Portfolio websites are typically built to highlight a creator’s best work. Be that a writer, a musician, a graphic designer — you name it, everyone who has made something they are proud off wants to show it off.
But those of us with portfolio sites still need to drive business from them. That is the untold story of portfolio sties: their usefulness in closing future deals. It can be tricky to optimize your portfolio website for sales, but here’s exactly how to do so.
Hint: it’s actually not that hard!
Use an easy backend system
I once knew a writer who had a great looking website. It was clean, and she wasted no time showing off her skills — the landing page linked directly to her two top pieces, both published on high-authority sites.
But because she marketed her content services from a marketing angle, she had to be versatile — and this skill wasn’t immediately clear on her site.
She had chosen to highlight a series of more journalistic pieces that showcased her strong writing skills and penchant for getting to the bottom of a story. But this doesn’t do much good when reaching out to a business owner about SEO optimized copy.
As such, she found herself needing to quickly update her site to include samples of recent blog articles and landing page copy she had done. But, because her site was built by a specialty designer who never bothered to give her a tutorial on how the backend worked, making even small changes was a complete nightmare.
She had to email him, wait for him to reply, explain exactly what she needed, and then hope he actually did it without sending her a massive bill afterward.
This situation is easily avoided by using WordPress.
By using WordPress, you’re making it as easy as possible to update your website in a flash, without having to go through much of any coding or technical jargon (and, there’s no waiting around for your “website person” to get their act together). Here at awplife, we offer the best themes for your site to make it as easy as possible to keep crisp and current.
Highlight any for-sale work on a separate page
When scrolling through a website, are you likely to click on the one button that has a price tag on it, when everything around it is free?
One of the most effective ways to optimize your portfolio website for sales is to host a “store” page that is separate from other content that you may have. For clothing designers, you, of course, want to highlight your best stuff, even if it’s currently sold out or no longer available. But doing so with the current season’s fashion right next to it seems out of place and is not optimized for conversions.
Host your for sale items in a dedicated store, run by a specific merchant management system.
To bring the writer example back, having a separate page for books, e-books, or premade templates for sale is a great way to be sure that someone who is ready to buy knows exactly where to go to do so, and that someone not ready to buy might find themselves easily swayed after browsing the store.
Find a good theme for your site
A good-looking website is like your dream person to date. It’s not only physically attractive, but has the inner personality and depth to really engage you. Live Lingua, an online language school, recently updated its site with a new theme and has enjoyed a nice boost from Google as a result. The new site is clean, crisp, and the SEO optimization is on point.
Old or sloppy websites do not perform as well in Google when they haven’t been updated for a long time, as Google wants to deliver the most relevant results to any query typed into its system. A site that hasn’t been updated in ten years, or a blog without consistently posted content, tells Google that this site is not authoritative in its space and as such, is a lower priority for search results. Believe me, Google knows these things.
Show your distinct personality
As a writer, the biggest thing that has worked for me in my career is being myself. I find that I am unable to close deals and land new clients when I try to conform to the mainstream copywriting personalities that large businesses are accustomed to dealing with.
I have much more success, however, when I let my personality lead the way. People hire off design portfolios that show personality, uniqueness, and specific qualities that they otherwise lack in their business. No matter your industry, show yourself off! Let potential clients know who you are and why they are only getting the best by working with you.
You can do this through a good theme, and through highlighting your products that distinctly have your touch on them. Be diverse and thorough in what you highlight on your site. And, be ready to customize to meet your client’s needs — when you mix your personal touch with their voice, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Have an email opt-in
Most people that visit a website aren’t going to make a purchase right away, or even at all during their first visit. Your goal for optimized sales is to get them to come back, or keep them around. The best way to do this is by getting them to sign up for your e-mail newsletter.
Having a pop-up or opt-in box gives interested parties the ability to stay in touch without having to put in any effort other than entering their email addres. Once you have it, they will receive your regular marketing communications and over type will trust that you are the authority for what they need. For a good example, check out the Anomalous Educator website.
Then, they’ll click that buy button.
Thom Jackson is a freelance writer from Idaho who contributes to the blog at Live Lingua and a number of other sites around the web.