If you’re an artist, designer, or teacher, your New Year’s resolution might have involved getting your name out there or finding new job opportunities. And one of the best ways to do both of those things is to build an online portfolio.
No web design experience? No problem. Thanks to the rise of the freelance economy, you can now choose from a wealth of user-friendly websites that let you build your own portfolio. Here are the best sites to help you showcase your work this year.
WordPress remains the most customizable of all portfolio site options. In fact, WordPress can be used for much more than portfolios: more than a third of all the sites on the internet use this platform.
Many people love WordPress for its flexibility. You can choose from a seemingly endless list of themes for your site, and then you can customize it further with your own colors, pictures, logos, and more.
However, all that customizability comes with a price—and we don’t just mean the cost of paying for a domain name or getting rid of ads. WordPress is notoriously hard for beginners to use. If you want a custom-looking portfolio, it’s your best bet, but prepare for a steep learning curve.
Squarespace offers less customizability than WordPress, but it’s also considerably easier to use. If you want a simple, attractive portfolio with less effort, this might be your top choice.
Although Squarespace doesn’t offer WordPress-level customizability, it does provide beautiful templates that automatically adjust for mobile screens, something that not all WordPress templates do.
That said, Squarespace is still a little harder to figure out than some of its simpler competitors, since it offers a fair number of features. Still, once you see some of the incredible templates the platform has, you might decide that it’s worth the challenge.
For something easier to use than WordPress and Squarespace, try Wix. You can choose from hundreds of templates, a handful of which are specifically designed for portfolios. Plus, it has a drag-and-drop editor that makes it easy to customize your template by adding, removing, or moving elements.
However, one drawback is that once you commit to a template, you’re pretty much stuck with it. You can’t switch templates without building a completely new site. And the templates on Wix can’t be customized as extensively as WordPress templates can, although they do still offer quite a bit of flexibility.
Strikingly is designed to be more beginner-friendly than most other portfolio builders. If you feel intimidated by the whole process, this might be the best choice for you.
The features are basic, so don’t build your portfolio on Strikingly if you envision a fancy website with specific design elements. But if you’re happy to use a preset template with just a bit of customization, and prefer only to have simple features on your site, Strikingly is a good choice. The site also offers excellent support, so you can turn to their team if you have any questions or run into problems while building your website.
If you want ease of use and super-low prices, Weebly may be the ideal portfolio builder for you.
Weebly’s templates aren’t as elaborate or beautiful as the ones you can find on WordPress and Squarespace, but they still look professional. In fact, some people might find the super-simple designs a bonus. These designs also adapt to mobile screens, and the drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to build your site without any prior site-building experience.
That said, to get that simplicity, you have to trade in some customizability. While you can customize Weebly templates to an extent, they don’t offer the same level of flexibility that many of the competitors do.
People who work in visual mediums tend to look for the visual customizability offered by the platforms we’ve listed so far. However, there are also a few portfolio sites aimed specifically at writers, like Contently. These sites focus less on the visual elements, making life even easier for those who need text-based portfolios.
Contently doesn’t offer visual flexibility, so you can’t inject your portfolio with personal branding or unique design elements. Instead, the simple layout puts your photo and basic information at the top of the page, followed by links to your published work. It’s as quick and easy to use as any social media site, making it a good choice for writers who don’t want to bother with design.
If you work in the writing industry but want a little more design customizability, Journo Portfolio makes an ideal portfolio choice.
You can choose from just six themes, but they are all professional and attractive. Just like Contently, adding your past writing work is as simple as copy-and-pasting a link. The platform does the job of making those links look good on your portfolio.
Journo Portfolio also allows for blogging on the platform. If you want to get your name out there as a writer, but don’t have any published clips yet, starting here is much easier than starting with a WordPress blog.
Pressfolios offers one more option for writers who want a simple portfolio site.
Like the others, you list your stories by pasting in the links, and Pressfolios does the rest of the work. This site also has a handy “download” feature, which allows you to save permanent versions of your stories in case the sites they were published on go down.
Although you can’t choose from different templates as you can with Journo Portfolio, the Pressfolios layout is a little prettier than Contently’s. You can add a profile and cover photo, a bio, skills, social media links, and even a resume, so potential clients can get a complete picture of what you do.
Working Not Working
Lastly, Working Not Working (WNW) takes the simplicity of these writers’ portfolios and extends it to people in all sorts of creative industries.
WNW allows creatives to build simple portfolio “profiles” that include photos, bios, skills, experience, and past projects. It’s more like a social media site than a traditional portfolio. But, since it allows you to add your projects, it can easily function as a basic portfolio for many creative workers.
WNW also hosts businesses looking for people to hire. This means that if you invest enough work in your profile, you just might find your next client through the site. Plus, the platform is entirely free to use.
Aside from WNW, you should plan to spend about $8 to 20 a month for the portfolio platform you choose. The more customization you want, the higher the price tends to be. Still, that’s a relatively low cost for a portfolio site that’s all your own.
That said, many of these sites also offer free versions. Although you won’t be able to unlock all the portfolio features without paying, the free versions let you test out the platform and see if it meets your needs. We suggest trying a few of these sites before choosing the right one to invest your time and money in. Then, with a sparkling new portfolio to show off, you can watch your creative opportunities grow.