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Escapee Speaks: An Effective Portfolio Website Part 7 – The Call to Action

November 11, 2009

This article is part 7 of the series entitled 7 Elements of an Effective Portfolio Website, which aims to encourage Illustrators to consider some crucial features when building or refining their portfolio websites.  You can find the rest of the series here.

In previous parts of this series, we’ve focused on how to approach the design of your website, image gallery, and About page.  We’ve shown a proven record of successful projects, given them the opportunity to dig a little deeper with a blog, and even educated them on how we work.  So how do you get them to take the most crucial step of all?

The Call to Action

We’re going to assume for the purpose of this post that you’ve maximized the potential of your portfolio website and instilled in your visitor at least a faint interest in contacting you.  The best way to throw it all away is to leave out any means of doing so.  This may sound silly, but I really have seen some Illustrators fail to have their contact info in a prominent location on their site.

It’s important to remember that up to this point the potential client has been operating in a mostly passive state, taking things in and looking for reasons that they should not contact you.  Once you’ve gotten their attention you need to make it as easy as possible for them to switch to the more active state that is required to initiate contact.  That is the only thing that will move you towards your goal of closing the deal.

The least you should do is make your contact information visible.  This part is easy, but you can do so much more to inspire action, such as create a contact page and link to it from the other pages of your site.

The Importance of a Contact Page

It’s a wise business move to have your contact info on every page of your site, as long as you’re not being obnoxious by throwing it in front of your visitor’s face.  One thing to keep in mind, however is that people are conditioned to look for a contact page, especially Art Directors who look at a lot of online portfolios every day.

Another great reason to use a contact page is to have a place to post multiple means of contacting you.  If you are active on social media sites, for example, you can include links to your profiles elsewhere online.  The benefit of this is that different people are more comfortable with different forms of communication. Also, a potential client may not be ready to hire you right away, but they may want to connect with you through social networking to initiate a relationship and keep you on their radar.

Here are the forms of contact that I list on my contact page:








If I posted all of these on every page of my site, it would have a negative effect on my overall design. The contact page, however, is made just for that purpose.

The Contact Form

The absolute best thing that you can do to increase the chances of your visitor contacting you is to include a contact form on your site.  People live busy lives in this day and age, and by inviting a potential client to fill out a form right then and there instead of having to login to their email account, you are making it as quick and easy as you possibly can for them to start a dialogue, which is the point of all the effort that you’ve put into your website.

Inspiring Action

There is nothing in this post that is rocket science, but by providing an easy path to initiating contact, you are increasing your chances of connecting with your visitor on a human level and potentially landing a project and building a lasting relationship with a new client.  The small steps outlined here can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your site.

The Effective Portfolio Website

The goal of this 7 part series has been to help you to maximize the potential of your portfolio website.  After putting so much time, energy, and hard work into your beautiful Illustrations, you deserve to show them off in a flattering light.  Your website should be something that you are proud to lead people to, and that gives you the best possible opportunity to reach your target audience.

I hope that these articles have encouraged you to revisit your approach to your marketing efforts.  Thank you for taking the time to read them.  Please tell me what you think about this series in the comments below.  It will help me in my efforts to provide useful content in the future.

Read more of the 7 Elements of an Effective Portfolio Website.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2009 11:39 AM

    Hey really nice advice in this series of post.

    now i did a Contact Form for my page.

    • November 11, 2009 6:31 PM

      Thanks for the feedback, Rodrigo. I hope the contact form helps. Was there anything else that spoke to you in the series?

  2. November 12, 2009 4:34 AM

    hey thomas,

    great reading and information is gold!
    I´ll refine my site according to the elements you mentioned :)


  3. November 13, 2009 5:32 PM

    I really enjoyed reading this article (and a few of the others throughout the 7 part series linked here), and I was ecstatic to note that out of the list here, my own portfolio site already had a large number of them done. What’s even better is that all my successes in that regard came about from my own design sensibilities; I didn’t do tons of research to find what works and whatnot.

    So I’m very happy about that! And for the few points that you mentioned that my site lacks – well, I’m definitely going to be working on them as soon as I can!

    Great work, it was a lot of help. Have a great day. :)

  4. November 15, 2009 2:06 PM

    great post, spent all morning reading it on my Pre. I think it’s great that designers like you are willing to share their knowledge and tips! I totally agree 100% about flash vs. Html! I HATE the loading times.. I end up leaving the site.. And I’m a graphic and web designer as well.

  5. January 28, 2010 4:58 AM

    Hi Escapee.
    Thank your very much for these useful advices, and for your generousity of sharing them with us.
    I´ll will change certain things in my website.
    Your post is simply great.
    Best regards from Argentina!

  6. July 23, 2010 1:01 AM

    Hey Mr James, these articles were a great resource for me designing my own site, I went down the route of building it from scratch and as a result its an incredbily basic design, but they say “white space sells” right?
    Ive kept my email address visible by including it in the header, do people see this as throwing it their face? I will definitely be adding a contact form to my contact page now that ive read this again.
    As someone just graduated and stepping out into the freelance world for real, this site is a really great resource, thank you!

  7. March 15, 2011 4:54 AM

    Thank you very much for your very practical advise.
    I will be sure to add the necessary information to my
    web site. Thus making it that much more informative
    and professional.

  8. November 14, 2011 2:53 AM

    Thank you so much for this useful insight for the portfolio design. I’ve spent good amount of time thinking about my portfolio and making a design for it; this brought up some points I should do better than they are now in the draft.

    I’m now building up my first portfolio. I did some research and browsed through several different illustrator/graphic designer portfolios which I found using Google (just to see what to do). To be honest, I was rather surprised finding out that most of those were plain white and used the same plain simple design. Is that something I should be aware of? Is making unique, lively design for the online portfolio somehow a mistake the beginners make?
    This left me a little confused, so I’d be really happy to hear what others think.

  9. mizmerry2011 permalink
    April 22, 2012 9:54 AM

    First of all, THANK YOU, Thomas, for this incredibly helpful series of articles!

    They are exactly what I needed to read right now. I’ve started work on building my online portfolio presence and you’ve made SO many points clear that I was confused or unfocused about.

    I am certain that I will be able to build a much more effective tool for “selling myself” as an Illustrator than I would have done before I came across your wonderful site through a google-search for “Online Illustration Portfolio Examples”.

    It’s with happy anticipation that I look forward to reading more and exploring what inspiration and guidance you have to share here on !



  1. Un portfolio online efectivo: Parte 7 « Martin Blanco Studios
  2. Un portfolio online efectivo: Parte 7 « Como ser freelance

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