In today’s digital world, having an easy-to-access portfolio of work is a must-have for creative specialists, such as writers, designers, photographers, and more.
Fortunately, building a portfolio website doesn’t have to be a time-intensive, costly endeavor. Compared to traditional portfolios, there’s no need to spend on paper, print, ink, which can be quite expensive for you.
By using WordPress, you can put together a professional portfolio website without any special technical knowledge. Simply follow the steps outlined in our guide below to build a portfolio website using WordPress.
Why use WordPress for your portfolio website?
WordPress makes it easy to put together your portfolio at a low cost and without coding experience.
This is an amazing time-saving feature for artists who want their work shown off in the best light possible without having to spend hours on paper or dealing with tricky printing problems.
By choosing WordPress, you can build a beautiful and professional portfolio to:
- Showcase your skills: A beautiful portfolio website means your work can stand out and highlight the best of your skills.
- Capture potential clients and recruiters: With an appealing portfolio, clients are more likely to see the value of your work.
- Earn work and book services directly on your site: Clients can check out your work and get in touch directly. You might even add a one-click payment link.
- Boost your brand: Your online presence can elevate your professionalism and make clients aware of your brand.
Unlike other platforms, you can customize all areas of your portfolio website and stay in full control of the branding, analytics, and payments. It also follows best practices for web design today, including SEO, mobile responsiveness, and more.
Plus, WordPress offers a large library of themes and plugins that you can leverage.
This means you don’t have to design from scratch. Instead, you can simply use pro-designed templates and web builders to save you time as you make your portfolio.
Before you start building your portfolio on WordPress
Before you dive in and build your portfolio website, you should prepare some materials in advance. Kick off the process by getting your content ready, so you can simply drop it into WordPress.
1. Choose the work you’re most proud of
There’s no need to include every project you’ve ever worked on. Select the work you’re most proud of, especially those that relate to the type of work you’re hoping to get.
2. Write captivating, SEO-powered descriptions
For each portfolio entry, create a clear description that uses SEO for your industry. By adding keywords, you’ll attract clients searching for your type of work.
3. Enhance portfolio entries with high-quality visuals
To boost engagement, every entry should have a high-quality visual to accompany it. Choose an image or video that captures the showcased work.
Make sure you compress your visuals before uploading them onto WordPress. If they’re too big, it can slow down page navigation and make your visitors wait for the browser to load. To avoid this problem and make sure that the quality of the visuals stays high, try editing them with online photo or video editors like Canva and others.
4. Prepare other content areas, as needed
Your portfolio website may benefit from other types of content as well, such as an “about me”
section, contact form, and testimonials. Prep this content ahead of time so you can easily add it.
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5. Hire your domain name and hosting
Before you build a portfolio website on WordPress, you’ll need to hire two key services in advance: the domain name and hosting.
You’ll have to purchase a domain name, which will be your website’s URL. Choose a domain registrar to look up available names and buy your own. While GoDaddy is the most popular registrar, you might also opt for BlueHost, HostGator, Namecheap, or DreamHost.
To get your website up and running, you’ll have to hire a web hosting service. Some popular providers include BlueHost, HostGator, Hostinger, Hostwinds, DreamHost, GreenGeeks, etc. Just be sure to avoid cheap providers, as they might not have the same level of security.
How to build a portfolio website using WordPress
Now that you have all the materials and services ready to build your portfolio website, let’s get started! Below, our tutorial will use BlueHost as a hosting provider, but you can choose your preferred provider instead.
Step 1: Purchase your domain name and hosting on BlueHost
To get WordPress set up, you’ll have to purchase your domain name and hosting. Simply go to BlueHost and choose the Basic hosting plan.
When prompted, you can add the domain name you would like (which is included in the first year). After adding your domain name, simply click “Next.”
Finally, you’ll have to fill in all your account information. A variety of “package extras” are available here and you may want to consider the “Domain Privacy Protection,” which hides your name and address from public view. Once you’re ready, click “Submit.”
