Designing any website can be difficult if you do not know where to start. Trying to build a writing portfolio website may be challenging, but having the right tools and tips at your disposal will certainly help.
Why Design a Writing Portfolio Website?
Freelance continues to become a more popular way to make money than ever before. With a current shift to work from home, one of the the best ways to make extra money is by becoming a freelance writer.
Now, there are several things you will want to think about on the path to becoming a successful freelance writer. One of the most important things is finding out not only how to get jobs, but also how to get your work and your name out.
One of the best ways to do this (if not the best way) is to design a writing portfolio website. This will allow you to get the word out about who you are, what kind of freelance writing, and most importantly, allow you to show a writing portfolio.
This is important because it allows potential clients to see the quality and type of work you do. These comments of yours not only save time and questions from a potential client, but also justify the pricing and schedules of your work.
So basically, when thinking of reasons to build a writing portfolio website, the three main ones should be:
- Help get work
- Sale of work (where applicable)
- Build an online presence
How to Start the Process?
Aside from the tips I’m going to give you below. This may be the very best question to ask. Not only are there a ton of different options to choose from when it comes to web design, but there are also different web hosting options.
A portfolio website can be tricky because you want to push your content and brand without appearing too aggressive. Not only is that a problem, but trying to decide how to set a portfolio and what to put in it can also be daunting.
Perhaps the best place to start is with simple writing blog. However, even with this sort of thing, a lot needs to happen for it to fall into place the right way.
With that said, the best place to start is to find a web host and choose CMS. I recommend WordPress and everything that comes with it. This will definitely help get your writing portfolio website off on the right foot.
Not only is it easy to use, but there’s a ton of tutorials and resources that you will be able to access at any time. These will help you go through any issues you may have when building your writing portfolio.
Once you have started the process, the issue may be exactly what you should put in your writing portfolio. Let’s take a look at some suggestions.
What to Add in Your Writing Portfolio Website
One of the main obstacles that people face is finding out exactly what to add to their writing portfolio website. The answer to this will depend on what kind of writing you are actually doing, or willing to do.
However, let’s take this from the perspective of a freelance writer who writes about anything, and performs many different writing jobs. You can pick and choose from this list, as this will give you some good ideas on what to add.
Remember, this is going to showcase your work and help get you more jobs. We want it to be clean, crisp, clear and professional. You want to try adding a wide range of items to showcase your abilities. Here are some portfolio writing items to consider adding:
- Blog posts
- Community Writings
- Press release
- Promotional Material
- Essay on a Controversial Subject
- Profile of Person or Place of Interest
- Short Form Piece
- Breaking News Articles
- Long Form Piece
- Research Paper
- Editorial and / or Op-Ed
- Personal Essay
- Multimedia Story (storytelling structure)
- Cooperative Piece
- Content Marketing
- Business Plans
Remember, many of the above will fall into the “if applicable” category for your writing portfolio. However, they are all excellent things to add.
Additional Tip: Adding a spreadsheet of all your published works could add even more to a writing portfolio. You can include all kinds of items such as articles, eBooks, documents and more. Include all titles, publication dates, links, and any other relevant information.
Always show real work, and it doesn’t hurt to even add and show your prices when applicable. Potential clients like details, so the more you have on your writing portfolio website, the more likely you are to land the job.
15 Tips for Your Writing Portfolio Website
Now, you have a lot of the process in place from above, and now you have a pretty good idea of the kinds of things you should add to your writing portfolio website. Here are 15 other tips to think about using during the construction process.
All of these will help you deliver the very best writing portfolio website.
1. Make it Easy for Clients
Put simply, one of the most important aspects of a writing portfolio website is how easy it is for clients to access and navigate. You want to make the site clean, smooth, flat, mobile friendly, and easy to understand.
You also want to make sure your website page speed is fast, otherwise you run the risk of people leaving your site. The average page speed load time should be 2-5 seconds. Anything more than that is too slow.
In addition, the actual portfolio part of the site should also be easy to see and understand. Keep in mind, less is more. So think minimalism in terms of how easy you want to make it for clients.
2. Use WordPress Portfolio Plugin
Earlier in this article, I wrote a bit about where to start with your site. That included finding a host and using WordPress. One of the main reasons I suggest WordPress is because they have a plugin repository that includes over 50,000 plugins.
In this case, you should use one of their portfolio plugins to help build your website. Not only will this make the process of building the real portfolio easier, but it will also allow you to show potential clients a dynamic and clean portfolio.
