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General Discussion

Daniel Griego
Daniel Griego
3,561 Points

Creating a Portfolio / Proving your worth

I have been wondering what the best methods were for creating a portfolio or showing the company your applying for that your worth it and that they should hire you, but what exactly is the best way to do that?

Is there a specific model to base it on? is it up to your creativity? when are you ready to create one?

3 Answers

Well, I believe its important for the website to reflect who you are both professionally and personally, and to have some coherence.

For example, if you say you master Ruby but you don't actually use any in your portfolio site, or in one of the website you showcase, its just dust in the wind. If you say you're good a doing minimalistic design but have no example of this, still dust in the wind. So the first thing I would say is to give proof of what you advance, and to have a text content coherent with the technical content. (Hope it make sense)

Something else I would do is to have a really clear presentation of the services and the skills I offer. It should be top priority, its what you sell, they would want to know that first before looking for any proof/example.

For your personnality, it should not be a single text paragraphe that is witty, but it should reflect on your entire website. Because again, text is telling, but showing is almost always better. Also, having a blog page or some articles in which you wrote interesting article that are tied to your field expertise would be interesting, it shows you don't only apply what you know, but that there's a whole reflection behind it.

A clear catchphrase or tagline, that tells exactly what you do, IE: responsive webdesign, content editor, seo expert...

For freelancing, I would include an incentive, like: request a quote, contact me today, do you have any question? etc, so that the client hesitate less to contact you. Don't know the use for this on a portfolio to apply on a company though.

And if it can help, here are a few portfolio sites that I like (none of them are mine):



And an interesting article on smashing magazine:


Ally Hodges
Ally Hodges
3,949 Points


Those links are great! The vanityclaire one is awesome, and that article is really informative.


What they really want to know is what can you do to make them money. Yes, they want a good looking site, but if you throw in some facts about how you can direct potential customers to certain key features, or how you utilize split testing to increase conversion rates, or how you can implement features that will save them time and thus money, or whatever, that is what they really want to hear.

Ally Hodges
Ally Hodges
3,949 Points


I'm kind of new, could you elaborate on split testing to increase conversion rates? What kind of features do you know of that could save a client time and money? Good design can help with that, but if there is something specific, please tell me! Could you give me an example with a fictitious company with their wants and needs and how some features could be implemented to save them time and money?

Thanks! :)

This is a pretty huge question.

Your mindset should be, overall, that the person interviewing you wants to know what you can do to make them more money. They want to attract clients as well as upsell clients with their sites and the more you can learn about that process the more you can offer to your clients. For example, split testing is when you take two things that are exactly the same and change one a little bit to see which one performs better. You keep the one that performs better and repeat the process to constantly improve upon your creations. Another example can be as subtle as an email list. Some people may be mom and pop's and not understand exactly how much gold is in an email list. They view it as log in details and just something to complete a purchase, but don't know that you can market to these people and make extra profits doing it. And then there is handling the emails themselves. A mom and pop would say "we don't have time to email a thousand people" or whatever, but you if you know of some good auto-responders you can increase their bottom line pretty easily.

You might see things from an artistic point of view. You want to make nice site. But the company, if they know what's good for them (and if they don't it's better for you to make an impression) want's you to create for them an interactive advertisement for their company. They want functionality but they want it to impress and do it's best in making money for them.

How can you add value (which means profits, in business) to your clients. At the very least they expect you to just do the job they need done, but if you can convince them that you can do that job and more you'll put yourself head and shoulders above the rest.

A lot of people, when they get interviewed, say things like "i'm a hard worker, I am never late, blah blah" and they don't get called back. You have to describe how you've added value to other people you have worked for, in detail. "With this client I increased their websites usability, look and feel, and increased their ranking in google, their overall traffic, and conversion rates and implemented an email marketing system which increased their overall profits by 15%" is a huge step closer than "I fixed their website, here is a picture.".

You can't learn this all in a day, so don't get discouraged, but learn what you can do to market and sale (two separate things and lots of books on the subject) people and then include that in your bag of tricks. Only problem is when you learn how it's done you won't want to work for other people, and that's not a bad problem to have.

Let me put in another, much shorter way. You want to know how to interview. Get a book called headhunter: Hiring secrets and your eyes will be opened. Then pick up some books on things like affiliate marketing, classical marketing, how to run marketing campaigns, email marketing, how to sale people, how to speak and connect/influence people (very important), how to design websites that convert to sales. This kind of stuff will supplement your design and/or development education very well.

Ally Hodges
Ally Hodges
3,949 Points


Thank you for taking the time to illuminate my questions. I've heard of the book 'Headhunter', I'll certainly check it out. I really appreciate you explaining the second to last paragraph you wrote in your first reply. That is giving me a lot to think about.

Thanks again! Ally