As a designer, your past work is your biggest asset in landing new projects. A great portfolio that is presented in a creative way will make you memorable and more hirable.
There are dozens of options available for you to post your portfolio online. From Squarespace to WordPress to Dribbble, it can be tough figuring out what’s the best option for your situation. Lucky for you, we’re here to help!
Squarespace is the new kid on the block that has been growing in popularity by both amateur web designers and professionals alike. It’s easy to use and features a clean design. It’s a great all in one solution with a few good templates available for designers.
The ease of use and ability to get your website up fast is a huge plus for Squarespace. The user interface is very simple to learn and adding content is incredibly easy.
However, it does have its drawbacks. It’s a closed platform without the ability to add extensions. That means if there isn’t a feature that you want, there isn’t really anything you can do about it. With that being said, if you’re looking for a simple solution and aren’t too worried about needing a lot of customization in the future, Squarespace is a great option.
Cost: $5/mo. + ~$50 one time for a theme.
WordPress is the undeniable king of the Internet. Recent metrics have it running over 28% of all websites currently online. In fact, it’s what we use to power Church Media Source. While, it may not be as simple as SquareSpace, the ability to have complete control over your design portfolio website is a huge plus.
Your startup cost will be higher with the need to purchase a good theme, but the monthly cost is next to nothing with the right web host. One huge benefit to using a self-hosted WordPress website, is that you own the content and don’t rely upon someone else’s platform. Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson has said not to build your web presence on a rented lot and I couldn’t agree more.
One of the huge pluses to WordPress is that you own your content and the way that your website looks. There are thousands of WordPress developers that are constantly creating new themes and plugins to help even the most technologically illiterate person create a robust website.
When using WordPress, you’ll need to pick a quality web host. I have personally tried about a dozen of them. My recommendation for getting started is BlueHost. When I started using WordPress, BlueHost was invaluable to me as a creator. Their support is top notch and getting your website setup is very simple. While, there are certainly other options available with varying features and pricing, BlueHost provides a great balance of features and pricing.
You’ll also need to find a great theme to make your website look professional. ThemeForest is home to thousands of WordPress themes with new ones coming online daily. Search through the portfolio section to find a design that works for your content and style. Make sure to read the reviews to check for quality control.
Note: For this comparison, I’m talking about self-hosted WordPress. The company behind WordPress also has a fully hosted option but it lacks in features and doesn’t allow you to use premium themes and plugins.
Dribbble / Behance
Another option for your online portfolio are websites like Dribbble and Behance. I’m a big fan and love the social media integration within the platforms. However, they definitely have some drawbacks. The first being is that you have very little control over how your portfolio actually looks.
While portfolio websites like Dribbble and Behance are great for getting your work discovered by other designers, they have a built in problem: comparison. When you rely upon Dribbble or Behance, it’s incredibly easy for a potential client to go to other profiles and find someone else’s work that they like better.
My suggestion is to use these websites in addition to having your own website especially since these are free. Build community with other designers and showcase work you wouldn’t necessarily put on your customer facing portfolio. Who knows, you may find connections that may lead to contract opportunities or even a full time position.
You need a portfolio. Duh. In all seriousness, don’t worry about creating a perfect portfolio. As a designer you will make dozens if not hundreds of tweaks after launching your website. But, never keep your portfolio to yourself while you chase “perfection”, it isn’t attainable. Whatever platform you chose to launch your portfolio, just do it. Sooner rather than later.
Your portfolio is as much about you as it is about your work. Show your personality. Include information about yourself that makes you relatable. Ask past clients for testimonials that you can showcase on your website. Link to your social profiles and include a contact page that let’s potential clients get in touch with you easily.
Interested in selling your work on Church Media Source? Our pay what you can marketplace is helping churches of all sizes get access to great design resources. Find out more about our contributor program here.