Creating an online portfolio is the best way to spread the word about your personality, whether you’re a photographer, designer, singer or writer. A portfolio site is aimed at building trust for your brand as well as increasing income by attracting new clients. Once created, it will work to the benefit of your business for the years to come.
If you are right about to launch your own portfolio website, but have doubts regarding the best way to do that, there are three major ways to create a portfolio website:
- Ordering a custom made portfolio website from a web studio
- Using CMS
- Using portfolio website builder.
As far as each of these steps has its pros and cons, it makes sense to discuss each of them in detail to select the best option that will meet your personal or business needs, requirements, preferences and budget. So, let’s get started now to help you with the choice of the best web building service!
Ordering a Portfolio Website from a Web Studio
Ordering a portfolio website from a professional web studio is, probably, the simplest solution you can go for… if you are not going to manage your website on your own in future and have enough money to be invested into the project. The only thing you have to do is to make an online search to find the most credible web studio that has nice reputation on the web and can cope with your project within the deadlines you will set.
Having found a studio to work with, you will have to discuss the plan of the project with them and the result you expect to avail. That’s it. The rest will be handled by the web studio experts, while you will be able to focus on your business and other everyday tasks.
Pros of Getting a Ready Made Portfolio Website from a Web Studio
- You get a functional, appealing and professionally developed website that adheres to your needs and preferences
- You don’t spend time on website development and can focus on other activities (either business or personal)
- You choose between several project ideas offered by a web studio to select the one that comes up to your business goals and expectations most of all
- You don’t have to worry about domain selection, hosting, content etc. This is the responsibility of a web designer working on your project
- You can control the process of web creation, offering the changes you’d like to make
- You get unique portfolio design, developed with regard to your individual needs and business specialization. Such project will definitely stand out from the crowd if designed by the professionals you can rely on.
Cons of Getting a Ready Made Portfolio Website from a Web Studio
- Even though, you will be able to supervise the process of web creation and introduce the changes of your own, you won’t have full control over each stage of web development. This is because it’s physically impossible to be present in the web studio round-the-clock. As a result, you may overlook important nuances. It will eventually take time to correct the mistakes.
- When choosing the studio to work with, you can never be 100% sure about their professionalism (no matter how much you will read or learn about them). So, it’s up to you to decide whether to rely on the team or not.
- You won’t be able to manage and edit your website on your own. Thus, you will have to contact web developers each time you will face the need to make the changes, update content or fix something. This is eventually a waste of your time, money and effort.
- Ordering a portfolio website from a web studio is the most expensive solution you can go for. Professional services of web developers are quite costly, not to mention the fact that you will have to make extra payments when editing or updating a website. So, get ready to spend money each time you address the team of web developers to get their professional assistance.
As you see, launching a portfolio website is the solution that will not suit everyone. If the budget allows, this option might be interesting to you, especially if you are too busy to work on a project on your own.
Make sure to find a credible team of web developers and get ready to contact them any time you need tech support or assistance after the launch of the project. On the other hand, cooperation with a web studio is a surefire way to get unique portfolio that will stand out from the crowd, thus increasing your chances to be noticed.
Building a Portfolio Website with CMS
Creating a portfolio website with CMS requires much more time and effort as compared to ordering a ready made website, of course, but this solution is also more affordable. CMS come with a set of built-in tools, which contribute to quicker and more efficient website development. However, you need to have specific web building skills to use these tools to your advantage. Let’s have a look now at the most widespread pros and cons of this option.
Pros of Building a Portfolio Website with CMS
- The prevailing amount of CMS are understandable and come with tutorials providing guidelines on using them. This is convenient not only for newbies, but for proficient web designers as well.
- Building a website with CMS won’t take you longer than a couple of days, depending upon your skills and free time. This can be done by using templates, modules and plugins compatible with the system of your choice.
- CMS are functional and offer a set of features that are added to your website to improve its design.
- Websites designed with CMS can be easily customized by means of plugin installation and code editing.
- Open source CMS are affordable and many of them can be used with no charge at all.
Cons of Launching a Portfolio Website with CMS
- You will hardly be able to launch a portfolio website (or any other website type) without having certain coding skills, knowledge and experience. They are needed to customize your website design, add and update content, install and use plugins, fix the bugs as well as make other changes your website requires.
