Being a freelancer can feel like being the prize on stage during the Showcase Showdown on an episode of “The Price is Right.” But you don’t want to encourage low bids since there’s no penalty for going over. There’s a lot to consider when you’re wading through WordPress portfolio themes and trying to find the best way to display your skills. But with the right mindset and resources, you can build a portfolio that keeps potential clients lining up to work with you.
What to Keep in Mind When Building Your Portfolio
Your portfolio should exhibit your best work and give potential clients a sense of your skills. But that doesn’t mean you want to include every project you’ve ever done. Here are some things to keep in mind while working on your portfolio.
What to Include
When you’re building your portfolio, include only the work you’re most proud of and that relates to the type of work you want to do in the future. Even if you took some less-than-ideal clients in the past to help you pay the bills, you don’t have to display those projects. Displaying the type of work you want to do again will help you attract the kind of clients you’d like to work with and avoid projects that don’t excite you.
Being picky about the projects you feature in your portfolio can also help you with search engine optimization. Think about the keywords people will use to search for someone who does your work. Use those words and phrases to explain past projects, and your clients will be able to find you better than they would if the work you showcase is all over the place.
Enticing Descriptions and Excerpts
You already know that keywords and phrases are important when it comes to your portfolio. But it’s also essential to clarify what you can do to your ideal clients. Use simple language that everyone can understand. Even though you may use jargon when talking shop with someone in your industry, your clients may not be as familiar with insider terms. So it’s best to use words and phrases you know they’ll understand.
Make sure you take the time to share how your work benefited your past clients. Explain why you completed the project the way you did, and make it clear why it was the most effective choice for the client. Don’t be afraid to include a testimonial or two if you have them.
Make It Visual
Depending on what kind of work you do as a freelancer, making your portfolio visual may be a piece of cake. As a graphic designer or photographer, you can easily include an image from the project. But if you’re a writer, consider including some stock images to enhance the overall look of your portfolio. But beware of screenshots! They don’t always look good, especially on mobile. And don’t be afraid to include the client’s logo too, especially if it’s a well-known brand.
Organization will help potential clients search through the work you’ve done, and it shows off your attention to detail. WordPress portfolio themes allow users to divide projects by tags and project type. This feature allows potential clients to see what you’ve done without having to wade through work that might not be relevant to their project.
24 Best WordPress Portfolio Themes for Freelancers
Now that you know what to put in your freelance portfolio, it’s time to pick from the best paid and free WordPress portfolio themes. Not all themes are equal, and some are better at displaying certain types of work than others.
- Astra. The Astra theme has more than 180 ready-made templates, and the photography portfolio option is great for showcasing visual work. Plus, you can use this theme with plugins like WooCommerce to sell products and services.
- Divi. Divi has hundreds of layouts, pre-designed page templates for your portfolio, and a page builder, so you can customize landing and sales pages. Plus, Divi is designed with good search engine optimization in mind.
- Authority Pro. The Authority Pro portfolio theme uses the Genesis Framework and comes with tons of page templates, and the homepage uses widgets so you can set it up quickly and easily.
- Pile. The Pile WordPress theme gives you a homepage with a customizable full-screen slider. The image galleries are great for showcasing your work.
- Peak. Peak has multiple layouts for your pages and blog posts, plus great menu options for the top of your site and sidebar widgets. The homepage displays your work in a responsive tile layout.
- Avril. This free theme loads quickly and allows you to customize colors, header, featured images, layouts, and templates. Avril is translation-ready if you work with clients worldwide and can help you create a multilingual site.
- Fargo. Fargo may be the best theme to showcase your artwork if you’re a visual artist. It also works with WooCommerce to help you sell your work and book clients.
- Corner. This minimalist WordPress portfolio theme comes with multiple layouts and the option to add custom widgets. It also works with WooCommerce.
- Elegant. The Elegant theme is a great option if you like drag-and-drop page builders. It comes with several built-in templates and custom widgets.
- Eclection. This theme comes with a filterable portfolio to make it easy for your potential clients to search your projects. It has the ability to match your website to your brand.
- GridMe. If you like to blog, the GridMe theme is a great way to display your work. GridMe comes with many options for posts and pages, header styles, and featured post widgets.
- Massive Dynamic. This theme allows you to edit any premade layouts or build your own, plus you can make changes in real-time without having to refresh as you go.
- Werkstatt. If you like a minimalist look, Werkstatt is a great option for using premade portfolio styles to show what you can do. Plus, this portfolio is fully filterable.
- Grafik. You can create unique layouts for each portfolio project using the Grafik theme. Plus, it supports interactive infographics, and it’s search engine optimized.
- Kalium. This WordPress portfolio theme gives you space to feature past client logos in your portfolio, and you can even sync your Dribble account to import your projects easily.
- Uncode. This theme gives you multiple portfolio layout options, plus the capability to create premade content sections that you can reuse on any page of your site.
- Grand Portfolio. This theme comes with premade layouts and a filterable portfolio with a grid layout. There’s also an infinite scroll feature for those with a really big body of work.
- Adios. Adios comes with nine homepage layouts and your choice of three portfolio layouts. This theme loads fast, and it’s search engine optimized.
- Proton. Proton gives a sleek look with tons of features if you need a translation-ready theme. You can customize your portfolio and the layout for individual projects.
- Slush Pro. The SlushPro homepage features images of your projects in an old-school blog-style layout. You can display your portfolio using multiple columns and header and page layout options.
- Coastline. The Coastline theme gives you a fixed sidebar on the left to constantly display your information with a homepage made up completely of thumbnails of your work. It’s also search engine optimized.
- Draft. This free theme looks as good as many of the paid options, plus it gives you two navigation menus – one for your site and one in the footer for social media.
- Air. The Air theme is search engine optimized and loads quickly. If you want a theme that gives you tons of white space to make your work stand out, this theme is a great option.
- Kadence. The Kadence theme isn't just easy to use, it loads fast and unlocks unlimited customization options for every area of your site. If you want total design control, Kadence is for you.
Ready to Build Your Portfolio?
It took you years to get to the level you are as a freelance professional. There’s no reason you have to become a webmaster too. We can help you ensure your WordPress-based portfolio site is always up and running. Contact Nexcess and let us host your portfolio website.
This blog was originally published in January 2014. It has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.