How to build a portfolio site


Lately I've gotten quite a few questions from friends asking how they should get started creating a portfolio website. Over the past few years I've struggled with this myself. I didn't know whether to use a blog or a site with static pages to share my work. Tumblr, Wix, Blogspot, WordPress...I tried them all. 

It wasn't until this past January when Squarespace changed my life. (No really, it did.) I had heard about a student discount for it, then decided to give the 14-day trial a try. I picked a template and starting playing with settings. A week in, I was obsessed, staying up til 3 a.m. deciding on my domain name, resizing blog photos, and attempting to learn basic Javascript. As everything came together over a few weeks time, I finally felt like I had a website and blog I'm proud of.


There are so many website-builders out there, and I'm sure any of them could do the job and look really good, but in my opinion Squarespace is the easiest platform to use for someone like me.

Three Reasons I Love Squarespace

1. It looks professional and elegant

Go to the Squarespace homepage. The page is downright beautiful and the designer in me can't stop squealing. These guys know what they're doing. When you make your own website, you can choose from sleek expertly designed templates. No more wasting time trying to learn to code your own theme. I knew I wanted a blog template that would allow me to show off photos and fill the width of the entire screen, so I ended up with the one I'm using now. It's modern, classic, and elegant. I remember WordPress and Blogspot would have unnecessary toolbars and tacky widgets everywhere. It was distracting. Squarespace is simple and clean...just what I need.

2. Front end and back end integration

The new Squarespace combines the content manager (back-end) and preview mode (front-end) so you can edit your pages and preview changes at the same time. What you see is what you get. The side panel takes some getting used to, but once you learn to navigate the content manager and style editor, you'll realize how streamlined everything is and start building unique pages in no time. The customize options are limited but they get the job done while looking super professional. And using the unlimited bandwidth and storage, I can upload as many photos as I want to into my galleries photo-extensive travel diary blog posts. Everything is super user-friendly and beautiful. A few clicks and I can make things happen.


3. The selection of page options

Squarespace allows you to choose from pages like galleries, blogs, cover pages, calendars, products...yes it even has an integrated e-commerce option so you can sell things. (Can't wait to set that up on Studio Sophy.) Photo galleries, music playlists, social media blocks...Squarespace is designed for creatives looking to show off their work. When I started, I was thrilled to find out I could incorporate a blog into my portfolio website. I was able to create pages that showed off my best work and at the same time keep the site up-to-date with more frequent blog posts that allowed me to show off my personality and share about my life. It was exactly what I was looking for.


This past month I revamped my website and streamlined the navigation to include a intro page and separate portfolio pages. I like how I can exhibit the different types of work I do (hover over "Portfolio" at the top of this page to see it all) and I'm pretty happy with it. I don't think I'll ever be completely satisfied with how my website looks but done is better than perfect. 

Squarespace isn't sponsoring me or anything, as much as I'd love for them to. As an artist and designer who can't really code, I honestly just love the website-building platform so much I can't stop recommending it. Start with a free trial and get your own domain name (and tell everyone about it). I strongly believe in the importance of showing off and sharing your work, especially students. I know so many talented people who do such amazing things. The world deserves to see them.

Now get to it :)