A great website is a powerful tool for creatives such as writers, photographers and artists, helping them present their work in one central location and reach a much wider audience. Finding the best website builder for your portfolio can make a big difference in ending up with a website that is a worthy platform for showcasing your work.
Luckily there are many great website builders out there for building your online portfolio. Some of these are top website builders that have developed templates and tools specifically for portfolios, others are website builders that deal exclusively with template websites.
To help you find the best website builder for your portfolio our experts have tried and tested the market leaders, creating a list of our top recommendations. We’ve put them each through a rigorous testing process, scrutinizing each builder on factors such as ease of use, design flexibility, customization choices, and third-party integrations.
Each website builder listed below is beginner friendly and comes with all the tools you need to create a stunning showcase for your work, emphasize your expertise and leave a lasting impression.
The best portfolio website builders of 2023 in full
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Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Weebly was made with the mission of providing a user-friendly platform for creating online portfolios, and it has stayed true to its roots, even as it evolved into a versatile website builder. If you don't mind a Weebly subdomain and some ads on your site, you'll be delighted to know that you can use it for free, forever and ever, along with a 500MB storage limit.
Weebly may have a relatively small selection of themes, but don't let that deter you. Each theme is customizable and adapts seamlessly to any screen size, making sure your portfolio looks stunning on every device. Plus, Weebly's incredibly elegant and user-friendly website editor interface allows you to fine-tune your portfolio to perfection, just the way you pictured it in your head.
One of the many areas where Weebly stands out to us is in the way it calmly handles a lot of technical stuff quietly in the background. It gives you enhanced SSL security by default, and (with the paid plans) advanced analytics for your website, plus the option to transfer over a domain name.
If you're looking for a swift and simple setup, Weebly is a perfect fit. With just a bit of time spent customizing your site, you can have a stable and comprehensive platform ready to showcase your work. The added advantage of starting for free allows you to explore its features before committing - it's a win-win situation!
Read our Weebly review
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Wix has been empowering its users to create eye-catching portfolios since its creation, equipping them with top-notch features and tools. With Wix's portfolio offering, you can expect to get all the essentials, including the option for custom domains, free web hosting, and seamless social integrations. Within one click, you can connect your social media accounts, so your visitors can effortlessly explore your latest updates and posts right from your site - this is a great feature for creatives.
Thanks to Wix's drag-and-drop editor and intuitive tools, you don't need to be tech-savvy or a coding wizard to make your portfolio shine. We are able to add personal bio pages, a CV, and even feature client testimonials and offer services.
Creating a portfolio site with Wix opens up a world of possibilities. During our test, we had access to thousands of design features, including custom color palettes, fonts, animations, and scroll effects, making our site truly original. Plus, Wix lets you showcase an unlimited number of high-quality photos and videos.
As for design, Wix has a cool hover effect that allows you to reveal project names when users hover over an image, keeping your site sleek and clutter-free. With Wix, you can strike the balance between aesthetics and functionality for a stunning portfolio that draws attention.
Read our Wix review
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Cargo is a pretty progressive website builder that provides plenty of creative freedom, allowing you to experiment and create one-of-a-kind designs. With a wide selection of unique-looking templates, you can go for an avant-garde appeal or opt for something more classic. Then, with its intuitive interface, you can tweak your pages to perfection. The best part? You can build your entire site without spending a dime until you're ready to go live, making it an attractive choice for those looking to explore their creativity without immediate costs.
It's certainly got more of an edge than other comparable website builders, which might be good or bad depending on what you're looking for. The available templates are all eye-catching and bold, working best for those wanting to stand out from the crowd, whether it's for photography or writing.
Every template is responsive and works on a variety of screens. Cargo also offers some cool animated image effects you can play around with. On top of that, the site builder is to be commended for its wide choice of fonts as well, plus, even more fonts are being added over time.
Beyond the surface features, including an online template editor that strikes a nice balance between simplicity and customization, you get 6GB of image cloud storage, unlimited pages, unlimited bandwidth, the option to transfer over a domain name if needed, and a wealth of help and support, including tutorial videos.
Read our Cargo review
4. IM Creator
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Founded by a former Wix employee, IM Creator takes a different approach from its drag-and-drop rival. While not soaring to the same heights, it still has a lot to offer. Powered by the latest HTML5 technology, IM Creator provides useful extras like e-commerce and domain name support. This advanced platform might seem overwhelming for some, but it's a perfect fit for experienced portfolio builders seeking in-depth customization.
