How To Make a Web Developer Portfolio Website (Plus Tips)

Updated December 9, 2022

Web development is a facet of the rapidly growing technology industry, where developers use coding and programming skills to build and maintain websites. Developers, like many other artists or creators, create portfolios to display their skills and accomplishments to potential clients and employers. Learning how to create a portfolio website can be an important step in starting your career as a web developer.

In this article, we discuss what a web developer portfolio website is and how to make one, including what to include in a portfolio website and tips for making your own.

What is a web developer portfolio website?

A web developer portfolio website is a way in which web developers showcase their skills and experience in their industry. A developer creates a website for themselves to compile a sample of projects they've worked on or websites they've built and display them using their own style.

Web developers of all skill levels use portfolio sites to help find employment with potential clients or employers. A developer might create a portfolio site to use instead of or alongside a resume when seeking work.

A developer's portfolio often serves as both a tool for business and for personal style development. When a developer first creates a portfolio, they make decisions about how they present themselves and their work to others.

As a developer continually updates their portfolio to include new projects or skills, they can also reevaluate their branding or stylistic decisions, determining which aspects to keep and which to revise.

Related: How To Become a Web Developer (With Certification Tips)

What to include on a web developer portfolio website?

Here are some key components to include when developing a portfolio website:

  • "About" section: This section summarizes you and your brand to clients. Depending on your particular brand or style, you might include information about how you started in web development or explain your development style.

  • Brand: When creating a portfolio website, you decide how you want to display your brand as a developer. This can include aesthetic components such as colors, shapes and typesets or practical components such as interactive pieces, embedded links or numbered pages.

  • Contact information: Consider providing contact information on your portfolio website so potential employers or clients can contact you. A phone number and email address in your contact information can allow hiring managers or clients to reach you directly.

  • Logo: You can include a logo on your portfolio site that conveys an idea of who you are as a developer and creates an additional level of brand identity. You might choose to design it yourself or work with another designer, including it in key locations such as your contact information or your header.

  • Portfolio: While other components are important when creating an effective website, curating your actual portfolio is a vital step. Try to focus on projects that display your best skills, as this can help improve the effectiveness of your portfolio.

  • Services: Since your portfolio website is important for generating business opportunities, include a list of services you provide, such as UX, UI or back-end development, so potential clients or employers can decide whether they want to work with you. You can include a small explanation with each listed service for visitors unfamiliar with specific terms.

  • Tagline: Consider also using a tagline on your portfolio website to greet visitors who are viewing your website and to summarize your work in simple terms your audience can understand.

Related: Web Designer vs. Web Developer: What's the Difference?

How to make a web developer portfolio website

You can follow these steps when creating your own portfolio website:

1. Decide on your designs

As you begin creating your portfolio website, try to decide the design aspects you want to include. Your portfolio's visual design is one of the first things viewers notice, and the technical design helps viewers interact with your style as a developer.

It's important to decide on visual aspects such as colors, fonts and page layouts and technical elements such as buttons, transitions, scroll effects or animations.

You might choose to use layouts or aesthetic styles that match projects you want to include or clients with whom you previously worked. As you create your portfolio, you can revise or rework designs if necessary.

Related: Learn About Being a Web Developer

2. Choose a tech stack to use

A tech stack includes tools you use to build web development projects, including languages, libraries and frameworks. Building your portfolio website yourself grants you complete control over the tools you use.

You might choose to use one stack for all your features or use features from different stacks. If you aren't sure what to use, you might use a common framework such as ReactJS that offers documentation and support for troubleshooting or brainstorming ideas.

You can also choose a tech stack based on things you're interested in learning about or the design you want to use for your portfolio. You can use these interest-based designs by researching them and determining how to add them to your portfolio, such as animations from one language or a specific library design.

Even if you don't want to include those aspects in your portfolio, reading about them can help you remain updated with changes in the industry.

3. Display your code in a repository

When creating your portfolio website, you can host your code in a public repository. Public code repositories, such as GitHub and SourceForge, display how often and how much code users add to their current projects.

Users can host and display their code contributions to personal projects, such as creating a portfolio website, and display contributions to public projects. These public repositories show code, file structures and documentation a user adds to a specific project.

Often, the repository creates a contribution history chart that shows how many days a year a user contributes code and days with higher or lower contribution amounts. Sometimes, hiring managers view these charts to determine whether a candidate is actively coding while searching for a job or the kinds of public projects to which they contribute to determine what interests them.

4. Add your info

You can add informational sections to your website, including your "About" section, contact information and services offered. You may choose to add each section as its own page or part of the same page, depending on your overall design. However you choose to include these sections to your website, it's important that they're easy to access and use by site visitors.

5. List your projects

The next step is to choose which projects you want to include in your portfolio. If you have multiple web development skill sets, such as front-end, back-end and full stack support, you can choose projects that display your best skills. While it's often useful to display a range of skills, consider selecting quality projects rather than opting for a wider range.

Developers at different moments in their careers often display different projects. A novice developer might include a project from school or a local business' site for which they made a mock redesign, while a senior developer might include work with previous clients and personal projects.

6. Include project information

With each project you include in your portfolio, consider adding details about the project and your role in the process. You can list your responsibilities, different professionals with whom you worked, components you directly completed and the time frame of each project.

You can also include technical details, such as the tools and tech stacks you used, the different programming languages you worked with and research and problem-solving skills you employed.

This allows you to display the results of each project, whether through visuals or data, and communicate about achieving those results. This type of information and your ability to discuss it might help you secure a role as a developer candidate.

7. Highlight what you've learned

You can also add a section to highlight components you learned as you developed your skills. For example, you might include classes you took that you or potential clients find relevant.

You can emphasize specific challenges you overcame while working on certain projects or niche knowledge you have about a library, language or framework. As you continue to advance as a developer, consider adding or changing parts of this section to reflect your development.

Related: How To Create a Web Developer Resume (With Web Developer Resume Template and Sample)

Tips for creating an effective web developer portfolio website

Here are some tips you can use when creating a developer portfolio website:

Highlight experience to gain experience

Sometimes, when searching for a job as a new developer, you may discover that opportunities to gain experience require possessing experience first. There are a few ways you can highlight your skills in your portfolio even before you have professional experience.

You can add projects you worked on during your schooling or training that display the skill set with which you want to eventually work. If there are personal projects you've created, such as a program to help you in your day-to-day life or a website you developed for someone, you might also add those to your portfolio.

Adding these types of projects can show hiring managers or potential employers the kinds of projects you're interested in or passionate about.

Related: Tips on How To Get a Job as a Web Developer

Use online support communities

If you have issues with coding or programming, you can often find assistance through online support communities. Commonly used sites such as Stack Overflow and GitHub issues can help users answer questions or troubleshoot issues.

You might contact a mentor or visit the platform or organization that taught you coding, as those resources often contain more knowledge or experience regarding overcoming obstacles. You can also research the technology you're using and find documentation for it, such as guides that often include examples and tips for that piece of technology.

Related: FAQ: Can You Become a Web Developer With No Degree?

Find inspiration from other developers

If you're struggling to create your own designs, themes or layouts for your portfolio website, you can view the portfolio sites of other developers. Consider searching "web developer portfolio" along with other key terms such as "front-end" or "UX" to find example portfolios and sites from other developers.

If you know specific developers you want to emulate or languages, libraries and tech stacks you want to work with, you can search those individual terms. Use those example sites to help you decide which components you like and may want to include in your portfolio.

Please note that none of the companies or products mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


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