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. Even if you’re not quite ready to start a blog, a simple online portfolio that promotes your freelance writing can do a lot to help you land clients.
Regardless of which portfolio website you decide to go with, you should aim for these two things:
- 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!
- 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-use portfolio websites to showcase your work
An online portfolio that fulfills these two basic criteria doesn’t have to be complicated to create. You’ve got lots of good portfolio design tools to help you get there! And if you want a free portfolio website, we’ve got you covered there, too.
When you’re ready to land your next freelance writing job, here are some easy-to-use portfolio websites to choose from.
Squarespace is an effortless drag-and-drop website builder that offers a stellar visual experience. While this isn’t a traditional portfolio website (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, minimalist 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. While there are many website building tools — like Wix and Weebly — Squarespace comes out ahead for its sleek visual design.
Cool Feature: Stuck on a design issue while building your portfolio at 3 a.m.? Squarespace’s 24/7 client support (via email or live chat from Monday to Friday) is top-notch. Being able to communicate with a real human being when you have a question or issue can make freelance life that much easier.
Free version: No but there is a free trial
Upgrade option: It costs $12 per month for a personal website with a free custom domain. For business and commerce versions, which include SEO features, advanced analytics, fully-integrated e-commerce and unlimited storage, it costs $18 to $40 per month.
Clippings.me was created explicitly for freelance journalists. It gives you a quick and easy way to show off your favorite clips, 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. And if you get stuck finding the right words to sell yourself or if you need some design guidance, check out their Writing Portfolio Guide.
Clippings.me also offers an open journalism directory where you can browse journalists based on beats or by country to find potential interviewees for the stories you cover You could (hopefully) use it to gain access to more prospective clients.
Cool Feature: Simplicity is the name of the game. have the bare minimum technical skills but still want a refreshing layout for your online portfolio, this is a great choice.
Free version: Yes! It’s free for the basic version, which allows up to 10 articles.
Upgrade option: The pro version costs $9.99 per month, which includes unlimited clippings, downloadable resume on profile, contact forms, search engine optimization (SEO) and portfolio privacy, password-protected portfolio and features like Google Analytics integration so you can measure views.
3. Muck Rack
Muck Rack is a media database that helps connect journalists and PR pros — and their platform gives writers a slick way to easily showcase their work.
It creates and maintains the portfolio for you by automatically compiling articles, outlets, and social media profiles which, is one of the easiest options in terms of both set-up and maintenance. You can customize your page by adding a bio, listing your beats and spotlighting your best pieces.
Muck Rack boasts it’s the easiest, most unlimited way to build your portfolio, grow your following and quantify your impact. The best part? It’s all free.
Cool Feature: Do you ever wonder how big your reach is? With Muck Rack’s Who Shared My Link tool, you can instantly see the total number of social shares for your article and which other journalists shared your stories.
Free version: Yes! It’s free for all users. Additional features are unlocked for journalists Muck Rack verifies — check out the criteria to become a verified journalist.
(Disclosure: The Write Life’s managing editor is also the editor of the Muck Rack blog.)
The Freelancer by Contently is a portfolio website specifically for freelance writers and journalists. In addition to serving as your online portfolio, it can serve as a place to find work and connect directly with clients. Here are its top three compelling features:
- It uses a simple and single-page portfolio interface where you can display an unlimited number of projects or blog posts.
- Potential clients can filter projects based on the clients you’ve worked with, topics and skills, which are great for writers that work in multiple industries.
- Freelancers with professional experience might even be contacted for freelance opportunities with clients like Marriott, Microsoft and Walmart.
Cool Feature: Contently has a rates database so you can see what other freelancers earn, and a freelance rates calculator to help you determine the amount you should charge for each client.
Free version: Yes! It’s free for writers. (Clients pay to tap into that network.)
On Journo Portfolio, you can create a modern, no-fuss online portfolio. The dashboard is easy to use: customize your site’s look with six distinct themes, and sort your clips into any number of pages or content blocks.
Another handy feature is the range of ways you can share materials: link directly to clips (just type in the URL and Journo Portfolio will grab the title, publication, date, and content), or upload almost any kind of multimedia, including PDFs, videos and images.
Cool Feature: To help you keep track of your metrics, Journo Portfolio’s built-in analytics show you how many visitors your site has had, how long they spent on the site and where they came from. Wanna go the extra mile? integrate your dashboard with your private Google Analytics account so you can access all the raw data available.
