Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Best Website Builders to Create a Clean Online Portfolio

By Kayla Matthews
If you don’t already have an online portfolio, you should seriously – and I mean veryseriously – consider building one.
It doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the 10 sites listed below make creating an online portfolio quite easy. Whether you’re 18 or 88, having an online portfolio is a great way to boost your professional image, help you visualize your accomplishments, and attract more attention from your peers and potential employers.
Online portfolios can help you creatively display your resume online, or they can simply tell others a little bit about you and what your life is all about.
If you want to make an online portfolio that looks clean and professional, check out these 10 website builders that can help you create the perfect online portfolio.


Moonfruit is a website builder that lends itself well to personal website and portfolio creation. All the themes accessible on Moonfruit’s homepage are free to use and build.


Moonfruit includes a wide array of professional-looking site designs, including one called “Folio,” (depicted above) aimed at people seeking to build an online portfolio. Additionally, many of the other site designs available suit an online resume, as well.
I really like that Moonfruit includes a “Mobile” feature, which lets you see what your site will look like to people visiting on mobile devices. It lets you set up Google Analytics and Webmaster tools from within the “Services” tab in the admin dashboard, so little coding experience is required. From the standard plan upwards, you can use images from Getty’s vast photo library.
You can change your domain name or delete your site and start over if you don’t like what you’ve made so far.


When you first sign up for Moonfruit, you begin under a free trial. The site isn’t up front with you about the “free trial” feature until you sign up and visit your home dashboard. Then, you’ll see a small bar that says “Your Plan: Trial” and “X days left in plan.”
It is possible to keep your site for free after the trial, the only stipulation being that you must update it at least once every six months. To activate this feature, click “Keep my site for free” when the “Continue trial?” box pops up in the site editor mode.
To me, it just seems like it would be easier to let everyone keep their free site automatically, much like WordPress and Wix do. The free trial just puts an additional step in the process of making a free site.
Also, while you can keep your Moonfruit portfolio for free, you won’t have access to the full range of features the site offers. However, if you want to maintain a record of your work, this shouldn’t be an issue.  They cheapest plan to purchase is to $3.83/month for a full year, or you can pay $6/month. You can follow this link to view Moonfruit’s pricing plans. Do note that pricing may change as the year progresses.
For an example of a portfolio that was built with Moonfruit, you can check out the website of Lucy Pass, a freelance artist and designer.


Wix is a free site creator that allows you to edit many small details of your online portfolio, so you can customize it to look exactly how you’d like with no coding experience needed. (Here are some other no-coding required site builders you can use.)
There are tons of free portfolio themes available on Wix. My favorites are the ones in the “One-Pager” category and the “Personal” category under “Portfolio,” and “Resume & CV” themes.  The themes that are free will say “Price: Free” under them and all paid themes will list their price. Above, you can see the free theme, “Personal Page,” from the Resume & CV section.


It’s nice that you can customize just about anything you can click on in Wix. You can resize everything and easily change your site’s color template, fonts and font sizes. Wix also makes it easy to add many plugins to your free site, so you can add a simple Google Maps app, your Etsy shop or your MailChimp subscribe form to your Wix site. Like Wix’s templates, many of these are free, and will clearly tell you if they cost money.
You can also save your work for later without publishing any of it, so if you don’t have time to make all the changes that you want, you can come back to your revisions later.
As is common with most free sites, you can give your Wix site its own domain name, but this will be listed as a subdomain of Wix itself (i.e. http://yourname.wix.com). However, you can purchase your Wix domain for a pretty reasonable price. For an online portfolio, you could get away with Wix’s Connect Domain or Combo plans which are between $4 and $12 a month.


The problem with Wix is that many Wix sites still use Flash, which can make them load slowly for some people trying to view  your portfolio.
Furthermore, because of the Flash-heavy features of Wix, Google has a difficult time indexing most Wix pages. This means that even if someone were to search for your exact name and your portfolio, Google still might not be able to find your site because Flash is difficult for its bots to read. (Aaron talks about the discovery value of your portfolio in Google Search.)
Also, once you’ve selected a template and created a Wix site with it, you no longer have the ability to change that template. If you want to put the same information into a different theme, you need to delete your site, find the template you want, and start fresh.
To see an example of an online portfolio created with Wix, check out Tali Marks’  free Wix site and CV.


