Picture waking up each morning, grabbing coffee, sending cold pitches, and hoping for some responses.
No — I’m not suggesting that every freelancer’s day begins like this, but it is so for a big chunk. And such a morning ritual is actually a sign. A sign that your portfolio is not attracting quality leads for you.
If you don’t fix it in time, you could even end up QUITTING your freelance job.
A surefire signal to know if your portfolio needs a facelift
If you’ve been into freelancing for at least six months and still find yourself working really hard to secure projects, it’s safe to assume that your portfolio isn’t doing its job well.
To become a successful freelancer, it’s important that you work towards a point in which clients start approaching you. It doesn’t always have to be the other way around.
So, if three out of four projects that you work on come from cold pitches, perhaps it’s time for you to fix your portfolio.
Five easy tips to get more projects from your portfolio
1. Optimize SEO
It’s simple — there’s no use of a portfolio that search engines can’t discover. Optimizing your portfolio for the right keywords doesn’t just help search engines find you but also reassures searchers that your site (and you) indeed offers what they’re looking for.
You can refer this list of 50 long-tail keywords to plug into your portfolio (fine-tuned for web designers).
2. Send more traffic to your portfolio
The more traffic you send to your portfolio, the more exposure your work will get. The following are some handy ways to bring more people to your website.
Get a nice email signature: You send so many emails each day, what’s wrong with sticking a little bit of branding to each? Create a descriptive email signature. Add your site’s link to it. WiteStamp is a free email signature service that lets you create beautiful branded signatures.
Give away something for free: It doesn’t matter whether you’re a graphic designer or a blogger, there’s always a little something that you can contribute to the community for free. Like when Flywheel ran the freebie fest, a lot of designers got featured. Imagine this kind of exposure before a highly targeted audience.
So create something nice and give it away for free.
Leave meaningful comments: If I ask designers to start writing 500-word posts, it might sound like a little too much. But asking you all to comment on posts shouldn’t seem like a lot of work, right?
So hang out more often on some of the cool blogs in your niche and post comments. While commenting, share your take or opinion and don’t just appreciate the writer.
Most blogs use Disqus for commenting, so sign up. It takes less than 30 seconds and enables you to comment on a ton of blogs. But be mindful, Disqus maintains an archive of your comments all over the web (i.e., an archive of the comments made using Disqus).
Fill up your social profiles’ bios: Out of all social media platforms, I’ll assume that you’re active at least on Twitter. Have you fully filled out your Twitter bio? Did you mention that you’re available for work? And finally, did you link your profile with your portfolio? If not, do it now.
3. Don’t dump all your work into your portfolio
As top freelancer Samar Owais suggests, don’t add everything you do to your portfolio. Add only your best work.
Oh hey, I just did some more work. Let’s put it in my portfolio.
Err … no. That’s not how portfolios work.
Portfolios need to have your best work in them. Not work you’re not embarrassed by, but work you’re damn proud of.
4. Update often
Once you hand over a project that you’re truly proud of, add it to your portfolio. A portfolio that’s stuffed with all your work can be as damaging as a portfolio that’s not updated.
5. Add testimonials
It could be that some potential clients like your work but may be hesitant to try out a new freelancer. Adding testimonials is an effective way to reassure them and encourage them to hire you. So, don’t forget to ask your happy clients for testimonials.
I hope these tips help you in getting more business from your portfolio. I’ve been fulltime freelancing for a couple of months now, and I know them to help.. If you know anymore, just give me a shout in the comments!