This article will give you a detailed breakdown of the nine best portfolio website builders on the market and tips on how to choose the right one for you.
Using a website builder to create your portfolio website is a quick and easy way of building your own private, online gallery. It’s the perfect way to show off your work to fans, or even catch the eye of potential new clients.
But with so many options to choose from, just how do you choose a portfolio builder? A number of factors go into it: budget, customizability, and social media integration, just to name a few.
We’ve trawled through the top website builders around to bring you a rundown of the best ones for creating an online portfolio.
We spend hours researching each and every website builder we review, and even get regular people to try them out too. We test, analyze, and compare prices, features, ease of use, and more to give you in-depth and impartial advice.
Our picks for the 9 best portfolio website builders are:
If you’re in a hurry, here’s the lowdown on the top three:
Read on for a closer look at each portfolio builder and why we think they’re great. And to round things off, we’ll share some top tips on picking the right portfolio website builder for your needs.
By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to choose the perfect website builder to get your portfolio online. Let’s get started.
Choosing the right portfolio website builder is essential if you want a budget-friendly way of showing off and generating interest in your creative work. Make the wrong choice and you’ll potentially waste a lot of time and money for little or no reward!
Building your own portfolio website with a user-friendly website builder is a very affordable way of storing and sharing the work you are most proud of. It can also help you build an audience and generate new business so that you can turn your passion into a career – the dream!
Here’s a snapshot look at the nine best portfolio website builders:
- Wix – easy-to-use with bundles of creative control
- Squarespace – stylish and elegant portfolio designs
- Weebly – good for simple and attractive portfolios
- Fabrik – ideal for professional portfolios with loads of backend support
- SmugMug – easy to monetize portfolios from the start
- Format – eye-catching portfolio designs
- GoDaddy – best for all-in-one convenience
- IM Creator – perfect for time-pressured creatives
- Jimdo – good choice if you want to sell your work
It’s worth taking your time when choosing a portfolio website builder. Most featured in our list have free plans – or at least offer a free trial.
We highly recommend making use of these free plans and trials, as they’re a useful and risk-free way to try before you buy, and could save you headaches later on!
If you pick one and commit to a premium plan without doing your research, then you might find yourself locked into a contract, paying money for a portfolio website that isn’t all that suited to your needs.
That’s a waste of time and money in anybody’s book!
Our list of the top portfolio website builders below is a great way to give yourself a head-start when deciding upon which platform is right for your portfolio.
Each of our picks provides stunning templates, great design tools, eye-catching displays for showcasing your work, and SEO-boosting features to help get you found online by fans and clients.
Thinking of not just showcasing but selling your work? Have a look at our article on the best ecommerce platforms to find the right one for you.
Easy-to-use with bundles of creative control
Wix is an easy-to-use and versatile website builder. It has a user-friendly editor that helps you create a beautiful portfolio website quickly, and is very affordable.
Wix is a great platform to create your portfolio website on. It provides more than 500 templates, of which 40 are design-focused and 17 are specialized just for portfolios, such as ‘3D Designer Portfolio’ below.
Working from templates is a great way of quickly creating a professional and eye-catching portfolio website as all you need to do is find a design you like with galleries for your work, switch out the content and you’re good to publish – it couldn’t be easier!
If you want to stamp your mark on the design and really make your website stand out, then Wix’s editor is very intuitive to pick up and really simple to use.
|#1||Wix offers excellent creative control for those who want to put their stamp on the portfolio design. The drag and drop builder means if you can imagine it, you can do it||You can’t change between templates. If you decide you want to redesign your portfolio you’ll have to rebuild it from scratch|
|#2||All sites made on Wix are automatically optimized to work across devices, looking equally sharp on phones and laptops||The extent of creative control can be overwhelming for some. If you want a simple portfolio live quickly Wix may not be the best fit|
Hover-over tooltips are on hand to explain what features do, while dragging elements and dropping them wherever you think works makes designing your portfolio incredibly simple.
Drag and drop editing also makes it easy to change your layout or remove things at a later date if you don’t think something’s working – don’t like that particular gallery style? Just delete it or change the appearance settings!
Having the ability to tweak your portfolio as you see fit can save you a lot of time and money in the long run because it means you don’t have to contact the designer you previously hired and then pay him or her to fix the small thing you don’t like.
More Information on Wix:
Wix Review – If you’re looking for more information on Wix then this is a great place to start.
Wix Pricing Guide – We take a closer look at the costs of each Wix premium plan.
