If you create anything from beautiful home decor to websites, you’ll want to showcase your work so potential clients can see the possibilities. Think about the designs you’re proudest of and how you can best highlight your skills.
There are more than 1.8 billion websites, although not all are active at the same time. You might think all small businesses would have an online presence, but approximately one-third do not. If you don’t have a website, you might miss out on leads.
Once you understand that most people begin their searches for local businesses online, it becomes clear you need a captivating project gallery. What should you include, and how do you get it up and running efficiently?
Since the beginning of time, people have loved to hear a good tale. What is your brand’s story? How can you highlight it within your project gallery?
Perhaps your story is more about your clients. How have you helped them and improved their lives? Can you show that with photos? You might tie in a testimonial alongside before-and-after pictures.
Think about your project gallery as a story, and you’re more likely to hit on the highlights. What are the pain points the customer faced before you stepped in? What is the final result? What emotional impact did you have on them?
Try to find things that inspire those around you. Which story is a tear-jerker? Will your target audience relate to the tale?
General Engineering Co. has a dedicated space to highlight its projects. Note how it uses different images to show its ability for site design versus municipal engineering. No matter what your commercial engineering needs are, it includes something in its gallery to show it can meet demand.
You’ve heard this advice over and over again, but you must consider your audience as you create a project gallery. Just because you like a particular photograph doesn’t mean consumers will.
Study your current customers and even survey them if needed. Try different images and conduct split tests to see which ones your audience responds best to. Take the time to think through how the picture satisfies a pain point. If it doesn’t, is there something else that works better?
In addition to knowing what photos work best, you must consider your site visitors and the ways they land on your page. Do they mainly use mobile devices? Does your project gallery scale correctly on smaller screens?
It might sound obvious to highlight only your best work, but dig even deeper when deciding what projects to showcase. If a project for a particularly difficult client turned out beautiful, you might want to put those images on the backburner.
Think through all the possible scenarios. A lead sees the beautiful images and contacts the company you did the work for. The manager, who was extremely picky throughout the project, says your work wasn’t satisfactory. You’ve just lost a potential client due to a difficult one.
Even if it is the best project you’ve ever completed, leave it out of your gallery if you aren’t certain they’d sing your praises to someone else.
Mondo Contract Flooring shows some of its installations. It offers a wide range of applications that makes it makes it clear its flooring can go anywhere. It is as useful in a commercial building as it is in a home environment. It highlights benefits such as durability and a wide range of styles.
Most project galleries are fairly similar and tend to be set up on a grid. However, there are a few features you can choose, such as sliding featured images or an asymmetrical design. Think about the type of business you own and what layout is best suited for your clients.
For example, if you design websites, you might wish to showcase your ability to plug images into a geometric layout or layer them on top of one another. On the other hand, if you are in construction, you may want a more reliable-looking design, such as boxed images all in a row.
You can also utilize other design features, such as parallax scrolling or even sliders moving at different speeds and in different directions to grab attention. Be cautious not to use too many elements, or you could overwhelm your viewer.
If your customers don’t enjoy visiting your project gallery, then you’ve already lost them before they see what you’re capable of. Think about the CX of your site and how usable it is.
Look at speed. In a Think by Google study, researchers found about 70% of mobile landing pages take over five seconds to load. They also indicated when the load time goes from one to three seconds, the bounce rate increases by about 32%. When it goes from one to five seconds, 90% of visitors leave.
If you do one thing for your gallery, make sure it loads quickly. Optimize the images so they pull up at lightning speed. Use a content delivery network, and add caching and other features. Anything you can do to improve speed even by a second or two has a huge impact on CX.
Menards has a unique take on a project gallery, allowing user-generated content (UGC) to take center stage. You can either browse other people’s projects and get ideas for your own home or upload your finished project and share your tips with others.
Spend time looking at your competitors’ websites. What types of photos do they include? If they don’t offer a project gallery, it might be your chance to add something that makes you stand out from the crowd.
Pay careful attention to any images they use. What target audience do those pictures speak to? Can you hire a professional photographer and offer visuals that are even stronger than what your competitor uses?
Do they tell a story through their gallery? If they don’t, perhaps you can. Maybe you can go more in-depth or add testimonials from clients. Look for the things that make your brand unique and add those to your site.
Knowing your customers means understanding their needs as well as their wants. A person might need a new toaster but want one with slots wide enough to cook bagels. Think about what your target audience desires and tap into it.
You should understand the emotions behind why people want the things they do. If you’ve been in business for a long time, you likely know the feelings driving people to buy from you. Use those emotions to drive sales.
There is a psychology to great web design. Make sure it is easy to use and intuitive, add the right images and language, and place your calls to action (CTAs) optimally. Think through every aspect of your site, change things around and test everything to see what works best.
A person’s appearance is often an emotional topic. The North Texas Plastic Surgery center understands the underlying desire to look beautiful. It highlights what it can do by sharing before-and-after photos.
It also gets that people have different issues with their bodies, so it breaks its gallery into various topics. You can browse visuals of rhinoplasty, tummy tucks or any other surgical option it provides.
You’re a smart business owner. You know the importance of differentiating yourself from others in your industry, and you’ve probably worked hard to accomplish some special skills. It’s important to highlight these abilities within your project gallery.
Combine images and typography to explain the benefits of choosing you over your competitors. Look at all the types of services you offer, and think about which images best illustrate your expertise in each.
You will never be good at everything. However, you’ll be the best at some things. Learn how to include images showcasing your top qualities. You may also offer other services, but don’t make them the focus of your project gallery.
Once you gain a customer, they are more likely to turn to you for all their needs. For example, if you are the best basement layer around, show that off in your gallery. Market to current clients and include any additional services you provide, such as waterproofing or laying sidewalks. However, keep the focus of your gallery on your most skilled abilities. Use photos that show off your skill and avoid anything mediocre.
With a little focus and understanding of what your customers want, your online portfolio will bring in droves of new customers.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.