After originally working for a full-service web agency, I was closely communicating with various web designers. Almost all of them had their own personal portfolios that they were looking to market. At one point or another each of them would come up to me and ask the same question…How do I drive more traffic to my site and promote my design portfolio?
I thought it would be a great idea to discuss the different ways that web designers are able to drive traffic through various websites and social media outlets.
There are a number of photo sharing sites that will allow you to upload screen-shots of your portfolio and link back to your site and share with the community. However I would start with Flickr and upload screen-shots and graphics of your portfolio. Flickr is the number one photo sharing site with a very active community. Create a Flickr portfolio and start following and communicating with other web designers portfolios. Leave comments on other peoples portfolios and kindly ask them to check out your work.
This will help to connect with other web designers, which can turn into people sharing your work and writing about your portfolio on their blogs.
There are probably hundreds or even thousands of CSS directories you can submit your website to. Some are obviously better than others, but it is definitely worth it to spend 15-20 minutes a day submitting your work to these directories.
To find CSS directories to submit to, try doing a Google search for “CSS Directory”, “CSS Gallery” “Submit CSS Website”, etc..
Another great resources is The CSS Gallery List, which provides a long list of CSS directories, along with PageRank.
You can also download a full list of over 200 quality CSS directories. Download Here
One of the harder ways to build quality links and traffic to your site, but is much more valuable, is to hand pick sites to personally contact. Many design blogs will write “Round Up” type reviews where they feature various websites for great design elements.
Follow these steps for the best chance of having your website featured on a industry leading blog.
- Do Your Research: Understand the style of writing and the readership. Take notice of the type of blogs they write, who are the regular contributors, and what they like to blog about!
- Find the Appropriate Contact: For many of the larger blogs, they have a blog manager or editor who manages the day-to-day operations. That is probably going to be your best bet for getting in contact with someone.
- Personalize Your E-mail: Don’t just send out a generate e-mail to “Dear Blog Owner”. Use the persons name and tailor your e-mail to the specific blog. Go the extra mile and mention something you like about the blog or a recent post you enjoyed.
- Show the Value: Depending on the reason you are contacting them, show them the value in why they should promote your site. Maybe you built a really neat portfolio using jQuery or made a killer navigation using CSS3. Tell them specifically what to look at and why they should talk about it on their blog.
Social Media Outlets
Sometimes you can get a double whammy since many of the industry leading blogs will promote their posts on their Twitter and Facebook Fan Page. So not only will you receive an inbound link from the site, but you will receive traffic from their RSS subscribers, twitter followers and facebook fans. This can in-turn expose your portfolio and can lead to other bloggers using your site as an example.
Of course building relationships via social media, takes time and dedication.
- Start to Follow the Industry Leaders
- Start Sharing their Content
- Leave Comments on their Blogs
- Send them Messages (Ask Questions, Give Praise, etc..)
Once you have done these things, they are probably aware of who you are just from the various types of social interaction. At this time it may be worthwhile to have them check out your portfolio and to request them to share it with their network.
Social Bookmarking Sites (Design Specific)
Just like CSS directories, there are a lot of social bookmarking sites related to web design. If you submit a blog post or portfolio piece that gets hot, it can drive hundreds of visitors to your website. The only caveat to this tactic is you really need to be active in these communities and understand what type of content will go viral. One thing you can try, that some people may find a bit unethical, is to find people who have been active in this sites for a while, and pay them to submit your content. If the submission comes from a familiar person in the community, it is more likely to get noticed and promoted.