There’s a common issue that faces designers everywhere: you’ve curated the perfect portfolio, you’ve created a stunning website to show it off, everything’s in place, but nobody is visiting your site. It can be so frustrating! You know there are several companies that would love your designs but they’re not seeing your site, so how do they know to contact you?
The trouble is, simply having a website isn’t enough. You wouldn’t invent a new gardening tool and just sit there with it, waiting for people to find out about how amazing it is, would you? No! You’d be out there, letting people know about it and showing off how wonderful it is. That’s exactly what you need to do with your design portfolio.
Using a combination of a strong social media strategy and making use of search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices, you can quickly increase web traffic towards your site. Follow these tips to find out how to provide quality content to interest your target audience, improve your ranking on Google, and more.
1. Research Your Desired Audience
First things first, you need to do some homework. Even if you follow all of our other tips, you’ll never be truly effective if you don’t do a little bit of research beforehand.
You may have experienced in the past that there’s been a difference between the type of clients you want to work for and the type of clients who end up contacting you. That stops now! Take some time to look into the behaviour of your ideal client base.
What interests them? How do they go about researching new designers to work with? What kind of work will they be looking for? When you know the answers to these questions, you can start tailoring your awareness strategy towards them which will be much more beneficial to you.
2. Establish Keywords for Your Audience
Having done your research you can start making your website easier for your target audience to find. You’ll already know from your own online searches that search engines try to find websites that match the phrase you use in your search as closely as possible. If you can think about what words and phrases your ideal clients will be using to find new designers, you can start incorporating those terms in your portfolio.
Try and use a few of these keywords on every page - but don’t overload your site as Google has cottoned on to that technique and started penalising sites for “keyword stuffing”. If you can, include your keywords in page titles and headings. When you go into the HTML code, identify these headings with <h1> tags as this will let search engines know that this relates to the topic of the page.
3. Make it Mobile Friendly
This small change will help you in so many ways. For a start, making your site mobile friendly instantly improves your search engine ranking. In 2015, Google altered its algorithm to prioritise mobile optimised sites when giving search results.
Not only that, but making your site mobile friendly will massively reduce bounce rates in visitors using their mobiles. Google found that users are 5 times more likely to abandon a site in it is not mobile friendly. Obviously, low bounce rates are a benefit to you because it means that visitors are actually stopping to see what your site is about, thus increasing the chance that they’ll become a client. However, low bounce rates will also count towards your search engine ranking – it’s a sign that people find your site useful.
4. Provide Quality Content for Your Clients
Content marketing has become an incredibly successful and popular form of marketing – you should consider using it yourself for your portfolio. Content marketing means creating content that will be of interest/add value to your clients.
Think about starting a blog about topics that your clients would find useful, such as “how to choose a brand colour scheme?”, and “Why you need a rebrand”. Your target clients may need to search these topics one day and when they do, they’ll find the answer on your website. Once on your website, they might take a look at what else you do.
5. Share Your Content
The great thing about having content native to your website isn’t just that it brings in new visitors from Google searches: it also gives you something to share that isn’t just self-promotion work. Get your content out on all your social media channels to spread the word.
People don’t like following accounts which only put out self-promotional posts. They want to feel inspired or challenged by what appears on their news feed. Your valuable content could spark a bright idea or bring about a healthy debate between yourself and your clients. Activity like this on your social media platforms will establish you as a thought-leader within your field and could attract new clients.
Don’t forget that you can share your content more than once – just make sure to change your accompanying message so that you don’t get repetitive.
6. Fill in All of the Online Directories
Online directories like Google My Business and Yell are where a lot of people find out about local businesses so you don’t want to miss out on any opportunity to be seen. Make sure your details – business name, contact information, and website – are there to be seen on these directories.
You can also ask clients to post positive reviews on these directory sites so that, when a potential client comes across your details, they can see that you’re good at what you do.
We’ve covered the basics here but there are so many things that you can do to improve your site’s SEO. For more advice on how to drive new visitors to your website, why not sign up to receive our FREE Digital Marketing Guides?