Your portfolio sucks. It makes me cry. You are a great designer with a perfectly designed portfolio site, and yet, it’s still terrible at the same time. Even my cat, Sheldon, knows it, too. Good thing, you can still improve it.
Do you want to convert browsers into clients? I bet you do. That’s the purpose of your portfolio site, yes? To attract more clients. To make them want to get a bite out of the dish you are offering.
And it only takes one topping: copywriting.
I know, I know, you are a web designer, not a copywriter. But applying these tips to your portfolio won’t hurt one bit!
Just a quick note before we begin. Copywriting is the art and science of persuading people to take action by means of writing. It is the best form of advertising.
I need you to stop reading. Do not continue if you cannot promise that you will at least try one of the tips written below.
1. Have a Catchy Headline
Design agency inTacto‘s tagline is “We take your brand into the Digital Age.” If you are a business owner with a brand that is still on the Stone Age, this seems like a great deal, right? And it instantly promises a solution to your problem.
That’s the key to writing catchy taglines or headlines. You need to make a promise. People are in pain and you have the cure.
While we’re at it, what do you think about this?
Discover Four Secret Strategies and Tools You Can Use to Find and Build Trust with Your Clients NOW!
Is it catchy enough? How will you improve it?
2. Don’t Be A Nameless Hero
Do you know who is Spence…The Evil Genius? I bet you do now. Want to hear how he says it?
My point here is, you need to make yourself memorable to people. Invent a nickname for yourself and give it an unforgettable attitude. Clients do their research; they will look at several services before making their decision on which one to pick, and often…wait, who’s that guy again? Ah, I already forgot. Let’s just move on to the next guys.
I’m betting that you have experienced something similar. Say, your password. It wasn’t memorable enough to the point where, seconds after setting up a new one, you’d have to reset it again. It happens to everyone, don’t cry.
3. Highlight Benefits over Features
Understand your target market. You are a web designer. You are THE web designer. Your target audience sees web design as witchcraft. They do not care about how it works; all they care about is how it will benefit them. Don’t tell them about your jQuery sliders and responsive websites, but tell them about how you can help improve their online presence which will lead to increased sales.
Which one sounds better? “I build retina-ready responsive websites using HTML5 and CSS3″ or “I will help you gain more sales by scientifically designing a website for you.” Scientifically, that in a sense your design is backed up by case studies, A/B testings, and standards that actual people worked on.
Since not all web designers are copywriters, I should tell you that by following this tip, you will (and I want you to read the following very slowly) attract more clients by telling them the benefits they will get from your features. Repeating things also help.
But if your target clients are developers who can’t design well, then you will have to highlight features over benefits. They already know how a certain feature will benefit them; they only need to know that you offer the service.
4. Talk to Your Clients…without Actually Talking to Them
Browsers are prospect clients and they are browsing your website because they need something. They are not sure if you offer what they want, though.
Picture this: an angsty teenager wearing his school uniform with a fedora goes to Walmart for some bacon. Five minutes passes by and he still can’t find the bacon. He would ask where but his teenage mind says that’s too low for his dignity, so he decides to leave instead.
First, your prospect clients are not teenagers and no, they’re not angsty. They maybe wearing a fedora and love bacon, but they will not spend five minutes in your portfolio site if you do not talk to them. Think of them as confused buyers, with you being the salesman. Go and ask them what they want. Help them find what they’re looking for.
- “Do you need a website?”
- “Want to modernize your website?”
Try to include these questions, and its variaitons on your homepage. Hit them where it hurts. Ask them what’s hurting. Ask the right questions, let them know that you have an idea of what they are looking for…and that you have the solution.
5. Keep It Short but Sweet
You are awesome for reading this far.
The final tip I want to share is to keep everything in your website short. Keep it short while applying all of the tips above. I know, you are amazing; you truly are, and I bet you can write an entire novella about how you successfully satisfied a client from hell. But don’t.
Write about the things that you can do for them. Write something short and sweet that they can’t refuse. Write about something they want to read about.
I can easily read George R. R. Martin’s books but don’t expect me to read a 100-word paragraph regarding your skills. I just want my damn website designed, please.
Let’s Repeat Everything, This Time Shorter
- Write a catchy headline, tagline, and descriptions. Ask a friend, your parents, and even your favorite teacher, including Mr. Cuddles, if your tagline or headline is memorable enough. Your friends will make fun of you; your parents will support you 100%; your favorite teacher will give you a good feedback, and Mr. Cuddles will probably just doze off. Your goal is to make them not forget it. Make a promise and fulfill it.
- Give yourself a fancy nickname that people will be fond of remembering. We all give nicknames to people we don’t know, and they, too, don’t know about it. We give them nicknames because they are so memorable. It can work the other way around. Name yourself and never be forgotten. Do you know Soda Guy? Or Cute Cathy? You know what I mean…I bet you call your pizza delivery guy Pizza Man.
- Write about the results, not the process. I just want my burger, I don’t want to know the ingredients and how you cooked it to its perfect golden brown color.
- Show them that you have what they want. Tell them you can redesign their website and modernize it or that you can design any website they want you to design. Make them feel their problems will be solved in just one or two sentences.
I lied to you. These are not killer tips. These are simple tips. Yet many web designers still fail to follow them. Start updating your portfolio site now!
Don’t forget to share your tips below!
See you next time!
Rean concurrently served as the Head of Operations and Editor-in-Chief of 1stwebdesigner from 2011 up until Aug 2014. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development with a little touch of internet marketing here and there.