For A/E/C firms, the portfolio section of your website is often one of the most robust. But a stale or poorly designed portfolio can do more harm than good. Read on for 5 easy ways to improve your site’s portfolio:
When it comes to the content in your website portfolio, less is more. Analyzing website statistics, we see that most visitors will look at a handful of portfolio pages at most. Visitors who do go to more pages will typically only spend a few seconds on each page. Quality is much more important than quantity. Edit your projects to the most relevant for each market you serve. Avoid the tendency to include old projects, they can make your portfolio look dated and be a turn-off for prospective clients. Only include an older project if it is still extremely relevant.
Refine Searching & Sorting
Visitors to your site want to find information important to them, quickly. If you have a general portfolio landing page with thumbnail project photos, be sure to include searching and/or sorting capabilities. Filters may include Markets (like Healthcare, Manufacturing, Academic, etc.), Services (Planning, Restoration, Adaptive Reuse, etc.), Location (by city, state, region, or country). Be cautious not to go overboard with filters. If you allow visitors to sort by multiple filters, “null” results are more likely.
Tell a Story
Project descriptions can become redundant, fast. If you want to entice visitors to read more than one or two, you’ll need to engage them, not bore them. What made the project challenging? How did you solve a problem or add value? Were there any unexpected benefits?
Catch Their Eye
Project photos are crucial. Web visitors are more likely to stay on pages with high quality, professional photos, and bounce from pages with low quality images. If a project photo is low resolution, have it reshot, remove the photo or remove the project altogether.
Remove Your Portfolio Section
OK, don’t panic, I don’t actually mean remove your projects from your website. However, you don’t necessarily have to showcase your work in a traditional “portfolio” section. Think about (and research via analytics) how visitors to your site navigate your content. They may be more likely to go directly to their own industry/market page, rather than the portfolio. If so, you can showcase work you’ve done by industry. For example, if someone comes to your site because they need lab space designed or constructed, they may navigate to your Life Science page and look for project examples right there.
Always make sure you offer several ways to find your project examples, by cross-linking them with markets, services, people, news posts, etc.
Vanessa’s article first appeared in SMPS Boston’s Outlook, July 13th