WordPress is one of the most well-recognized website builders, and for good reason. It’s easy to create and manage a WordPress site, whether you want your online portfolio to be a single page or many pages. There are tons and tons of free WordPress themes available for you to use. The easiest way to find them is to go to WordPress’s themes and select the “Free” tab. The free theme shown above is titled, “Harmonic.”


For me, the big pro of WordPress is its content management tools. Unlike site builders like Wix, which make you edit the various features of your site from the main view of the site (within the display mode), WordPress lets you manage your site’s features behind the scenes. You can customize your site’s menus, add pages, add posts, and manage content categories without having to play the drag-and-drop game.
The huge benefit of using a WordPress site is that you can change your theme whenever you want. All your content and data will be saved, you’ll just have to reorganize it a bit to suit the needs of your new theme.
WordPress also allows you to easily add or drop various WordPress Plugins, called Widgets. You can include a widget of your Pinterest feed, a text box with whatever you want in it, a category cloud, and more.
Creating your portfolio on a free WordPress site provides analytics about how many people have visited your site and which posts they’ve been reading. This can help you understand what your readers are more interested in and what kind of traffic the portfolio is getting.


The only real cons I see to having a free WordPress site are that you can’t set up Google Analytics. This is common for many free sites, and isn’t a WordPress oddity alone.
Additionally, WordPress Plugins, which are different from widgets, can only be accessed with a paid WordPress account, so you lose out on some features there, too. If you want to purchase your WordPress site, you can buy your site for $99 a year, which is about & $8.25 a month.
To see a great example of a free WordPress portfolio, take a look at Laura Feinstein’s.


IMCreator is quite similar to Wix, but with one big difference — it’s sites are created in HTML5, so search engines can index your resume and you can be found more easily. The templates on IMCreator are free to use and they are easily customizable. Templates from the “5 min. site,” the “Bio/Freelance”  or the “One Pager” categories would make the best online portfolio templates here. The one shown above is “Dime_OnePager” from the 5 min. site category.


As I already mentioned, the templates available in IMCreator are created using HTML5, so that’s a huge benefit of creating your portfolio with this site.
IMCreator is easy to use and even someone who doesn’t know much about building a website can quickly throw a portfolio together using it. Each theme comes packed with sample content so it’s easy to replace or delete the content supplied with the theme in lieu of your own (some site builders just give you a blank theme and then you have to play the how-do-i-get-this-to-look-like-the-preview game).
Your free IMCreator portfolio will stay online for as long as you chose to keep it live. If you ever want to delete it, you can click “Manage” and “Delete this site.”


IMCreator’s free version has a somewhat unappealing URL format that makes your site look kind of spammy. Many other site creators give you a subdomain name (i.e. http://yourname.wordpress.com) but IMCreator adds all kinds of hyphens and letters that detract from the professionalism of  your site.
Another con of using a free IMCreator site is that you’ll have a rather large, “Start using IMCreator now” ad displaying at the bottom of your site, which can also take away from the look of your portfolio.
If you want to upgrade your portfolio to the Premium version of IMCreator, you can do so for about $10 a month on a six-month contract.
To see a simple example of what you can do with an IMCreator site, check out the online resume of Calli Dollinger.


Flavors.me would be a good choice for anyone looking to create a clean and simple online portfolio. It has some customization features, such as different layout options (basic layout, widescreen layout, sidebar layout, etc.) but doesn’t have fully-packaged themes. Above, you can see what the widescreen layout looks like.
If you want a bare-bones portfolio but still want it to look appealing, Flavors.me could certainly work for you.


