7 Ways to Build Trust on a Portfolio Site

Articles April 22, 2009

1. About Us Page

Clients will feel more comfortable working with you if they know a little bit more about you as a person or company. Let people get to know you instead of appearing as a distant entity with no emotions or history. You don’t have to tell them what you eat for breakfast, but let people know who you are, what you are about and how your business can benefit them.


2. Full Contact Details

The more contact information you have the better. You may prefer only using certain contact methods, but really you need to make the potential client feel comfortable and you will build more trust if you display a variety of contact information including an office phone number, fax, email, and physical address. This information should be displayed on your contact page, about page and even in the header or footer. Make it easy for people to contact you if they need to!

3. Previous Clients List

The portfolio is what most people will go straight for and that’s why it needs to be the best part of your site. You need at least 6-12 pieces in your portfolio, they should be current and you should have information about each project. You should also considering including a page specifically for a previous client list if you have had a lot of clients or well known clients.

Working with brand names of any scale can be a great confidence booster for interested clients, especially if they can relate to one of your previous clients. For example some one with a construction business might be happy to see you have done some great work already for other construction companies.

4. Trust Building Graphics

If people are ordering from your site you should consider adding some trust building graphics such as a PayPal verified logo, SSL certificate symbol, secure checkout graphic and so on. These kind of graphics can make people feel more secure about ordering design services from you online.

5. Organization Memberships

Joining design organizations such as the AIGA and actually taking part in them is not only a great way to be more involved in your industry, but it can show clients you really care about your craft. Feel free to display the organization logos on your website and many organizations already have pre-made member only graphics you can display when you join.

6. Explain the Process

Visitors are coming to your site for information so they can make the best judgment about who to have design their projects. If you explain the process from start to finish and guide customers every step of the way, they will be much more likely to want to work with you. They will feel more knowledgeable and comfortable knowing they have an idea of how it will all work. You should consider creating a page for this or you could create something a little simpler such as a FAQ ( Frequently Asked Questions ) page.

7. Professional Website

This one is pretty obvious, but a lot of designers do not have nice portfolio site. Even if you are not a web designer you still need a nice looking website, because the quality of your website will reflect back on you. If you can’t stand doing website designs or are having trouble finding a good web designer, try purchasing and or modifying a pre-made website template.

There are a lot of websites out there that offer both HTML and WordPress theme portfolio templates, which make it super easy to put up a nice fresh looking portfolio website, ready to attract new clients.

Hope you enjoyed these trust building portfolio site tips!

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Cadence is You The Designer's senior blogger, and the most jack-of-all-trades of the staff. She's always trying out something different every day, some of which fuels her posts here on the blog. Let her know if you want us to post more about your favorite topic - she might know more than a thing or two about it!

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  • http://www.hotpressweb.com HotPress Web

    I have found video testimonials from customers is really powerful to include on your website.

  • http://www.beingastarvingartistsucks.com Jeremy Tuber

    Absolutely guys, nice post. In looking at your first point it’s called, “personal branding”, and it works incredibly well.

    Marketing experts will tell you that people ALWAYS do business with those they like, those they know and those they trust. Keep that in mind when you’re deciding on your business name and portfolio site.

    What better way to build trust than to show people exactly who they’ll be working with? Branding yourself isn’t as sleek and sexy as trying to pretend your a large design firm, but honestly, clients won’t care about a big firm, they may care about you. As much as you may not like it (some designers are a bit shy), put yourself out there: on your collateral materials and your web site. I’ve been doing it for years and it does bring in business.


  • http://www.jonathanpatterson.com Jonathan Patterson

    I would not put my physical address on the website. People forget that there is a risk involved with people knowing all of your personal info like that. Just put your phone number, general location and email.

  • http://www.quape.com Quape – Singapore website design

    video testimonials really helps too . It gives client more trust.

  • http://raphaelddl.com RaphaelDDL

    Just a tip about #4:

    People love to put the W3C ‘Valid xHTML’ and ‘Valid CSS’ logos but all times i see those, i click to check if it’s true and ALWAYS have errors…
    And when does not have errors, the code probably is not semantic, full of tables and else.. Just saying it’s valid and having a terrible code means nothing.

    So the tip is: If you want to put those logos, PLEASE verify every week or every update you make to see if your code is still OK. Clients see you saying at products/services/about you ‘we offer you a valid xhtml/css code’ but if your own website does not show what you are selling, then you are shotting in your own feet.


