An online design portfolio defines who you are as an artist. Each item in your portfolio is tangible proof of your designing skills and should be considered as a unique selling point. Whether it's multimedia, web design or graphic art, your online portfolio should cover the entire scope of your designing capabilities. It should also relate to your prospective clients' businesses: their technical and content standards.
Typically, a design portfolio should include current creative and commercial design pieces that show your proficiency in production media and graphics platforms. It is important for you to show diversity in content, too. Here are some of the elements to consider when building your online design portfolio.
Before deciding on how to present your designs, choose which hosted portfolio options you'll take. Suggested sites include Flickr, Krop, Shown'd, deviantART, Tumblr, Behance Network and Carbonmade. You can also opt for a blogging platform like Wordpress or buy your own domain.
Not all artists and designers think alike and whatever works for one may not work for the other. Some prefer displaying their art in full page, some list them as links, while others place them inside scrolling boxes. Many freelance graphic designers recommend displaying a reasonably-sized and neat thumbnail of your best works; the thumbnail can be linked to its full size version. You can crop thumbnails to allow viewers to view the most interesting portion.
The About page of your online portfolio should talk about who you are, your line of work, what you're currently doing and what your last projects were. On the other hand, the Contact page should include all forms of your contact information such as an email address, telephone number, instant messager, VOIP, Twitter and information from other social networking sites. A contact form can be displayed too. In organizing content within your design pieces, you can classify them using the following categories: market type, subject matter, software types and media types.
Once you're satisfied with the content and presentation aspects of your online portfolio, it's time you advertise and promote your site. What's the use of having a nice-looking portfolio when you don't have people to see it? Tell your friends about it, email your contacts, and you can use social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. If you're making use of a blog, post consistently to attract more followers and increase site traffic. Advertise on forums and other designer's websites by sharing your links. Grab every opportunity to advertise your site.
Keep a hard copy of your online portfolio and put it in a binder. You may never know when you'll need it. Other things to consider when creating your online design portfolio include archival and self-promotion materials. The latter refers to free samples or promotional gifts to prospective clients. You can also study SEO (Search Engine Optimization) basics and learn how to increase visitors to your site. Once you've earned consistent site traffic, you can monetize your site by advertising or placing affiliate links. Do not overdo it, though.