I’m in the same boat. I always want more traffic to my portfolio websites, but how? There are a lot of guides and tutorials out there, but here are some simple pointers that I have put together from my own personal experiences, that I hope you may want to think about and be of use to you. So below are my own tips, will they work? Well who knows, but it’s better to try something than sit around twiddling your thumbs and hope to get visitors.
One of the biggest challenges for new designers and freelancers is simply getting their work seen. You may be able to produce an excellent level of quality, but if no one sees it, it’s of not much use.
Firstly, I won’t pretend, I’m no expert at this, I’m pretty new in this freelance design industry myself (4 years) so the below list are just some very simple, free and honest ways to try and generate more traffic to your online design portfolio that I have put into practise myself over the years. I hope they can be help to some.
- Try to get your site featured // There are so many sites out there where you can submit your portfolio site to, or a website you have created for fellow designers to view and sometime evaluate (so be prepared for negative feedback). Check out this list of design galleries they can all provide a great opportunity to get some exposure to your portfolio site. If you can manage to produce a fantastic portfolio website, you might be able to get featured in some of the larger, popular galleries where your site could be seen by thousands of people. The only problem with these galleries is that a large percentage of their visitors are other disigners, so your work may not be seen by as many people who are looking for a designer (but hey atleast your getting traffic and getting noticed).
- Start a Blog on your same domain // This is something I’m trying to do more myself, it’s hard work. Blogging can be an incredibly effective tool for bringing visitors to your portfolio site and to keep them coming back. A blog that publishes valuable content will attract subscribers, links, search engine traffic, social media traffic, and personal recommendations. While building a successful blog will take time and effort, it can have a huge impact on how many people see your portfolio and how well you’re able to build your name in the industry. Gaining exposure for your blog is critical to building a following, readership, and revenue. Besides the basic SEO steps of adding compelling and keyword friendly titles, URL structure and descriptions. Blogs get indexed on an extremely regular basis, within hours of creating an article it can be on google. Submit your blog articles and entries to RSS feeds, Technorati is a very popular one, you will have to first create an account, and then ‘claim’ your blog. BlogDigger, BlogBurst, Feeds4All, Grabber are all good ones and deffinately worth a visit and a submission.
- Freebies & Giveaways // Everyone likes free stuff, and as designer’s, there are numerous things we can create and giveaway, such as HTML/CSS themes and templates, icons, wallpapers, Photoshop brushes, Illustrator Vector files etc the possibilities are endless. The purpose of giving things away for free is obviously not to make money from, but rather to attract inbound links to your pages.
- Try to be original // If you can Blog about something original, or create/design something interesting and ‘new’, people will find it. It will make you stand out from the crowd. And when you feel you have written something ‘original’ or ‘fantastic’ then you gotta put it out there on one of the many Blog directories. Best of the Web Blog Search, Blogged.com, Bloggapedia, are some of the free blog directories out there, google for others.
- Design Network profiles // There are a lot of different networking sites out there (see my own list of useful networking sites for designers) that allow designers to post a small profile where you can instantly post your site on to get another backlink. Some of the sites will allow you to post some of your own work on, that other designers can comment on. It takes some time and effort to become noticed on these networking sites, you need to visit them regulary and try and comment on other designers work, and update your own online portfolio often.
- Create backlinks as many as you can// Backlinks are links that are linking to your site from someone elses site. Basically the way google views backlinkgs are that they are like votes on your website (google is a popularity contest at heart), so the more votes (links) you have pointing to your site, the higher it will rank on google, thus bringing you more traffic. Simples.
- Piggy back on successful clients // If you have designed a website for a client, ensure you stick a link back to your own site (may need to check with them first, although now-a-days it’s extremely common and needed to know who created a site). Designing for the right high-profile client may give you the exposure that you need. Of course, landing work with these sorts of clients is not always easy and you may need to give a discount or free work in order to get their attention.
- Be a forum troll // I know, not many people like forum trolls, but done in the correct manner it can pay off. Visit, visit and visit other people’s design blogs or forums and comment on their sites or tutorials, anything and everywhere, where ever you can put your own website link on, try and do it. (But be polite and follow blog etiquette, no one likes someone abusing their own site, if someone has written something similar to something you have written, comment and say “hey check out my write up as well”, be friendly at all times, networking is the key).
- Be a Twit // Use Twitter, and be proud of it!! Try to follow people/companies relevant to your own website, it’s a great way to keep up to date with the big boys. It’s also another way of indexing your posts/pages on google quickly. Create interesting tweets using keywords about design relevant things and people will pick up on them. For example, if you have designed a website, tweet about it, with a link back to it (there’s another free backlink straight off, yum).
- Sumit to free web directories // There are ofcourse web directories and pay per click services out there that you pay for, but the free ones can be of huge help anyway. Some site will require you to create a backlink to their directory before your site will be published, this link can be hidden away on a page that isn’t connected to your own site, they just need to see that their link is on a page under your domain.
If you have any other ideas or if the above have been of any use to you, then please feel free to add a little comment, in the box below. I wish you all goodluck, and please feel free to post a link to your own portfolio website below on this article, there’s another free backlink for you, courtesy of me. 🙂