If you want to promote yourself as a photographer, you’ll need a great portfolio website. A website is your online business card, as it represents you and your business online, helping potential clients see what you can offer them. When someone you talk to online or face to face wants to know more about what you do, all you need to do is give them your URL, where they can see examples of your work, companies and people you’ve worked with, and information about you, your experience, and skills.
Even better, having a portfolio website means that people can find you online when they need a photographer in your area. An online presence is crucial these days to succeed, and a website is step 1 in making that happen.
How to Create Online Portfolio Websites
Creating websites is not as complicated as it used to be. There are three methods you can choose from, depending on your time and budget,
Hiring Professional Designers and Developers
This is the mostly costly option, but it provides you with a site that has been professional designed specifically according to your needs and desires. It is also a longer process, and can take anywhere from 1-3 months before having your website live.
Using Website Builders with Help
Some website builders, like WordPress, allow you to quickly get a site live, but they require some development or design experience. There are also site builders that offer to build your website for you. That means that this process is faster and cheaper that the first option, but it can still be complicated and expensive. You are also limited to the website builder you’re using and its capabilities, so you won’t always be able to make the changes you want to make.
Creating Personal Portfolio Websites with DIY Site Builders
There are many different website builders to choose from, each with its own pros and cons, depending on your specific needs. The downside to this method is that it takes up your time, since you’re not paying someone else to do it, and depending on the site builder you choose, it can be limiting in terms of features and design capabilities. The upside to this method is that you can have a website live in a day, and the costs are significantly lower than all of your other options.
Before choosing a site builder, it is important to learn a little bit about each one to understand what fits your needs for your portfolio website.
Wix is a very popular option for personal portfolio websites. You can create free portfolio websites without a dedicated domain, for example yourname.wix.com, or pay for an annual subscription to have your domain connected to your site.
The benefits of Wix are the flexibility of their design features and the beautiful templates that they offer. The templates are very modern and varied in design and layout, and you can edit pretty much anything when it comes to design. The only limits with Wix, like any other site builder, are the features and apps they provide. They do have quite a lot of apps compared to others, such as blogs, scheduling apps, social media, subscription, maps, and more, and some are free while others need to be purchased for an additional fee.
A great thing about Wix for photographers and designers is that it is a very design-oriented site builder, and there are a number of templates to choose from that are created specifically for portfolios. Other category templates may also be suitable, but may require a bit more editing. The photographer portfolio templates can be used as is if you like the design, which will save you a lot of time to getting your site live.
Wix is ideal for users with some background in design, since the design capabilities are limitless. If you don’t have design experience, you can still use Wix if you find a template that doesn’t need much editing, and have a website up and running in minutes. The site builder also offers Wix ADI, which is fairly new, and is a great option for people who want to get a good-looking site ready as quickly as possible. It is a Wix website builder that uses artificial design intelligence to create and design a website just for you, so that you don’t have to spend hours editing and changing your site until it’s ready to be published.
BoldGrid is a great option if you want to blog and use WordPress for your site. We mentioned before that WordPress usually requires development skills, but BoldGrid changes that. It is a site builder built on the WordPress platform, allowing you to create a WordPress site with a drag and drop site builder interface.
The main benefit is that you have all of the WordPress capabilities available to you, which means any feature or plugin you require can easily be installed, and you can choose any WordPress template you want – there are thousands. There are a lot of plugins that are great for portfolio websites, like gallery plugins that allow you to display your photos in an impressive way on your homepage. You can also find templates that are specifically for photographers, and have great features for displaying photos and videos. The downside is that you are limited in your design capabilities, unless you have web development experience.
Like Wix, Weebly also offers a free package deal, but that does not include a custom domain and limits the number of pages you can add to your site to 10. The site builder is extremely easy to use and understand without a major learning curve. There are over 30 different layout designs you can choose from, and editing pages is very straightforward. A mobile version of your site is created automatically and is updated with every change you make, but you can edit the mobile site separately. Overall, it’s a great option if you don’t want to spend too much time creating your site and you don’t need any complicated features or designs, because it is limited in that respect.
The advantage with Weebly is that it is nearly impossible to make any serious mistakes, so it’s great for anyone with little-to-no experience in design, or if you just want to get your website live as quickly as possible. You can still have great templates and designs for your portfolio, but your design capabilities are limited, so it’s best for people who want to get something up and running quickly. You can use Weebly’s galleries and slideshows to showcase your work on the homepage or a separate page, and it’s very easy and quick to set up.
Sitey is relatively new and its biggest advantage is the large database of templates that it offers, all of which look great and are free to use. They have hundreds of templates to choose from, and a number of them are designed for portfolios, with beautiful designs and galleries. You can choose a template and then make changes to the color scheme, and they are all mobile-friendly. Making changes to your site is done in a drag-and-drop editor, and there are many features that include SEO tools and e-commerce/shop plugins to sell products online. It is a good choice if you plan on selling items online and not just creating a static portfolio website.
The best portfolio websites are designed in a way that represents your style and uniqueness as a photographer or designer, and provide visitors with all of the information they need to get in touch, including, your contact information, examples of your work, the locations you work in, your experience.
To learn more about the top website builders available, and read detailed reviews, check out Top 5 Website Builders. For questions or additional information about the article, leave us a message in the comments!