Wix lets you add a blog with a click of a button, ideal for content marketing and for sharing your expertise and updates with fans. Keeping a blog is also a great way to create fresh content for Google to crawl (which is the term used to describe how Google reads your website content and sorts it) and potentially boost your SEO rankings too.
Wix gives you the option to add meta tags and meta data to your images and pages to help them get indexed and boost your online visibility. This can increase the likelihood of new clients finding your portfolio and getting in touch about potential opportunities, and for this reason alone it’s worth considering a paid premium plan in order to make a better first impression.
Yes, the free plan is a great option if you aren’t too demanding and don’t mind having adverts on your portfolio and ‘.wixsite’ in your website address, but for anyone hoping to make a memorable impression, it’s really worth considering spending a little bit of money to push your portfolio to the next level.
For the price of a tube of oil paint each month, it’s worth investing in a Wix premium plan. You’ll get up to 20GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth (the data used to power your website online) on all paid premium plans.
Paid plans also let you use a custom domain name (or website address – essentially your portfolio website’s postcode) and removes all adverts too – letting visitors focus on the work you want to show off!
This is ideal if you’re an artist, graphic designer or work in a visual medium as it means you don’t have to worry about large file sizes draining your resources.
With premium plans you also gain access to more templates, more tools and more apps from the Wix App Store – where you can find all sorts of cool apps that cover things like digital marketing, extra design styles and all sorts of interesting features for your online portfolio.
If you want an affordable, unique and attention-grabbing portfolio, Wix is definitely worth considering. It’s easy to use and provides you with more options for showing off your work than nearly any other website builder. Premium plans are very affordable and include custom domain names (website address/URL), hosting and additional storage, which are all ideal if uploading a lot of hi-res imagery to your portfolio.
Stylish and elegant portfolio designs
Squarespace is a website builder known for creating stunning, mobile responsive websites. It is popular among photographers and artists because of its affordable monthly premium plans and beautiful, design-conscious templates.
Squarespace is the number one platform to help you create a stunning and professional-looking portfolio website. The templates are crisp, clean, and full of white-space that give your portfolio a very high-end feel and can really elevate you above your peers.
Templates are also mobile-responsive to ensure your work looks great whenever and wherever it is viewed.
Take the ‘Avenue’ template below, which puts your creative work front and centre, while keeping the page clear of any unnecessary content.
This keeps your visitors engaged in the work you have created and quickly shows what your website is about – it’s your own private gallery and so should look like one!
Having an attractive and professional website design is important if you want to make a strong first impression and start getting business leads through your portfolio.
But getting people to contact you is next to impossible if you can’t be found online, so it’s reassuring that Squarespace makes it easy to tag your content correctly to ensure your pages are found by search engines.
In-depth on-site guides also explain how to optimize each part of your portfolio in order to improve your online visibility – essential to drum up traffic and gain some potential new clients.
|#1||The templates on Squarespace are stunning, regarded by many as the best in the industry. They’re particularly good for creative needs — portfolios included||Squarespace is a more expensive builder than most of its competitors. It has a devoted following for a reason, but there are much cheaper platforms available if you’re just starting out|
|#2||Squarespace tries to provide in-house solutions of all its key features. You can really feel the difference compared to the lucky draw that plugins can be||The learning curve on Squarespace is a little steep by website builder standards. Tech novices would be better served by platforms like GoDaddy or SmugMug|
These guides include both text and video, which is really helpful for different types of learners. For me, I learn best by watching and repeating, but you may process information better by reading a text explanation instead. Thankfully, Squarespace caters for us both!
Adding pages to your portfolio website is quick and easy, so it’s painless to add a blog and start creating fresh content for visitors to read and Google to index (which is the term used to describe how Google sorts your site among all the others it crawls) – this is a win-win situation that should attract more visitors and keep them browsing your work for longer.
Similarly, add a contact page or a contact form so that visitors can submit enquiries and business proposals directly through your site. This makes things convenient for visitors (which people love) and for you too as it means you could do away with the need to cold email and cold call businesses looking for work.
Squarespace plans are a little more expensive than Wix – probably two tubes of paint compared to one! So around $12 a month – but there’s a smaller choice of plans, so this makes sense.
More Information on Squarespace:
Squarespace Review – Our detailed review looks in-depth at Squarespace to see if it’s the website builder for you.
Squarespace Pricing Guide – Find out about Squarespace’s premium plans and how much they cost
Squarespace Offer Code – Get 10% off any Squarespace plan with our exclusive discount code
For your investment you get all the benefits you’d expect including unlimited storage and bandwidth (perfect for image-heavy portfolios), custom domains, and analytics for website stat tracking.
