How to build the perfect back end web developer portfolio

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April 12, 2021
5 minute read

Showing off your web development portfolio might seem a little daunting at first. After all, you’ve done all the web development work. Building a portfolio feels like you’re doing it all over again.

It’s not always easy to build an engaging and creative portfolio, but it’s one of the best ways to ensure the right people are looking at your work. If you’re on the hunt for new clients, having the perfect backend web development portfolio is a must. Here’s how to get started.

1. Find inspiration

If you don’t have a portfolio yet, it’s time to look around and see what other people in your field are doing. See how developers are presenting their projects and personal details. If you can see their skills through their work, you know they’ve done their job.

You might find some portfolios are very interactive, while others have a more subtle approach. See who shows off a range of projects and skills and find ones with nice color schemes and familiar fonts. It’s also a good idea to find things you don’t like; this will help you focus more on the things you do like.

2. Show off your skills

Use your experience as a developer to showcase your work and a little bit of your personality. For most people, a portfolio is the best way to gain new clients. This is the place to feature your best work.

This also means you’ll need to be selective in what you feature. Most potential clients aren’t spending more than a few seconds or upwards of a minute looking at your site. So you’ll want to capture them as soon as possible by showing off the projects you’re most proud of. Find a select few to put up and if you get a new favorite, drop an old one from the site.

3. User experience is vital

Consider the entire user experience on your site, all the way from how someone enters to contacting you. If a hiring or project manager has trouble navigating your site, they’re going to close your page without reaching out for more information.

You should also think about your relationships with managers beyond your site. Can you provide free estimates for potential work? You can quickly set up estimates and invoices through Wave so you can spend more time creating work and less time worrying about business management. Your work is your business, so you should always be looking for ways to improve and streamline your business.

Remember that flexibility is paramount. There are many different users checking out your site. Make sure you:

  • Can easily view your portfolio on a mobile device.
  • Have accessibility features (the National Disability Authority is a good starting point).
  • Can quickly load your site on various devices, apps, and browsers.

4. It’s about more than just your work samples

While your portfolio is one of the most important parts of your site, it’s not the only part. Consider your About page and what you want to say about yourself. This is a good place to describe yourself in a general sense, like how long you’ve been working in your field and past employers or clients you’ve worked for.

You’ll also want to focus on contact information. Whether you build out a Contact page or have a call-to-action button that links to your email, this step is critical. Going through the effort to build out your web development portfolio is a major step, but it may be all for nothing if you don’t leave visitors with anywhere to go.

5. Set up a timeline

It’s one thing to say you need to build a portfolio. It’s another thing to do it. Instead of looking at the big, daunting picture, set small, attainable goals. For instance: if you haven’t already, buy the domain and set up hosting. Then spend 30 minutes looking at backend web developer portfolios and make a list of things you like and things you don’t want to feature.

Try to carve out time between clients and paying work to slowly build out your portfolio. You set weekly goals and deadlines for yourself to stay on track, just like you would with regular projects.

6. Keep up the tweaks

Building your web development portfolio is a major factor in attracting new clients, and it’s important to keep it up to date. When you’ve completed a new project, gained a new client testimonial or finished a new certification, update your portfolio website. You can use your customer list under the Sales tab in Wave to find past and current clients to serve as references on your site.

Hiring managers want to see your latest and greatest, so if you have a project from a few years ago that can get replaced with something new and fresh, give your site a lift. Try to find time to tweak your portfolio every few months, like when you submit your business taxes.

Building the perfect backend web development portfolio doesn’t have to be strenuous. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, either. Use your friends, colleagues, and community to bounce ideas off of and show drafts to. Most of the time, your group will be happy to review your work.