Step 2: Install WordPress via BlueHost
Next, you have to install WordPress from your BlueHost account. Start by logging into your BlueHost account. Once in, the site will prompt you to select a theme. Feel free to pick one or skip it for now.
Once you’re ready to create your site, click on “Start Building” and you’ll be taken to the WordPress dashboard.
Step 3: Choose a portfolio-friendly WordPress theme, builder and/or plugin
You can search online for WordPress themes for designers. These are usually the most creative ones. There’s also the alternative of getting one from the WordPress repository.
From the WordPress dashboard, you can now start putting together your portfolio website. Start by choosing your theme. Click on “Appearance” → “Themes.” Find your preferred theme from the grid or search for it in the bar. Once you’ve chosen your favorite, click “Install.”
Ideally, you should choose a WordPress theme that’s friendly for building portfolios. For example, some themes have specific “Portfolio” post types that can make it easy to showcase your work. Our theme recommendations for WordPress portfolios include:
- Clean Portfolio
Should you use a WordPress page builder, too?
If you’re looking for even more professional designs and page features, you might opt for a WordPress page builder that comes with its own themes, modules, and portfolio opportunities.
Go beyond the basics by selecting one of the best page builders for easy designing and deciding on your theme from there. For example, you may achieve a highly professional look by choosing WordPress theme development with React.
What if your theme doesn’t come with a “Portfolio” post type?
If your favorite theme doesn’t have a “Portfolio” post type, you can also build a portfolio using a plugin. Simply click on “Plugins” → “Add New” to install new ones. Just like themes, you can use the search bar or check out featured plugins in the grid. Once you’ve found the plugin of your choice, click “Install Now.”
Here are some top plugins to build a portfolio website:
- NextGen Gallery
- Envira Photo Gallery
- Portfolio Post Type
- Portfolio Gallery
- Visual Portfolio
Step 4: Activate your Portfolio settings
To start set-up, click on “Portfolio” on the left sidebar. (If you chose a plugin, select it from the sidebar instead.) If you don’t see “Portfolio” in your list, you may need to activate it. To do so, simply navigate to “Settings” → “Writing” → “Content Types” and toggle on the “Portfolio Projects” option.
Here you can also adjust how many Portfolio Projects to display per page. Simply fill in the blank with your preferred number.
Step 5: Add materials and adjust project settings
It’s time to add your first portfolio entry. Navigate to “Portfolio” → “Add New.” From there you’ll be taken to the individual entry’s settings.
Once here, you should drop in the content you’ve already prepared, including:
- The featured image
- The description
- The excerpt meta
You should also take a close look at the settings on the right-hand sidebar. For example, if you want to allow comments on your portfolio entries, simply click on “Discussion” and check the option “Allow comments.” Here you can also select the project types and tags for SEO.
Step 6: Publish and manage your portfolio as needed
Once your portfolio entry is ready, click “Publish” in the upper right-hand corner. Take a look at the live version and make sure it appears as you wish.
Next, go ahead and fill out all your portfolio items so that the grid is complete. Remember that you may have to reorder the portfolio items for them to show in your preferred sequence.
Step 7: Add About Me, contact form, and testimonials (optional)
Once your portfolio is complete, you should also build out the rest of your website so that it’s easy for clients to learn more about you and get in touch. For example, you may want to add pages or sections for:
- “About Me” – Click on “Pages” and add a new page dedicated to who you are, including your professional background and available services.
- Contact form – Add a contact form for clients to get in touch. You might try installing any major contact form plugin or simply add your info to a new “Page.”
- Testimonials – The same goes if you want to add testimonials to your portfolio website. Take advantage of the Strong Testimonials plugin to get started.
Share your new portfolio website with clients
In a few easy steps, you can build a portfolio using WordPress with no experience required. To keep your portfolio website updated over time, you can add more entries or manage them by going to the “Portfolio” settings. Ultimately, WordPress makes it easy to maintain and update your portfolio as your career grows.
Now that you have a beautiful portfolio to showcase your projects, share the link with potential clients and get more work!