Catalogue websites are a website that lists services, projects and/or products from a business. This section of the website is usually easy to update and updated often. The goal of a good catalogue website should be to show your work/products to potential customers.Website catalogues do not require postage or paper and they can be updated quickly making them a very powerful business tool. A catalogue/portfolio site if done correctly should inspire confidence for a visitor in your abilities and skills and strongly encourage then to make contact with your business.
Here is a great article on such websites from Smashing Magazine
10 Steps To The Perfect Portfolio Website
By Lee Munroe
February 26th, 2009
What makes for a good personal portfolio website?
Your logo is usually the first thing a user sees. In the Western world, we read from left to right, top to bottom, so it makes sense to put your logo in the top left of your website so that users can immediately identify who owns the website.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be your name, but if you’re trying to promote yourself online, then it’s a good idea to go by your name. And always link your logo to your home page. It’s a common convention that users expect online.
Once the user sees who owns the website, they’ll want to know what it is you do. This is where you explain what you do with a tagline. Your tagline should be short and snappy, summarizing what you do.
Things to ask yourself when writing your tagline:
What are you? A designer? A writer? A developer?
What do you do? Design websites? Develop games?
Where are you from? Country? City?
This is a portfolio website after all, so your portfolio will determine whether the website is interesting or not. People will want to see your previous work to decide whether you’re good or not and for general interest, to see what you’ve been up to in the past.
Depending on what you do, your portfolio should contain big high-quality images, clearly accessible to the user. Always include a link to the live version of the website you worked on, and link your screenshot to the live version (another common convention that people expect). Include a short description for each project, including the different skills that you needed to complete the project.
It’s never a bad idea to get a testimonial from a client. Your visitors might also be interested in the stages of development for your projects and how you arrived at the final outcome.
Your tagline summed up what you do, but you’ll want to go into a bit more detail here about each service that you offer. You can’t expect potential clients to guess what you do based on your portfolio, and you don’t want to leave them wondering whether you offer a particular service or not.
Make it clear, and break it down: Web design, development, video, copywriting, branding, etc. You may want to be even more specific: corporate branding, church website design, Flash banner ads and so on.
- ABOUT ME
It’s all about you. Let people see the man or woman behind the mask (i.e. website). Share your background, where you came from, how many years you’ve been in the business, etc. The more details you give, the better your users can form a bond and build trust with you.
If you’re not camera-shy, show a picture of yourself. This will give potential clients peace of mind by allowing them to see who they’re dealing with, and it adds an element of trust.
Don’t be afraid to show off your awards and recognition here. You want people to know you’re good at what you do.
This is one of the most important elements of a portfolio website but is often hidden or even neglected. A potential client has browsed your website, is impressed with your portfolio and can see who you are. Now they want to hire you.
Your contact information should be obvious and easy to access; don’t hide it in the footer. Let people know they can contact you for a quote or a chat. Use a form to make it easier for users to contact you (so that they don’t have to take down your email address and then open up their email manager). A form also allows you to ask for specific information, such as name, email address, website URL, details of inquiry.
A blog is always a good idea. Blog about your area of expertise; show you know what you’re talking about. It will help promote you and prevent your website from lying static.
Let people follow you by subscribing to an RSS feed, and show off your most popular blog posts to new readers.
Be sure to enable comments for feedback. Don’t make users register to add a comment to your blog, and don’t use anti-spam Captcha software, which only turns people off from commenting. There are plenty of anti-spam plug-ins available that don’t require users to do extra work.
- CALL TO ACTION
Ask yourself what you want to get out of your personal portfolio website. Do you want to be hired? Attract more blog readers? Maybe you just want people to know who you are.
Each page should have a call to action, a “Next step.” The best way to accomplish this is with a “call to action” button that is clear and stands out from the rest of the page. Link it to your blog, portfolio or contact page, and use appropriate language (e.g. “Hire me,” “Request a quote,” “View my portfolio”).
- USE SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES
Now that people have an interest in you and your work, encourage them to follow you on other websites. Make it clear that they can follow you on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, etc. Make the most of social networks and have a group of friends to call on if needed.
- LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION
How you conduct yourself is important. Remember, it’s a personal portfolio website, so be personal. You don’t need to sound like a corporate brand with no emotion. Be friendly and personal, but also clear and precise; don’t ramble. Once you write all the text for your website, read it again and see if you can cut it in half.