Thursday, July 25, 2024

optimize your portfolio for enormous shopper conversions

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After working intently with freelancers (and freelancing myself) for over a decade, there’s one factor almost all of us freelancers agree on:

You’ve actually received to rock your portfolio.

It’s a no brainer. Having a well-thought-out portfolio can result in insane quantities of latest shoppers, enjoyable collaborations, added consciousness about your companies, and different artistic alternatives.

Good freelancers concentrate on constructing a portfolio they’ll leverage to construct their enterprise.

Which is why I’m routinely shocked when a freelancer tells me their portfolio is “beneath building” or that it “wants an replace earlier than I ship it to any new potential shoppers.”

What? That’s insane.

After years of pulling my hair out, I spotted what’s inflicting the large drawback right here. I feel I’ve lastly discovered why so many people freelancers say we consider within the significance of portfolios however we neglect them anyway.

Why is it?

As a result of most freelancers—sure, most likely you too; I do know I used to—take into consideration portfolios utterly improper.

Your portfolio isn’t the place to point out off your greatest work and even your most up-to-date work. Its job is to not develop your Instagram following or weblog readers.

No, the singular job of your portfolio needs to be to herald extra shoppers. And that’s precisely the place I will help.

Why you shouldn’t skim this text

In case your portfolio already brings in a lot new enterprise each month that you simply don’t know what to do, then you must simply click on the again button proper now.

However if you happen to’re uninterested in your portfolio being an afterthought, a waste of effort and time, a tragic wasteland of no guests and positively no new enterprise, then keep tuned.

In the event you’re uninterested in looking down the very best freelance jobs solely to have potential shoppers check out your portfolio and mysteriously decline your pitch, maintain studying.

This text is for you.

Beneath, I’ll share with you the fundamentals of constructing (or rebuilding) a portfolio that’s optimized to transform website guests into paying shoppers and raving followers.

The techniques I’ll share are based mostly not solely on over 10 years working with freelancers in my group but in addition come from years working as an expert salesman and marketer—changing tens of 1000’s of shoppers for my employer or myself regularly.

I’ll share with you the highest errors I’ve seen after numerous freelance portfolio critiques so that you don’t fall into the identical frequent traps everybody else does.

Greater than something, I’ll allow you to suppose extra like advertising and marketing professional—not the slimy, salesy, pushy sort, however as somebody who is aware of precisely what your buyer needs after which builds a model that speaks with ardour about fixing your shoppers’ greatest issues.

I’ll present you easy methods to construct a portfolio that converts and easy methods to measure and monitor your conversions utilizing Honeybook.

After we’re accomplished, you’ll have all the pieces you must construct an portfolio optimized for enormous shopper conversions.

Right here we go!

Altering how you concentrate on your portfolio will change all the pieces

Earlier than we dive too deep into the tactical steps you must take when constructing or rebuilding your freelance portfolio, it’s important to change how you concentrate on your portfolio within the first place.

As I discussed beforehand: your portfolio is not a spot to point out off your biggest work. It’s not a spot to brag about your awards. It’s not even a spot to focus on what your earlier shoppers have mentioned about you.

Positive all of these issues can be included—that’s not an issue.

However it’s how you embrace them that makes all of the distinction.

Most freelancers make the large mistake of considering their portfolio is all about them.

You exhibit your greatest work. You brag about your greatest work. You publish the very best testimonials about you.

Right here’s a little bit of a harsh newsflash although: Your portfolio is NOT about you.

Your portfolio, in actuality, ought to have one job and one job solely: to convey you new shoppers.

There are many different locations to point out off, increase your ego, and present your artistic course of (Instagram is incredible for this).

Each choice you make as we stroll by the portfolio-optimization course of under needs to be prefaced with this query:

Does this improve or lower the probability {that a} website customer will convert right into a paying shopper?

Solutions to questions on frequent portfolio errors (like including social media buttons—extra to come back on that) may take you abruptly.

Discover I didn’t say you must ask: Does this improve the probability my shopper will suppose I’m superb? Or Will this enhance my probabilities of getting extra weblog subscribers?

You should be centered on only one factor: shopper conversions.

It’s not that together with testimonials, including social media buttons, beginning a weblog or that includes large photos of your greatest work are inherently dangerous.

However they’re not inherently good, both. Simply because each different artistic in your business contains them of their portfolio, doesn’t imply you must too. Preserve studying the article and I’ll clarify precisely why.

With that, let’s get into the precise techniques of a high-converting portfolio website.

Begin with a minimal viable portfolio

To borrow a phrase from the world of startups, you must purpose to begin with a minimum-viable portfolio.

That’s to say: you must try to construct a portfolio that requires a minimal quantity of labor whereas proving that, if you drive guests to it, it would convert to new shoppers.

