No matter where you are in your writing career, it’s important that you can demonstrate your skills to potential clients. How else will they know that you’re the right person for the job?

Creating a strong writing portfolio is one of the trickiest parts of working as an independent writer. But fear not, because you can do it successfully with the right strategy!

This article will show you how to create a great online writing portfolio. We’ll cover:

  • What to include in your writing portfolio.
  • How to create a writing portfolio.
  • Quick tips to enhance your portfolio.

What to include in your writing portfolio

A successful writing portfolio will showcase your work and present you as a reliable and knowledgeable collaborator. In other words, your portfolio should show off your skills and your awesome personality.

Not sure how you can accomplish that? Start by ensuring your portfolio includes these components:

  • Personal information – provide some information about who you are, including your credentials.
  • Your field or speciality – clarify what kind of writing your business offers. Copywriters, journalists, translators, authors, etc., serve very different clienteles.
  • Your best work – present your best pieces for your audience to read. Be sure to include examples of the different types of work you can do.
  • Contact information – make it easy for potential clients to connect with you to help you convert leads into paid assignments.

How to create a writing portfolio

Now that you know what to include in your writing portfolio, simply follow the steps below to put it together.

Choose a domain name

If you don’t already have one, the first step is to pick and purchase a domain name for your portfolio. 

Having a portfolio that’s just “YourBusinessName.com” looks more professional to potential clients than the generic, free ones do. (“YourName.websiteprovider.com” doesn’t look as good, does it?”)

Pro tip: 

Sites like GoDaddy.com let you check what domain is available.

Pick a hosting website

Not all portfolio hosting sites work the same, so browse to see which type you prefer. 

Online portfolio builders typically come in three categories:

  • Dedicated portfolio sites – websites like JournoPortfolio and Muck Rack let you set up a landing page, and host links to your writing.
  • Website builders – with sites like WordPress and Squarespace, you can create a website of any kind, including a writing portfolio.
  • Publishing platforms – writer websites like Medium or Substack allow you to publish content and build a community with your readers.

Define your niche and target clients

The best way to create a portfolio that entices potential clients is first to define who you want to work with. 

Define your niche and ideal client, then select your samples based on what they would want to read. 

If you want to write blog posts for a juice company, include samples of similar work! Or, if your dream is to write journals for a research company, ensure your portfolio has some academic writing samples.

Trying to reach everyone means you’ll reach no one, so pick a focus and stick to it. 

To learn more, see:

Design your portfolio

As a self-employed writer, your portfolio is the star of the show. While we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the truth is that design is a crucial part of showcasing your work.

It’s important that your online writing portfolio looks nice, is easy to navigate, and shows off your brand without taking focus away from your work. You want to balance personality and simplicity!

Here are some tips to help you find that balance:

  • Use neutral colours for your background and other base design.
  • Use colours for things like graphics, headings, buttons, or menus.
  • If you have a logo and brand colours, make sure you include them. 

Pick out your best work

Now, it’s time to select your best pieces to show off your writing skills. A good rule of thumb is to include 10-20 pieces. 

Too few and the reader won’t get a good enough idea of what you do, and too many might overwhelm them.

It’s best to focus on quality over quantity and only include pieces that you’re proud of. One or two high-quality and thought-provoking essays will have a much higher impact than 30 half-decent ones. 

And remember, your portfolio represents your skills right now, and you can always add and replace pieces as you develop. 

Create a memorable About page

Now that you have your best pieces perfectly designed to grab prospective clients’ attention, it’s time to give them a little more to reel them in. 

Clients want to know about who you are and why you can do what you do. So share some key information about yourself, such as:

  • Where you’re originally from.
  • The country and city you live in.
  • Your writing credentials (university, certificates, etc.).
  • Any awards you’ve won.
  • Themes or subjects you cover.

You may choose to feature your bio on the homepage of your portfolio or use a dedicated About page. Add some personal flair and enhance the page with a picture of yourself. 

Finally, include your contact information so prospects can get in touch if they want to. 

Share your portfolio

No matter how amazing your writing portfolio looks, it’s no good if no one can see it! 

When you finish creating our portfolio, start by showing it to friends and family. Let people look through it and give feedback (you’ll be amazed at what you missed!)

Then, cast your net wider by sharing your new portfolio on your social media channels. LinkedIn is excellent for sharing professional content, but Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram are good sharing platforms. 

The key is to drive traffic to your portfolio and convert those leads to paying clients. So it’s good to include a link to it in different places, including your email signature, your blog and social bios.  

Also, think about how your portfolio fits into your overall marketing strategy. If you don’t have one, check this out: How to market yourself as a self-employed writer.

Quick tips to enhance your portfolio

  • Add social proof – ask for testimonials from happy clients and feature them in your portfolio.
  • Write case studies about successful projects – demonstrate your professionalism by taking clients through your best projects. 
  • Use eye-catching thumbnails – people are naturally drawn to images (and especially faces), so choosing ones that stand out can help you attract more visitors to your site.

See also: How to start a freelance writing business.

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