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10 Tips to Make your Graphic Design Website Work for You

Always choose portfolio pieces that show off your best work

Whether you are a new graphic designer just finishing up graphic design school or a seasoned professional who’s been working in the field for 20 years, it’s always a good idea to think and re-think your website. Your website is a key marketing tool that shows prospective clients what you can do. Consider these 10 tips when building or re-designing your website:

1. Look at your competition
It never hurts to look at what other graphic designers are doing with their websites. Never plagiarize or steal another designer’s concepts, but simply use your competitors’ websites to get ideas for what you like and what you don’t like in a website.

2. Plan for the future of your website
You want your website to be something that will grow and change over time. Right now—if you are fresh out of graphic design school—you may not have many pieces to show in your portfolio. But, over time, you will gain clients and will want to expand your website. So be sure to envision how you want your website to look now and into the future.

3. Choose a platform that works for you
If you are strong at coding, you might want to create your own website from scratch. But for those who are not as HTML savvy, there are many online platforms that allow you flexibility and ease in creating an online portfolio. There is a long list of options. Some of them are free and some of them have monthly payments. Some options you might want to consider are:

Squarespace, WordPress, Behance, Carbonmade, Portfoliobox, Big Black Bag, Viewbook, Fabrik, Format, Wix, Cargo, Tumblr, Dunked, Moonfruit, PhotoShelter, Virb, Krop, AllYou, Adobe Portfolio, Inventive, Dropr, Pixpa, and Dribble

4. Design a logo
A memorable logo can give your website a professional look. It can tie your webpages together and serve as a branding tool for your work.

5. Start your portfolio: Be selective!
Your portfolio should be carefully thought-out. You should not include every single piece you’ve ever done. You should just include your best works that a potential client would most likely want to see. Be mindful of the flow of your work—you want the pieces to flow together nicely almost as if they are telling a story. If you are just getting started in the field, you will not be able to show any client work yet, so you will have to show your work from your graphic design school. But as you gain clients, be sure to replace your school pieces with actual client work.

6. Pay attention to detail
While your portfolio pieces are the best way to showcase your work, you should also pay careful attention to the rest of your website. Is the typography modern and eye-catching? Is your writing clear and grammatically-correct? Does your logo look professional and representative of your talent? Is the page design of each webpage attractive, user-friendly, and easy to navigate?

7. Keep it up to date
Keeping your website current can be tricky once you start getting loaded down with work, but it is always important to do. Try to create pages that are “evergreen.” In other words, avoid adding dates and other time-sensitive information that will look outdated in just a year or two. And even with evergreen content, it is still important to update your site with new materials, especially since design trends change over time.

8. Get testimonials from satisfied clients
Reviews or testimonials from clients are a great way to impress a prospective client. Once you have a few clients, simply ask them if they would mind providing a review for you. You can post positive reviews or quotes directly on your website. You can also ask a few clients to post reviews on your LinkedIn profile. Most times, clients are happy to do this for you.

9. Make it easy to contact you
This tip is self-explanatory. You want your contact information to be prominent and easy to use, with hyperlinks to your email address, phone number, LinkedIn page, and social media. You can even make a button that says “Contact me for a quote.”

10. Get feedback before going live
After you’ve drafted your website, talk to friends, an instructor, or other graphic design colleagues to get their opinions and suggestions for improving your website.

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This short guide is a service of the Branford Hall Career Institute. We offer a Graphic Design and Animation career-focused training program at our campuses in North Brunswick and Jersey City, NJ. Getting started in our program is just a few clicks away!

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