortable with.

You’ll often find that a more simple approach works best. Starting out simply doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to provide a detailed design in the end. On the contrary, starting with a simple concept can stir up the creative process and lead you to add in the finer points as you progress through a project.

Most of the time, a design is not going to be immediately perfect. There’s a method and process to creating something beautiful.

THERE ARE SOME PROJECTS YOU SHOULD JUST AVOID

We all like to think that there’s nothing we can’t do. But over time you may find that there are certain projects that just aren’t a great fit. Looking back at my own mishaps, I see a common thread of people and projects that weren’t at all in my best interest.

…trying to fit a square peg into a round hole doesn’t work.

Especially when starting out in the design field, you might be tempted to take pretty much any work that comes along. You’re poor and a bit hungry. You’re trying to build a reputation.

The reality is that trying to fit a square peg into a round hole doesn’t work. Worse, it can actually do more harm than good to your confidence and reputation.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t challenge yourself by trying something new and different. It’s more a matter of giving yourself the best chance to do your very best work. If you have serious doubts about a person or project, you might be better off going in another direction.

IT’S ALL PART OF THE EXPERIENCE

Even the most talented designers will have a few projects that just didn’t work out as well as they’d hoped. Some may be categorized as failures. What separates the best from the rest is the ability to get back up (and learn from) past mistakes.

As the old saying goes, “There’s no substitute for experience”. Experience is what allows us to expand our horizons and improve. It adds to our creativity and helps us become who we are.

Failure can serve as both an important teacher and reminder of what makes for great design. So, the next time you aren’t quite happy with how something turned out, don’t get too discouraged–although it is fine to have a brief period of mourning.

Instead, see it as an opportunity to become even better. Take what you’ve learned and chalk it all up to just another life experience. It will make the success of your next killer creation taste even sweeter.

 

[Source:- webdesignerdepot]

 

3 Notes on Building a Relevant and Resonant Brand Presence on Instagram

3 Notes on Building a Relevant and Resonant Brand Presence on Instagram | Social Media Today

So what’s the key to success on Instagram? According to Instagram itself:

“There’s no big secret to creating content for Instagram—good and effective creative is just good creative. The same creative principles that apply to any marketing channel apply to Instagram, like being well branded, concept-driven, well crafted and well targeted.”

In other words, creativity is key to Instagram engagement – crafting thoughtful and thought-provoking images that grab attention, and communicate your brand message through your visuals alone. Your images need to be ‘good enough to eat’, they need to have a tangible quality to them, beyond the aesthetic value alone. And while that may sound hard to do, there are some simple ways to express emotion and story through Instagram content. And if you’re able to harness them, you’ll be on track to reach an audience on the platform and build an engaging, resonant presence.

So how do you do it?

Instagram breaks down the core creative principles of the platform to three focus points:

  • Branding content with your logo, colors or iconography drives awareness
  • Creating a concept that tells a story aligning to your business goal drives brand lift in areas like perception, message association and favourability
  • Making your creative polished and well crafted amplifies results overall.

When broken down so specifically, the concepts are easier to conceptualize, and hopefully apply to your own Instagram posts. Here are some notes on each to help you get started:

1. “Branding content with your logo, colors or iconography”

The most successful brands on Instagram maintain a color palette that’s in line with their brand – check out Oreo’s Instagram profile for example.

3 Notes on Building a Relevant and Resonant Brand Presence on Instagram | Social Media TodayNotice how there’s a distinctive tone and consistency that flows through each image, that blue hue, those pastel colors. By maintaining that familiarity – through a specifically chosen palette range – Oreo is working to build their brand with each post, to imbue a sense of the brand throughout their Instagram images.

Tresemme Indonesia approach their Instagram feed in the same way, with a visual consistency to how they present their posts.

3 Notes on Building a Relevant and Resonant Brand Presence on Instagram | Social Media TodayTo do this yourself, you should decide on a distinctive tone that you want for your Instagram presence, a color theme that works with your brand image and identity. You can do this by using a basic color wheel – this interactive color wheel from Adobe covers the basics of complimentary tones in varying themes.

3 Notes on Building a Relevant and Resonant Brand Presence on Instagram | Social Media TodayThere’s a range of other options too – even the paint wall at your local hardware store can give you some ideas. Once you’ve decided on a tone, let that guide your image direction and ensure you use relevant filters and tools to help maintain a consistent approach to build your brand presence.

2. “Creating a concept that tells a story aligning to your business goal”

As with all social networks, deciding on the ‘personality’ of your brand presence will play a significant part in the approach you take to your content and interactions. Think of it this way: one of the key terms of ‘social media’ is ‘social’, and being social is about interaction. In order to interact, you need to have a way to communicate, a voice, and that voice will ideally shine through and communicate not only what you do, but why you do it.

It can be a more difficult concept to get grasp of, but you need to get a handle on what your brand’s about, what role it plays in the lives of your consumers, then use that as the motivation behind how you approach your content.

On Instagram, that means conveying your brand voice within your images.

For example, Burt’s Bees aims to share a sense of fun in their Instagram feed, with each image aligned with their natural message (lots of flowers and leaves), but shared in a creative and joyful way.

3 Notes on Building a Relevant and Resonant Brand Presence on Instagram | Social Media TodayThis immediately gives you a sense of what the brand’s about and helps align fans to their core purpose with every post.

Sharpie has a similar focus on fun and creativity, and that purpose is shared throughout their Instagram content.

3 Notes on Building a Relevant and Resonant Brand Presence on Instagram | Social Media TodayThese Instagram feeds are fuelled by a clear purpose, a brand mission statement that underlines not only what they do – in terms of the products they sell – but why they do it, and that underlying ethos helps build their presence with every post.

3. “Making your creative polished and well-crafted”

And the last one’s pretty self-explanatory. As you can see from the examples above, it’s worth taking the time to ensure your Instagram images are great. It might take more test shots, different lighting, it might mean adding in and taking out additional props. But don’t settle for second best when creating content for your Instagram feed.

Attention to detail is the difference between good and great – and worth noting, most of the people on Instagram aren’t on the platform to stay up to date with your branded content. People are on Instagram to see great, visually stimulating posts – they’re on Instagram to see art, essentially. Therefore it makes sesnse that the best way to reach them is to approach your Instagram posts as art. If your content is great, people will welcome it, regardless of whether it’s branded material or not, and that will help you reach a wider audience and spread your brand message, and awareness, throughout the Instagram network.

It’s the same as with blogging – if it doesn’t feel right, if you’re not adding something new to the conversation, then you’re just adding to the noise. If you’re posting content to Instagram that’s just the same as everything else, that’s not as good or styled as it could be, then you’re setting yourself up for lesser impact. It depends on the purpose of your presence, of course – some brands are seeing great success on Instagram through sharing behind the scenes type ‘in the moment’ photos. But for those seeking to boost brand awareness and response, among users who are not already fans, a focus on image quality is a must.

Maybe that means taking a photo in the morning light as opposed to the middle of the day, maybe it means taking 100 shots and working out which fits best. Maybe it means scrapping an idea that you’ve worked hard on because it’s just not coming together. Ultimately, you have to be driven by your own artistic intentions and integrity, but the general rule of thumb is if you don’t feel your content as good as it could be, your audience will sense that too.

It takes work, but the extra effort and attention to detail will pay off in the end.

[Source:- Socialmediatoday]