As a web developer, a lot of your future work with new clients depends on the work you’ve done with previous clients. One of the best ways to promote your old work is with a portfolio. Let’s see how you can create a comprehensive web developer portfolio that’s easy for you new clients or employers to see.
Why Do You Need A Web Developer Portfolio?
Well, as a web developer, a lot of your work is both public-facing and visual. You create web sites for companies, both large and small, and their websites are often on public display. They could be their main website, e-commerce stores, Intranet sites (which are actually internal), or any sub-sites they have such as blogs.
Because of the public nature of this, it’s very easy for people to ask about your previous work and ask if they can see it.
It’s like a lot of jobs where the work you do is public. A lot of tradespeople (fencers, painters, builders, and so on) have photos of their previous work to show customers.
So, how do you create a portfolio as a web developer to show clients? Is it as easy as giving them a list of websites? Well, I think it’s even easier than that. Let’s see why.
The main place for your web developer portfolio is the actual client websites. As a web developer, you should be keeping a list of all of the customers and sites that you have helped build.
It also helps to make a note of what you did on the site.
- Did you do all of the design and development work yourself?
- Did you only assist in the development work and the design was done by someone else?
- Did you build on an existing website by making it faster, more secure, responsive, or some other feature?
This way, when a client or employer goes to one of these sites, you’re able to remember what you did and easily explain it to them.
Another place to show your web developer portfolio is on Github.
This code repository can store all of the source code for projects that you have worked on. This can be for both your own projects as well as client projects. However, there may be some rules around storing customer’s website code on Github, so make sure you check with the client about this.
The main reason for storing code on Github is that the code is available for viewing. When you’re going for a job as a web developer, you can refer employers to your Github profile, which they can look up to view your code.
Why would someone want to look at your Github profile when they have the link to the client site?
Well, this is because the link to the client site only shows what the site looks like and what it does. The Github profile will show the source code behind it and how it performs. The employer can see if you’re using best practices and if you’re actually a good web developer.
Your Own Website
I think that all developers, especially web developers, should have their own website. It should be used for two things.
Firstly, it should be used as a place you can link to other work that you’ve done in the past, such as other clients’ websites.
Secondly, it should be used as an example of your own abilities as a web developer.
Whether you develop the website from scratch yourself, or use a common framework such as Wordpress with a theme, it’s up to you. But, you should have your own website (ideally with your own domain).
This helps to prove that you’re a competent web developer and are interested in creating web sites.
Linking It All Together
So you’ve got your client websites, your Github profile, and your own website. How do you link it all together? How do you make it easy for employers and future clients to see all of this work, and to justify the rate you’re asking for?
I suggest updating your own website to link out to all of these other sites.
Have one central and comprehensive location for your work, which is your own website. Provide a link to your Github profile, so people can see your code.
Then, provide links to each of your client websites. This should be the majority of your site. You can do this by adding screenshots of the sites with titles, descriptions of the work, and links to the site. Or, just links to the site with text. Or, just using images. It’s up to you, as the developer and owner of your site.
Once this is done, all you’ll need to do is provide the one link to your website to any potential employers or clients. This means it’s easier for you, easier for them, and is constantly updated with any new work that you do (which is easier than telling people a list of sites and letting them know when you add a new site).
So, in summary:
- Create a Github profile for your code
- Create a list of client websites, including what you did for the site
- Create your own website with your own domain
- Link to all of your work from your own website
As a web developer, how do you share your work with others? Do you have a central website, or do you use something else? Share your thoughts in the comments below.