How to Make an Online Portfolio That Stands Out

Michal Kaczor Avatar


Last Updated on January 30, 2024

Today’s creatives need more than a physical portfolio or CV they can carry to every job interview to showcase their best work. Modern businesses requiring talent for hire now to head to their favorite search engines, social media channels, or freelance portals to find creatives with the vision and potential to help build their brand. 

Creative types relying on their talent for income must create an online portfolio to have any hope of attracting a steady stream of work. Whether you are an aspiring cartoonist, accomplished graphic designer, or need to make your mark as a photographer, you can follow along to build an impressive portfolio that will ensure your talents are always in demand. 

Learn how to make an online portfolio with the best templates and showcase your best creative work.

How to make an online portfolio (illustrative image)

ca. 4 hours

A computer, tablet or laptop.

ca. 36 USD

Especially your time and smile.

Step 1: Choosing the Best Platform for Your Online Portfolio | Look at step 1

Many platforms are available (including WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace). First, you must consider which platform will best build your online portfolio.

Step 2: Considering WordPress as the Online Portfolio Platform | Look at step 2

WordPress is the go-to website builder for creative minds wanting to exhibit their work, granting them the freedom to build a distinct and interactive web showcase.

Step 3: Thinking about What to Include in Your Portfolio | Look at step 3

Once you’ve decided on the platform and understand how it works, building your online portfolio begins, and you have many possibilities.

Join us as we demystify how to make an online portfolio that will not only highlight your skills but also captivate potential clients and convert them into paying customers from the very first click. 

Why Online Portfolios are Essential for Your Career

The web is a stage with tens of millions of actors all vying for the attention of a global audience. With more commerce taking place online than ever, an online portfolio has become an indispensable tool for all creative professionals needing to display their skills and qualifications. Here’s why having one is essential to developing your career.

A digital portfolio shows off what you can do, with the entire internet as your audience. It helps to draw the attention of potential clients and employers, highlighting how serious and skilled you are in what you do.

Your portfolio is more than a collection of your work; it’s the backbone of your personal or business brand, showing how your skills and techniques have developed. 

An online portfolio delivers a consistent personal narrative that helps you connect more personally with your audience. Moreover, the online portfolio is interactive and often instrumental in enhancing professional growth and skill enhancement.

Your work neatly presented in a portfolio website makes it more convenient for people to check out what you can do. Combine your portfolio with the power and reach of social media, and you will significantly expand your market reach. 

For those working freelance, having a web portfolio is vital—it’s like a 24/7 sales assistant that grows your business from search results and word-of-mouth recommendations. 

So, an online portfolio boosts your personal brand and delivers so much more. A portfolio to showcase your work gets your name in front of more eyeballs, paves the way for networking opportunities, and projects a smooth, professional image that always impresses. It streamlines the job application process and organizes your body of work in an easily navigable format, helping freelancers get more clients and paying jobs to thrive in a competitive digital marketplace.

Choosing the Best Platform for Your Online Portfolio

Creating a portfolio involves more than uploading your best work because it demands a thoughtful approach that shows your skills in its best light. Here are a few critical considerations to help you select the ideal platform to build your portfolio. 

Ease of Use: The platform you choose should feature an intuitive interface that helps you focus on showcasing your creativity rather than wrestling with complex technical issues. Go for a portfolio platform that lets you use drag-and-drop, provides simple navigation, and offers clear customization options. This way, updating your portfolio with your latest creations will become less of a chore you would rather avoid.

Customization Capabilities: Your portfolio reflects your unique style and creativity, so avoid one-size-fits-all solutions—scout for platforms offering a wide range of templates that let you customize in depth. You’ll want the freedom to tweak your layouts, switch up color themes, choose your fonts, and modify other design components that reflect you and your brand.

Responsiveness and Mobile Compatibility: With a significant portion of internet users browsing your portfolio online via a mobile device, you must showcase your work so it looks and functions flawlessly across all screen sizes. Select a platform that creates responsive websites by default, ensuring that your portfolio adapts to any device to maintain a professional appearance and a user-friendly experience.