Flavors.me has the perk of being ad-free, so people visiting your portfolio won’t be bombarded with ugly and distracting popups or banner ads. It’s easy to use and anyone can set up a portfolio using this site, since it requires no coding knowledge.
Another handy feature of Flavors.me is that it lets you easily add your social media feeds to your site, so as they update in real time, you website will, too. Choosing social sites that are relevant to your career industry is the best way to use this feature. If you’re a musician, consider adding your SoundCloud or Bandcamp feed to your website; If you’re an artist, add your Instagram or Dribbble feed. When people visit your portfolio, then, they’ll be able to see your latest work.


As with most free website creators, Flavors.me charges you for a custom domain name, but the fee is pretty reasonable at only $20/year.
As I mentioned above, another con of Flavors.me is that it doesn’t use themes. You pick a layout and customize the colors and background. But you have to create your own background images or find Creative Commons images that are free to use on your site. Also, since you don’t use themes with prepackaged text typefaces and sizes, you’ll have to spend a decent amount of time finding the fonts that you want through trial and error.
To see an example of a free Flavors.me portfolio, check out the website of transmedia strategist, Pablo Torres.


Jobrary helps you create a website specifically for your resume and online portfolio. It’s very simple and doesn’t have any layout options, but it might be helpful for someone looking for a guided way to create an online resume (i.e. someone not comfortable with computers or the online world).


Jobrary doesn’t seem to have a large user base as some of the other website builders mentioned in this list, so it can be relatively easy to get a subdomain name using your real name or your initials, rather than adding weird numbers or name abbreviations that could seem unprofessional to potential employers. For example, I had no problem registering my profile as kaylamatthews.jobrary.com (which is a big deal for me, because Kayla Matthews is a pretty common name, believe it or not).
On Jobrary, you have the option to print or download your profile as a PDF, which could be helpful if you need to print out your resume in a hurry and don’t have it saved elsewhere in the cloud. Jobrary also lets you add references, custom sections for whatever you want, and easily make your site public or private, or change your subdomain name.


The big disadvantage of using Jobrary is that there is no way to purchase a custom domain name. If you want a URL that says “yourname.com”, this is not the website builder you should use.
Another con of using Jobrary is that you can’t make and save connections like you can with LinkedIn, which offers many of the same features as Jobrary.
To see an example of Jobrary in use, you can check out freelance designer Priscilla Chan’s site, and feel free to read some more about Jobrary.


Folio24 would be best used by designers, photographers, or artists seeking to create a website for their work and professional online portfolio. However, it’s unlikely that people outside of visually-based professions would find this website creator very helpful. It comes with one basic layout and no themes for background options, and is basically a minimalist’s layout, free to update with your work and art.


The nice thing about using Folio24 is that you can easily create a website that displays the best of your professional work (images or videos) for others to see. Folio24 has a slideshow setting that makes it easy to set up three images that will move through a slideshow automatically on an endless loop, giving your website a dynamic background that also displays your work.
You can easily adjust the background and text colors from within the “Customize”  panel but, for the most part, this website creator is meant to showcase your personal creative work visually.


One of the cons of using Folio24 is that, under the basic, free plan, you have a limited amount of data, images and videos you can upload. You can only upload 35 images and videos with a 4 MB cap per image. However, when you switch to the Premium ($6/month) or Professional ($9/month) plans, you get significantly more uploads and data, in addition to your own domain name.
For an online portfolio, you have a limited amount of options when it comes what text you can include on the site. You can include your contact information and name, but you have a limited amount of space in which to include your bio — just one box that says “About,” although you can add a lot of text to this box. If your online portfolio is going to be highly visual, this could be a good choice for you. However, if you work in any other kind of profession, I’d suggest looking elsewhere.
You can take a look at photographer and designer Joshua Ramirez’s portfolio to see an example of a free Folio24 portfolio done well.


Brushd is another minimalist website creator that looks clean and simple, and allows you to make it your own with your work and text content.