There’s also ecommerce plugins in case you want to sell artwork directly through your portfolio – a potentially decent money spinner if you can grow your traffic.
While Squarespace isn’t quite as user-friendly as Wix (above) and Weebly (below), it’s still a pretty easy website builder to get to grips with.
In-depth tutorial videos and help guides smooth over any issues you may encounter and the 24/7 customer support means problems get solved rapidly – so you’re not hanging around when you’ve got better things to be doing.
Editing is smooth and intuitive, with everything driven from a menu bar rather than Wix’s floating toolkit.
The editor is a WYSIWYG platform which keeps the design process nice and simple – and if you mess up or realize you don’t like the template you’ve started with, you can just switch to another – no questions asked (something that Wix doesn’t let you do!)
For us, Squarespace is an ideal portfolio website builder if you are after a website that looks stunning and has a professional, high-end feel to it. The editor is fairly easy to use, so you can quickly design a portfolio website to your liking, while the SEO guides will help you to get found by search engines (and hopefully lead to some new clients).
Good for simple, attractive portfolios that are easy to make and maintain
Weebly is one of the easiest portfolio website builders to use and is great if you are looking for a simple portfolio building experience. Weebly is highly regarded for being very user-friendly platform and so it is ideal for anyone who wants to create a digital portfolio without any bells and whistles
Weebly’s template designs have improved over recent months and although they aren’t quite as eye-catching as Squarespace, they offer a simplicity you will struggle to find elsewhere.
Clean and basic, Weebly’s designs are mobile responsive and great for simple portfolios, but if you want something a little more stand-out then it’s worth considering a third party template.
There are several online outlets that specialize in creating fancy templates for Weebly, which is a great way of keeping the building process simple but ending up with a really striking website.
|#1||Weebly hits a great balance between ease of use and personalization. Want to fill in a preset template? You can do that. Want to radically change a template to give your portfolio a unique pop? You can do that to||Weebly has a boat load of apps, which is great, but many of them require a premium plan, which is less great. Be sure you’ll use the features before taking that step|
|#2||Square’s recent acquisition of Weebly means you can rely on the builder’s ecommerce functionality getting stronger. Something to keep in mind if you want to monetize your portfolio||Weebly is currently a builder in transition. It’s not the top all-round website builder, and it’s not yet the best ecommerce builder. It may well become the latter, but know at present you’ll be signing up for a platform-in-progress, so to speak|
One thing to consider with this though is that by opting for a third party template, you’re adding another cost to your budget and templates aren’t always the cheapest of things to buy (around $35-50). Still, it’s worth weighing up your options, especially if you find a design you like!
It’s worth paying a little extra at the start of your portfolio website building journey in order to create a portfolio that you’re proud of, rather than repeatedly spend little bits here and there trying to improve your site bit-by-bit further down the line.
There are several SEO-boosting apps available in Weebly’s App Store and the image uploader encourages you to add meta tags to any artwork you might upload.
Both can help you boost your visibility to search engines like Google, and also help you improve your rankings for relevant keyword searches. Like Wix, Weebly makes it super simple to add and maintain a blog so that you can keep creating fresh content regularly.
Most of Weebly’s apps are only available to premium plan subscribers, so it might be worth investing a few dollars each month to reap the benefits of the premium plan.
You’ll also get access to the unlimited storage and bandwidth needed to support image-heavy portfolios and provide room for growth if needed – particularly if your SEO tweaks start bringing in new business opportunities too!
More Information on Weebly:
Weebly Review – Our detailed Weebly review tells you everything you need to know about the platform.
Weebly Pricing Guide – We explain the costs involved with Weebly’s premium plans
Weebly’s editor is a simple drag and drop editor, similar to Wix, that lets you move on-page elements as you see fit. This is ideal for creatives like yourself, who want to express themselves through their portfolio.
Weebly’s editor also includes an in-built form editor, making it simple to add a form and encourage people to contact you directly through your website.
We recommend Weebly for small, simple portfolios or for anyone that wants to build a portfolio website quickly and easily, with no faffing around. Editing is super simple – probably the simplest of all website builders – so you don’t need to worry about any learning curve at all. The SEO options are good and cover the essentials, while a premium plan will grant you access to additional SEO-boosting apps, ensuring you get found by fans and clients in search engines.
