How to promote your online portfolio (when no one else will do it for you)

Freelance professionals often strategize on their own to attract and gain clients. Creating an online presence can be quite challenging without a marketing and promotion team to back you up. So, how can you promote your skills and portfolio on your own?

Why it matters

An online portfolio is a great way to showcase what you can do as a freelancer. It’s easier to access and more convenient to view. Unlike a resume, a portfolio allows you to show, not just tell. It’s visual proof of your skills and abilities.

But no matter how impressive your portfolio is, getting people to actually have a look at it would be a bigger challenge. Sure, you can hire a marketing team that specializes in promoting brands and building online visibility and rankings but such services are not cheap. But there are ways you can do it for less (or even free) even without any professional help.

Set up a portfolio site

There are free website makers online that you can use to set up your portfolio. Most offer customizable templates but there’s no fixed method on how to set it up. You can get creative as you want, especially if you are in the art industry and want to learn how to sell art online. However, there are things you need to do right to get the most engagement and clients out of it.

  • Best works come first

As the saying goes, you need to put your best forward. Show the works you are proudest of or have gained the most recognition at the beginning of your portfolio. If you’ve worked with well-known clients in the past, position those projects on the first page so as to make a good first impression.

  • Make it easy to browse through

Your online portfolio should be easy to navigate. Adding some fancy buttons and complicated layouts may confuse your viewers. It should be simple enough for potential clients to want to browse through it to the very last page.

  • Keep it short and sweetIf it won’t affect a customer’s decision to hire you, no need to add it to your portfolio. Mention only the important things like your skills, proficiencies, your projects, previous clients, and experience. You can add a brief introduction and story about yourself but be concise.

Create a video resume

Printed resumes are great for detailing your skills, expertise, experience, work history, and other professional specifics. But if you want to make it more interesting, create one in video format. Potential clients and employers are more likely to view a resume when all they have to do is watch and listen. The fact that you put in the time and effort to record your video resume is a good sign that you are determined and hardworking.

You don’t need a full production team to come up with a video resume. All you need is your phone or laptop and a video recorder. Use a free online video editor to record your webcam or your screen. Edit it afterward to cut out any unnecessary parts and add captions so viewers can watch the whole video even with the sound off.

After exporting the video, watch it to make sure that you have everything covered and that there are no unpleasant glitches or errors while it plays. Then post your video resume on your social media, on your website, or email it to potential employers or customers.

Gather video testimonials from past clients

If you have worked with clients before and the results are quite successful, ask them if they would be willing to record a video testimonial for you. It’s important that you ask for permission rather than just ambush them with a video camera so they can think about it and prepare if they are willing to do it.

Prepare a guide for them so they won’t have to worry about what to say on camera. It can be a set of questions like:

  • Who are you and what’s the name of your company?
  • What project did you work on with [your name or business name]?
  • How satisfied are you with the results?
  • Would you recommend [your name or business name] to your contacts?

Gather the videos and post them on your website, LinkedIn profile, or social media accounts. People often check for reviews and ratings, and video testimonials are more believable and reliable.

Share a video slideshow of your best works

A slideshow spares your viewers from having to swipe or click through your entire portfolio. By automatically showing one image after another, they can just sit back and watch your best works on their laptop or phone screen.

Use only high-quality images for your slideshow. If you don’t have any, photograph your works with enough lighting. If you need to edit them, do so but do not overdo it. If you are in a business that deals with events and crowds, and retaking the photographs is not possible, kindly ask previous clients and guests if they could provide you with some of theirs.

Make sure that you allot enough time for each slide so the audience can fully absorb what’s being shown before it moves to the next slide. Add captions on each slide and include important details like the title of the project, when it was completed, who the client was, and more.

There are many free platforms available where you can create a slideshow. Use an online video editor to put together images and have them play with transitions and effects to make it more interesting and enjoyable to watch. You should also add background music. Just make sure that it matches the vibe of your slideshow and that it won’t distract the viewers from what matters most—your portfolio.

Get listed on a freelance jobs website

Signing up to a job post website can help you find jobs and clients. This platform gives you a space to create your profile, post your online portfolio, and share your resume. There are free websites and those that charge a minimum fee. Although free accounts can help you gain access to jobs and clients, paid accounts provide extra perks and advantages.

Once you’ve set up your profile, you can go handle other matters in your life and career. The website will hand-pick and deliver potential jobs to your inbox based on the information and resume you provide. The online portfolio you post will help potential clients see what you can do, thus, making the selection process faster and easier.

Create an online learning course

If you think you have something valuable to share, create an online course to connect with people while showcasing your skills and expertise. If you are in the art business, create an online course related to it, like how to paint landscapes or getting started with portraits.

An online learning course is a more valuable type of content to promote yourself or your business. While blogs help bring traffic to your website, online courses can help engage visitors and turn them into subscribers. How? By creating a series of courses that they can sign up for.

Using the same example above, you can attract potential customers by creating mini online courses about different art techniques. Make a course for oil painting, then acrylic painting, how to paint sunlight, how to paint water, how to blend colors, and more. Plan your posts ahead of time so that you can promote the next online course at the end of the previous learning video.

When visitors see that your courses are very informative, they are most likely to sign up and subscribe to your upcoming courses. By gaining more and more subscribers, you get more traffic to your website while helping put your business on the first page of search engine results.

Also, your subscribers are more likely to recommend you to other people if they get a good experience out of each content or course you put out. Remember, word-of-mouth is still a powerful promotion technique even in the era of digital technology.


The success of a business does not depend on how many people are manning the marketing and promotions. Although it can help to have more heads than one, freelancers can make do even without a team to back them up.

You can easily find free or affordable tools and platforms to help boost your online business and promote your products and services. Customize your online portfolio and make sure that it highlights you and your work in a good light. Share it on social media but do not overshare. People could get tired of seeing it and they might block your posts. Create a schedule for posting and be consistent.

There’s no need to rely on experts and pros when it comes to promoting your business. As long as you highlight your skills and expertise, share proof of your work, and be truthful about them, your online portfolio will speak for itself.

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