While not the easiest to use, IM Creator offers a white label plan, IM XPRS, for professional web designers to craft client websites through the platform, catering to those with extensive web design experience. However, you don't need to know a shred of code to get started.
There are plenty of different themes and looks to choose from, and we like the way the themes are already pre-populated with content. That means you can just edit the sample material that's already there rather than starting from scratch, which can be more daunting.
If you want to go deeper into your website building and customizations, then IM Creator makes this possible. The site editor includes a variety of gallery and slideshow options, plus image effects to drop over your uploaded pictures, and the option to change everything from the fonts used to the page margins.
IM Creator is a superb choice if you're looking to stand out from the pack – it has a wide choice of templates and some detailed editing options too. This makes it appealing to creatives that want an easy-to-build option, but equally want freedom to make their website their own. On the other hand, it does need a bit more time and effort investment than other site builders, so isn’t best suited to those that just want a quick option.
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Krop is not just your average portfolio builder - it's a dynamic platform that seamlessly combines a creative jobs site with portfolio-building capabilities. This approach ensures that your work gets noticed by industry professionals who know exactly what they're looking for.
With a wide variety of beautifully designed templates at your disposal, you can showcase your talents in the most captivating way possible. So, whether you're an established or aspiring creative, Krop's portfolio builder and top-notch templates make it the go-to platform for rising above the competition and making a strong impression in your desired field.
Setting up a site is quick and easy, you can register a custom domain if you want to, and making tweaks to the design and layout of your pages is very straightforward too. On top of that, you get neat extras like Dropbox and Instagram syncing, and Google Analytics integration.
Whether you're a CSS whiz or just getting started, Krop has you covered. If you're familiar with CSS, you can take full control of your site's design. But if coding isn't your thing, no worries, Krop's simple site editor will let you pick fonts and colors with just a few clicks.
And here's the best part – while you're busy building your website, you can also browse job opportunities on the same platform. Krop has a job section where top employers post exciting gigs. Plus, you can give their service a try with a risk-free 14-day trial.
6. Adobe Portfolio
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
When it comes to showcasing portfolios online, Adobe lives up to its reputation as a top-notch creative software provider. Their expertise in crafting exquisite web displays for creative professionals shines through, making it an exceptional choice for artists, designers, and photographers. The platform's user-friendly interface ensures a seamless experience, while its integration with Adobe Creative Cloud allows for easy synchronization and effortless portfolio management.
This solution differs slightly from the other services we've mentioned because it's a free add-on to the Creative Cloud (CC) suite developed by Adobe. If you don't already pay for the programs, then Portfolio won't tempt you to part with your cash. However, if you are a CC subscriber, it's worth considering before venturing anywhere else. College graduates can also get Adobe Portfolio for free for one year.
While it may not offer as many customization and layout options as some other site builders, Adobe Portfolio simplifies and makes the process of getting your work online enjoyable. It integrates seamlessly with Adobe's apps, allowing you to easily share your work directly from Lightroom to the web. You also have the option to purchase and connect a domain if you want that.
Pages are optimized for any device, and you can password-protect certain ones if needed. Moreover, you have the flexibility to bring over a domain name you already own. For a simple portfolio maker that effortlessly plugs into the apps you already use, it's a perfect pick.
Read our full Adobe Porfolio review.
How to choose the best portfolio website builder for you
The first thing to consider when choosing between the best portfolio website builders is what, exactly, you’ll be looking to showcase. If you’re a photographer and videographer planning to display collections of photography and videos, you should prioritize a website builder that will ensure your work looks great, loads quickly, and can host large file sizes. You won’t captivate an online audience if all they can see are poorly-optimized thumbnails.
As a writer, the focus should be on finding a platform that offers a sophisticated way to showcase your literary creations. Whether you plan to maintain a blog or provide links to your published works displayed on other websites, the website builder should support a seamless and visually pleasing presentation of your writing. A clean and user-friendly layout will help readers engage with your content in a better way.
For artists aiming to showcase their artistic masterpieces, the website templates' design and style must align perfectly with your art and artistic vision. Look for a builder that offers customizable templates, allowing you to tailor the website's appearance to match your artistic flair. A visually striking portfolio can leave a lasting impression on your visitors.