- Having created a portfolio with CMS, you will have to take care of its maintenance. As a rule, this is needed on a regular basis and if you can’t cope with the task for some reason, this will have negative effect upon your website.
- CMS share a rich community of users, but most of them don’t offer 24/7 customer support. This may be a huge problem for users with little/no web building experience.
If you have enough web design skills and experience and dream of launching a functional and nice looking portfolio website that will attract potential clients, then CMS may be a great start. These systems are convenient, affordable and functional. However, they are not recommended to newbies, who don’t have any web design knowledge at all, because this may prove to be the waste of their time and effort.
Creating Portfolio with a Website Builder
The final and, probably, the simplest web building tool that can be used to launch your portfolio is a website builder. Systems of this type are very easy to use and you can create almost any website type in a couple of hours only by using them. They come with a variety of functions, features and built-in tools that allow for quick and convenient website customization. This is their major advantage over other web building services.
Pros of Building Portfolios with Website Builders
- Convenience and ease of use
- Quick and simple process of website creation, which can be completed in several hours only
- These systems don’t require any coding skills or web design knowledge
- The process of web building is intuitive and most systems come with useful and informative tutorials that contribute to better results
- Availability of responsive templates, which can be customized with regard to your needs and preferences
- Website builders are affordable. Most of them offer free trials and a nice choice of plans that come up to versatile requirements
Cons of Launching Portfolios with a Website Builder
- If you are going to build a small portfolio website for personal use, then you won’t find a better solution than a website builder. However, if you are dreaming of a large-scale project with powerful functionality, then you may consider using a more advanced system.
- When using trials, you and your website visitors may be bothered by the ads that will occasionally appear at the website. This, however, may be avoided by upgrading to one of the paid plans of your choice.
That being said, we can conclude that portfolios created with website builders do not only look professionally, but they are also characterized by powerful functionality. What’s more, these systems are affordable and easy to use, which makes them a smart choice for non-techies, who don’t have the notion of website building. So, if you need a nice and appealing portfolio to showcase your works and attract the attention of the target audience, you will hardly find a better solution than this one.
How to Make Portfolio with a Website Builder
So, you have made up your mind to launch your portfolio with a website builder. Congratulations! These systems really work great when you need to create small websites like portfolios. They are intuitive and understandable – an optimal solution for a newbie! You don’t have to be a pro to get a portfolio you’ve been dreaming about. But what should you start with and how can you get the most out of this process? Here are the major steps to be followed in the process of web creation.
- Sign up for a website builder of your choice. Explore the dashboard and follow the instructions to complete the registration procedure in several minutes only. This can be done via your social network account or e-mail.
- Select a template for your portfolio website. The majority of website builders have rich galleries, so, you have nice chances to find a template that suits your specialization. Can’t find the one? Then select any template you like and customize it with regard to your requirements and preferences.
- Customize the template by making use of powerful and extensive customization options and editing tools.
- Add content. Whatever works you create, you can arrange them to enhance their visual appeal. Fortunately, you have a nice selection of elements to be added to your website. These are widgets, texts, videos, photos, polls, online forms and what not.
- Get a domain, if you haven’t got it yet. The thing is that those domain names and subdomains offered for free by the majority of website builders will hardly be attention-grabbing and easy to remember because of their length or the way they look and sound. This may be corrected by upgrading to the paid plan that makes it possible to choose any domain you need for your portfolio.
- Publish your readymade website now.
Now let’s roll up our sleeves and have a look at the best services to create a professional portfolio website.
Wix – The Best Portfolio Website Builder
Wix is the fullest-featured and the most solid drag-and-drop site builder around. Intuitive and powerful, it’s the biggest player in the industry, boasting over 70M users worldwide. Its standout features include strong eCommerce and blogging options, social media integration, and a mobile editor to adapt the site’s look for a mobile view. Not to mention the recently released artificial design intelligent tool.
The first thing that catches an eye when you sign up for Wix is their impressive template library. All of them are stylish, sleek, and in touch with the latest design trends. It really doesn’t matter what type of portfolio you are creating, with hundreds of themes, Wix has something for everyone.
The industries they cover vary from music, photography, and fashion to restaurants, designers, beauty, etc. Even if you don’t find your specific niche, each template can be customized to look exactly how you want it. Just change layout, edit texts, rearrange elements, tweak colors, and you’re all set.
