With so many people choosing to freelance or trying side gigs, online portfolios are more important than ever. Whether you’re a designer, artist, photographer, writer, or any other person who wants to showcase your work, make a portfolio online and spread the word.
But not all of us have the skills or resources to create an entire website. And that’s where these handy free portfolio websites come in. Here are four of the best online portfolio makers that will help you showcase your work.
Wix is a free website creator that includes the ability to edit every small detail of your site. As such, Wix is perfect for customizing layouts to your exact preferences, with many templates for those who want an online portfolio.
To find out more about the service, check out our guide on using Wix to create a website without coding knowledge.
One of the best features of Wix is the fact that the service has a comprehensive free plan. This means that you don’t feel locked out of most features or pressured to upgrade to a paid plan.
When it comes to making a free online portfolio, Wix’s ADI tool can create a draft website for you if you’re pressed for time. You simply answer a few questions, after which Wix will suggest a variety of generated templates to choose from.
Of course, you can also manually browse themes to decide which template suits you best. Other features include the ability to add apps and plugins to your site for free.
Another major perk of Wix is its intuitive editor. The service lets you edit specific elements of your site or portfolio, with drag-and-drop functionality and resizing tools. These features are great for resizing elements of the page effortlessly. This gives you the flexibility that other web editors sometimes lack.
When it comes to mobile optimization, Wix offers a dedicated mobile editor to help you perfectly tailor your mobile site. This means that you can edit any elements that don’t respond well to resizing, while adding mobile user-friendly features such as navigation buttons.
Wix’s SEO features also stand out. Wix guides you through a checklist of tasks to create a personalized SEO plan for your site. This helps you make sure that search engines properly index your site.
Wix has many benefits, but also a few drawbacks. One major drawback is that once you’ve selected a template and created a Wix site with it, you cannot select a different template. If you want to put the same information into a different theme, you need to delete your site and start fresh. Of course, you could just edit your current site.
While the precise editing tools are a perk, editing elements one at a time can also be time-consuming. This isn’t necessarily a good platform for people who want to complete a portfolio in just a few minutes.
Finally, the URLs generated as part of the free plan can be overly complex. Your URL includes your username, the Wix domain, and your website name (username.wix.com/yourwebsitename).
Moonfruit is a website builder you can use to create personal portfolio websites. The themes on Moonfruit’s homepage are free to use and build, but you can also opt for a paid plan. Moonfruit is especially useful if you want a visual page—perfect for photographers, designers, and other visual creatives.
With Moonfruit, you can choose to either use customizable templates or start a website completely from scratch. So, if you’re a perfectionist, you can build your website section by section without the need for technical knowledge.
When it comes to editing your site, you can also choose specific elements to add or replace. You can edit each element individually—from text colors, spacing, backgrounds, and more.
Moonfruit doesn’t make it immediately clear how to opt for the site’s free plan. In fact, without creating a profile you might never know there’s a free plan. If you create a profile and site, you will see that once you begin your free trial you can choose to remain on Moonfruit’s free plan.
With both the paid and free versions of the service, however, there’s a limited number of templates to choose from. This lack of variety means it can be difficult to find one that suits you.
When it comes to customization, it can be a bit confusing to figure out the site’s editing tools at first—especially for beginners.
Finally, to get a secure site with the HTTPS protocol, you need to upgrade to a custom domain. This means that users on the free plan will have their site flagged as not secure by browsers like Chrome.
WordPress.com is one of the most popular platforms for blogging. But it’s not only for businesses and blogs. The website allows you to create free online portfolios as well.
If you want your portfolio to include content such as blog posts and news updates, the content management tools of WordPress are perfect for this. WordPress has a great central dashboard through which you can control your site.
But one huge benefit is the ability to change your theme at will, without losing your site content. All your content and data stay there, you just need to reorganize them a bit to suit the features of your new theme.
You can also add widgets that link to your Twitter feed, social media pages, and other sites.
Creating your portfolio on a free WordPress site also provides analytics about site visits. This can help you understand what your readers are interested in and what kind of traffic the portfolio is getting.
The major drawback of using WordPress is how many features are locked behind different paid plans. WordPress pushes users to upgrade often—so even if you’re on a paid plan, WordPress will keep prompting you to upgrade to the next tier. The service also locks certain useful tools behind different subscriptions, such as SEO optimization, Google Analytics, and plugins.
Furthermore, even if you choose a paid plan and have access to premium themes, the theme’s creator still determines just how many elements of the theme you can change (unless you add CSS elements yourself). You can’t just select an element you want to change or replace it. You have to work within the constraints of the edits allowed by the theme creator.
The site can be challenging to figure out for those who haven’t used a CMS before. Finding the right theme can also be a hit-and-miss affair since the site caters to so many different website formats.
If you would like to use the content management side of WordPress but are not sure where to start, check out our guide on setting up a blog on WordPress.
IMCreator is a visual portfolio creation website that provides a variety of formats—including business landing pages, artist portfolios, and product showcases. The site includes both free and paid plans. However, you need to apply for a free license.
If the developers don’t grant you a license, you can still share your website for free, however with an IMCreator-generated URL. You do not have to wait for a license before creating a website, so you can start building one right after signing up.
The IMCreator website editor is incredibly intuitive, allowing you to edit, resize, and replace elements easily. Even when it comes to more complex attributes, such as scrolling animations, IMCreator presents these options in a sleek, easy-to-understand format.
There are also several useful elements you can add to your page, including slideshows, popups, and embedded videos.
IMCreator is so easy to use that even someone who doesn’t know much about building a website can quickly throw a portfolio together. Each theme comes packed with sample content that you can replace, edit, rearrange, or delete.
IMCreator’s free version has a somewhat unappealing URL format. Many other site creators give you a subdomain name (i.e. http://yourname.wordpress.com), but IMCreator adds some extra fields that detract from the professionalism of your site.
Meanwhile, although adding sections is easy; adding elements within existing sections can sometimes be confusing. Rather than providing a popup button like when adding a section, you need to open the section settings menu to add individual items.
However, once you’ve had some time to figure the individual quirks out, it’s a relatively smooth experience.
Show Your Work With a New Portfolio Website
If none of these offer what you need, you may be better off hosting your own online portfolio. It’s a bit more work, but the added level of flexibility and personalization could make all the difference.
We highly recommend WP Engine, which handles all the hassle of running a WordPress portfolio site. With daily backups, lightning-fast speeds, and dozens of professional themes, it’s well worth the price. Sign up using this link for your first 4 months free!
Once you have an impressive online portfolio, the next step is to find jobs and opportunities. See our guide on websites to promote your creative work to find out which platforms can help you find your next gig.