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.
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.
Best Website Builders for Portfolios
|Website Builder||Wix (review)||uKit (review)|
|Best for:||All types of portfolio||Model Portfolio, Photographer’s portfolio|
|Easiness||Easy to learn||Intuitive interface|
|Portfolio Website Design:||Predesigned templates for portfolio websites||Ready-made themes for different niche portfolios|
|Technical Support:||24/7 support||Email and Live chat support|
|Additional Options for Portfolio Website:||HD video support||Photo Gallery, slider widget|
|SEO Options:||SEO Wizard||Promotion SEO widget|
|Pricing Options:||Free to $24.50/mo||$4 to $12/mo|
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 currently the biggest player in the industry. The website builder works best for creatives, artists, photographers and other users, who wish to present their works and business skills to the community and encourage the potential customers explore their creative talent. This is a decent tool to launch portfolio websites from scratch.
Wix Features for Portfolio Websites
- Impressive Template Library. Wix can boast one of the best template galleries, which encompasses stylish, exquisite and modern designs that attract the attention of potential users. Offering a broad range of template categories, Wix has the section, which initially focuses on portfolio themes. Thus, you can choose between more than 500 designer-made templates meant for graphic designers, photographers, resumes, illustrators, business consultants, artists, journalists, musicians, art directors, interior designers, actors, stylists, models and what not. The templates are mobile-ready right from the start, so, your clients won’t have problems, facing the need to view your portfolio website at their mobile devices.
- Galleries and Slideshows. Wix takes care of the needs of its users and offers unique features that can visually and functionally enhance your portfolio. Thus, the website builder makes it possible to incorporate over 40 unique slideshows and galleries into your portfolio website to present your skills, expertise level and work samples to the advantage. It is you, who can add, edit and enhance photos, animations, background videos and other effects. There is also an extensive collection of professional high-res stock photos to be used with regard to your portfolio building needs.
- HD Video Hosting. Wix allows you to showcase your talent by incorporating your Vimeo and YouTube videos (if any) into the newly created portfolio website. This is a nice way to attract the attention of users, tell you story and share news or upcoming events in the unique, fun and extraordinary way. Just upload your ad-free high resolution videos to the website and enjoy its enhanced look.
- Blogging. Wix allows adding a blog to your portfolio website. This feature is a must-have for any representative of creative professions as it allows connecting with your clients and sharing your ideas and new works with them.
- Wix App Market. Wix App Market is the best destination for quality and professionally designed applications that do not only contribute to the general design of your website, but also add functionality to it. Among the most popular apps you can use for your portfolio website, Wix App Market can offer you Wix Photo Albums, Videos, Issuu Publications, Visual Stats Bar etc. Apart from that, you can add Google Maps, online forms, Live Chat, Google Event Calendar to keep your customers up to date on your upcoming events etc.
- Social Media Integration. By integrating social media contacts into your portfolio website, you provide your existing and potential clients with an ability to get in touch with you in a variety of ways to specify all the details they are interested in and inform them about all the changes and events happening in your business. What’s more, you will be able to showcase your works and posts in the social networks, thus engaging the audience interest in your creativity.
• Connect Domain – $4.50/mo;
• Combo – $8.50/mo;
• Unlimited – $12.50/mo;
• Commerce – $16.50/mo;
• VIP – $24.50/mo.
Wix currently has one free plan and five premium plans. A free plan is definitely not the best choice for a portfolio website, but it’s a pretty nice way to explore the features and options the system offers to create this website type. A free plan is unlimited, so, you can test the platform for as long as you need and create simple sites to test your skills.
Paid plans can be billed monthly and annually depending upon your web design needs. They offer free hosting, premium support, Google Analytics set up, individual domain connection and some other features. However, if you wish to create a full-featured portfolio website, you’ll have to upgrade to one of the paid plans higher than Connect Domain plan to be able to create websites with no ads at all.
