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How to Build A WordPress Website For Your Freelance Portfolio

Whether you’re a freelance writer or freelance photographer, a website portfolio is necessary to help you build your clientele. While a resume and cover letter are standard across every industry, your website will help you stand out to a potential client. In fact, many of today’s online applications have a field dedicated to “website,” and applicants with online portfolios are one step ahead. To rise above the competition, here are a few freelance portfolio tips to keep in mind:

Buy Your Domain & Hosting

One of the first steps you need to take to you build your portfolio is to purchase a relevant domain and secure your WordPress hosting. Ideally, you’ll want your domain to be your name. But of course, sometimes this isn’t always available. If your name (try different variations) isn’t available, try getting your name with a .co. If that isn’t available, add your profession at the end of your domain name. Example: johnsmithphotography.com.

Choose A Great Portfolio Theme

Fortunately, WordPress offers thousands of free and paid portfolio themes to choose from. Themeforest is a great place to start your search for themes. You’ll also want to type in a Google query to check out list-based articles. For example, a search for best WordPress themes for photographers yields hundreds of results, and these lists curate the best of the Web so you won’t have to sort through the hundreds of results on Themeforest. Here’s a list of some of the better things for different freelancing professions:

Utilize Your Skills With Your Website Design

After you’ve chosen the perfect theme, it’s time to spruce it up and let your full skillset shine through. For instance, as a writer, your copy should be grade-A. Show off your skills with a snappy intro and unique “About Me” section.

Take a look at copywriter Laura Belgray’s website. Notice how she uses a combination of design and snarky writing to show off her personal copywriting style. Don’t feel pressured to be too “corporate” or “professional” (unless that’s your target market, of course.) With your website, you have full creative reign to do as you please.

Keep in mind that your portfolio itself is a demonstration of the work you can do. If you’re an awesome content writer or design, but you have a basic, shoddily put together website, it falsely represents your work. For example, if you’re an illustrator, create fancy custom icons that demonstrate your ability to design from scratch. Your website should accurately represent your skills, putting you in the best possible light to employers.

Describe Your Projects

Every project or campaign you should have a description behind it. While a photograph or screenshot is great, it doesn’t give the visitor any insight into what the project was about. Let’s say you’re a content marketer and created an email marketing campaign for a growing startup. If possible, the visitor should be able to click on the image to expand details or open up a new page about that particular project. This is where you have the opportunity to go in depth about the work that you did.

What were you hired to do? What solution did you come up with? If there are metrics for your work, what are they?

If you went through any special circumstances surrounding a particular project, feel free to explain them, too. For instance, if you’re a wedding photographer and found some unique challenges (like making the most of capturing photos for an outdoor ceremony on a rainy day), discuss how you overcame those challenges.

Consider Publishing Unpaid Work

If you’re new to the world of freelance, you might be facing the old catch-22: you need a portfolio to get work, but you need to get work to make a portfolio. In this case, as a newbie, you should publish “practice” projects that you’ve worked on during your personal time. As you build out your portfolio and start to work with paying clients, you can remove some of your older work and replace it with the work you’re more product of.

Another thing to consider is offering to do work for free. Do your research to find a business that can benefit from your services, and be sure to let them know that in exchange, all you ask for is an honest review and the ability to add the work to your portfolio. You’ll be surprised to find that many people will jump at this opportunity.

Another way to offer free work is to talk to local businesses that you frequent. For example, if you visit a local coffee shop often, and notice that they don’t have a website, offer to re-do it for free. Local companies are much more inclined to say yes if they can put a face to the name, and know that you’re a local customer.

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