Wix is incredibly powerful in terms of working with visuals, which is a number one priority if you want to create a successful portfolio. The platform allows you to include galleries and slideshows to present your works to potential clients, add animation, edit and enhance photos with filters, and even set up videos as a background.
uKit – The Easiest and Almost Free Website Builder to Create a Portfolio Website
uKit is another great option. Just like Wix, it offers a user-friendly interface and provides all the tools you need to build and manage a professional-looking, highly functional portfolio with web hosting included. Although the platform is not the talk of town, it’s safe to say that uKit is a true competitor to Wix in the website builder field. In the value/price aspect, too.
The best thing about uKit is its amazing ease of use. Their intuitive approach to website building experience means that you really couldn’t ask for a more straightforward tool. The editor’s interface is as clear as it gets: there’s a row of page elements and blocks on the left panel – text, separator, image, slider and so on – that you simply drag to the page where you want them to appear.
uKit’s integration with social media deserves particular compliments as well. You can insert neat icons taking to your social profiles, include a floating bar with share buttons, display feeds of the most popular networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., and even import posts from your Facebook page to the blog section.
And just like Wix, uKit offers an incredible collection of designer-made templates. With over 250 industry-specific themes, they cater to literally every possible niche. Their categories number over 37 items and include Photography, Music, Dancing, Fashion Model, Stylist, and Clothing, just to name a few. All of the designs are mobile-friendly, which means your portfolio will always look great, whatever the screen size it is viewed on.
Have it built or DIY?
You might be wondering if it’s worth delving into these website builders when you can entrust the job to professionals. After years of extensive experience as a webmaster I’ve come to the following conclusions.
You can have a basic portfolio website built for you for quite a reasonable price. But if you want it to be professional, you will be surely charged an arm and a leg for it. Custom design, well-written texts, and additional bespoke features will cost way more than an average solution. A whole lot more. But if you’re short on time and it won’t break your bank, ordering a promo site from professionals is the way to go.
Apart from the price, there’s one more drawback to consider: you won’t know for sure how your website will work. Every tweak will have to be made through a developer, for an additional fee. Or, you can have your website maintained at a fixed rate. Alternatively, you may get a hang of things like editing and publishing content, but you will have to invest time and go deep into it. Wouldn’t it be easier to handle it all by yourself from scratch? It’s not that hard as it may seem. And a penny saved is a penny earned.
How much does a portfolio website cost?
The prices vary. It all depends on the site’s size, complexity of design, and individual requirements. As a rule, developers charge starting from $300 for a fairly basic copy, without taking into account content and maintenance.
If you’ve decided to do it yourself, there’re 2 options mentioned above: use a CMS or a website builder. The first will require you to arrange hosting, register a domain, and, most likely, pay for a CMS itself. The majority of CMS’s are free, but it will definitely take you more than one evening to master any of them. At the very least you need to know nuts and bolts of coding, nuances of hosting and CMS setup, and much more. At the end of the day, I guess it might be easier to order a custom website, rather than spend a lot of time and effort to study tons of tutorials on this subject.
Website builders are a far more reasonable option for non-techies. If you don’t plan on turning the website creation into your main business, I highly recommend you consider them. They are void of the most mind-boggling complications that go with CMS. And offer more comfortable conditions: hosting is included, you don’t need to purchase and set it up separately; a domain name can be connected directly from the dashboard, which again makes life easier; designer-made templates are also added to the starter package. Straightforward, all-in-one service. Even the simplest CMS has a steeper learning curve compared to the majority of website builders. All in all, a site builder can save you a lot of headache.
Speaking about pricing, Wix offers a free subscription which limits you in storage, bandwidth, and company branding. Also, there are paid plans ranging from $4.5/mo to $24.5/mo. uKit paid subscriptions start at $4/mo, which makes it one of the best deals on the market.
If you are going to promote your creative works on the web, you won’t go without having an appealing and professionally designed portfolio website. There are several options you can go for prior to starting working on your project. You can either order a ready made website or create it yourself by using CMS or a website builder. Although, each option has its pros and cons, the latter one seems to be the best start for newbies aiming at decent result. These platforms are affordable, easy to use and intuitive. They don’t require any web design or coding skills to make it a success.
Platforms reviewed above are well-featured and make really compelling choices if you want to create a professional, robust portfolio website. Whatever your niche and preferences, I recommend that you go check out both of them, put their templates and editors to test, and see for yourself which one suits you best.