There are many good portfolio plugins to choose from, so get one and use it.
3. Select Quality Over Quantity
This can get tricky, especially if you’re new to the game and don’t have much content yet either way. That said, if you have quite a bit of content to choose from, then always make the right choice of choosing quality rather than quantity for your writing portfolio website.
This does not mean that you cannot add much content for potential clients to view. It simply means that if you have 1,000 different things to choose from, don’t put them all in. Select all the top of the line items and use those.
4. Keep Your Portfolio Design Clean, Smooth, Simple, and Mobile-friendly
This may seem like a lot, but it really isn’t. This is kind of a combination of some of the above items. If you use WordPress and a plugin, then you will automatically have a mobile-friendly writing portfolio website.
Not to be overloaded with items will keep it professional, and having an easy-to-use layout with plenty of white space and space will keep it clean.
5. Do Not Display Full Articles
Do not display full articles inside your writing portfolio website. Instead, provide links, images and samples that open to other distraction-free pages. This is how someone can see your work properly.
6. Keep the Portfolio Up to date
Your portfolio should always be treated as a work in progress. This is not a bad thing at all. You will need to add new items from time to time, clean them from time to time, and make sure all articles and links are still relevant and working.
It doesn’t get much worse than someone trying to click through and see an old-fashioned portfolio where half the content is old and / or lost.
7. Tailoring Your Portfolio
By all means, add as many types of writing samples as you like. However, you probably have some kind of client base or niche that you are good at. Tailor your writing portfolio website to that niche.
Are you better at writing content than you are and resume writing? That’s great, tailor your portfolio to show that and you’ll land the type of clients you enjoy most.
8. Use thumbnail images
This may be something you may not have even thought about as this is a portfolio built around writing samples. However, it is still important to use thumbnail images as part of the design.
Proper use of thumbnails will encourage website users to click through items, read content, and explore your writing portfolio. They also add a level of professionalism and a tremendous help to the scheme.
9. Add Portfolio Description
Whether you have one single writing portfolio on the site, or several different ones divided into different types of writing, it’s always a good idea to add a description.
You can do this at the top of each portfolio page. This will give the user a better idea of what types of writings they can find on the relevant page.
10. Make Portfolio Navigation Simple
We talked a bit about navigation earlier in the article. However, it is definitely important to remember that you want to make portfolio navigation as easy as possible.
Each link should be working properly, and should not take a website user 3 or 4 clicks to reach a portfolio item. That’s too much and you lose a lot of interest that way.
11. Don’t Treat Your Portfolio Like Your Blog
Try to limit some types of writing samples to just a few. This is especially important if you have many different types of writing on display. 3-5 pieces in each writing niche is enough.
You do not need to have 20-30 of the same type of content pieces specified in your portfolio. It’s not a personal blog roll. Keep the contents tight and smooth.
12. Show Paid Work and Pro Bono
Just because you do something for free doesn’t mean it’s not good. Matter of fact, this may be some of the best material a freelance writer produces. Proceed to show paid and pro bono positions in your portfolio.
Personal and pro bono projects usually have a lot of passion behind them. Show them!
13. Let Work Do The Talking
Earlier in this article, we talked about adding a portfolio description. That is a good thing. However, that’s about as detailed as you need to get for portfolio items. You may want to add a sentence or two to each item, but try not to overburden or overfill the layout.
Instead, let the work do the talking for you. That’s the whole point of building a writing portfolio website.
14. Use WordPress Page Builder
We touch on the importance of using the WordPress portfolio plugin above. The same can be said for page builders. If you’re having a hard time with design and layout, then use a WordPress page builder to help you put together the writing portfolio website.
These offer the WYSIWYG layout design (what you see is what you get). This makes it much easier to put out something that is clean and smooth.
15. Add a Call to Action
Last, but definitely not least, add a call to action (CTA) to your writing portfolio website. After all, the whole point of doing this is to win clients and showcase work.
Make sure you have something in place that is easy to reach and will help you close the deal. Having a call to action will also give the website user a little boost to contact you.
If you haven’t built a writing portfolio website yet, then now is the perfect opportunity to do so. You have a lot of the information above, along with some great tips on how to make your website a success.
This will be a great marketing tool for your services, and will help get your name and work out for clients who may be interested in hiring you.
While it can take a little elbow grease to get your portfolio the way you want it, the end product will definitely be worth the effort. Remember, keep the portfolio updated and fresh at all times. This is important.
Finally, enjoy the process. Use some of your own personal touches along with the above. Good luck!