As a designer, the purpose of every single thing you do on your website is to help future clients dream of what it would be like to work with you, right?
Now, you may already have a pretty fabulous portfolio page, and manage to update it on the regular…so isn’t that enough?
I mean, do you really need to be blogging about your projects, too?
No. You don’t need to.
(But here’s a quick list of reasons why you might want to!)
1. Blogging tells the story behind your gorgeous designs.
2. It sheds light on what sets your design process apart from the competition, and exactly what future clients can expect from the moment they inquire all the way up to launch day (and beyond)!
3. It gives insight into the exact struggles your client was facing before they chose to work with you, and how you were able to address each and every one of them in your thoughtful design.
4. Potential clients will able to see bits of themselves in your stories of past projects, allowing you to build the know-like-trust factor that pretty pictures can’t accomplish on their own.
5. It allows you to showcase your talents for really getting to know and understand your client’s goals, needs, and totally unique personalities and then finding ways to incorporating that into their finished design. (Because it’s about more than just building a pretty website!)
6. You can link to each blog post from a thumbnail on your portfolio page, so you aren’t having to do double the work to create a blog post and some sort of gallery page to show off pieces from that project.
It never fails…
If you put off grabbing screenshots of your work until you are ready to use them in your portfolio, by then it will already be too late!
You click over to your client’s live site to start capturing actual proof of your design genius, and what do you see?
The beautiful, crisp banner image that once graced their home page has been swapped out for some grainy, off-brand, poorly lit cell-phone pic. ♀️
Unless you have sold your soul to that client to be on full-time, day and night retainer for life, you have exactly zero say what happens to your precious design once that site goes live.
So take a screenshot of every last corner of that project before you ever assign over permissions, even if you have no plans to use those pictures any time soon.
Pro-tip: Make sure your contract with that client says you can safely use screenshots of their finished project on your own site so you don’t wind up in a sticky copyright situation.
Not entirely sure what needs to go in your client contract? The Creative Law Shop has got you 100% covered with their customizable Web Design Agreement.
Btw, you can get 10% off any template in the Creative Law Shop with my code PAIGE10.
You don’t need to be a Photoshop wizard to make mockup magic happen. There are a handful of prettyyy useful and inexpensive or free mockup generators out there to help you put your work on display!
My fav free tool for getting the job done is Mockuphone.com.
Here’s how I use it to create mockups for my own website:
Step 1: Select the type of tech I want my website mockup to appear in from the Mockuphone library, and note the recommended width for that specific image.
Step 2: Use the Full Page Screenshot Capture Chrome Extension installed on my browser to take a full-length screenshot of my page.
FYI: If you’re capturing a page to go in some sort of laptop or computer, you’ll want to keep your browser at full width when taking the screenshot. If you’re aiming to fit it in a phone or tablet mockup, adjust the width of your browser to mimic mobile or tablet view prior to snapping the pic!
Step 3: Open the photo in Preview (Mac) and go to tools > adjust size. Change the width of the photo to the recommended upload size from before.
In my case, I needed the image to be 1920px in width in order to fit in the iMac I selected.
P.S. Just leave the height of the image to automatically resize in proportion to the width for now.
Step 4: Still in Preview, use your cursor to draw a box the full width of your image, then drag the bottom edge of the box until it matches the recommended height for your mockup generator.
Step 5: Crop your screenshot image by going to tools > crop.
Step 6: Drag and drop your newly cropped images into the Mockuphone generator and click generate product mockup once it’s had a chance to fully upload.
Step 7: Hit download and Mockuphone will send a copy of your mockup to your inbox.
If you created a moodboard in the early stages of the project, show that baby off on your blog!
(Again, just make sure you have the green light from your client in your contract, first!)
Including the moodboard helps potential clients get excited about their own design process and it’s a super curated piece of content that you had full control over as a designer, unlike some of the other branding elements that may have come pre-made.
Even though it will never live on their finished website, putting your moodboard on display can further show off your eye for design, and for capturing your client’s unique vibe.
Similar to the reason you show off your moodboard, sharing the story behind your font choices helps future clients see just how much intention goes into every aspect of your design.
