Choosing the Best Portfolio Website Builder – Overview of 9 Options
Comparison Reviews by Industry Experts
If you are a creative profession person and would like to showcase great pieces of your work to everyone, portfolio site builders are the right way to go. Portfolio websites are the place for photographers, designers, filmmakers, directors, artists, writers, models, and ghostwriters to display what they can do and what they have been done previously. This is important not only to attract the audience, allowing everyone on the Internet to find and see your works and to get to know about you but also portfolio sites serve as a business card and may be used instead of resume and a job interview in our all-increasing digital world. So allow the new clients to find you and tell more about yourself to your existing clientele using site builders.
How to Make a Portfolio Website: Looking Through 9 Portfolio Website Builders
To simplify your choice and cut down the time expenditures you might have faced otherwise, selecting the tool right for you, we’ve highlighted some cutting-edge best portfolio websites builders, top of the market, which can be an excellent choice for a specific goal – making and hosting a portfolio. To make some contrast, we’ve also included some outdated creators like IM Creator, just to show you what to avoid.
If you have been working on some third-party site for freelancers in your area (photo shooting, writing, editing, filming, and so on), you must know that their portfolio-representing abilities may be limited and are realized in some specific format, which may not suit your needs. They definitely aren’t as smooth to showcase your works in a sleek and professional manner, which also isn’t integrated with a possibility to sell separate pieces of your work right from this interface. Creating a portfolio website, however, you can show things just as you like, not compromising with anyone and anything on this matter, and even can sell some of your works right on the same page (if they are sellable by nature).
Making a portfolio website in Wix is easy thanks to over 500 templates for all industries, from which 17 are perfectly tuned for the exhibition of your work. We want to highlight its cutting-edge ease of work and vibrancy of working process, as well as the obtained result.
If you aren’t planning to sell pieces from your portfolio, this site builder can offer you 4 plans (in addition to the free trial). They all will limit you in storage (no matter how high you upgrade) and two initial low-cost plans will limit you in bandwidth also. The option for €4.50 a month is so basic that you won’t be happy about using it – 0.5 Gb storage + 1.0 Gb bandwidth + obtrusive ad of a portfolio builder on your pages. Plus – no free unbranded domain. For €8.50 a month, you get the basic extras, which can allow you running a site smoothly and professionally. For €12.50 a month, you won’t see bandwidth limitation, will obtain great video storage capacity, money for advertising in Google, and powerful analytics. Upgrading to €24.50 a month, you get better support and a professional logo. We’d opt for €12.50 a month as the optimal in cost/value ratio.
- Excellent in controlling your pages and ruling the template you’ve chosen.
- A possibility to add significantly more perfection and power through editing the HTML code (and integrate apps in this way, too).
- Mobile and tablet automatic optimization.
- Once you will have selected the template, you can’t just switch to another not losing any adjustment that you will have previously made. Do you still want it? Then start from scratch.
- It has so much control that it can overwhelm a novice user – and this is definitely not the easiest portfolio maker to start a site fast.
- Demanding for the resources of PC and Internet to work.
It is designed for lovers of ultra-excellent web pages, any of which boasts with perfection and thrives amongst the rest of the Internet. If the visual part is everything for you, Squarespace is the only choice. But we don’t say that it has no power behind a perfect picture – unlike some people with only a fancy face, Squarespace is also about the power of actions and wisdom.
If you don’t want an online store, then you have got two options:
- For 11 Euros per month if paid annually (or 15 if paid month-to-month), you won’t have limitations in storage space or bandwidth, will receive a free domain with a custom appealing name at your discretion, SSL for free, mobile and tablet optimization, and everything you need in visitor statistics.
Pros of this platform:
- Astounding templates
- Many in-house solutions
- The power of catalog, e-store, and visual perfection.
- It may be more expensive than other website builders on our list
- To start working in it, you need to invest your time to master, as it’s a bit hard to work in.
With the vastness of plans of subscription and an online store for lesser money than in Squarespace, Weebly site builder is going to be liked by those who are seeking an optimal solution in money and the delivered capabilities.
Not be aiming at maximum (where an e-store lives) for your needs as an owner of a portfolio, we want to highlight for you the plans of this website builder (none of which will limit your bandwidth):
- Free one (for no money) will give you some basics, but won’t be good for SEO or customization, with banners of the site maker on the pages and small storage space.
- A better one for €5 a month will give you a free domain (when subscribed for a year) – that’s its only difference from the unpaid plan.
- For €10 a month, you, finally, get freed from banners of this website builder all over, receive unlimited storage, make it better for SEO and get the basic e-commerce. Also, there will be better support and more powerful statistics.
