7 Tips & Tricks for Creating a Stunning Portfolio Website in 2024

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Sharing your portfolio online is one of the best ways to display your work and get your name out there. However, your portfolio website has to be truly eye-catching if you want to stand out and keep visitors’ attention.

Website builders make it easy to create a portfolio website, but it’s up to you to choose the unique touches that will take your site from average to sensational. The good news is that we know exactly what you need to do to make your site shine.

In this guide, we’ll share our top seven tips and tricks for creating a stunning portfolio website.

Short on Time? Here Are Our 7 Tips for Building a Portfolio Website That Stands Out

  • Use a website builder: Website builders enable you to build a portfolio website quickly, with no coding required.
  • Turn heads with your homepage: Your homepage needs to impress visitors enough so they stay and explore the rest of your site.
  • Only display your best work: Focus on the pieces you think represent your best work instead of trying to share as much as possible.
  • Tell your story: Your “about” page is your chance to introduce yourself and connect with your audience on a personal level.
  • Explain your services: Tell visitors exactly what services you offer and give them a way to get in touch.
  • Offer social proof: Sharing client testimonials can prove you’re an expert and encourage visitors to hire you or buy your products.
  • Build a blog: A blog helps visitors learn more about your work and makes your site more visible in search results.

7 Tips & Tricks for Creating a Stunning Portfolio Website

1. Use a Website Builder

Wix Landing Page
Credit: Wix

There are two approaches to take when building a website: You can use a content management system like WordPress or a website builder like Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly.

We recommend using a website builder because you’ll get a more professional-looking portfolio site in less time. There’s no coding required, so you can focus on choosing what work you want to share and how to display it instead of learning how to write HTML code.

Website builders offer built-in tools to help you organize your portfolio into galleries, share information about your latest projects, and more. Many also support ecommerce, which is a huge benefit if you want to sell prints, digital downloads, or services through your site.

Read our guide to the best website builders in 2024

2. Turn Heads With Your Homepage

Your homepage is the first thing visitors will see when they arrive at your site. For many visitors, what they find will determine whether they stay and explore your site or leave. So, it’s crucial your homepage makes visitors want to see more of your work.

You can use several different designs for your homepage. Some ideas that work well include:

  • A single full-screen image
  • A collage showing off several pieces of your work
  • A highlight reel (for video portfolios)
  • A slideshow

Most website builders for photography have templates that help you design eye-catching homepage layouts. For example, Squarespace has templates for full-screen images and videos as well as templates that put a gallery of your work front and center.

Whatever format you choose, be sure to put your best work on your homepage—this isn’t the time to hold back.

It’s also important to pay attention to the navigation menu. Keep it sleek, streamlined, and easy to use by having just a few pages—like “Home,” “Gallery,” and “About”—and avoiding drop-down menus. A complex-looking menu can scare off visitors, even if your work entices them.

You can also subtly guide visitors to take the next step into your site. For example, add a button inviting them to view a gallery or a pop-up window to sign up for your newsletter. These small touches can capture visitors who might otherwise bounce because they don’t know where to go from the homepage.

3. Only Display Your Best Work

Example of artist porfolio page using wix with artist Julia Paul profiled
Credit: Julia Paul

It’s tempting to use your online portfolio as a repository for all your work. Photographers are especially notorious for this—it’s easy to fill a whole gallery with photos from one project and crowd your site with dozens of galleries.

Avoid this temptation. Even your most interested visitors are probably only going to look at one or two projects in detail or about 10 to 20 individual photos, illustrations, or pieces of artwork. If there’s too much content on your site, you’re more likely to overwhelm visitors than impress them.

When choosing what to display, focus on the pieces you think are most likely to appeal to visitors. Keep in mind that these may not be the pieces that most appeal to you as the creator. It’s a good idea to ask family and friends which examples of your work they like the best.

You should also consider that your portfolio should display the breadth of your skills. For example, if you do several different styles of illustration, like line art and 3D, display examples of each style. If you do both portrait photography and action photography, make sure your portfolio site includes examples of both.

You can display each style of work in its own gallery, but avoid having more than two or three galleries on your site.

4. Tell Your Story

Another key way to make your portfolio site stand out is to create a great “about” page. In the eyes of your visitors, the story you tell about yourself and your work is often just as important as the quality of the work itself.

So, your “about” page needs to do more than just introduce yourself. It needs to tell a compelling story that makes your visitors connect with you on a personal level.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to writing about yourself, but here are some ways you can approach this:

  • Talk about what inspired your work or what makes you passionate about it
  • Talk about your personal life and how it connects to your work
  • Discuss the journey your artistic career has taken or share stories from past projects

In addition, make sure you include a professional-quality photo of yourself. It’s especially good if you have a photo of you “in action”—that is, behind a camera, working on a canvas, or similar.

5. Explain Your Services

Example of a services page on Wix
Credit: Wix

Once you’ve reeled in visitors, tell them exactly what you can offer—for example, if you accept commissions for custom work or can book clients for new projects. A photographer might offer services like event photography, portrait or studio photography, and photo printing.

One of the best ways to explain what you offer is by adding a “services” section or page to your website. Website builders like Wix and GoDaddy have pre-made graphics that you can customize to list your services in a way that’s easy to read and looks professional.

You don’t need to go into a ton of detail about each service you offer, but it’s important to give potential customers a way to learn more. Finally, include a contact form so visitors and customers can get in touch. Most website builders include contact form templates and enable you to add your contact details to your site’s footer.

6. Offer Social Proof

Another great way to encourage visitors to take the next step towards hiring you or making a purchase is to offer testimonials from past customers. This social proof can highlight that you’re an expert in your field, great to work with, deliver on time, and more. It’s also a nice way to name-drop any major companies you’ve worked with previously.

Most of the best website builders for artists have built-in content elements that make it easy to add testimonials. All you have to do is paste in the quote from the customer, and the builder will format it so that it looks good on your site.

If you don’t have testimonials, that’s okay. However, it’s a good idea to ask for one after your next successful project. Happy customers are often enthusiastic about sharing their experience working with you.

7. Build a Blog

Building a blog for your portfolio website is a great idea for two reasons.

First, a blog gives visitors a way to learn more about you and your work. You can provide updates about current projects you’re working on and share pieces that might not make the cut for your portfolio. Plus, it enables potential customers to understand the different types of services you offer and see a wider variety of your work before getting in touch.

Second, adding a blog makes your portfolio website more visible to search engines. When someone looks for a photographer, videographer, or artist in your area, your website is more likely to show up at the top of their search results.

Most website builders make it incredibly easy to add a blog page to your site. Platforms like Wix have even incorporated AI tools to help you write blog posts. This can significantly reduce the time it takes to fill your blog with posts.

Get Started Building Your Portfolio Website Today

Creating a portfolio website lets you share your work with the world and make it visible to more potential customers.

To ensure your site stands out, focus on creating an eye-catching homepage, and display only your best work. You should also explain exactly who you are and what services you offer. Add testimonials to show off how happy past customers are with your work and build a blog so visitors can learn more about your latest projects.

All of this is impressively easy when you use a website builder to create your portfolio site. Check out our guide to the best personal website builders to get started.

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Michael Graw
Technology Expert
Michael Graw
Technology Expert

Michael Graw is an experienced writer in the business and B2B tech fields. His articles can be found on Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Tom’s Guide, and TechRadar, and cover everything from corporate finance to crypto and international tech regulation. A prolific copywriter and entrepreneur, Michael has worked with a wide range of SaaS and tech companies and has his finger firmly on the pulse of B2B tech and finance.