5 Things Your Online Portfolio Needs

Whether you are a designer, marketing professional, photographer, or really anyone with projects to share, an online portfolio can open doors and bring visibility to your work. It's the perfect place to showcase your talents in a crowded marketplace.

Not sure where to start? Here are five design elements that every online portfolio needs.

1. Stellar Images


A great image makes a powerful first impression. A hero header – a photo that stretches across the top of the screen from edge to edge — is a highly visual option that gives your images room to shine.

When it comes to choosing a the best image, opt for one of two things:

  • Use images that represent your work. This can include design work, photos, art or even products.
  • Use an image of you! If you do something that's particularly interesting or have work that's harder to present in the hero format, go for a photo of you in action. (A nice portrait can also be interesting.)

Images can include anything from photos to video to illustrations. And don't stop with the homepage and header. Sharp, crisp images should be the ongoing theme on every page of your website design.

Weebly theme to try: Slick

2. Only Your Best Work


Don't fall into the trap of trying to include everything in your online portfolio. Just because you have unlimited website space, doesn't mean that you should post every project you've ever done.

Include projects that are recent, have won awards, show your range of skills or come from a client that would provide a great referral. Avoid projects that are dated, feature a trend that does not work anymore or come from a client with a failed relationship.

Include short descriptions with project work to give context to the images. How did you complete it? What is your favorite part of the project?

Weebly theme to try: Oasis

3. Contact Information


Whether you are available for work or not, make sure to include your contact information on your portfolio website. The goal of a portfolio is to bring attention and recognition to your work. Including contact information gives your site credibility and lets people know the work is yours.

This does not mean you have to list a personal phone number. Consider using a contact form, or post links to a social media profile where users can contact you.

Weebly theme to try: Highlighter

4. Your "Story"


Add a personal touch to your portfolio with your “story." How did you get into your current field? What styles or designers do you look up to?

Your story does not have to be long or particularly involved, but it is the personal touch that should set you apart. Your story might include things from your resume (but is not a listing of jobs and qualifications).

Keep it simple. Aim for something that makes you stand out, and that you don't mind sharing.

Weebly theme to try: Paper

5. Style


Your online portfolio should match your design style.

Even if you start with a defined template, customize it to your tastes. Use colors that appeal to you, typefaces that draw you in, and an overall style that falls in line with your work. This should be pretty easy to do, but the challenge is often battling that feeling that you need to include everything in your site design. It is perfectly fine to go with a minimal style, if that's what appeals to you.

A clean, easy to read, highly visual site will draw in visitors regardless of style. A website design that matches your style will help give potential clients an even better idea of the kind of work and products you will deliver.

Weebly theme to try: Venue

Does your online portfolio already include the elements above? If not, today is the day to work on creating a stronger, more visual version. Remember, this might be your first impression for new clients or future professional opportunities — make it a good one.