A nice feature of Brushd is that it ensures all content in your portfolio is mobile and tablet responsive, so you don’t have to worry about your images or blog posts being formatted oddly due to the device your site is viewed on.
Brushd is also nice because it allows you to upload all kinds of files, not just image and video files. Upload files in .jpg, .gif, .png or .pdf format for all to see. You can also include an audio player, Vimeo or YouTube video on your site.
With a free Brushd account, you automatically get access to unlimited page and blogging creations, so you can keep adding more about you or your recent projects. You also get Etsy Shop Support, in the event that you want to show potential employers your current online selling experience.
Lastly, I like that Brushd gives its users the option to include CSS rules and HTML modifications to their portfolios, so that those who are more coding-savvy can use their skills to make their portfolios better. At the same time, though, you don’t need to know HTML or CSS to use Brushd; you can just stick with the minimalist version and adjust the Style settings instead.


One con of using, Brushd is that, despite the unlimited pages  and blogging, you do not get access to unlimited image and video uploads with the site’s free version. You get 20 image and video uploads with the free subdomain, but you’d have to purchase the Pro. version ($12/month) to unlock unlimited video and image uploads, along with your own domain.
To see a minimalist, photography portfolio using a free Brushd site, check out Camila Cediel’s site.


About.me is a clean and easy site builder that lets you add your information and, usually, a background image of yourself to show people what you do. It does not come with themes, although you can access a few stock photography backgrounds if you don’t have time to create your own.


About.me is pretty easy to use and requires no coding or HTML knowledge. Also, since your profile will typically only be on one page, it’s pretty simple to get set up and fill out your information. About.me includes your contact form, social icons and anything you write in your bio on one page, so prospective employers to get a snapshot of who you are in one glance.
About.me has a wide, global community. If you’re hoping to get a job in an overseas country, putting an online portfolio on About.me could be a good way to get your name out there.


Because your About.me page will only be one page, you can only include so much information before your page appears cluttered. Thus, while this makes setting up your page easy, it can be an inconvenience for people who want to get into the details of their skills and work history.
Like all other free website creators, About.me will charge you a fee if you want your own domain name, but their Premium version is only $4/month. Otherwise, you’ll be using the basic, about.me/yourname URL, but most people don’t seem to be bothered by this.
Check out William Meikle’s portfolio to see what a good, free About.me portfolio looks like.


This website builder is first and foremost a portfolio site for writing professionals, although you don’t have to be a writer to use it. It doesn’t have any pre-built themes, but it does provide esthetic font and background selections that make building a beautiful writing portfolio easy. You can also upload a background image of your choice.


This site is easy to set up and requires minimal design tweaking. You can also easily upload documents containing your past work, including your resume and CV if you wish. It’s also easy to add documents and past work from URL addresses.
Clippings.me also lets you quickly rearrange and organize the examples of work that you’ve uploaded. You can add a divider and give it a title like “Resume & CV,” and then add another divider for “Recent Work,” or you can add and label dividers for clippings from your past employment experiences. The point is, it’s really easy to use and customizable, looks professional and is super fast to set up.


The big con that comes with this site builder is that you can only upload 16 clippings on the free plan. To upload more than that, you have to sign up for an Intermediate or Advanced account. The Intermediate plan costs $4.99/month and the Advanced plan costs $7.99/month. However, both of these plans specifically include “Resume Hosting,” which allows you to feature your resume in the header section of your portfolio, allowing it to draw more attention and look more professional.
A small pet peeve I have with this website builder is that it occasionally makes the featured images of URL-added work look smushed and distorted. It doesn’t resize them properly and can make some pieces of work look less professional than they otherwise would.
To see what you can do with a Clippings.me portfolio in literally five minutes, check out my personal portfolio.

Your Favorite Pick for an Online Portfolio?

While this is by no means a comprehensive review of every single website builder that could be used to build an online portfolio. There are simple resume creating tools like Sumry. And you also use your LinkedIn profile as a portfolio.
But I think this is a pretty good list of some well-known and not-so-well-known website builders out there.
Being able to market your skills and experiences online is an important aspect of job hunting in the Internet Age. Using these free website builders, you can now do so more quickly, easily and professionally than before.
What other websites would you recommend for creating an online portfolio? You can tell me in the comments section below. 
 Image Credit:  Jeff Sheldon via Unsplash Source: www.makeuseof.com

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