Ideal for a professional portfolio with loads of backend support
Fabrik is a portfolio website builder designed by creatives for creatives. The team understand how important building a portfolio is, and provides a choice of stunning and professional-looking templates. Monthly plans are relatively affordable and include full hosting and custom domain names from $6-8/month.
Fabrik is popular with a lot of high profile creatives such as Maxx Burman, better known as the Art Director for HBO’s ‘Westworld’, as well as filmmakers who have worked with Nike and other high-end brands – so you know you’re in good company and safe hands!
Themes (aka templates) are split by the profession you are in, which goes some way to removing the hassle of trying to find the right design to show off your work. Are you a photographer? Then check out the photography themes!
A nice touch is that you can change theme whenever you want to, which means you have more scope to play around and find what makes your work pop the most.
Sorting themes by profession is a smart way of making creatives feel wanted and understood – and isn’t something you see on many other website builders. The editor is sleek and well designed, as you’d expect on a creative platform, but can take a little while to get to grips with!
Fabrik’s editor gives you less creative freedom than a ‘drag & drop’ editor like Wix and Weebly, which is a little disappointing, and consists mostly of choosing design styles from set choices.
|#1||The templates are professional and attractive, super handy if you want to get your portfolio live quickly but not skimp on appearances||The design options are pretty rigid, limiting the opportunity for you to personalise your site and stand out from the crowd|
|#2||The search engine optimization (SEO) is really strong, supporting you through the steps that give your work the best chance possible of ranking high in search results||As a dedicated portfolio site, Fabrik’s all-round functionality is a little flimsy. If you just want a portfolio you’re all good, but look elsewhere if you want a fully-fledged site with a portfolio section|
This may be frustrating for you if you want to stamp your mark on your portfolio, but if you want a straightforward and logical step-by-step design process, then Fabrik would be worth checking out.
As the point of a portfolio is to promote your work, it’s important that you’re able to be found online too. Fabrik provides a number of SEO options for you to boost your website’s presence in search engine results.
The platform is designed to help you rank and so every page and upload is accompanied with options to add meta-descriptions, alt tags etc. to get your site indexed by Google and ranking.
A huge benefit to using Fabrik is the real-time support. An in-editor live chat means you can resolve any issues or questions quickly and easily. We asked if there were any restrictions of the size or dimension of uploaded images and had an answer within 60 seconds!
Aside from an immediate response, you also get an email with the answer in too – now that’s good customer support!
Easy to monetize your portfolio from the get go
SmugMug is a portfolio website builder tailored towards photographers and artists. Templates are bold and help your work make an instant impact. It isn’t as versatile as Squarespace or Wix though, who both offer you more templates and design options!
SmugMug can feel a little limited compared to platforms like Wix and Squarespace, but this is only because it is so focussed on what it wants to do best – help you make a stunning, image-rich portfolio for your work.
The editor is actually quite similar to Squarespace and Weebly with a side-bar full of design options, which you can pick and choose from before adding to your website.
Rather than pure ‘drag & drop’ editor, SmugMug is more of a ‘drag & choose’ platform. You can still drag elements where you want but your choice of elements, which puts the impetus on you to fine tune the specifics.
|#1||SmugMug is ready to monetize as soon as you sign up, no plugins necessary. Prints and products are built into the core builder, allowing you to focus on promoting your work||A little pricey if you want a fully-functioning site. Monthly costs add up and you need to be honest with yourself about where your portfolio is at this moment in time|
|#2||As a dedicated portfolio builder, SmugMug knows how to make professional platforms for your work||Design options are limited. This is largely a non-issue because the default templates are so slick, but if you value creative control you won’t find it here|
For example, you can place a gallery full of photographs on a page, then tweak the style of grid and layout used, and how much space you want between images. It’s a great way of testing out lots of styles quickly and ensuring your website makes that all important first impact!
It’s easy enough to add a contacts page for potential enquiries and you can tweak SEO factors for individual images as well as across your website, which should improve your search engine rankings and give you more visibility online.
SmugMug’s standout feature is that it is ready to help you sell goods and prints as soon as you sign up. This is a real advantage SmugMug offers compared to competitor website builders, as most require certain plans or apps to enable you to sell goods.
Dynamic and vibrant portfolio presentation
Format is a constantly evolving website builder specializing in portfolio websites. It is a great choice if you want a portfolio website for professional purposes. Format’s plans are affordable ($6/mo for a personal plan), but monthly costs rise rapidly if you need more space for images – something that is more affordable on all-round builders like Squarespace.
Right from the off it’s clear Format wants to help you show off your work in the most eye-catching way possible. Rather than templates you choose one of five themes, which are divided by how they showcase your projects, e.g. thumbnail gallery or full-screen slideshows.