- For €20 a month, you get extra really powerful e-commerce, better promotion capabilities, and free money for Google’s promotion. But do you want those if you’re not heavily relying on selling stuff? Only showcasing your works will be good enough for €10 a month.
- Monetization of portfolio
- Ease of use of this service
- Powerful outcome.
- Many good apps it offers require a premium plan to be integrated
- It does not do the best websites for portfolio and it’s not good in other general industries – e-commerce, the visual power of received sites, ease of work… A strong mid-guy, in a few words.
This portfolio website builder has been created by a bunch of highly creative and proficient guys in their areas – some of them had been working for HBO and Nike, so you’re in good hands if you want a portfolio website and nothing more.
All its plans presume an annual and monthly billing. Monthly ones cost 9, 11, and 21 Euros (a month). Yearly-paid ones discount the mentioned sums of money to 7.50, 9.25, and 17.50 Euros. None of the plans presumes an e-store.
They differ in those things:
- 50-100-∞ number of projects to have
- 10-20-∞ number of portfolio to have
- 2-5-∞ Gigabytes of media data to store
- Support (regular-priority-priority).
Aside from these, they all provide you unlimited blog posts and SSL security by default.
- Creating a portfolio website is possible of the same visually alluring power as Squarespace does
- You can easily change the template at any time and all previously made adjustments will be saved
- It is specifically designed for making portfolio websites & the vastness of its templates is categorized into areas of work, making it easy to select yours and go with alive work with minimum time
- It is very easy to work with
- Strong SEO capabilities.
- It does not have high power in working with its templates to personify: pictures, widgets, background, transitions, etc.
- Poor power of drag-and-drop editor so you won’t stand out of the crowd
- You will get JUST a portfolio website, not being able to go for sales or other ways of monetizing.
It is one of the costliest portfolio website builders but it offers wonderful monetization possibilities. It’s not versatile in many areas, being adjusted only to make astounding portfolio websites.
Unlike other portfolio website builders, this one shows prices for a year at its pricing page and only then divides it down to money per month (when paid annually, it offers great discounts from 29% to 38% from the regular monthly price):
- Basic for $48 a year ($5.99 monthly)
- Power for $72 a year ($8.99 monthly)
- Portfolio for $180 a year ($23.99 monthly)
- Pro for $360 a year ($41.99 monthly).
Such pricing definitely makes it the most expensive portfolio website builder – as the dedicated subscription plan will cost $180 a year or 23.99 monthly, which is twofold more expensive than the average market price for top solutions.
- Monetize right from the beginning
- It is a dedicated portfolio website builder
- Well-designed templates to meet various needs in exhibiting your portfolio.
- It’s really costly, which makes you ponder for real whether you actually need a portfolio website right now
- Creative control is limited.
This is another specialized portfolio website builder but it is pricey compared to Wix or Squarespace (market leaders). Opting for significantly bigger freedom in the mentioned two and saving money at the same time may be a healthy alternative to using Format.
It offers three plans:
- $6 a month will make you able to upload 100 images, sell 3 products and have 15 pages
- $12 a month will make you able to upload 1,000 images, sell 20 products and have any number of pages, make a blog with unlimited posts, connect to 5,000 proofing images, obtain your own free custom domain (paid for 1 year) and edit deeply your CSS and HTML to personalize further.
- For $25 a month, you get the mentioned in the previous + unlimited images, 1,000 products to sell, cool premium themes, better support and the help of an expert to tune up your portfolio website.
These add to 14 days of the free trial. When you opt for plans on a monthly-paid basis, their price increases to $7.99, $16.99, and $32.99 respectively.
- Great portfolio website builder in shape and presentation of your oeuvre, powerful and beautiful
- Your portfolio will look as professional as it can be
- Very easy to use and you don’t have to have too much intuition to effectively work in it.
- Price bites
- Limitations in the number of pages, pictures, and blog posts in the lowest-cost plan. But if you want more freedom, you have to opt for much costlier two alternatives
- Drag-and-drop won’t let you change things too much as you could in Wix or Squarespace.
It may be a great portfolio website builder if you are unaware about the existence of Wix, Squarespace, Format or Weebly.
Apart from the ‘Online Store’ subscription plan for $19.99, you might be interested in the three left ones:
- $5.99 a month will open to you mobile friendliness and SSL.
- $9.99 will add SEO and a button of PayPal to the mentioned.
- For $14.99 a month, you get the mentioned in the previous + e-mail marketing, adding your business to Google to be listed and found on the map, and integration with your social media.
It has one of the longest free try-and-buy periods on the market: 1 month.
