When you’re working as a creative, or you’d like to start your career as a creative, then showcasing your portfolio in the best light possible is incredibly important.
Your portfolio is an extension of you and what you can do as a designer or an artist. For this reason, you’ll want to use the tools you have available to create the best portfolio site possible. The last thing you want to do is to throw up a few images of your work on a basic website.
Your professional portfolio website also needs to be easy to use, give an introduction to you as a creative, highlight your creative work, and give people a way to get in touch, or actually hire you.
If all that sounds like a lot, don’t worry. Below we’ll dive into what a website builder actually is, why you’ll want to use a website builder for your portfolio, the various website builders you’ll have available to you, and finally, you’ll learn how to use one without any coding skills required.
What Is a Website Builder?
In the old days of the web, if you wanted to build a website and have it live on the internet, you’d need to know how to code. But, since the proliferation of website building tools and portfolio templates, even complete beginners can have a site online in a single afternoon.
What are website builders? To review, they are pieces of software that are created to simplify the website building process. Most website builders are built for complete beginners, so you won’t have to touch a line of code in order to build your very first website.
Website builders are also engineered with web best practices in mind. So, you’ll get a site that’s going to be in alignment with user expectations, have a professional design, and have all of the features you require to highlight your projects.
Most website builders you use to build a website rely upon themes or templates that offer you a basic foundation to work from. Then you’ll add and drag and drop different site elements until your site is complete. There are all kinds of themes you’ll be able to choose from, including specialty graphic designer themes or artist portfolios.
Benefits of Using an Artist Portfolio Website Builder
Website builders have been used to create millions of websites. Probably at least a handful that you’ve visited before. For a lot of people, yearning to build a website, using a website builder is a no-brainer.
Here are a few of the biggest reasons website builders have become so popular.
1. No Technical Skills Required
You can literally fire up a website builder right now and have a fully built website in a couple of hours. If the thought of digging into your own website’s code scares you, then don’t worry. With a website builder, you’ll never have to have any coding skills..
When you’re using a website builder you’ll mostly be using drag and drop features to literally build your website by clicking around with your mouse. Then, the website builder will automatically create the necessary code required for your website to be rendered by a browser.
Making changes to your website is easy too. You just use the same process of building your site the first time to change pages, add to new content, or give your site a facelift.
2. Libraries of Themes and Templates to Choose From
Want to change up how your site looks, just select a new theme or template. Most website builders are equipped with massive theme libraries that have been designed by professional designers.
This means you can get a professionally designed website without the cost of paying an expensive web developer. Plus, all of these themes will be up to the latest design and usability standards.
So, you don’t have to worry about getting an outdated website if you rely upon a website builder.
If you’re looking for the perfect theme for your graphic design or artist portfolio, you’ll have a few different themes to choose from. Plus, with all the customization options offered you don’t have to worry about your website looking like every other site out there.
3. Speedy Website Creation
Want to get your website online yesterday?
Website builders offer you the ability to create your website super quickly. Just choose the builder you want to use, select your theme, make a few customizations, add your content, and publish.
If you aren’t satisfied with your design you can always tweak and update your site after you publish too.
Without a website builder to create a website, you’re going to have a lot of trouble creating the perfect online portfolio website. Of course, you can teach yourself how to program and then build your site. But, that’s going to take a ton of time, and you still might not end up with a website that you like.
Save yourself the time and the headache and invest in a quality website builder.
How to Choose the Right Website Builder
Since website builders are so popular you’ll find a lot of different companies that offer top-notch website builders. But, not all of them are going to be suited for your portfolio website. When comparing different providers keep the following in mind.
Whether you need an artist portfolio or a graphic design website builder, the following will apply.
1. How Easy Is It to Use?
There’s no point in using a website builder if you can’t figure out how to make it work. Most website builders are created so there’s virtually no learning curve, but some might be better suited to your particular technical abilities.
Before you decide to use a website builder spend some time playing around with the tool. Most builders will allow you to create a free account in order to test the tool.
2. How Large Is the Template or Theme Selection?
The template or theme selection that’s included with your builder should match the goals of your site. Most website builders will allow you to view the entire, or at least a sample, of the theme library before you sign up.
