In this age of online everything, your web presence can make or break your freelance career — especially if you’re just starting out.
If prospective clients don’t know you by reputation, they need a quick, easy way to suss out your work, your style and your level of professionalism. While social media accounts can do wonders (having a few thousand Twitter followers never hurt a freelancer’s credibility), you’ll need more than that as your online calling card.
That’s where your online portfolio comes into play. In general, your website needs to have two things going for it:
- Uncluttered design: If a prospective client can’t find what they need in less than 10 seconds, you’ve got too much going on. You’ve lost their attention… and a potential gig.
- Easy-to-read clips: If someone is looking to hire you, their main goal in coming to your site is to read your work and see if they like it. Make it simple for them!
A website that fulfills these two basic criteria is not that hard to create, and you’ve got lots of good portfolio design tools to help you get there. We’ve looked at how Pinterest works as a writing portfolio, but here are seven more of the best platforms to highlight your work and help you land your next freelance writing job:
Your online portfolio needs an uncluttered design and easy-to-read clips, says @A_FavreauClick to tweet
On Journo Portfolio, you can create a modern, no-fuss online portfolio. The dashboard is easy to use: customize your site’s look with one of many themes, and sort your clips into any number of arrangements and pages.
One of the other nice features is the range of ways you can share materials: link directly to clips, or upload almost any kind of multimedia, including PDFs, videos and images.
Cool Feature: This platform allows you to blog directly onto Journo Portfolio. That way, you can use to site to highlight your past work and as a personal blog. Say goodbye to managing multiple platforms!
Price: FREE for a name.journoportfolio.com URL, or $3.50 to $8.75 per month for the pro versions that let you use your own domain, like www.yourname.com
Clippings.me was created explicitly for the freelance journalist. It gives you a quick and easy way to show off as many clips as you want, and add just enough detail about yourself to make you seem human. Like Journo Portfolio, you can add links, upload PDFs or embed multimedia pieces, including podcasts.
Clippings.me also offers an open journalism directory where you can list beats you cover and (hopefully) gain access to more prospective clients.
Cool Feature: Simplicity is the name of the game. If you just need to get your work online and aren’t too worried about customization — i.e. you want a wham-bam-thank-you-m’am experience — this is a great choice.
Price: FREE for the basic version, $8 per month for the pro version
Squarespace is a slick drag-and-drop website builder that offers a stellar visual experience. While this isn’t a traditional portfolio site (nor is it targeted solely at writers), it’s a really good choice if you incorporate design or graphics into your work.
Their templates give off a clean, minimalistic and sophisticated vibe. And their responsive design is rock solid — an important factor when prospective clients want to view your writing on their phones or tablets.
Cool Feature: It’s just so darn pretty. Although Squarespace offers less than thirty templates in total, you’re sure to find something that’s gorgeous and sleek.
Price: $8 per month for the basic version, $16 to $24 per month for the pro versions
Contently has an irreverent tone (their motto: “We are a bunch of journalists and nerds trying to make something awesome.”) and a sleek aesthetic. Contently makes money by connecting journalists with companies who need content producers, but a nice offshoot of this business is their portfolio platform. It’s free, simple, and straightforward.
Cool Feature: If you do a lot of byline work, Contently can be an absolute lifesaver: all you need to do is list the publications you write for and Contently crawls and catalogues the pieces that you wrote. It does make some mistakes, but they’re easy to fix manually. This feature is helpful if you’re dealing with high-volume work.
Similar Sites: Muck Rack
Flavors.me is a great splash page for social media butterflies: it lets you bring all of your social networking sites, RSS feeds, videos and more onto one page. Your posts, tweets and other publications can be displayed right on the site, so your visitors can easily browse all of your social activity in one place.
While the free version is fine, with seven layouts and hundred of available fonts, it’s worth springing for the Premium version. Not only is it just $20 per year, it lets you have a unique URL, more layout options and a mobile version. Flavors.me definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for something a little offbeat, a little funky and a lot colorful, you’re in the right place.
Cool Feature: Both free and paid accounts get access to the “social stream” feature, which is like an RSS reader for all the social goings-on of your friends. It’s one of those features you probably don’t need, but it’s fun to have.
Similar Sites: About.me
Price: FREE for the basic version, $20 per year for the pro version
Pressfolios is another portfolio site targeted squarely at journalists. It sells itself on two features:
- The ability to easily show off your work: It’s extremely user-friendly and a good option for less technically-inclined
- The ability to back up your work: Every time you upload a piece, Pressfolios automatically clips a PDF version and saves it to the cloud. That way, you don’t have to worry about your writing disappearing even if the original websites go down.
Cool Feature: Pressfolios has a Google Chrome extension that lets you add to your portfolio with one click from a story’s source.
Price: FREE for the basic version (only 12 stories), $12 per month for the pro version
WordPress is the granddaddy of content management platforms. While not specifically geared towards writer portfolios, the joy of WordPress is that you can do pretty much anything you want with it. It’s available as a totally free, no-frills blog; a paid version with more bells and whistles; or the “install-it-yourself-and-do-whatever-the-hell-you-like setup,” as web editor Jon Norris put it.
Your standard WordPress themes aren’t ideal for portfolio work, but search Google for “WordPress portfolio themes” and you’ll have everything you could ask for — WordPress even offers this dedicated portfolio splash page! This is a great platform for people who want lots of options and total creative control (and who don’t mind fussing around with a little CSS).
Cool Feature: Since WordPress is so adaptable, it can be a good place to start if you think you may want something beyond a portfolio site somewhere down the line. That way, when you realize that you want to be both a freelance writer and a makeup artist, you’re not stuck on a platform where you can’t show off your other skills.
Price: FREE for a basic blog, the sky’s the limit for more creative options
What are some of your favorite examples of freelance portfolios?