As you can notice, none of those plans gives you a free custom domain name – so it means, you have to buy it for extra money.
- Nice customer support
- Easy to use.
- The non-branded domain name costs extra
- Poor visual editor
- Not great designs
- Functional but not glossy.
Outdated portfolio website builder, which does not understand the current needs of the market and we’re wondering why it still exists.
It gives you:
- Free usage presuming that you don’t need more than 0.05 Gb of hosting space and shrunken bandwidth.
- $5.95…$9.95 a month (depending on for how long you pay in one go) will give you unlimited hosting space and bandwidth, 10 e-mail addresses to your taste and better support.
- That’s a not interesting option for you but still – for $350 a year, you can sell the IM Creator’s websites under your own brand in the scheme called ‘White Label’.
- It can design a website for you but it won’t be eye-catching.
- Gives too limited abilities in its free plan and not good ones in the paid plans. ‘White Label’ plan is not of interest of portfolio holders
- Does not give you a custom domain name – you only can tie it up here, after buying it elsewhere.
Jimdo portfolio website builder is here to make it easy to sell your portfolio’s pieces or other works – this will cost you 19 Euros a month. The biggest previous subscription plan’s price you pay just to showcase your oeuvre is 15 Euros, so €4 is not a big difference for a classy working web store (if you need it, certainly).
It offers 5 subscription plans but only 3 of them may be interesting for you if you’re not planning to heavily rely on sales and to do a web store:
- A free one named ‘Play’ – with a subdomain of Jimdo portfolio website builder, 0.5 Gb storage, and 2 Gb bandwidth with 5 available pages only.
- €9 per month – a non-branded domain, no adverts of the builder, 10 times more storage space and 5 times more bandwidth but still very limited in the number of pages one can do: only 10.
- €15 and €19 a month will broaden you to 15 Gb storage and 20 Gb bandwidth, assigning up to 50 pages to the site, give HTTPS, better SEO, amongst the rest of things. And in the one for €19, you get online store capacities.
- A good price for the web store with initial capabilities
- You can make a website for free on your own.
- Relatively expensive to make your website ad-free
- Poor templates and you can’t put the stamp on your portfolio’s pieces
- Not the easiest interface for novice users to start work with.
How to Create a Portfolio Website: Frequently Asked Questions
What is an online portfolio?
An online portfolio is a collection of examples of your work, which you have done previously for money or not, and which you would like to show to:
- your folks with whom you’re hanging out or your peers from the industry
- people on the Internet who may be interested
- your potential clients or employees – as a big chance to shorten the path to their hearts and wallets
- your audience: subscribers, followers, and ones having a general interest.
This is basically a gallery of your works, arranged in a visually alluring manner, revealing the details of each piece, including technical ones (name, year, length, price, how exactly it has been done, for whose order, and other relevant and applicable details).
Can I make a portfolio website for free?
You can but it won’t be good. Free plans of every portfolio website builder provide you with too limited capabilities, which can be manifested in bandwidth, storage space, the maximum number of pages you may have on the website, as well as a possibility to view and use some templates. Also, your portfolio website will be interspersed with a branded commercial of a website builder, which will for sure interfere with your idea and image. Also, it’s not good for SEO and can’t provide you with powerful adjustment. Almost any portfolio website builder allows you to explore up to 100% of its opportunities during the trial period but this goodness is going to end after 14…30 days of trial are over.
Even if you would build a website on your own – you’d still have to nip off some bucks to host the website and buy some good apps/widgets to integrate with. Instead, you can opt for some small monthly pricing to build a portfolio website and have access to a major part of its features.
I’m not sure which portfolio website builder to use. What should I do?
If our short review did not convince you to opt for this or that professional portfolio website builder, then another great choice you have is to try every builder with your own hands and eyes in order to understand, which is good for your feelings and needs. You must be comfortable during working in it and it must allow you to do all actions to create a visually alluring portfolio. Don’t go for the name – it never works. Go for your feelings and the obtained results during the try-and-buy testing.
Conclusion: what are the best options
If you’re seeking for ease of work and tremendous capabilities in selecting and adjusting pages, opt for Wix, the best website builder for a portfolio. If you adore perfection of every pixel of every page – then Squarespace is your ultimate solution. Weebly can power your oeuvre with sales processes – and you can sell right from the portfolio (by the way, this is also the case with Squarespace). Weebly is also of high simplicity. Fabrik will breathe more facets of professionalism into your portfolio with lots of backend stuff to pull you up. SmugMug is a choice of those who can’t sleep without monetizing anything. Godaddy pushes the convenience of work in it to the fore, while Format tries to reach and keep the same pace as Squarespace in the beauty of perfection and vibrancy.