Quality and Selection of Templates: A good portfolio platform should offer high-quality, visually appealing templates. Search for templates that resonate with your taste yet align with the professional benchmarks of your chosen field, be it photography, graphic design, or crafty creations. 

Integrated SEO Tools: Visibility is critical to getting your work noticed, so a platform with built-in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools is necessary. Armed with the right SEO tools, your portfolio will rise to the top of the search rankings and put your work in front of more potential employers or clients than your competitors.

Multimedia Support: Depending on your field, you may need to showcase a variety of media types, including images, videos, PDFs, or audio clips. Ensure your chosen platform supports all the media types you wish to include in your portfolio without compromising quality or load times.

Social Media Integration: Your online presence isn’t limited to your portfolio alone. A well-developed social media presence is vital to chatting with your followers and expanding your work connections. Choose a platform that easily syncs with your social media channels, giving a quick way to spread your work. This kind of connectedness is priceless in growing your audience and interaction.

Analytics Tools: Understanding how visitors engage with your portfolio can help you discover new opportunities for fine-tuning and elevating quality. Pick a platform that lets you analyze how people interact with your work, figure out what’s catching their eye the most, and track where they’re coming from. With the info you get from this data, you can fine-tune your portfolio and determine what’s grabbing your audience’s attention. This way, you will know where to focus your creative efforts. 

Why WordPress is the Perfect Platform for Digital Portfolios

WordPress is the go-to website builder for creative minds wanting to exhibit their work, granting them the freedom to build a distinct and interactive web showcase. Its customization options, powered by a wide range of themes and plugins, allow every aspect of the site to reflect one’s personal brand and creative vision. WordPress’s open-source nature will enable you to tap into a global community while ensuring access to the latest features and security updates.

Open-source means WordPress is free, so your only cost will be the hosting platform where you create your website. There are free and paid portfolio templates you can tweak to make your own to have a portfolio up and ready to go to work on a weekend rather than days or weeks, and at a price you can afford. 

Plus, WordPress helps your portfolio stand out in search engine results because it’s built with SEO in mind. Moreover, it’s adaptable, letting your creative work expand as your skills grow. WordPress makes adding multimedia easy, allowing you to showcase creative projects dynamically.

A supportive community is ready to offer assistance, coupled with many professional developers and designers for those seeking targeted support and willing to pay for premium service. Regular updates from the WordPress team prioritize security and introduce modern web standards, simplifying site maintenance.

For creative professionals interested in monetizing their work, WordPress aligns well with e-commerce demands. You can smoothly merge WooCommerce (also free) into your portfolio, transforming it into an online shop with safe payments and easy customer handling. These features make WordPress a fantastic platform for crafty types with dreams of branching out from Etsy. 

WordPress is like a one-size-fits-all-solution shop for creating a world-class digital portfolio. The platform allows artists to tweak, control, and boost their online footprint easily. What WordPress can’t do out of the box can be done with the thousands of plugins available, delivering a treasure trove of tools, tight security, and smooth online shopping features. WordPress lets creatives show off their work, connect with people, and grow their careers in an increasingly competitive digital marketplace.

Not sure how to create a website with WordPress? No problem; you can find out everything you need to know in our comprehensive tutorial on how to create a website from scratch

What to Include in Your Online Portfolio

Once you’ve decided on the platform and understand how it works, building your online portfolio begins. 

Start With Your Brand Identity: Before you add a single image or line of text, consider what your brand stands for. Your portfolio is a reflection of your character, artistic flair, and total professionalism. Settle on a logo, pick out your brand colors, and choose a font that resonates with your vibe – keep this style consistent across your entire portfolio.

Brand identity pillars (schema)

Curate Your Work: Selecting which pieces to include can be as important as creating them. Make sure to pick your pieces smartly, showing off your best work and the breadth of talent and creative range you can bring to the table.