This is a really useful way of quickly identifying how best to promote yourself and your work.
Format’s user-interface is extremely intuitive and on-page tips help guide you around the editor and site builder. If you need an extra hand, tutorials and the Help Center are just a click away and pop up on the page you’re working on to quickly get you up to speed.
The editor is a semi-’drag & drop’ tool that lets you reorder on-page elements by dragging, but you don’t get the same freedom as you might with Wix or Weebly.
However, the bold and beautiful page designs put your work front and centre, while it’s painless to update colors and fonts across the site, which can go some way to making you stand out from the crowd.
|#1||Dynamic and attractive portfolio presentation. The modern, stylish templates gives your work some pop without detracting from its substance||Monthly costs can rise quickly if you find yourself in need of more storage space for your work|
|#2||Format is an intuitive, easy to use builder. You don’t need to be a techie to get the most out of it||Not as much creative freedom as you get from drag and drop builders like Wix or Weebly|
SEO best practice is encouraged when uploading media like images or videos, with prompts on-hand to ensure you don’t forget to add important ranking factors like Alt Tags on images and descriptions for pages.
This is vital if you want to get found by users in search engines and it’s reassuring to know that Format doesn’t want you to miss out on getting your portfolio the attention it deserves.
To capitalize on this attention, it takes a few seconds to add a custom contact page to accept enquiries from visitors and potentially gain new clients too.
Best for all-in-one convenience
GoDaddy might be better known as the place to go to secure a domain name, but also offers a surprisingly decent website building toolset. It’s a good platform to create a basic and functional portfolio on, but isn’t anywhere near as comprehensive as Wix or Squarespace when it comes to design options…
|#1||Simple to use with 24/7 customer support, GoDaddy is a safe, reliable portfolio option||Really quite limited when it comes to design, especially when compared to style merchants like Squarespace or Format|
|#2||All-in-one convenience. With GoDaddy you can take care of your domain name, hosting, and portfolio all in one place||Features aren’t a glossy or well developed as most of its competitors. GoDaddy is functional, but not much more than that|
The interface is user-friendly and efficient, while the editor is a ‘drag & drop’ that lets you move images/text/etc around the page as you see fit – so there’s no learning curve to worry about.
The monthly plans aren’t too expensive and for a portfolio website you’re looking around $6-10 per month.
GoDaddy offers more than 300 professionally-designed templates with numerous portfolio-specific designs options available to use as a jumping off point.
Templates are mobile-responsive so that you can show off your skills and previous work on any device. Add to this dynamic galleries that make your work pop and you’ll be on your way to wowing visitors in no time.
More Information on GoDaddy:
GoDaddy Website Builder Review – Our in-depth breakdown of its strengths and weaknesses
GoDaddy also helps you integrate your social media accounts to your portfolio website, which can help you raise your profile and grow your audience. It’s worth taking advantage of the on-board SEO and email marketing tools too in order to further improve your visibility online.
A big selling point for GoDaddy is the 24/7/365 support available to customers – and we can confirm that this is very reliable from our own experiences!
Suitable for time-pressured creatives
IM Creator’s XPRS editor creates attractive, functional portfolio sites that don’t require any knowledge of coding. The designs are attractive but nowhere near as eye-catching as Wix or Squarespace.
If you want a great looking portfolio site that doesn’t require hours of investment to fine-tune every last detail, then the XPRS editor is worth checking out. IM Creator helps you build a website quickly by using blocks – just like LEGO!
Offering more than 70 pre-designed templates populated with professionally created blocks, IM Creator leaves it up to you to edit and amend as you see fit. Not a fan of an image block? Just delete it! Want another gallery? Just add the relevant block.
This method of design essentially means you have unlimited designs as you can mix & match blocks for maximum impact. It also enables you to make a lean, professional-looking portfolio website – fast.
|#1||Great for getting a portfolio live quickly, with no coding required. The barrier to entry is very low on IM Creator||The templates are clean and professional, but not nearly as eye-catching as those you’ll find on the likes of Squarespace or Wix|
|#2||It’s easy to tweak template presets and add the elements you want. The builder features are clear and simple||Not great for customization. If you click with the design of a template, splendid, but even the simplest aesthetic changes are easier said than done|
IM Creator’s templates are image-heavy and ideal for showcasing your graphic work. Designs are minimalist with lots of white space that give your website a high-end, professional feel.
