This, of course, means that you need to know your target audience. For example, if you specialize in shooting images of insects, you should include the scientific names and classifications of them because the audience most interested in them expects to see this level of detail.
If you're a wedding photographer, for example, stick to the terms and structure that brides are familiar with. "Ceremony" and "Reception" are better choices for a collection of images than "Commitment" and "Joy." What you think of as "clever" may end up being vague or puzzling to your users.
3) Be "responsive."
These days, there's more to life than a web browser. It's important that your portfolio website functions properly across all modern devices—desktop computers, very small laptops, tablets and mobile phones. To do this, your website should be "responsive." This term refers to a design approach where a website can adapt to the device being used to view it.
In other words, your website should look one way on a desktop computer and entirely different on a mobile device. This is important because what works on a desktop computer, where there's plenty of space, won't necessarily work well on a mobile phone, where space is very limited.
A person who's visiting your website on a mobile device may have a different set of needs and expectations than a person using a desktop computer. They won't be expecting to see your images really large because this isn't possible. Instead, they may be looking for your contact information. Or, they may want to quickly scan your images from the comfort of their couch at home, with the intention of looking at your portfolio on a larger-size screen using their computer at work the next day. This trend toward responsive design will soon become a standard for all websites.
4) Edit tightly, and consider having someone else do it for you.
Photographers are their own worst editors. We bring all sorts of emotional baggage to the editing process, and we simply can't be objective about our own images. I remember one photographer who insisted to me that a very mediocre image remain in his portfolio and was offended that I told him it should be removed. "But you have no idea how hard it was for me to make this image," he said. "I nearly died making this picture!"
How difficult it was to create an image doesn't matter. The end result is what matters. That's why I encourage photographers to have someone else, preferably a client instead of another photographer, edit their portfolio. An objective perspective is valuable information.
When I was a college photo student, there was one line that was constantly drilled in my head, and it's as true today as it was back then: Your portfolio is only as good as your worst picture.
In most cases, less is more. Edit tightly, and remove anything that's not your best work.
5) Your contact information should be everywhere.
If the goal of your portfolio is to land you assignments, make sure a client knows how to contact you so you actually can get one. The easiest way is to include your contact details on every page of your website, including your portfolio.
Contrary to common belief, most visitors of your website don't start their visit with your front page. Most visitors find you through search engines and end up on some inside page deep within the site.