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How to Build a Stunning Portfolio Website as a Web Developer — SitePoint

Ruby on Rails | March 20, 2020

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In your role as a professional web developer, you’re up for just about any website-building challenge. But, building a creative website portfolio for your own services isn’t something you’re accustomed to.

As much as you love web development, you’ve probably never thought of it as being a particularly sexy or creative profession.

The truth is, it’s not all that difficult to put an eye-grabbing portfolio together rather easily when you’re armed with the right tools, and you have a selection of inspiring and relevant concepts to choose from.

Here are 8 powerful ideas, together with 32 examples, to inspire you and enable you to promote your services on your own stunning portfolio website.

8 Ideas that Will Make Your Web Dev Portfolio Website Stand Out

1. Owning What You Do and Sharing It with Others

Many if not most portfolio websites have something in common. Because of their designs, it takes visitors a few seconds to figure out what the author actually does.

And, the longer it takes a visitor to figure it out what you do, and who you’re doing it for, the more likely it becomes that he or she will leave before even getting a glimpse of your portfolio.

You want to let people know exactly what you do the instant they land on your home page, and here are a few ways to make that happen.

This guy tells you straight out what he does. He even used a screenful of code for his hero shot.

2. Simplicity Is the Ultimate Sophistication

Most website visitors don’t like clutter, and certainly won’t be willing to wade through it to find what you’re offering. Since you take pride in your ability to write clean code, a clean portfolio design should appeal to you as well.

It will certainly appeal to your visitors.

A clean design will attest to your skills and work ethic, and if you feel it’s necessary, you can always use color and texture in a way that will make your personality stand out.

For example:

A perfect example of how design simplicity can produce a clean website home page that’s impossible to ignore

3. Turning a Resumé from Blah to Wow

Resumés are so passé. Don’t you agree?

Not when you let your art or products speak for themselves, which is what portfolio websites can do; and spectacularly so if done right.

You can still keep the classic structure of a resumé since that is what a reader would lbe expecting.

Just apply a little creativity to make your skills and experience stand out. Add a few catchy visuals and/or interactive elements and watch the resumé you’re building suddenly go from Blah or Meh, to Wow.

Now, the readers will want to know more about you, what you do, and what you can offer them.

Here’s a few examples of resumés that are so outstanding they’re worth a second, or third, assessment.

This theme’s subtle animated elements will make the finished website pleasingly interactive.

A quick study on how to take your resumé and turn it into a work of art that’s full of personality.

4. Professional with a Creative Twist

You’re a no-nonsense type when it comes to doing your job, as are most professionals; and you want to be seen that way to be able to land bigger jobs and attract better clients.

It never hurts to “borrow” a bit from the ways top professionals in other industries present themselves online. We’re not talking “copycat” here.

It’s simply a matter of getting an idea or two from lawyers, coaches, consultants, and other professionals on how to make your website look professional, yet not “stuck up”.

This theme targets independent lawyers, but it can easily be customized to create a sleek portfolio website.

If a personality-infused portfolio website is your goal, you might check out how coaches attract their clients.

5. Leaning on the artistic side

Artists have the most drool-worthy websites. You really wouldn’t expect it to be any other way. Face it; you’d have problems trying to compete with them.

Fortunately, you don’t have to. There are already plenty of web developers out there who’ve successfully created some awesome portfolio websites for themselves, and even for others.

Like Adham Dannaway, who used this artistic approach to present his web dev and design services.

Or Legwork Studio. This animation studio combined illustration with animation and packaged it up to create a recognizable visual brand.

You can also get inspiration from themes like these two that artists are currently using to create their website portfolios:

6. Grabbing attention with gamification

Want to know the type of website portfolio that offers the greatest chance of making you famous?

Try turning your online portfolio into a game.

We’ve already gone from Blah to Wow. Why not aim for something even better?

When you turn your portfolio into a game, it’s hard for anyone to pass it by. Almost everyone likes to participate in an entertaining online adventure, and it’s much more enjoyable than going down lists of skills and accomplishments.

This designer-programmer-animator is well-known for his award-winning, mind-blowing portfolio game. Yes, it did win him awards; and lots of high-fives.

You can take this game presentation theme, and easily turn it into an interactive portfolio.

7. “Stealing” the Best from Company Websites

When you’re running a company, you’re tasked with finding a way to sell multiple products of services on the same website.

It’s often the same for you as a web developer.

You have multiple skills and services, and you want to show them off in the most attractive way possible. You also need to find a way to present your offers in a crystal-clear fashion, so clients can easily find precisely what they’re looking for.

If you have multiple skills and services to offer, you should find these examples a source of inspiration:

These folks found a simple and powerful way to present all the technologies they use.

8. Presenting yourself like a product

Think of how high-converting websites sell tech products.

They adhere to a common architecture designed to attract people and convince them to buy or sign up for a free trial. Use that same architecture to build your website portfolio, and you can expect to attract more potential clients and convince them to hire you.

At the same time, you can demonstrate what you could build for them if they choose to work with you.

With a few creative concepts to get you started, you no longer have a reason or any excuses to keep putting off building your own portfolio website.

If you’re worried that you don’t really have the time to juggle client’s work with working on your online portfolio, there’s a shortcut you can take.

Unless or until you have enough time on your hands to build it from scratch, a pre-built website can provide a fast and effective way to create a dazzling online portfolio to show off your work.

A good resource is Be Theme, with its huge library of 70+ one-pagers (and 400+ pre-built websites of all kinds).

Each is designed with easy navigation in mind, and each incorporates interactive elements designed to increase user engagement on the page. All that you need to do it to add your creative vision, which will be more than enough to take your portfolio from “meh” to “stunning”.

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