Updating your Portfolio

The “dreaded” portfolio update...I say this because the work involved is always more than what you expected.  Not to mention deciding what artwork to show in public and what to keep private in the hope of selling in the future (applicable if you sell the copyright outright).

For me this step involved switching platforms and starting afresh on Squarespace.  So this meant learning a new platform and manually moving all my past blog posts one by one.  

The reason for taking this big step was so that I could create multiple password protected pages displaying artwork for specific buyers (different styles for different markets) something that isn’t possible on my previous portfolio site hosted by Weebly.

As you’d expect I’ve had to battle with new formatting taken from a template that I’ve customised but which didn’t quite work on mobile and of course getting used to a new interface which is still a learning curve.

But the biggest piece of work still ahead of me is tackling the hundreds of artwork files I need to reorganise and rename with a new system so that they form a cohesive and easily accessible print catalogue for sale and promotion.

Then the job of reworking old files to adapt to new seasons, colour schemes etc.  Starting a project like this is like opening a can of worms; you just don’t know what you’re getting yourself into so best to approach it with a calm attitude and perseverance.

So to make the process run as smoothly as possible I’ll share a few tips…

  1. Find a week/month in your diary when you can afford to spend time concentrating on this project alone if possible and expect to be working on it for longer than anticipated.

  2. Use a project management tool like Trello to note every step of the process needed from start to end so that you don’t forget all the bits and pieces along the way. Since coming across this free tool online, I feel much more organised and at peace knowing what’s involved.  I like Trello so much I created a quick tutorial class on Skillshare to learn the basics.

  3. Use a program like Adobe Bridge to find and sort through all your artwork (even work you don’t intend to use so that you can gain perspective on what you’ve got to play with.  Using Bridge’s filters and labels is of great help and I’ve created a Skillshare class on this which has already helped many students do this.

  4. Decide on the size of artwork you’ll show publicly and stick to it (for my new site on Squarespace, 600px wide square made sense in terms of how the template I picked shows the enlarged thumbnails.

  5. Work on devising a numbering system that works for you.  You could vary the range to indicate work that is public and work that is for private viewing e.g. RT1100 and RT2100 respectively (using my initials in this example).

  6. Don’t forget about SEO and third party apps to help you track traffic to your site; it’s nice to know how much traction your site gets after making all the effort of setting up/updating your portfolio!

  7. Last but not least, tell the world you’ve got a new/updated portfolio and use social media to spread the word.

So how often should you update your portfolio site?  I think a big revamp is called for every six months with at least regular quarterly updates.  This is also good for your SEO ranking as search engines appreciate up to date information.

It’s important not to get overwhelmed by it all and plan in advance.  Every update will be different so there’s no quick formula to get it done.  One thing’s for sure though, seeing your old work against your newest work is quite satisfying as you see how far you’ve come!