On this planet of know-how growth, a minimal viable product is (MVP) is a product with simply sufficient options to fulfill early prospects, and to supply suggestions for future product growth.

On this planet of portfolios, a minimal viable portfolio (ahem…MVP) is a portfolio with simply sufficient content material to persuade early shoppers to rent you and to supply suggestions you must enhance your portfolio sooner or later.

The most important motive you must attempt for an MVP is effectivity.

The very last thing you wish to do (and sadly SO many freelancers do that) is waste months of brainstorming, amassing initiatives, importing, creating a web site, tweaking all the pieces….and tweaking it once more… all earlier than any potential shoppers have an opportunity to make use of it.

As an alternative, your objective needs to be to place up a easy but skilled website that goals to transform. Then, you’ll ship it to a pool of potential shoppers and see what occurs.

You’ll study way more by placing it out into the actual world and gathering suggestions (each from particular person human beings and from information instruments like Google Analytics) than you ever will by creating for months on finish in a vacuum.

What does an MVP appear like realistically?

Okay. All this principle is okay for dinner dialog. However what about really implementing this concept of a minimal viable portfolio in the actual world?

Right here’s what it’d appear like for you:

Consolidated pages

As an alternative of constructing a big 10-page web site full with a strong “about me” web page, “contact us” web page, “our companies” web page and all the opposite conventional pages, take into account beginning with only one web page.

Sure. Just one.

There are fairly just a few benefits to consolidating your MVP on to at least one web page.

For starters, it means lots much less work in your finish which suggests you get a portfolio out into the world extra rapidly and may begin bringing in potential shoppers sooner.

Extra importantly, it additionally means you’ll be able to management the journey your website guests take as soon as they land in your homepage. As an alternative of crossing your fingers and hoping a website customer reads your about web page, then evaluations your initiatives, after which lastly clicks the contact web page, you’ll be able to management precisely what the shopper sees and in what order.

To shine off the total expertise, you’ll be able to embrace a chatbox, cellphone quantity, or contact type on the very finish to cause them to an important step: contacting you for rent.

Consolidated initiatives

Shifting from a multi-page portfolio to a one-page portfolio additionally means you’ll must consolidate the variety of initiatives you embrace in your website.

That is really a great factor.

In a minimal viable portfolio, you don’t want greater than 3-4 stable initiatives with sales-focused descriptions (extra on that under) to be able to convert a website customer right into a shopper.

Consolidating your work forces you to solely select (not the greatest, bear in mind, however) essentially the most likely-to-convert initiatives in your archives.

If it doesn’t lend itself to convincing somebody to rent you, go away it out.

Use emotion to talk your shopper’s language

Having a minimal viable portfolio isn’t sufficient to persuade website guests to really rent you, although.

You’ve received to make use of the suitable sorts of phrases in your portfolio website.

Bear in mind, this website just isn’t about you. Keep away from writing sentences like “I take life-changing pictures.” As an alternative, use phrases that put a possible shopper comfy and reply the query “is that this the suitable freelancer for me?”

Listed below are just a few examples:

Talking about you (dangerous):

  1. I design model logos which might be memorable and exquisite.
  2. I take photos that final a lifetime.
  3. I write articles that rank within the Google high 10.

Talking your shopper’s language (good):

  1. Your prospects already love you—they need to love your model too.
  2. Get pleasure from your once-in-a-lifetime day. Then bear in mind it ceaselessly with the proper pictures.
  3. Your prospects are trying to find solutions you’ve. Rank the place they’ll discover you.

Discover how the second spherical of headlines has nearly nothing to do with the freelancer in query and all the pieces to do with the shopper’s wants.

Within the phrases of Seth Godin, one of many biggest entrepreneurs of our time, “Folks don’t purchase items and companies. They purchase relations, tales, and magic.”

While you’re centered on promoting your companies (images, design, writing, and so forth.) it may be laborious to zoom out and establish what tales or magic may encourage a website customer to rent you.

However the extra you’ll be able to attraction to a shoppers’ feelings, the higher probability you’ve of getting employed.

Think about just a few feelings your potential shoppers may be feeling and the corresponding emotion you’ll be able to attraction to by delivering your freelancing companies.

What your shopper is feeling

What you need to be promoting


Your shopper has too many issues to do and feels overwhelmed on the concept of doing extra.


Your shopper has an essential mission or occasion that wants an expert contact. They’re not sure in the event that they’re certified for the duty at hand.


Tight deadlines on a giant mission imply your shopper is feeling actual stress to ship a high quality mission by a sure deadline.


Hiring you means one much less factor they’ll must personally get accomplished or fear about.


Hiring you means your shopper could be assured the mission will probably be accomplished on time and professionally.


Hiring you means your shopper can commerce a few of their anxiousness brought on by stress for pleasure to see the mission come to fruition.