Wix is a universal drag-and-drop website builder, which is specially created with the needs and skills of non-tech savvy users in mind. This website builder is very easy to use and convenient for everyone. By following simple tutorials, you will be able to create a visually-attractive and functional portfolio almost in no time. With an impressive niche template gallery, exquisite designs, abundance of specialized apps and widgets, powerful customization tools and other features, Wix has certainly something special for everyone.
Wix Portfolio Examples – see what portfolios are maid by real Wix users.
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 as well as in the cost aspect. uKit works well for creatives, artists and people of different professions, who have the desire to present their skills and talent in the form of a quality portfolio.
uKit Features for Portfolio Websites
- Template Gallery. uKit offers a nice gallery of designer-made templates, which are responsive by default. The template collection includes different portfolio themes to meet your niche specialization, business specifications and even budget. The templates can be customized with regard to your needs. By using a set of web customization tools available in the intuitive dashboard of the system, you can give your portfolio personalized look and feel that will make it stand out from the crowd. The templates are logically-structured and come with ready-made demo data you can replace with that of your own.
- Template Change Option. Once you have chosen a template to build a portfolio website with it, you may start customizing it right away. Mind, however, that you can change the template during the web design process as many times as you need that. This is a real benefit for people, who don’t have an idea of how their portfolio should look like.
- Social Media Integration. uKit is known for its abundant social media integration options. This is a nice feature for those willing to launch a portfolio website. Integration with social media accounts allows publishing your posts and portfolio updates to share with your clients and subscribers at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social accounts.
- Blogging Options. If you plan to launch a quality portfolio website of your own and wish to stay connected with your clients, then adding a blog is a nice move in this direction. Blogging allows you to add posts, recent events and updates, new portfolio items and what not. This is a nice solution for profile owners, who wish to keep their clients aware of everything that is going on in their business.
- Widget Collection. uKit offers a nice collection of widgets you can use to build your portfolio website. These widgets are easily added to the website by dragging them onto a page and rearranging them with regard to your needs and design preferences. Some of these widgets include Timer, SlideShare, MailChimp, online forms and what not.
- Customer Interaction. Whatever uKit related questions you have and whatever problems associated with the portfolio building process you encounter, professional tech support of the system will help you find the best solution. There is a vast knowledge base available at the website, the FAQ section, Skype and email support as well as numerous tutorials that can provide you with all the system-related information.
• Premium – $4.0/mo;
• Premium+ – $8.0/mo;
• eCommerce – $9.60/mo;
• Pro – $12/mo.
As to the free plans, uKit doesn’t offer any of them. Instead, there are 4 paid plans, each of which comes with a variety of features to meet your special web design needs, budget and preferences.
The plans, however, make it possible to test their features during a short 14-day trial period prior to deciding on the best solution. They come with unlimited hosting and bandwidth, professional customer support, rich template gallery (including the portfolio niche), search engine optimization features and other aspects that contribute to effective promotion of your portfolio website. Mind, however, that you will have to upgrade to the Premium Plan to get a full-featured portfolio website that will attract your clients’ attention.
uKit is a reliable and professional website builder, which deserves to be considered one of the best services to launch quality portfolio websites from scratch. Due to the drag-and-drop functionality of the service, ease of use, convenience and intuitive dashboard, the system is a great choice even for people with no coding skills and web design expertise at all. uKit has a collection of portfolio templates and a set of customization tools that can help launch effective and visually-appealing websites in less than no time, making the web design process convenient and engaging.
How to Choose the Right Way to Create a Portfolio Website?
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.
Getting a Ready Made Portfolio Website from a Web Studio: Pros and Cons
|✔ 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.
|✘ 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 using 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 and Cons 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.
|✘ 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.
How to Make Portfolio using 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.
Pros and Cons 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.
|✘ 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.
Have It Built or DIY: a Short Conclusion
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.
• Web Studio – $500-$3000;
• CMS – free-$500;
• Website Builder – free-$100.
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.