Are you one of those designers who uses a web portfolio to show off their work and find new clients?
You’re in good company because most designers do the same.
And most designers also rely on an analytical tool (like Google Analytics) to tweak their site and find more customers.
Sound like you too?
But many designers get frustrated and spin their wheels making tiny upgrades to their site in hopes of higher conversions and more clients with no luck at all.
The real problem is, you’re “upgrading” all wrong.
Yes, you heard me right. There’s one amazing way of knowing what the most important upgrades to your web site should be. It’s the most effective method I’ve ever used. And the best part is it takes less than 20 minutes (usually).
(PS: If this sounds like you, read through to the end because I’m giving away three web site critiques to celebrate the launch of our new Freelancing Community, Stoked, next Monday. Or jump to the end.)
Here’s the easiest way to upgrade your site in 20 minutes or less:
Here it is – you won’t believe how simple it can be:
Watch someone new visit and use your site.
When you’re looking for a way to improve your online portfolio, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking you should dive deep into your Google Analytics account to see how people are reacting (or not reacting) to your site.
But few things will open your eyes more to the pitfalls of your site than to watch a real human being use the site.
And don’t go to your friends or family for this either.
Your candidate has to be unfamiliar with your site –preferably not knowing anything about you or your business.
Once you’ve found a good candidate, sit down with them at the desk and watch over their shoulder.
Give them a task (ideally one that aligns with your site objectives. For example, have them visit your web site and challenge them to “contact you about a project they need help with.”).
Then say nothing.
Not a single word.
Zip. Nada. Seriously.
You don’t get to say things like “oh, you can just click the close button on that popup” or “sorry that link is a little small and hard to see, just click there.”
Why? Because you don’t get to talk to people who are coming to your site every day to learn more about your services.
So don’t talk.
As you watch them interact with your site, you’ll learn loads of information – I promise. Take solid notes.
You’ll see what aspects of the site are confusing, which parts are hard to use, which parts are annoying, etc.
It’s an amazing exercise. And it leads to the best upgrades you can imagine!
Here are a few more things you can do while watching a stranger use your web site:
• Take amazing notes. You’ll want them for later.
• Ask them to talk outloud while their using your site. It may alert you to even more concerns.
• Screen-record it for future reference.
• Time the user to see how long it takes from landing on your site until they can accomplish your task.
• Follow the exercise up with a Q&A where you ask what improvements they wish you would make to the site.
Why this is the best option
So why is this the best (and fastest) way to seriously upgrade your online portfolio?
Because these people are human.
Just like your clients.
The more people you can do this exercise with, the better. You’ll start to notice patterns. You’ll start to learn what’s important to a site visitor (headline, copy, photo of yourself) and what doesn’t really matter (button color, placement of social icons, etc.).
Give it a try and let me know what you learn!
BONUS: Win a free web site critique
As a bonus, today I’m giving away 3 free web site critiques to three lucky GDB readers. In the critique, we’ll cover the important stuff…the human stuff.
I’ll evaluate your site’s:
• Overall messaging
• First impression
• Usability (ease of use)
• And more!
Here’s how to win:
The 3 web site critiques will go to 3 readers who sign up for our new freelance design community, Stoked when it launches next Monday (Feb 3).
We’re only opening 100 spots in February and three of the 100 users will win a complete portfolio site review including a 30-minute video recording and actionable list of upgrades.
To be the first to know about Stoked (and be entered to win when you sign up on Monday), you must do 2 things:
- Enter your information in the form below. (Can’t see it? Click here.)We will notify you on Monday when Stoked officially launches.
- Leave a comment on this post telling me why you need your site to be critiqued.
Best of luck!