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Thread: Portfolio Sites

  1. #1
    I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaack! Fluffykins's Avatar
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    Howdy campers!

    I'm thinking about building a website to advertise my skills as a web designer to (hopefully) get some small scale design contracts over summer and while I'm back at University - for a little extra cash.

    I know a few of you have built that sort of site (I've had a look and like them, especially Nicky's Urban Studios and Sparkie's Pawsitronic sites).

    I suppose what I'm after is some advice on what should go on that type of site, as well as some general design tips on building portfolio sites.

    I've a couple of website I can include in my portfolio, so any advice would be really appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Ady
    v-technologies - Freelance Goodness.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot Isaiah's Avatar
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    All you need to do is show your skills through your work on your own site, like Nicky and Sparky. Just don't go overboard and make a hardcore, graphic intense site.

    Keep in mind that some good skills in a web designer are to keep file sizes small, load time fast, and overall look professional.

    You might want to do a few sites for friends for free. Perhaps you could design a few business sites for a "bargain price" of a few dollars less than normal. Both of those ideas help you build a portfolio and create word of mouth advertising.

    HTH! (Hope This Helps!)
    Isaiah Walter
    Owner / Visionary
    White Wonder Studios - San Diego web design & graphics
    www.whitewonder.com

  3. #3
    Irritability Defined
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    Isaiah's perfectly correct. You should try and achieve a balance between cutting-edge design (whether it be in DHTML, graphics or the like) and usability (through streamlined navigation, small file sizes, etc.)

    Best way to start is to drop into your local businesses you may already have a rapport with and ask them how interested they are. Even if you don't get any from them, chances are they'll pass your details on to other businesses who may want a site. Networking in person is one of the most underrated yet most invaluable tools anywhere on this earth.

    The very best of luck!
    My 2 Cents (or is that 2.2 Cents including GST?)

  4. #4
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Hey guys, thanks for the compliments first of all. I can tell you right now that the best thing to do is keep it simple. I constructed my site on one Sunday evening!

    Design a simple template that loads fast and use the same theme throughout our site. Most of my clients do not approach me because they have seen my website, rather they come to me via word of mouth. I have just picked up a really ncie contract to do a website for a model kit shop, and they approached me because someone else told them about me.

    Mostly, I use my website to direct my clients too, AFTER they have approached me via other means. It just means that if they want to find out how much domains are or hosting etc, they can do so via my site. I also needed soemthing quick because I had printed my business cards.

    Fluffy, I assume you are in the UK right? I get a lot of work off the local university and colleges so I suggest you approach them first. Also, do a few freebies. Maybe a lcoal business and also try and approach a lecturer at your local university that teaches a lot of students as that will get you loads of exposure when they tell their students to visit the site.


  5. #5
    I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaack! Fluffykins's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips guys!

    Nicky: Yep, I do live in the UK, I actually work full time in a University and one of my jobs in building / updating our departmental website and Intranet.

    I've chucked together something for a site, I'll post the URL when it's up. So far it's like an electronic business card, but should get more detailed as time goes on.

    Just a quick update: Word of mouth certainly does work! I've been approached by one of the research school's in the University to build a site for them. I'm a happy bunny

    Ady
    v-technologies - Freelance Goodness.

  6. #6
    Misfit
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    If I remember correctly, there was a radio show a while back at http://www.designsbymark.com that gave all types of tips on creating a portfolio site. Also, check out the following two examples...

    http://www.polpus.com

    http://www.sampsonwebdesign.com

    My old site (j.cx) would have been a good example as well, but I sold the domain and I'm currently in the process of coming up with a new design (and domain)...

  7. #7
    Skills to Pay the Bills Sparkie's Avatar
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    Always keep in mind that your website is your business card!

    *No matter if you have the most beautiful portfolio on the web, your prospective clients will scamper if they see anything that reeks of faulty design, such as broken links or graphics, use of FLASH without an alternative, or a slow-loading page.

    *Break your portfolio up into sections (i.e. Business, Personal, Organizations...) that way, it will be easier for your visitors to get a feel for the way you create each individual site.

    *I've seen a lot of web design portfolios which design sites with the same common layout and approach, no matter who they're for. As great as that layout might be, strive to be creative and dynamic, while still maintaining your professionalism. Businesses and organizations want to stand out and be noticed, but at the same time they want a site their clients will be comfortable visiting. Striking the fine line between dynamics and ease-of-browsing is what make great designers stand out above the rest.

    Hope these little tips can help you in your venture Good luck with your site!
    Sherice Jacob - Web Improvement Expert
    Improve Website Conversions | eBook Covers
    Follow Me on Twitter!


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