Making Your Online Portfolio Work for You – 5 Useful Tips

online portfolio for freelance writers

Editor’s note: This post was written by Daniela McVicker,  an author, psychologist and educator. She believes that success depends on knowing the ideas that allow you to manage and master the universe of information. Currently works as a freelance blogger for GhostProfessors and a number of sites that are related to educational and psychological backgrounds. You can get in touch with her on Facebook or Twitter.

Portfolios are becoming less and less optional. Job-seekers, freelancers, and small businesses can establish and enhance their brands, give others a real chance to see their work, talent, and skills, and generally become more visible online. Whether you are a craftsman who remodels homes, a web designer, a freelance writer, a musician, a wedding planner, caterer, or most anything else, you need a portfolio. And with all of the great tools available, you can have that portfolio up and running in no time. Here are 5 useful tips for making your portfolio shine and begin to really work for you.

How to Make an Effective Online Portfolio for Freelance Writers

1. Curate, Curate, Curate


There are a couple of considerations as you make selections for what you will include:

  • Obviously, you want to show off your very best work.
  • You also want to showcase the type of work that you want to be hired for. If, for example, you wrote about are a home remodeling, you might have a “killer” bathroom you wrote about. But, if you really don’t like writing about bathrooms. Don’t put any of these articles in your portfolio.

Other things to think about are the following:

  • Put together a master list of all of your projects or achievements. Put them in the order of how good you think they are. Choose somewhere between 10 and 20 to publish. If you have several different types of work you wish to be hired for, on the other hand, choose 10-20 that will provide the variety you need to show.
  • Another consideration is the purpose for your portfolio. If you are using it to enhance your job applications, then include those projects that best show the skill sets/talents that you have listed on your resume. If you are using it to get work, then base your selections on the type of clients you want.
  • If you are just starting out and don’t have enough work samples for a portfolio, create some mock samples that will show your skill.

2. Keep Your Portfolio as Simple as Possible

People are accessing your portfolio to see your work, not a lot of other busy stuff around it. Either have a single web page or have a link on your website specifically for your portfolio. You want all of your samples in one place in a simple format.

Putting captions or explanations with each sample really detracts from the focus on the samples. You can do several things. Hide the captions and explanations until someone clicks on or hovers over the sample. Then the detail can be given.

But don’t forget the share buttons. If something in your portfolio really strikes a chord with a viewer, s/he might want to share that within his/her community. It’s always a good thing when others do some of your marketing for you!

3. Navigation Should be Easy


If you have a lot of different types of samples, try using categories and have a different page for each category once someone lands on your portfolio page. The categories can be listed on the landing page, for simple clicking. This keeps things organized for the viewer who does not want to sift through all sorts of different sample types to find one that is of the type he wants.

If you are a blogger, for example, and you write on a large variety of topics, have a listing of each category – self-help, personal finance, alternative medicine – all of the categories of writing for which you have samples.

4. Personalize Your Portfolio

Whether you have a stand-alone portfolio as a web page or it is a part of your website, you need and “About Me” page. Tell your story. How did you get into the business you are ing? What motivates you? What do you love about your work? Add some trivia about yourself. People like to know about the person behind the work. Add a photo and some great testimonials on this page too, along with any awards you have received. Have contact information and invite the viewer to ask questions. Have a contact form for a client to submit questions. Remember, a potential client is not hiring a great piece of work. He is hiring a person first.

Update, Update, Update

This cannot be emphasized enough. The more work you do in your niche, the better you become. And the better you become, the more you need to change out your portfolio. Replace some of the older ones with your shiny new work. You don’t want to appear dated with work that is all 6 months older or older. This sends a message that you have not been in demand – a bad message indeed.

Portfolios provide potential employers and clients a way to “look” at you quickly and easily. They appreciate a well-organized and navigable portfolio, and you will have been able to put far more into their hands than a resume or proposal.

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2 responses
  1. Deborah Beauchamp Avatar
    Deborah Beauchamp

    Great article; very informative.

  2. Corina Ramos Avatar

    Great tips for an effective online portfolio. I agree with everything you shared here, especially in keeping it updated.

    Thanks for sharing.


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