Creating the written content for your online portfolio can seem like an overwhelming prospect when considering the entire process as a whole. Each page requires multiple necessary elements for telling the story of your business and work, while also encouraging visitors to get in touch with you to discuss business opportunities. If writing really isn’t your thing, the idea of sitting down and getting everything done can be something that ends up getting pushed back indefinitely.
Don’t let overwhelm get in the way of creating a design portfolio website that’s perfectly representative of you, while driving leads for new business opportunities. Here’s how to DIY the copywriting for your design portfolio website, one manageable page element at a time:
The homepage is arguably the most important page for your business, where visitors first land to learn more about you. As such, it should be constructed with care, incorporating multiple conversions factors encouraging visitors to move deeper into your website (or get in touch), while also telling the story of what makes you unique.
Here are some important elements to include on your design portfolio website’s homepage, with a few tips for writing them:
- Heading: The h1 tag of your website is just as important to search engines as it is to your website’s human visitors. You should use it to incorporate your most important keyword while also using it to communicate the purpose of your website and the type of clients you serve. For example, my portfolio might use a primary heading saying something like, “Maddy Osman is an SEO Content Machine who works with Fortune 500 companies”.
- Slider Content: Many modern portfolio themes involve the use of a slider to immediately grab a visitor’s attention. If you’re using a theme with a slider, you’ll have to come up with slider content that includes headings, a phrase or short sentence, and a call to action for each slider. Use your slider to call attention to something new and exciting (like a new portfolio piece/case study), or an important action/page you want to guide visitors to (like your blog or contact page).
- Feature Items: In many ways, feature items act like slider content: drawing attention to desired conversion activities. Unlike sliders, they tend to be more permanent page elements. Use your feature items as an opportunity to send visitors to your most important web pages: your portfolio, your contact page, and a blog or about page. Give them a title, sentence or two descriptions, and relevant calls to action (“Learn More” would do just fine).
- Testimonials: Testimonials shouldn’t live on their own page, but rather, should be strategically woven throughout your entire design portfolio website. The good news? You don’t have to create any original content! The bad news? If you don’t currently have any testimonials to work with, you’ll have to start asking past clients and collaborators for their input. For best results, ask people to leave public recommendations on LinkedIn as a public record, then copy over for use on your homepage, service pages, and wherever else they’re most appropriate.
- Email Newsletter Call Out: Not everyone looking through your website wants to be a client right now, so you’ll want to incorporate some type of conversion mechanism for staying in touch. Create compelling copy for why someone might want to sign up for your emails: general copy about “email updates” will not interest anyone. Consider creating a lead magnet that brings value to subscribers in exchange for their email address.
Other homepage elements you may want to include (but don’t necessarily need to create copy for) include:
- Features for your most recent or most popular blog posts
- A feature area with links to relevant case studies or recent portfolio additions
- Client logos to show social proof for working with you
Writing an irresistible about page is no easy feat, so consider making the job a bit easier by separating your writing into a few distinct pieces:
- Who You Are & Why You Design: Though your about page should honestly be more about connecting with your visitor than launching into a detailed autobiography of your life, most visitors click through to this page because they want to learn more about the person behind the portfolio. Take some time to talk about some of your quirks and what got you into this profession. You could also talk about where you live and your industry involvements. Just remember that brevity will be key when it comes to talking about yourself so as not to distract from your design portfolio website’s conversion goals.
- Who You Serve: Tell the story of your business through the examples of the clients you’ve worked with. As long as you don’t have an NDA with them, feel free to name drop some of the companies you’ve designed for, and some of the positive things you’ve helped them to achieve through your work. This is also an ideal place for weaving in another compelling client testimonial or two.
- What You Do: Give people an idea of what to expect when working with you. What areas do you specialize in? What are your favorite types of projects? Have you won any awards for the work you specialize in? Use this part of your about page to answer any questions clients might have about working with you—you could even incorporate the use of a FAQ area if you’re frequently being emailed about certain questions from prospective clients.
While you’re working on the copy for your about page, you might also consider drawing inspiration from examples of awesome about pages.
A service page or individual service pages give context to how you provide that given service as an individual.
If you have just one service page, it’ll probably need:
- A heading with your most important keyword
- A subheading for each offering
- A 1-2 paragraph description of each service offering, with a call to action to get in touch after each one
If you have one page per service area (recommended), you’ll want to think of content in terms of:
- A heading with your most important keyword
- A quick 1-3 sentence description of the service
- 3+ “Feature Items” that focus on unique and compelling elements that you bring to providing that service
More so than any other page on your design portfolio website, it’s a good idea to directly embed contact forms on service pages.
Your contact page won’t require a lot of copy, but rather the smart arrangement of multiple options for getting in touch.
If your graphic design business targets local business, it will be essential to provide the NAP on your contact page (and footer). This abbreviation refers to the company’s official name, address, and phone number. You’ll get bonus points with local SEO if you also embed a Google Map with your businesses location on your contact page.
Here are a few ways you can encourage people to get in touch on your contact page:
- Phone Number and Address: Especially if you work with local businesses.
- Contact form: Conversion best practices suggest that the less fields, the better, but when it comes to B2B services, it’s recommended to ask for the contact’s name, phone number, email address, a subject line, and a message.
- Calendar scheduler: A tool like Calendly can empower potential clients to book time to talk to you based on your own calendar availability.
The main consideration for creating copy on your blog page is the blog itself, which is definitely outside of the scope of this article! That said, there is one particular page element worth focusing on that you may have to create some copy for—the sidebar.
Some people choose to go without a sidebar, preferring not to distract from the actual blog content. But here are a few blog sidebar content elements you might consider incorporating:
- A search bar: If you have a fair amount of content on your blog, this will help visitors find the articles most relevant to them. In terms of necessary content, you might create a custom title for your search, like “Search through our content archives”.
- Related posts: This functionality can be accomplished through the use of a WordPress plugin or a built-in theme feature. Again, all you really have to do is give it a relevant title.
- Email signup: If people are digging the content you create, make it easy for them to subscribe to get more. Include a compelling call to action or lead magnet, similar to what you’ve already written for your homepage.
Hiring Yourself to Write the Copy For Your Design Portfolio Website
Broken up into bite-sized elements, the prospect of doing the copywriting for your own design portfolio website seems completely achievable. For best results, give yourself enough time to focus on each individual element. Don’t try to rush the process, which can break down under a tight deadline.
What other tips would you give to a person undertaking the task of copywriting their own design portfolio website?