Organize with Intention: Structure your portfolio in a way that guides visitors through your work logically and intuitively. Arrange your pieces by theme, project, or chronology, depending on what best suits your narrative. Include straightforward navigation and categorization to help viewers quickly find the types of work that interest them most. To make the experience impressive, enjoyable, and memorable for your audience, incorporate vivid descriptions and backstories that provide context.

Tell a captivating story behind each piece of work to deepen its impact! Though your projects might already be impressive, offering more context can boost their appeal by ensuring others grasp the whole story. Write concise yet informative descriptions for your pieces, clarifying the project’s objectives, role, outcomes, and any noteworthy challenges overcome. 

Highlight Key Projects: There might be specific projects or works that you consider milestones in your career or particularly representative of your skills. Make these stand out. Make sure to showcase them prominently on your homepage or create a special section that draws visitor’s attention. Spotlighting your best work upfront will pull visitors in to learn more.

Integrate Testimonials and Reviews: Incorporating positive feedback from past clients or collaborators can boost your credibility. Praise from past collaborators or clients can vouch for your skills and professional edge. They are like a seal of approval to those considering working with you. Place these strategically within your portfolio.

Display Contact Information Clearly: Your portfolio should lead to connections and collaborations. Ensure your contact information is visible, and consider adding a contact form for accessible communication. Include social media links if they align with your professional brand so visitors can follow your work beyond the portfolio.

Keep Content Fresh: Regularly update your portfolio with new work to keep it current and show you are active in your field. 

Optimize for Search Engines: Use SEO best practices in your portfolio so people can easily find you online. Incorporate relevant keywords in your copy, use alt tags on images, and ensure your site structure is search-engine friendly. Doing this can bump up your web presence and get more people to click through to your site from the search results.

Create an About or Bio Section: An “About” or “Bio” page lets you tell your story. Feel free to dive into your journey, the magic behind your creations, what fuels your passion, or any quirky bits that allow people to relate with you on a more personal level. 

Adding your unique spin sets you apart in a crowded field of experts. Get creative and mix in videos, podcasts, or other interactive content to make your portfolio pop. You don’t need to go into your entire life’s story. Keep it brief but engaging; everything included here must relate to your work. 

Call to Action: Make sure your visitors understand what to do next on your site. Whether it’s to get in touch through a contact form, download your resume, or view your latest project, a clear call to action (CTA) invites engagement and can help convert visitors into clients or collaborators.

Solicit Feedback: Allow and encourage visitors to give feedback on your portfolio. Doing this builds a tight-knit community and gives you priceless insights into how people see your work and what aspects could be better or need more depth.

Ensure Consistency and Professionalism: Your portfolio should exude professionalism in every aspect, from the quality of the images to the accuracy of your content. Proofread all text for typos and ensure the visual elements are high resolution and properly aligned. Consistency in style and messaging reinforces your brand across the platform.

Where to From Here?

Now that your portfolio is live and ready to wow the world, it’s time to explore your next steps. Consider adding a blog to your site. A blog will provide more opportunities to cast a wider net and attract search engine traffic with more keywords. 

If your creative work involves physical items like crafts or images, consider adding an e-commerce store to your site. Adding an online store is easier than you might think. We have a tutorial on starting an online store that makes it easy to get started, so be sure to check it out while you are here. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Need more inspiration on creating websites?

Unlock the power of web building mastery with our top-notch guides.

illustrative image on the topic of how to make a website

How to make a website

Learn how to make a website from scratch as a beginner using a website builder.

illustrative image on the topic of how to start a blog

How to start a blog

Learn how to start a blog and turn it into a money-making venture with our comprehensive guide.

illustrative image on the topic of how to start an online store

How to start an online store (e-commerce)

Learn how to start an online store through easy steps and successful strategies.

illustrative image on the topic of how to make an online portfolio

How to make an online portfolio

Learn how to make an online portfolio with the best templates and showcase your creative work.

illustrative image on the topic of how to SEO your site

How to SEO your site

Learn how to optimize your website for search engines and improve your ranking.

illustrative image on the topic of how to start affiliate

How to start affiliate

Learn how to start affiliate marketing through easy steps and successful strategies.