  • http://www.vespagraphics.com Keith Van Norman

    Great Article!
    Easy navigation is the best tool for a portfolio website. Potential clients want to browse your samples quickly and easily. Tagging a design with links to the process that went into that design and a testimonial from the client can certainly add value…but a clean, easy to browse layout trumps everything. A portfolio site is designed to do one thing: generate contacts. EVERY PAGE on your site should have a highly-visible, single-link click to your full contact information and a contact form.

  • http://www.sherple.com Matt Cheney

    Wow, excellent article. After building out my company’s portfolio recently, I’m going to revisit our layout to make sure that we’re getting the most out of every client interaction.

    I didn’t even think about including a PayPal graphic on there, and I can see why it’s a good thing to have. I also couldn’t agree more about letting potential clients experience the whole process before they even make contact. It takes away a lot of the uncertainty while allowing them to psychologically attach themselves to your product over a competitors.

    Thanks for the great work!

  • http://www.wiglingtonandwenks.com virtual online worlds for kids

    Yep, agree with HOTPRESS WEB. Testimonials from clients are important as well, either its in text or video form.

  • http://www.cgtrade.net imsraaia

    nice info… thanks…

  • http://CreamyCSS.com Creamy CSS

    Useful tips, thanks for sharing! Definitely you are right,.. but “Trust Building Graphics” tip is not so important as e.g. OUR WORKS page,.. as for me, it’s should be #1 in the list,.. show your best works in a best way,.. :)

  • http://www.finalfrag.be FinalFrag

    Not really anything new in here, but it’s a nice list to keep in mind…

  • http://joshuaschaible.com Joshua Schaible

    I’m coding a portfolio site as we speak. I’ll use these as my guidelines! Thanks!

  • http://misty-beier.com Misty Beier

    Nice quick checklist of items when starting your first portfolio site or company site!

  • http://www.muhammadhabib.com Muhammad Habib

    Very useful, Thank you.

  • http://www.maxjude.com Max Jude

    I think it’s really important that people get to know a little about you and feel they can relate to your work.

  • Gino

    Glad you all enjoyed the post thanks for the great comments and other tips!

  • http://arapaho.nsuok.edu/~maxwelja Josh Maxwell

    Great. Wonderful. Very helpful.

    And, now I need to add some touch-ups to my site…

  • http://www.pushingsnowballs.com Mark Denton

    A physical address is really important, especially if you want to be taken seriously by business clients (as opposed to agencies hiring you as a subcontractor). In most people’s minds, real businesses have offices, and aren’t afraid to publish the address.

    If you work out of your home, and are leery about putting your home address on your site, get a P.O. Box. They’re cheap, and they show potential clients that at least you’re not a total nomad, likely to disappear at any moment.

  • http://www.glennaddicott.co.uk Glenn Addicott

    Thanks for this. I’m just redesigning my portfolio and these tips will be extremely helpful.

  • Anonymous

    #2 cannot be stressed enough, and a lot of websites don’t pay enough attention to this. my belief is that your contact info should be on every page of your website, and in multiple places on the page. headers and footers are great places, along with the sidebar. while your at it, put it in the main content area as well.

    in addition to the standard office, fax, email, form, physical address, i think it’s important to include links to your social networking sites as well.

    great list.

  • http://mydrupal.pl Mark

    Nice list. I work with my portfolio.

  • http://www.peacockinsurance.co.uk Joe Landlord

    Excellent advice, thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.designjar.co.uk Web Design – Northampton

    Great Post! Just set-up my own company and feel as i’m freelancing and therefore don’t have an office address there’s a lack of trust. It’s a really difficult situation to combat!

  • http://tanamapress.com John

    another great post, I love this site…lol

  • http://www.virginiacreative.com Matt Powers

    Definitely a useful list. I’ve been trying to balance “corporate” with personal on my site, and I think a more elaborate “about us” page would probably help a great deal. I like the idea of a page explaining the process as well, so that when the client receives the quote, they know what is expected within that.

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk paul

    very good post! nice common sense directions, although makes more sense when you read your points list… nice read, thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.jmc-website-design.co.uk Jason

    I was told that another way to build trust was to offer some kind of guarantee with your work. ie, your money back if the design doesn’t fit your exact requirements. Maybe controversial for some, but it can be a good technique to pull a lot more interested clients because you are taking the risk of investing in you off them.

  • http://www.milandesign.sg Milan Design – Singapore Web Design

    excellent tips, customer testimonials on youtube can be a good alternative as well.