This is a good choice of portfolio website builder if you don’t have a lot of time to invest and prefer not to dedicate time to designing a website full of functions and features.
The pre-populated templates make website designing easy, so that you can have your portfolio published on the web before lunchtime.
Good choice if you want to sell your work
Jimdo is a fairly straightforward website builder that leans towards ecommerce users. If you are hoping to make a bit of extra money by promoting your work – then Jimdo is a good choice of platform for you. But for a more full-rounded portfolio, you might want to consider a more versatile builder like Wix or Weebly.
Jimdo is a good platform for designers, artists and creatives to showcase and promote their work on.
Template choice might be a little limited but the designs are clearly designed with creatives in mind, full of large images and a wide selection of elements to showcase your work in an eye-catching manner. All templates are mobile-responsive, which is handy for showing off your work on any platform, anytime.
It’s very easy to combine text and image to add context to projects, show-off designs in a gallery, or even add a shopping cart to encourage purchases.
|#1||Solid hybrid of portfolio builder and ecommerce platform. Very handy if you have plans to monetize your portfolio||Poor template options with limited options to change design and put your stamp on your portfolio’s appearance|
|#2||Offers the lowest price point in the industry for making your website advertisement free||Clunky interface. Far from the easiest portfolio builder to use|
If your needs aren’t too demanding and you don’t want to spend too much money (premium plans range from free to $15/mo), then Jimdo is a solid choice for anyone looking to make a simple portfolio website.
As a nice extra, Jimdo’s support team are on standby if you need a helping hand getting started with your portfolio website or even additional design suggestions!
Using a website builder to create your own digital portfolio is becoming an increasingly popular choice for creatives from all sorts of backgrounds, including designers, artists, models, writers, filmmakers and photographers.
Not only is it an easy and affordable way of showing off your talents to the rest of the world, but it’s a great opportunity to drum up new business.
But first up is picking the right website builder for your portfolio. You’ve got a lot of choices, so how do you even know where to start?
To point you in the right direction – and save you a lot of time and effort when shopping around – it’s worth remembering that the very best portfolio website builders will help you:
- Showcase your work and stand out from the crowd
- Get found and gain an audience
- Generate industry contacts and new business opportunities
- Save money (by being affordable and scalable)
- Save time and effort (by being easy to use)
Showcase your work and stand out from the crowd
Website builders make it incredibly easy to create your own stunning portfolio website and show off your skills to the world.
Let’s imagine a gallery full of your work and no-one else’s, that was entirely dedicated to showing off your skills and that anyone could visit at any time of time of day. This would give you more exposure, less direct competition, and the chance to show off your work in the best way possible – that sounds pretty great right?
Now what if you could completely design and build that gallery yourself – even if you didn’t know the first thing about construction? Even better, no?!
The best portfolio website builders provide lots of templates specifically designed to help you show off your work in the best way possible.
You’re free to edit and amend the demo content as you see fit – so if you like a certain feature, say a mosaic-style gallery – then simply replace the images in the frames with your own photos or content!
This not only puts your creative work front and center for users, but is incredibly easy and time-saving to do.
As templates are pre-designed with portfolio stores in mind (but are still totally editable too), visitors have no trouble finding the content they’re looking for. Navigation has already been optimized to be simple and straight-forward – whether it’s a gallery or images, links to writing examples, or even a contact page to get in touch with you.
You can even browse app markets (most website builders have one in some form or another) for additional display options or extra features to show-off your work and make it stand out in a crowded marketplace – it’s essentially the same as downloading apps for your smartphone or tablet!
Whether you are an artist, a photographer, a model, or any other kind of creative – you need a platform to showcase and show-off your catalog of work. Portfolio website builders provide you with wide-ranging selections of eye catching templates that help you stand out from the crowd, lots of gallery and display options to make your work pop, apps to add attention-grabbing features and encourage simple navigation so visitors can quickly see everything you have to offer.
Get found and gain an audience
The best portfolio website builders can help boost your online visibility, make it easy to connect your website with social media accounts for cross-platform promotion, and provide marketing tools to help you get the word out to fans and potential clients!
For all the criticisms they receive, website builders actually offer pretty good SEO (search engine optimization) tools that can improve your site to help it rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
It’s easy to add ‘alt tags’ to images and ‘meta data’ to webpages – both of which act like a description of your portfolio website that helps search engines sort and categorize it, similar to a blurb on the back of a book.
Having ‘alt tags’ and ‘meta data’ is essential in order to rank higher and get found by people online.
You can also add a blog very easily to your website through most website builders, which can be a great way to show off your knowledge and promote your creative work.
