What is an online portfolio anyway? In an article Jodee wrote some time ago, she clearly explained the difference between an online portfolio and a resume.
To sum it up, an online portfolio is a web site or blog which showcases your work. It can contain a variety of formats, including:
- Blog posts
- Excerpt from a book, either in print or an e-book
- Link to an electronic newsletter
- Link to your own articles published online
- SEO articles
Now that we’re clear about what an online portfolio is, it should also be easy to deduce why a freelance writer needs one – especially these days, when clients have so many writers to choose from. For argument’s sake, though, let’s dig in a little deeper.
Do I really need one?
Yes, you really need an online portfolio, and here are some compelling reasons.
One-stop shop for prospective clients
Let’s say a prospective client stumbles upon an article of yours online. She or he might be interested in hiring you, but might want to know more before getting in touch. That’s where your online portfolio comes into the picture. If you include the link to your web site in your author bio, all a prospective client has to do click on it, and he’ll find what he needs to see.
One-stop shop for you to find samples when needed
Looking at it from your perspective, having your best work located in one place makes it convenient. When applying for a writing gig, clients usually want samples. Whether they want URLs or Word documents, you can easily visit your web site and cherry pick the samples you can send.
It makes you come across as a professional
Having your own web site which tells people about you, your background, and your work adds to your professional image. It says a lot that you were willing to invest time, money, and effort in creating an online portfolio.
Something to peruse when you feel down
This may not seem to be directly related to getting clients, but there are times when a writer feels down; and when this happens to you, reading some of your best work will certainly give you a boost. That, in turn, can lead to higher productivity and better work.
How do you go about it?
I hope you’re convinced by now that you need an online portfolio. If you haven’t got one yet, then there’s no better time to start building one than now.
The simplest way is to to use a free website maker, of which there are lots to choose from. The good thing about these platforms is that you don’t have to pay initially. If you do want to upgrade for more features, then that’s when you can shell out money. Additionally, these builders – even the free versions – are chockfull of tools that are meant to assist even those who may not be design/code savvy. You just have to choose styles and themes, and then drag and drop elements. Their user interfaces are usually designed to be very intuitive.
You can also use WordPress, which has a free version and is very easy to use as well. While WordPress is often associated with blogs, the platform has so many features that you can customize your web site to your heart’s desire. Even better, there are support forums where you can find assistance whenever you need it.
Once you’ve decided on what platform to use, you just need to choose your best work and highlight them. Of course, you also want to make your online portfolio look clean and professional, so here are some tips to create a stunning online portfolio.
Who has an online portfolio? Want to share them with us in the comments?