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5 Steps to Make a Killer Portfolio Website with Squarespace

by Theresa Christine Johnson on 01/30/2017 | 5 Minute Read

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In today’s digital age, there’s simply no excuse for not having an amazing online portfolio of your design work to show prospective clients and employers. But take one look at all of your options for setting one up—from web hosting to template designs and beyond—and this seemingly simple task can become pretty intimidating. You want something that will end up as a solid representation of you and your work, but you need something that won’t require hours to make. You should be able to set it up easily so that you can go out and, y’know, work.

Enter Squarespace. Not only is Squarespace crazy easy to use for creating an impressive portfolio, but it requires minimal time on your part to get a site up and running. Plus, they offer beautiful templates that will showcase your work and suit your style, from clean and minimalist, bold and colorful, ornate and elegant, to anything in between. Whether you’re a student just starting out or a professional with years of experience, here are 4 straightforward steps to creating a killer online design portfolio and how you can get yours set up using Squarespace.

1. Select a custom domain name

Let’s face it: janesdesigns.randomdesignportfoliosite.com just doesn’t feel that professional. Investing in a custom domain name is a simple element that legitimizes you and your business to new site visitors. Traditionally, hosting and domain names get set up separately, but Squarespace simplifies the process by providing both in one spot. And no sneaky pricing here, either—costs range from $20-$70 annually and it renews at the same cost every year, so you’ll never get charged a penny more.

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2. Choose your template

Web design might not be your forte, but one thing is for sure: your site should make you (and your work) look stellar. Utilize a template that will let the work speak for itself. Funky looking buttons, weird fonts, or a nauseating combination of colors can distract from what you actually do, so when in doubt just keep it simple.

The template selection is an instant draw for Squarespace—they all look absolutely beautiful without being overwhelming. You technically don’t even need to officially sign up to browse through the templates they offer, and you’ll find the Art & Design category features really striking ones. Flatiron, Avenue, and Wexley are a few of the definite standouts for designers, allowing visitors to get a visual sense of your work before learning more.

3. Curate which projects to include

Potential clients and employers are busy people (just like you), so go for quality over quantity with what you put on the site and leave them wanting more. Be selective to showcase your absolute best work that will highlight your skills rather than bombard visitors with every. single. project. you’ve ever done.

With Squarespace, you’ll have no problem adding pages or rearranging them. You also have the option to create pages but keep them unlinked, which is perfect for selecting your best work to feature. By doing this, you can have as many design portfolio pages online as you want, but your site navigation will only display the ones you choose. People can still access unlinked pages, but it won’t clutter your site—and you can move linked and unlinked pages around with the mere drag and drop of a mouse.

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Sample portfolios, courtesy of Laura Bohill, Michael Steven Forrest, and Chris Rushing.

4. Include your contact info

There is nothing more frustrating for an employer or potential client who loves your website but can’t figure out how to get in touch with you. They might put a bit of effort into reaching out—looking you up on LinkedIn, maybe?—but don’t bet on it. Instead, make sure your contact info is immediately noticeable. Squarespace offers convenient starter layouts that take out all of the guesswork of including a contact form. They’ll automatically link to your email address (and you can easily link it to Google Drive or Mailchimp, if you’d like), so it only requires a bit of tweaking the text to get it ready to go.

5. Make it more than your resume

Once someone clicks on one of your projects, what will you show them? Each individual page for your work can include more than just the main image and name of the client. Drag and drop photos of the project to give a better understanding of the details you meticulously designed, and talk on a more personal level about your process.

Part of the beauty of an online design portfolio is it’s totally fine to dive in a little deeper with your work. In fact, it’s a wonderful chance for people to learn more about the project brief, the challenges you faced, and what solutions you brought to the table. This type of extra information doesn’t really fit in a cover letter or resume, but it can help you make a lasting impression.

Ready to get started with your own portfolio with Squarespace? Enter coupon code DIELINE at the checkout and receive 10% off your first purchase.

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