This is known as content marketing and can also help you rank higher in SERPS because Google scans the content on your page and picks out the words relevant to what someone is searching for.
For example, if you are a photographer and write a lot of blog posts about the types of film you use when shooting landscapes, then you’ll stand a better chance of ranking highly when someone searches for ‘best camera film for landscape photography’.
Maintaining a blog is an easy – yet important – way of creating regular new content for your site and visitors.
There are also marketing tools available to use to further promote your portfolio and spread the word about your creative talents.
Most website builders offer some form of email marketing tool, such as Wix’s ‘Wix Shout’, which are ideal for sending out news updates or for letting your fans know about your next exhibition or show.
You can support these email campaigns with additional marketing apps, such as ‘Traffic Generator’ that can create Google Adwords campaigns for you and drive traffic to your portfolio – a great way to be found by your target market.
You could even download an app to connect your social media feeds with your website.
Imagine syncing your portfolio updates with your instagram account for super-simple, cross-platform marketing that can really build you a dedicated audience!
Platforms like Wix and Squarespace provide several marketing tools to help you push your portfolio to the next level. Create specialized email marketing campaigns to notify subscribers of updates to your portfolio, integrate with social media and show off your work across multiple channels, or even add a blog to show off your knowledge and expertise. People can’t appreciate your work if they don’t know it exists, so take advantage of the marketing tools provided by website builders to promote yourself to fans and potential clients.
Generate industry contacts and new business
As this will be the first time most prospective clients are seeing your work it’s super important that you make a great first impression – just like if it was a job interview.
I know that I (and many friends and colleagues, and I’m sure you too!) have always had more success when making a strong first impression and the same is true for your website.
Whether it’s a job interview or your portfolio website, it pays to create an impression that makes an impact. The portfolio website builders we recommend below are ideal for getting yourself noticed in the best way possible.
Having lots of templates to choose from is a big plus point for anyone building a portfolio website because it gives you a lot of options to choose from when deciding on how to make a great first impression.
User-friendly editors keep website design simple and uncomplicated, so it’s painless to create a specific contact page or add a contact box so that people can easily submit enquiries or reach out to you.
Remember, people like convenience, so if it’s hard to get in touch with you then you could lose out on potentially lucrative business opportunities!
Just imagine how time-saving it would be to do away with cold emails and cold calls in order to try and drum up business – Just add a contact form and let people get in touch with you directly!
Website builders make it easy to add contact pages and forms to your portfolio website so that prospective clients can contact you directly. This does away with the need for you to send cold emails or make stressful cold calls asking for business and so is a huge time-saving opportunity. Add to this SEO boosting apps and features to help your website rank higher and get found in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and you’ll be on your way to generating lots of new business!
Save money (by being affordable and scalable)
Using a website builder is a far more affordable option than hiring a professional designer that might set you back thousands of dollars.
Nearly all website builders offer a free plan, which is great if your needs aren’t too demanding.
However, if you want more storage, more templates, or a custom domain (like a personalized website address) then it’s worth considering a paid premium plan.
For the price of a Starbucks Grande Caffe Latte each month (around $5-10) you’ll not only be able to build your own portfolio website, but you won’t even need to worry about things like hosting, storage, and site security as they will all be taken care of!
This is a huge time, effort and money saver as you’d otherwise need to spend time researching, comparing, and paying for it out of your own pocket if working with a designer.
Paid plans also give you more storage space and bandwidth, which are both important in helping your website to grow.
Having more storage lets you add more content to your portfolio to keep users engaged, while bandwidth is the name for the data used to power your website when people visit and is provided by your website builder of choice.
Having more bandwidth means you can support more visitors and higher levels of traffic.
It would take years for you to rack up a bill on a website builder that would match the cost of hiring a website designer, so to my mind it makes much more sense to remove as much financial stress as possible if your budget is tight.
Our recommended portfolio website builders are not only easy to use, they keep things within budget too. Paid monthly premium plans are affordable and work out much cheaper than the on-going costs you’d be stuck with if hiring a costly web designer or developer to create your site from scratch. Paid plans also include hosting, storage and bandwidth – all of which would prove increasingly expensive if you had to sort them all out separately by yourself.
Save time and effort (by being easy to pick up and use)
The drag and drop editors used by website builders makes it incredibly easy for even the biggest technophobe to create stunning, professional-looking website in no time at all.
Nearly all major website builders provide an easy-to-use drag and drop editor that pretty much does what it says on the tin! You select an element such as text or image and then you drag it to where you want it on the page and drop it there – simple.