Free version: Yes! It’s free for a name.journoportfolio.com URL, and you can host up to 10 articles.
Upgrade option: For the pro version, pay $5 to $10 per month. That includes unlimited pages, article back-ups, and the ability to use your own domain, like www.yourname.com.
WordPress is the grandfather of content management platforms. While not specifically geared towards online 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.”
Your standard WordPress themes aren’t all 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 photographer, you’re not stuck on a platform where you can’t show off your other skills.
Free version: Yes! For a basic blog.
Upgrade option: For more control over how the site looks and functions, some freelancers choose to upgrade to the $8-per-month premium option. That gives you access to marketing and monetization tools, unlimited premium themes and advanced site design customization.
Run by Monica Shaw and Tim Harding, a writer and programmer duo in the UK, Writer’s Residence portfolios have two simple goals:
- To make it hassle-free for writers to showcase their best work with a beautiful website.
- To give writers a valuable tool that they can use to market their careers.
Whether you’re an aspiring freelance writer or a published author, Writer’s Residence understands that a well designed website highlights your professionalism and makes it easy for editors to see your work. Bring your own domain or use one of theirs, get creative with their variety of templates and use their “brain-dead simple system” to have your website up and running in 30 minutes.
Cool Feature: No HTML experience? No biggie! When you create a portfolio with Writer’s Residence, they take care of the design so you can stick to your expertise — writing. Here, you’d build your site with plain text using their simple forms. And if you do want to get fancy, customization is an option, too.
Free version: Yes! All accounts come with a 30-day free trial.
Upgrade option: After the trial, continue managing your website for $8.99 per month (or £5.49) on this easy platform that lets you upload an unlimited number of writing samples and provides prompt and personal customer support.
The writing industry is highly competitive — make your writing stand out with an appealing and professional Writerfolio portfolio to leave a great first impression with clients and editors. That’s sure to land you your next writing job!
On this platform that also requires no computer skills, you can build a portfolio with unlimited writing samples with attachment uploads, a variety of themes to choose from, an easy fill-in-the-blanks portfolio setup and more.
Cool Feature: They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee — if you’re not 100% happy, they’ll refund you with no questions asked.
Free version: No, but you can try out a free demo without evening signing up!
Upgrade option: Memberships cost $4 per month and come with a complete online writing portfolio at yourname.writerfolio.com (but you can use yourname.com, if you already own it),
Any kind of artist can find a home here, from photographers and designers to writers and illustrators. Format provides an impressive selection of curated themes to fit your unique brand, giving you a beautiful digital canvas to show off your best work.
Your portfolio with Format will be automatically optimized for mobile — so clients can view your work from any device — and you can enjoy unlimited bandwidth and blog posts, copyright protection for any image you upload, plus social media integration. Format will also give you a free domain name for a year!
Need some design inspo? Check out these writer portfolios using Format’s themes.
Cool Feature: For when you need to make a change on-the-fly, Format’s iOS apps make it easy for you to show off your portfolio, manage your menu items and create and write blog posts anywhere you go.
Free version: No, but you can try it free for two weeks to see if it’s a fit!
Upgrade option: With the Pro, Pro Plus and Unlimited plans, creatives can tailor their website with dozens of themes, custom code editing, 24/7 support and SEO tools. A bit on the pricey side, monthly membership costs range from $12 to $25
Carbonmade has been building portfolio tools for creatives since 2005. Fifteen years later, they offer hundreds of features specifically built for creatives:
- They can personalize your starting point layouts specifically for your profession.
- Carbonmade is automatically responsive and optimized for all devices so your site always looks great.
- You can link your own domain or choose from the ones included in all plans: name.carbonmade.com, name.portfolio.site or name.gfx.work options.
- Audio and PDF upload support
Cool Feature: Instead of sticking to a certain theme or layout, Carbonmade lets you use dozens of flexible layout blocks to design your website — just drag and drop to create your dream portfolio. No limitations here.
Free version: No, but check out the free trial!
Upgrade option: Monthly membership costs range from $8 to $18. For the cost of two coffee cups per month, writers typically enjoy the $8 plan for access to eight projects and unlimited images and videos.
Examples of online writing portfolios
Now that you’ve got lots of platforms to choose from, want to see some of them in action?
We’ve compiled a list of online writing portfolios to inspire you. Here’s where to check out some online portfolio examples.
The original version of this story was written by Annie Rose Favreau. We updated the post so it’s more useful for our readers.