Optimizing your portfolio

A polished, professional portfolio showcases your skills and experience to potential clients. 
This guide offers advice on how to optimize your portfolio to attract the kinds of clients you want.

Choosing images and thumbnails

The images and thumbnails you choose to showcase in your portfolio will be shown to potential clients to help them decide who they’d like to work with. You only have a few seconds to grab their attention, so first impressions really are everything.
After a client fills out their brief on Squarespace.com, they are shown portfolios of available designers that meet their needs:
The client can scroll through your first 4 thumbnails and click each one to view the full image. Make sure your image is high-res and does not look pixelated when enlarged to full-screen. 

You can display your work however you choose. Some designers show how sites look on a computer or phone screen, others use pretty screenshots that expand to show the full homepage when clicked, some even use animated .gifs. When deciding what to showcase in your portfolio, think about what would attract the kinds of clients you want.
If you wanted to hire a designer and were shown several portfolios side-by-side as in the example above, what would make you click? Read The Dos and Don’ts of Design Mockups on the 99designs blog for some great advice.

Having a full portfolio matters

Designers who have a full portfolio of 12 work samples are shown above those who have fewer. Once you've added 12, make sure each design has the proper tags and a good description.

Adding tags and descriptions

To edit the tags or description on a design in your portfolio, click on it and click the "Edit design" button:

1. Give your design a descriptive title

It's important to include a short title for each of your portfolio designs to help potential clients understand for who and what the website is designed  for. For example, “Squarespace website for yoga studio".

2. Write a concise, clear description of your design

A good description explains your thought process and how you have solved a problem for your client. Be sure to mention any additional skills you brought to the project, such as custom CSS, SEO work, copywriting, 3rd-party integrations, and the Squarespace theme used.

3. Add keyword tags

Tagging is one of the most essential aspects of 99designs’ designer portfolio and will help you and your work become more discoverable to clients. Think about what clients are searching for and how your work can best match their needs. 
Do you have a particular industry you specialize in? Try tags like “yoga”, “dental” or “boutique” to apply to a specific niche.
Tip: There’s a maximum tag amount, so be sure to be thoughtful with the ones you use. Spamming with irrelevant tags will not only match you with the wrong clients, but is considered malicious and will be handled accordingly. 
Make sure the rest of your profile looks great with a professional avatar, beautiful cover image, and well-written bio.