You may (and may) mimic the examples above to your personal state of affairs. Begin by figuring out the the most important ache factors your potential shoppers are feeling.

Subsequent, establish the corresponding constructive emotion (proper column above) they’d prefer to have their detrimental emotion (left column above) changed with.

It is best to then use constructive feelings to direct the writing in your web site.

To cite one other renown salesman of our time, Zig Ziglar: “Folks don’t purchase for logical causes. They purchase for emotional causes.”

Your objective should develop into to offer them the emotional reasoning they should rent you rapidly.

In fact, none of what we’ve mentioned to date is useful until you make it extraordinarily simple for shoppers to take motion in your website. Which is the place the ultimate part of this text is available in.

Make it extraordinarily simple for somebody to take the subsequent step

Okay. You’ve constructed your minimal viable portfolio. You’ve added in emotion-driven copy to entice website guests to rent you (or at the least study extra about your companies).

However you’ll nonetheless not see the sorts of outcomes you need until you’re employed laborious to make it as simple as potential for somebody to take the subsequent step towards hiring you.

To be able to try this, listed here are just a few recommendations:

Take away all dead-ends

One of many greatest killers of conversion charges (the speed at which website guests flip into paying shoppers) might very effectively be the dreaded “dead-end”.

This typically occurs when you’ve picture galleries or element pages in your portfolio that, whereas they do provide good particulars on every mission, they fail to maneuver your shopper to the subsequent step of their journey to changing into a paying buyer.

When a consumer finds themselves on the finish of a website journey, the probability they’ll click on the “again” button, shut the window, or simply get annoyed improve exponentially.

To treatment that, bear in mind to first scale back your pages the place potential. As a reminder, this helps you management the shopper journey a bit extra.

As well as, guarantee each single web page in your website has a transparent call-to-action guiding the consumer towards hiring you. This generally is a hyperlink (or a number of hyperlinks) which may look one thing like this:

Like what you see? Click on right here to see how we are able to seize your good day.

Alternately, you may select extra direct choices on some pages like a big “rent me” or “contact me” button.

No matter you select, be sure it’s clear, apparent, and simple to take motion on. Don’t make individuals guess what may occur in the event that they click on your hyperlink or button.

Take away all off-ramps

Along with eradicating all dead-ends out of your website, you must take into account eradicating any off-ramps which may take a customer away out of your portfolio website.

And, sure, I imply ANY.

There are apparent off-ramps like banner advertisements or hyperlinks to research or articles.

I consider the extra dangerous off-ramps are those which have develop into so extensively used on portfolio websites across the internet, we don’t suppose twice earlier than including them to our personal.

These embrace social media icons, hyperlinks to shopper work, or hyperlinks to your personal weblog.

Bear in mind manner again to the start of this text the place I inspired you to ask this query:

Does this improve or lower the probability {that a} website customer will convert right into a paying shopper?

Whereas rising an Instagram following or beginning a weblog could be useful in rising your online business, it ought to NOT be the first objective of your portfolio website.


When was the final time you have been on Instagram for instance? Websites like Instagram, Fb, or Pinterest are extremely engineered to KEEP customers on their website.

When you’ve despatched a possible shopper again to Instagram (as an alternative of deeper into your portfolio website) you may as effectively say goodbye to their enterprise. The chances that they’ll ever make it again are fairly slim.

I like to recommend you take away any exterior hyperlinks and change them with calls-to-action resulting in your contact web page, cellphone quantity, or chat field.

Don’t make individuals marvel easy methods to contact you

The very last thing you need is for a possible shopper to be offered on hiring you solely to be annoyed with the dearth of ease in really contacting you.

You may suppose that placing a “mailto:” hyperlink or just typing out your electronic mail deal with or cellphone quantity is sufficient, however I like to recommend you are taking it a step additional.

Your objective needs to be for shoppers to contact you in lower than 30 seconds and a couple of clicks or much less.

Meaning if a website customer is on the homepage (or any web page, actually) they need to be capable to click on as soon as to your contact web page (if you happen to even have the pages separated out) after which yet one more time to ship their message.

Don’t make customers copy/paste your electronic mail deal with into their electronic mail shopper, write a topic line, and click on ship.

It might not sound like quite a lot of work, however constructing a profitable on-line portfolio means understanding how individuals use the Web and, the reality is, persons are lazy. They’re busy. They need issues handed to them.

In the event you select to go along with a contact type, make it easy. Don’t use your contact type to “filter out dangerous shoppers” till you’re simply getting so many requests each day that you may’t deal with it.

I like to recommend the next fields in your contact type:

Identify: Let the consumer select first, final, or full. What issues right here is getting them to submit the shape.

E mail deal with: This one’s fairly simple. Don’t attempt belongings you’ve seen like “your greatest electronic mail” or “your work electronic mail.” Let individuals put no matter they need right here with out considering an excessive amount of about it.