This will give you a chance to take stock of the current theme selection to see if there’s any that you like. Most builders will have their themes broken down by different categories, so look for sections that say “portfolio”, or are otherwise related to your niche.
3. Is There a Large Feature Set?
In time you might want to add more features to your site. You might start with what amounts to a digital business card, but in time you might want to expand this.
For example, is it easy to integrate social media into your site? Can you add a blog if need be? What about other forms of media, like video? Do you have the ability to sell things like prints directly from your site?
Think about the eventual direction you might want to take your site in the future and see if the existing feature set can help you achieve those goals.
4. What Pricing Options Are Available?
Finally, you’ll want a website builder that’s actually in your price range. You’ll usually find that there are different price ranges depending on how large your site is, what kind of features you need, and the levels of traffic you’re getting.
Many website builders have monthly subscriptions that you’ll have to pay for the lifetime of your site.
Finally, when examining different website builders look for scalability. For example, if your site all of a sudden starts getting tens of thousands of visitors per month will you be able to upgrade your plan, or will you have to switch to a different provider entirely?
Elements Your Portfolio Website Needs to Have
An Online portfolio website is a little bit different than other sites. Instead of selling products, you’re selling yourself and your work. Although your portfolio will take the main focus, there are still some other pages you’ll want to include.
1. Your Home Page and USP
Your home page should hook your visitors’ attention and communicate what makes your creative work unique, or at the very least it clearly states what you do. For example, maybe you’re a graphic designer who specializes in app design? Make sure you communicate this clearly on your home page.
It can also be helpful to include snippets of your work, but most people don’t opt for the portfolio page straight away. Try to hook your user’s interest first with your best work, then invite them to dive deeper into the rest of your portfolio.
2. Your Portfolio
Here’s the section you came here for—your portfolio.
Beyond showcasing visual examples of your work, you might want to also want to highlight more details about each project.
Ask yourself the following questions about each project you want to highlight:
- What were the overarching goals of the project?
- What solution did you come up with?
- How long did the project take?
- Why are you proud of this project?
- Who was the client? Do you have a testimonial from them?
The more relevant information you can include about each project the better. Think about questions that your potential clients might want answered and include them in your copy.
Your portfolio isn’t just a way to showcase your work, but also how you apply creative problem solving to problems your clients might have.
3. Your Hire Me/Contact
The other very important page is your hire me or contact page. Once you’ve impressed people with your portfolio you want to give them a way to reach out to you! Make sure that your contact page, or hire me page, has a link in your main menu and is easy to find.
This page doesn’t need to be overly complex, but it should include multiple methods of reaching out to you.
The most common approach is a little intro, followed by a contact form. But, on the off chance, you’re having a technical error and the contact form isn’t working, then you’ll also want to list your email and maybe even your phone number.
Some creatives also like to create regular blogs where they’ll talk about past projects, trends in their field, their perspectives about working as a creative and a lot more. Blogging can play a role in driving traffic back to your site, but it’s not an absolute requirement. Especially, if your main goal is to use your blog as a digital showcase for you and your work.
The Best Website Builder for Your Portfolio
Now, you’re probably thinking what’s the best website builder for your portfolio?
There are literally dozens of different options for artists and designers to choose from when creating their online platform. You can either spend time researching all of your options online, or you can take a spin with the HostGator website builder.
Here at HostGator, you’ll find a very easy to use and beginner friendly website builder. There are more than 200 different website templates to choose from, and it relies upon drag and drop technology to build your professional portfolio website.
It’s incredibly cheap and hosting is included in the price. You have the ability to use one of the pre-built website templates, or you can create your site entirely from scratch. Plus, with the ability to integrate PayPal you can even sell your work directly from your site. You’ll also have the ability to upgrade to a higher package to unlock additional features and be able to create a much larger site.
Build Your Online Portfolio Website
So, are website builders worth it for portfolios? We say yes. Hopefully, you have a better idea of how using a website builder can help you build the perfect portfolio website. Why create a website from scratch using custom coding when you can rely on a professional website building tool to help you build a stunning creative portfolio online?
Spend some time researching the best website builder for your needs, and keep in mind that you can always change your site down the road too.
By using a website builder for your portfolio you’ll have a beautiful portfolio online in no time.