Those seeking to monetize their talent and convert visitors into customers should choose a builder equipped with built-in ecommerce functionality. This will seamlessly integrate online stores or selling platforms, enabling you to offer prints, artwork, or other merchandise directly to your audience.
Lastly, while exploring different portfolio website builders, keep your budget in mind. Many website builders offer free plans, but they might not include all the top features and functionalities you need to create a professional and comprehensive portfolio. Consider the features that are crucial for your portfolio's success and compare them against the pricing plans offered by the different platforms. Investing in a premium plan might be worthwhile if it matches your portfolio mission and helps you achieve it.
The best portfolio website builder: How we test
In order to come up with our list of best portfolio website builders, we've taken a deep dive into each platform, with a specific view as to how they perform as portfolios.
With that in mind, we’ve noted where the scope of customisation is vast, and where the builder comes with a range of template options to pick from. For users who are a little more code-confident, we’ve also noted where some builders might suit those who wish to take customisation to a more advanced level.
We’ve taken a close look at security options, from password-protecting pages and content to default SSL security. We’ve also analysed the accompanying analytics, with user behaviour data increasingly becoming the lucrative currency of our times.
And on the subject of currency, we’ve also looked at the cost of the above website builders, listing where some features and services come completely free, and where we recommend shelling out a little more to guarantee a more striking and effective portfolio.
Best website builder for portfolios FAQs
What is a portfolio website builder?
A portfolio website builder is an online platform that allows individuals, such as artists, photographers, writers, and designers, to create and showcase their work in a visually attractive and well-organized way. It should provide a whole variety of customizable options to suit different creative needs and styles.
A rock-solid website builder for portfolios should offer user-friendly tools and ready-made templates for designing a professional portfolio without the need for coding or web development skills. Once the site is up, artists and photographers should be able to curate their artwork into galleries with eye-catching displays and showcase their artwork in high resolution. Meanwhile, writers should present their literary pieces in an elegant and reader-friendly format.
Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting your creative journey, these user-friendly tools can open up new opportunities to share and promote your work.
What are the most important features of a portfolio website?
One of the cornerstones of a perfect portfolio website is a simple-to-operate and visually stunning layout. It should be designed to captivate visitors and draw attention to your creative work.
Next, high-quality images and videos that load quickly are essential for providing a seamless and immersive user experience. Additionally, customizable templates play a significant role in tailoring your portfolio to reflect your unique style and brand identity. Whether you prefer a sleek and modern design or a more artistic approach, the right templates will allow you to create a portfolio that truly represents you.
Also, a user-friendly interface is important in ensuring that visitors can navigate through your portfolio without the hassle and access the content they seek. Think about intuitive menus, clear categorization of projects, and straightforward navigation options that bring about a positive user experience. With seamless integration of multimedia elements, such as audio or interactive elements, you can add interactivity to your portfolio, which can enhance user engagement.
Bearing in mind the rise of mobile device usage, your should ensure your portfolio website is mobile-responsive. A portfolio that looks stunning and functions flawlessly on various screen sizes will let you reach a wider audience.
For creative professionals looking to monetize their talents, built-in e-commerce functionality could be a game-changer. Having the ability to sell your artwork directly from your portfolio simplifies the buying process for potential clients and collectors. Integrating secure payment gateways and simple checkout processes can significantly increase the chances of turning visitors into paying customers.
Can I create a portfolio website for free?
Yes, some website builders come with free-forever plans, allowing you to create a fully functional portfolio website at no expense. However, it's important to bear in mind that free plans often come with certain limitations.
These restrictions may include limited storage space, which limits the number of images, videos, or projects you can showcase. Also, free plans might offer fewer customization options, preventing you from personalizing your portfolio's appearance to completely match your art style.
Another aspect to consider is that free plans often display the website builder's branding, which will make your portfolio look less professional and put off some of your potential customers.
While you’ll have to pay for a premium plan, upgrading to it will unlock a whole array of advantages, giving you greater flexibility and more control over your portfolio.
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Mirza Bahic is a freelance tech journalist and blogger from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the past four years, Mirza has been ghostwriting for a number of tech start-ups from various industries, including cloud, retail and B2B technology.
- Owain WilliamsB2B Editor, Website Builder