Planning vs. Building: Creating a Portfolio Website with Impact

by | May 16, 2024

When it comes to creating a portfolio website, it’s not just about the design and layout. Imagine web design: countless templates are available, but without strategic, engaging content, the website won’t attract or convert visitors. The same principle applies to your portfolio website. In this post, we’ll explore the crucial distinction between planning your portfolio content and building the website itself.

The Significance of Portfolio Content Planning

Content planning for your portfolio plays a pivotal role in achieving two key objectives.

The First: An Engaging Start

By being intentional with your content planning, you can strategically determine the most compelling aspects of your projects. This allows you to lead with the best part of a project, instantly grabbing the reader’s attention and encouraging them to explore further. Even if someone only skims your portfolio, they’ll still encounter the most impressive elements of your work.

The Second: Concise Project Descriptions

Effective content planning helps you clearly explain your projects in a format that’s easy to scan. You can highlight the most critical components of each project, such as the project ask, problem, solution, insights, challenges, and results. This structured approach ensures that visitors quickly grasp the essence of your work, making a strong impression even when they have limited time to explore in depth.

TLDR — content planning helps you:

  • showcase the best parts of your projects right from the start
  • present project details in a scannable, informative manner
  • effectively communicate your skills and expertise

Differences Between Portfolio Planning and Building:

Portfolio planning is about curating content that showcases your skills, problem-solving abilities, and accomplishments. Portfolio building is about making your content accessible, visually appealing, and easy to navigate on the web.

Content (Planning):

  1. Choose your strongest projects to feature in your portfolio. Don’t have any? Try beefing up an old school assignment or using a fictional project brief. 
  2. Write project descriptions that demonstrate the value you can bring to an organization by applying your skills to solve their problems. 
  3. Create engaging project thumbnails that draw the audience in. For example, “Lyft acquired Ford’s bikeshare program, then ridership immediately plummeted. What went wrong?”

Website (Building):

  1. Select a suitable platform or builder.
  2. Choose a visually appealing template that will accommodate your content. 
  3. Implement good navigation and user experience features.
  4. Optimize for mobile responsiveness.
  5. Ensure fast loading times.

How to Plan Your Portfolio Content

The easiest way to keep the portfolio process organized and productive is to use a template! I created a simple template for myself that I’m continuously adding to over time. Grab a free copy:

In the world of portfolio websites, planning your content is more important than building the site itself. It’s the strategic content that will impress potential employers and clients, showcasing your skills and telling your professional story. So, remember, it’s not just about the design; it’s about the content that sets you apart in the digital landscape. Start planning your portfolio content today to make a lasting impression!