Top 5 Website Builders for Portfolios

by Rose Wheeler | Updated Aug. 5, 2022 - First published on May 18, 2022

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A man talking on the phone while sitting in front of his laptop at a coffeeshop.

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Picking the right website builder can make all the difference in displaying a portfolio. Which option meets your criteria?

Creatives have a unique set of criteria for building a site. When it comes to building a professional portfolio website, you need something a little more specific than your typical content management platforms.

Here are our top picks for the best website builders for portfolios:

  • Squarespace
  • Wix
  • WordPress CMS
  • Weebly
  • IM Creator

What to consider when choosing a website builder for a portfolio

Whether you want to build a business website or build a portfolio website, the right software needs to meet a particular set of criteria.

Viewing this from a standpoint of streamlined creativity, there are a few things we looked at that CMS builders for all the top portfolio websites needed to have.

1. Customizability

The best portfolio maker must be able to let you personalize and customize it as needed.

After all, a portfolio is entirely about displaying your brand and aesthetic, so the actual vessel used for display should be easily brought in line with your vision.

You need to be able to design your portfolio (whether you're creating restaurant websites, a graphic designer's site, or a videographer website) to match the look and feel of what you are putting on display.

2. SEO capabilities

When you are focusing on designing the perfect creative showpiece, you want others to be able to find it. What that also means is that you may not have the time or desire to spend tedious hours guessing at and attempting to crack the code on your own.

The best portfolio website builders will be SEO-ready, meaning they optimize your site for you and prompt you to fill in all necessary areas. You can focus more on things like art direction and brand positioning rather than attempting to optimize for search engine ranking.

3. Easy to use

You don’t want to waste your time trying to navigate an unnecessarily complicated dashboard, nor do you need to build a site from scratch.

You, the portfolio creator, should be able to learn a system with ease and not stress about learning a whole new suite of skills simply to create an artist website.

User-friendly systems are a must, whether you are setting up the framework, building a landing page, or updating a post.

The five best website builders for a portfolio site

There are any number of options out there available, but these five not only meet the core three criteria above, but have a loyal following of creatives and the right tools to make a portfolio shine front and center.

1. Squarespace

If there is one thing Squarespace is known for, it’s the fact that they offer sleek, professional, and well-designed templates, many of which have been created to showcase portfolios.

This makes it a bit of a no-brainer as a top choice for a portfolio builder; you could even say that Squarespace has positioned itself well in the market as a go-to portfolio option.

By nature, Squarespace sites are great for showcasing creative work. The aforementioned templates or themes are not only visually appealing, but they are also designed to be easy to work with and uncomplicated.

Plus, Squarespace keeps things streamlined. The absence of widgets and apps makes it ideal for a streamlined focus on displaying creativity, though it does offer select plug-ins to enhance the right capabilities, such as marketing your brand and analyzing performance in metrics you actually care about.

Toolbar showing Squarespace theme categories as well as two options.

Squarespace themes are elegant and the choices numerous. Image source: Author

Squarespace also offers integrated blogging, which allows you to not only expand your SEO reach but enhance your brand.

It keeps things easy on you, too, allowing for the ability to schedule postings in advance, set up access for multiple authors, and extend those showcase design capabilities to creating an equally professional-looking blog for less than $12 a month.

Read The Ascent's full Squarespace Review

2. Wix

Wix is a perennial favorite of website builders, and it shines particularly well when building a portfolio website.

When it comes to ease of use, Wix excels, with its drag-and-drop editing platform and very user-friendly, coding-free dashboard.

This builder forgoes the technical jargon and gets right down to what matters most: letting you build a professional portfolio.

Wix’s site colors toolbar, with the main identified color as pink and various palette options below, including black, white, gray and red compliments.

The Wix color picker is almost magic, making life easier for creatives everywhere. Image source: Author

This system takes customization to heart, allowing you to design a truly personalized portfolio. It lets you develop your entire site theme and color palette around a central logo, image, or brand colors, without you needing to figure out how to set color themes up on your own.

Merely by uploading an image, Wix’s intuitive platform can grab key colors and offer palette options for your entire site, ensuring seamless creative consistency.

For a low price, Wix eliminates the stress of web development and highlights the power of optics to showcase your work professionally.

Read The Ascent's full Wix Review

3. WordPress CMS

Being open-source, WordPress essentially lets you create a free portfolio website. Another benefit of that open-source nature is its sheer flexibility.

Basically, whatever you need a site to be, WordPress can make it happen, thanks to over 50,000 possible integrations. With so many options, you are assured to have the right tools to create an excellent portfolio.

One of the best parts about building your portfolio with WordPress is the ease of uploading and managing media. Since portfolios are media-heavy by nature, having an easy-to-access library at any time is a must, as are quick and efficient uploading capabilities.

Screenshot of the WordPress “Add Media” page with instructions to drag files to upload.

Don’t stress about uploading with the simplicity of WordPress's media manager. Image source: Author

With WordPress, you only need to drag new images or videos into the media manager to upload, and they are safely stored for future use in your media library.

WordPress also offers plenty of options for themes and customization, so you can build a portfolio that is very specific to your design needs.

Plus, the customization feature lets you modify your entire site and theme from one hub, rather than having to worry about diving in page by page to customize everything yourself.

Read The Ascent's full Wordpress CMS Review

4. Weebly

Weebly throws its hat into the ring, offering a solution that is both affordable and straightforward. Similar to its e-commerce focus, Weebly itself is easy to use and provides a lot of features.

For one, its offering of templates is ever-expanding, and the templates are designed to be sleek and straightforward to upload. Templates are well optimized for both mobile and desktop browsing, assuring you an aesthetically pleasing portfolio across devices.

A screenshot of Weebly theme options, one showing a muted photo on an angled tablet and the other an illustration to look like overlapping notes in gray, turquoise and purple.

Weebly’s standard themes are eye-catching and easy to customize, or you can opt to pay for a more extensively designed third-party theme. Image source: Author

You can also very easily include e-commerce features in your Weebly portfolio to make selling your work, should you choose to do that, a breeze.

Weebly sites start at only $6 per month with an annual subscription, and the next level is only $12 per month (billed annually), which includes unlimited storage and a branded domain.

5. IM Creator

Many people turn to IM Creator to build a portfolio thanks to its large selection of templates and ability to get a site started fast.

While it may take a little more backend development than the other four options in terms of time spent designing, it is not excessively complicated (you don’t need to know a single thing about coding), and the results are worth it.

There are a lot of options with IM Creator, giving you advanced customizability. Like the other four CMS, however, it does come with a ton of pre-made themes in which you can select, design, and edit content blocks rather than build everything from scratch.

However, if you are tech savvy and like the idea of total creative control, you do have the option to go deeper into site building, with the ability to select a template build or a blank slate at the start.

Three options for site building: “choose a template” with 24 icons above, “start from blank” with two blank sheets of paper and “my sites” with a gray folder.

Choose your difficulty level or further edit one of your existing sites with IM Creator. Image source: Author

The editor itself is comprehensive and intuitive, giving you both gallery and slideshow viewing options, and a host of effects to use.

Also, IM Creator offers in-depth personalization abilities, including font changes, colors, margin sizes, and more. This site builder lets you stand out in a crowd and can feed the full depth of your artistic insight.

Picking your perfect portfolio program

With the right tools, almost anyone can figure out how to build a website. But using the right system to make and manage something creative and specific is what lets you create your best portfolio website.

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