Message: Lastly, the message. You may wish to add a few prompts to assist customers know what to write down right here. If not, retaining it easy is okay too.

That’s it?

Yep. You don’t must know their finances but. You don’t must have them provide you with a topic line. You don’t must know far more about them.

The objective is to provoke the dialog and get the individual’s contact data (greatest=their electronic mail) so you’ll be able to proceed in a dialogue and finally e-book them as a shopper.

Bonus subject: The one further subject I might advocate for later testing may be the “how did you hear about me?” subject, however I might maintain it non-compulsory so customers aren’t annoyed in the event that they don’t bear in mind. And if potential, set it to “I don’t bear in mind.”

To simplify all of this, attempt utilizing the Honeybook contact type builder which lets you customise the shape to your liking. From there, you’ll be able to embed the Honeybook contact type in your website it doesn’t matter what it’s constructed on.

The rationale I’m okay with including this bonus subject is as a result of it would turn out to be useful throughout the ultimate advice I’ll make under: testing and adjusting.

Check, get suggestions, and regulate

Bear in mind, the objective of your MVP (minimal viable portfolio) is to get it out their rapidly, gather suggestions, and optimize it for enormous shopper conversions.

Listed below are just a few methods I like to recommend you take a look at your new portfolio website:

Qualitative testing with associates, household, colleagues

Earlier than sending the brand new portfolio to any potential shoppers, your objective needs to be to take away any evident errors or errors. This may be achieved utilizing associates, household, colleagues, and even present shoppers who you belief.

Keep away from asking imprecise, open-ended questions like “what do you consider my new portfolio?” although, since that gained’t allow you to in any respect.

As an alternative, attempt sitting them down at a pc and asking them to sort in your URL, go to the positioning and try to rent you.

Then watch.

Don’t discuss. Don’t assist them. Watch over their shoulder and simply observe.

You’re more likely to see spots the place many individuals get confused, hung-up, misplaced, annoyed, or distracted. This will provide you with a pleasant record of preliminary changes you may make.

Quantitative testing with Google Analytics

Although the one-on-one testing with individuals you belief could be extraordinarily insightful, getting extra guests to the positioning and watching the info on the back-end can provide an entire totally different grouping of realizations.

You may wish to use a free software like Google Analytics to see the place website guests are coming from, which pages they go to first, which pages they go away from, and the paths they take by your website to finally contact you (or go away).

Lastly, if you happen to’re constructing a one-page portfolio website, it’s possible you’ll wish to take into account a heatmap software like HotJar, which can be free. HotJar will present you the way far down the web page customers sometimes scroll, the place they click on, and the way they use your website.

You’re by no means accomplished testing

In the event you’re severe about getting extra shoppers out of your on-line portfolio, right here’s the truth of it: you’re by no means accomplished testing.

I as soon as had somebody inform me they made small changes each week to their portfolio and it solely elevated their conversion charges by round 1% every time.

However over the course of 6—12 months, you’ll be able to think about what an affect all of the testing and adjusting can have.

Rising your conversion charge by even simply 25% (which is modest and utterly attainable) means if much less effort and value to herald new shoppers with the very same software.

As you observe, study, examine and take a look at, you’ll get higher at it. You’ll begin to study what your shoppers are in search of, the place they’re getting caught and easy methods to greatest assist them.

Taking motion is the one street to success

This text is over 3,500 phrases lengthy. In the event you’ve made it this far, congratulations. You’re among the many few who’ve.

However studying three thousand phrases on a subject means nothing if you happen to don’t take motion. So, to recap, listed here are the actions I like to recommend you are taking within the coming months to optimize your portfolio website for enormous conversions:

  • Retrain your mind to consider your portfolio as a gross sales software as an alternative of a flowery place to point out off work.
  • Create a minimal viable portfolio that meets the fundamental wants and avoids too many bells and whistles (for now).
  • Converse your shopper’s language by figuring out feelings they’re feeling and how one can remedy their greatest ache factors.
  • Make it extraordinarily simple for shoppers to rent you by addressing dead-ends, off-ramps, and distractions.
  • Start testing your MVP as quickly as potential (it doesn’t should be good) and collect suggestions rapidly utilizing actual human beings and software program like Honeybook.

Final of all, some phrases of encouragement. Lots of the freelancers I discuss to about portfolios declare they simply don’t have the time or vitality (or they discover they’re too choosy about their very own model) to construct or rebuild their portfolio.

However you’ve received this.

Optimizing your portfolio could be one of the crucial impactful issues you are able to do to your freelance enterprise.

I can’t wait to see what you provide you with.

This publish was initially printed on the Honeybook weblog right here. It has been republished right here with permission from the copyright holder.

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