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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.
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?
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Is it catchy enough? How will you improve it?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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Rean is the editor of 1stwebdesigner. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development. Rean also writes at Knowledge Salad, a blog filled with weird and interesting facts. One of his goals is to help his fellow Filipinos earn money online, to help them build a career out of working from home, just like what he has been doing for years now.