How To Build A Captivating Portfolio

Top View Photo of Notebook and Laptop

There are hundreds even thousands of applicants who want the job you want. You need to stand out and the only way to do that is to have a captivating portfolio. Remember that it is not just a collection of your web design work. It is also a chance to showcase who you are and where you want to go next. It can also establish a distinct brand for yourself as a web designer.

Reach a bigger audience and do not settle for just physical portfolio. A link of your own website will always be a suitable way of presenting yourself.

Here are some tips in making a captivating portfolio:


DO A TEASER. It only takes 50 milliseconds for browsers to evaluate your website. Mostly impressions are design-related so you have to start a design with a good introduction page. Include self-description and the type of job you can do. Use the first person and add a photo to add personality in your website.


CLEAR NAVIGATION. No one enjoys a complicated navigation. Here are some basic principles:

  • It must be simple.
  • It should be clean and obvious.
  • Navigation should be the same on every page. Do not change the position of the menu or hide some pages.
  • There should be details about you and your projects
  • The contact page should be visible.


TELL YOUR STORY. Know that most employers are not hiring a list of awesome projects, they are also looking for a great person to work with.

The best place for your portfolio is the “About Me” page. Here are some tips:

  • Present level of expertise.
  • Show your achievements.
  • State where you’re from.
  • Include personal trivia.


GIVE A DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF YOUR WORK. It is your work that is the important content in your portfolio. You just have to give your visitors an awesome story about your work by providing the right context with each work.


Bring about a promising preview. First, do the preview section and describe basic information of each projects.

Feature the process. When describing your projects, do it in a case study format for probable clients to know how you created each projects. Consider these format:

  • State the reason, the goal, and how you addressed the problem.
  • It should show how you think.
  • The benefits to your client and what you’ve learned.

Create your case studies for skim reading

Visitors will stay at your site for at least 10 to 15 seconds. It is important that you present clearly and cut it in half.

  • Cut your copy in small chunks. Add headings and sub-headings.
  • The comfortable length per line is 45 to 75 characters.

Describe obstacles

In the end, you are being hired because of your capability to systematically think of the best solutions for your client’s problems.

Walk people through the process:

  • State the business problem that you were able to solve.
  • Relate the how and why your approach worked for your clients.
  • Describe the influence of your work.



To tell your story you should start with your audience. Know what they are looking for, and show them that your skills fit their needs. Here are a few suggestions:

  • List your best works first or most recent but the first one typically, gets more views.
  • It must demonstrate your future direction.
  • Choose 3 to 5 projects and describe the process from start to finish.



Non-disclosure agreement (NDAs) is such a threat to an awesome portfolio. Many companies treat your work and process as their ownership.

Here are ways to take care of NDA problem:

  • Ask for permissions and remove the sensitive details.
  • Anonymized your work by taking out specific information, censoring in a tactful way.


A great way to create trust in any site and good for portfolios are testimonies.

Here are some tips:

  • Ask for testimonial when you finished something that the client likes. Make this a habit.
  • Ask open-ended question like “what are 3 other benefits in working together?”
  • Do not use jargon.
  • Talk about what they like when working with you person-to-person.



Never take credit for the project when in fact you had a complete team. As the saying goes, “Honesty is the best policy.”



This is one of the most vital elements in your website portfolio. Use a contact form. There are forms available online. This will allow you to customize fields so you can ask all the information up front.



Use tracking analytics on your site like Google Analytics for you to know who went to your website, how long they lingered, and what projects they looked at. It can also create a profile of your visitors. This will help you make changes from good to captivating!