Say you are blogging about a recent project you finished for a floral shop. You could talk about the vision your client came to you with, and how your recommendation for a certain set of fonts totally fit with their vibe (whether it was feminine, flirty, bold, minimal, classic, elegant, whatever!)
If they needed a blog, what did you do to get them started? How did you help them design and organize their categories based on their future blogging plans?
Did you build them a beautiful custom blog post template that they can easily duplicate each time they go to write a new blog post?
Or maybe they needed an online shop and not only did you build out their virtual store-front, you also created tutorials for how to add future listings and properly manage their online sales.
Maybe their main marketing tool is social media, so you made the decision to include a live preview of their Insta feed right there on their homepage.
What special features did you include to make sure your client’s site was not just beautiful, but also super functional for them and that it met all their business’ unique needs.
How will those special features or details set them apart from the competition?
And I don’t just mean a quick little ‘Paige is great!’ type comment buried somewhere in the body of your blog post!
Make the testimonial reallyyy stand out! I’m talking H1, bolded, italicized, bookended by big fat quotation marks, and in-a-new-section-all-to-itself level standing out.
Want to learn the trick to getting client feedback worth flaunting?
My post An inside look at collecting sales-winning testimonials has totes got you covered!
Not every client is a wordsmith, and as much as they want to be helpful, sometimes they need a little guidance for writing meaningful testimonials that will actually make a difference in your business.
Testimonials are possibly the most effective tool for helping future clients dream of what it would be like to say yes to you. Speaking to your past client’s struggles and pain points, and how you eased them, as well as how they felt before vs. after launching their new site is going to go a long way in selling your services.
Did your most recent client add on an a la carte service of yours?
Don’t be shy! Throw in a shameless self-plug about any additional services you offered that client which really elevated the final product!
This is your chance to toot your own horn a little and let your future clients see all the helpful hand holding they can expect should they choose to work with you!
The recipient of that gorgeous site you just delivered is currently topping the charts as your #1 fan.
Why not blow their minds even further by featuring them on your beautiful blog?
Your clients will love being able to show off their new site, and you will be getting your business in front of loads of new eyeballs in the process.
Having a feature on their site also makes it crazy-easy for that client to refer you in the future, because anyone who asks, “Oh my gosh! Who made this!??” can read up on the whole story behind the design and fall even more in love with you as a designer.
Want to make the most of all the hype and excitement? Plan to publish your blog post right around launch day! Because no matter how much your client adores their site, they are bound to get distracted by other things in their business as time goes on.
You want them spreading the word while they are still very much on cloud nine with their new site!
Want to know the secret to keeping potential clients on your site? Make your blog posts binge-able by including a “you might also love” section at the end of each post!!
You want them to spend as much time as possible soaking up your designs and dreaming of having you solve their own website woes, so keep those posts coming, and show them exactly where they should be headed next for more website goodness.
Speaking of where your site visitors should go next…
Your potential clients can see your past designs in action
They can experience the navigation, and unique features & functions first-hand
They can see the complete page design instead of bits and pieces of sections on a page
You are basically helping them leave your website ♀️
You may not notice your link is broken if your client changes domain names or they shut down their biz
It looks extra bad if your potential client clicks the link and discovers that your past client switched to WordPress, or had rebranding and therefore a complete site redesign done just a few years after working with you (and now some other designer’s name is credited in the footer of that site.) Yikes!
So I’ll let you decide on the link thing.
If you decide not to link to it, you still want your potential client to see more than just a glimpse of a few pages on your past designs, so this is where screenshotting every last corner of your websites before you hand off the project comes into play.
No one is ever going to complain about you including too many mockups in your portfolio blog post features, so to make up for them not being able to experience the site live, just make sure to include as many bits of your design as possible!
Make it stupid simple for people to start working with you by including a very clear call-to-action in every single post you write about your design project.
And don’t stop there! Sprinkle them all throughout your blog post to break up the bits of content or the mockups into different sections. They say it takes some people seeing something 7 times before they decide to take action, so it can absolutely be the same CTA used multiple times.
Don’t wait for people to *hopefully* click on your services or contact page to get started.
Help site visitors take action right from the blog post by including an obvious and uber accessible way for them to take next step on their journey from site visitor to actual paying client!