Drag and drop editors are also known as ‘What You See Is What You Get’ editors (WYSIWYG), which means that any changes you make in the editor will be reflected on your live website.
It’s sort of like when you create a custom birthday card on a site like Moonpig – the card you receive will look exactly like the one you designed.
Drag and drop website building is incredibly easy and doesn’t require you to know anything about coding at all, which does away with fiddly code tweaking and lets you focus on creating a stunning portfolio website.
This is a very time-saving way of working because you’re essentially editing in real-time, so you know exactly how your portfolio will look to visitors.
But for some readers, time may be at even more of a premium and you might not be able to afford a few hours to dedicate to building a portfolio website. In this case, just work with the pre-designed templates and edit as much or as little as you want, then publish it to the web.
For added peace of mind, website builders provide lots of help to keep your building experience running smoothly and ensure you don’t run into trouble.
Among the available support options are Wix’s in-editor tooltips that explain what tools do if you hover over the little question marks, it includes Weebly’s live help chat for efficient problem solving, as well as Squarespace’s in-depth tutorial videos and wide-ranging support guides.
It’s important to have support available when you need it as it helps to solve issues quickly, so you can carry on working and don’t waste time waiting around for an answer.
When you can simply drag and drop your photos or artwork wherever you want, it makes designing a unique portfolio incredibly easy. It also means you don’t need to know how to work with HTML, which means you can create your website quicker. And because your portfolio will look like it does in the editor, it means you can fine-tune your design and know exactly how it will look to your visitors. If you really need to save time – then there’s pre-designed templates for you to edit and publish, simple!
So to recap, our picks for Best Portfolio Website Builders are:
- Wix – easy-to-use with bundles of creative control
- Squarespace – stylish and elegant portfolio designs
- Weebly – great for simple, attractive portfolios
- Fabrik – ideal for professional portfolios with loads of backend support
- SmugMug – easy to monetize your portfolio from the get go
- Format – dynamic and vibrant portfolio designs
- GoDaddy – best for all-in-one convenience
- IM Creator – suitable for time-pressured creatives
- Jimdo – good choice if you want to sell your work
Your portfolio website is for all intents and purposes your own online gallery. This means it not only needs to show off your works of art, but needs to be attractive itself, visible online and not too expensive to set up and run.
Wix is our pick top-rated portfolio builder for a number of reasons.
It provides the largest number of templates (more than 500 overall, with 17 specialized for portfolios), many of which are absolutely stunning and act as a great base for your portfolio website. So even if you’re pressed for time, you can build a great-looking online gallery.
Wix’s biggest benefit is that it makes things incredibly easy for you. The editor is very user-friendly, which saves you time having to master it and means you can focus on creating a gorgeous showcase for your works of art.
Wix’s paid premium plans are very affordable and provide benefits that can have a long lasting impact on your website.
They provide you with unlimited storage and bandwidth, so you’re free to upload as much content as you want. Having unlimited bandwidth also means you don’t need to worry about traffic growth crashing your site – which can occur when bandwidth is more limited (e.g. 500mb per month of a free plan!).
Close behind Wix are Squarespace and Weebly, who we’ve earmarked as the portfolio builder of choice for design focused individuals and users who want a straightforward and simple portfolio building experience respectively.
While we like the idea of specialized portfolio website builders – and some do offer some really eye-catching features – we just find that they are a little too limited.
They offer fewer templates and tools, as well as a more limited editing experience – especially compared to drag & drop editors like Wix. This means that you might end up accidentally curbing your creativity rather than encouraging it.
So for the highest quality and easiest portfolio website building experience, we definitely recommend Wix as our go to platform.
What is an online portfolio?
An online portfolio is digital collection of one’s work, usually housed on a website. It makes your work — be it it writing or painting — easily accessible to potential clients and employers. In the digital age online portfolios are an excellent way of showcasing what you’re capable of.
Can I make a portfolio website for free?
Not a good one, no. If you want your own website it’s going to cost a few dollars one way or another. Even if you build your own site from scratch (which many do, especially in the design and development sphere), you’ll still need to dish out a few bucks for web hosting and a domain name.
I’m not sure which portfolio website builder to use. What should I do?
Play around. Most builders offer free trials, so make use of them. If you like the sound of Squarespace, that doesn’t mean you should sign up straight away. Sign up for a trial and see if the platform is right for your needs. If it is, fabulous, sign up. If not, no harm done. You owe it to your work to find the best portfolio builder possible.