6 Best (Really Free) Website Builders for Writing Portfolio Websites in 2019

6 Best (Really Free) Website Builders for Writing Portfolio Websites in 2019

James Guill
James Guill
39

If you’re an aspiring writer, or a freelancer looking to pick up new clients, one of the best ways to showcase your work is through an online portfolio. Writing portfolios allow you to show off past work and can serve as a platform to display your versatility as a writer.

One of the most challenging obstacles in creating a portfolio website is figuring out which website builder to use. Luckily, the best website builders make it easy to create and update your portfolio website. This gives you more time to work on creating killer content to attract new clients.

Wix

Wix’s drag-and-drop website editor makes it easy to create any type of website, including portfolio websites. They also offer a wide variety of templates perfectly suited for blogs or author portfolios. Some of the standard features that will help you promote your work include:

  • Social media tools for sharing your work to the masses
  • Automatic mobile customization so your work can be seen on mobile devices
  • Ability to add HD-quality video and photos to your website and articles
  • Website protection to prevent others from stealing your work

Wix has an extensive App Market that can help you customize your writing portfolio website. For example, if you write for several websites, you can use their Create a News Page app to curate articles from those websites to display on your webpage. You can also schedule regular updates to create an ever-changing digital newspaper.

If you use Wix, stick with their Unlimited plan or higher. Their lower-tier plans, Combo and Connect Domain, offer restrictive storage and bandwidth caps. While the other plans are a bit pricier, landing one gig or new client should more than pay for the subscription.

Site123

Site123 is another option for those looking to set up a writing portfolio. Whether you just want to display old work or use your website as a blogging platform to showcase your versatility as a writer, there are plenty of templates available to build your website.

You’ll also enjoy many of the following standard features that will help you grow your portfolio website:

  • Sort your work using drop-down menus for navigation
  • Share your work on social media
  • Responsive web design
  • Email marketing tools to send subscribers updates on new articles
  • Website protection to protect users from copying your articles

One of the biggest advantages of using Site123 is the ability to set up your website in 80 different languages. If you write in multiple languages, you can set up webpages in each language and show off your work. Multilingual writers are always in high demand, and this is one way to show off your skills.

Unfortunately, Site123 doesn’t offer many portfolio-related apps or plug-ins as other website builders do. That won’t prevent you from making a killer portfolio, but the design process will be slightly more involved than that using other platforms.

To look professional, don’t use the free plan. You’re forced to use a subdomain, and you’re going to host Site123 ads. This makes your work look cheap.

SimpleSite

SimpleSite is another website builder that specializes in helping you make websites quickly and easily. They offer an extensive list of template designs for free with categories that include author and portfolio websites.

You’ll get the following standard features:

  • Ability to sell articles or writing services from your website
  • Add video content to your website easily from most streaming platforms
  • Social media sharing capabilities to further promote your work
  • Mobile-optimized design

The one downside about SimpleSite is that some of their templates can be a bit simplistic. This can still work for those looking to make basic portfolio websites, such as writers showcasing news articles.

If your articles are dependent on video and media content, then SimpleSite may be an excellent choice, as their Pro and E-commerce plans both offer unlimited images and video minutes.

I recommend sticking with the paid plans with SimpleSite. The free plan imposes significant design limitations compared with the paid plans. And if you want to look like a professional writer, you don’t want SimpleSite ads displayed next to your written work.

WordPress.com

Of all the website builders on this list, WordPress is going to give you the most options for customizing a writing portfolio website. For starters, there’s a wide variety of free and premium portfolio templates available online. One of the best-selling themes for writers is the WP Blog For Writers and Journalists.

Next, WordPress.com will allow you to set up portfolios automatically. Some templates will automatically support portfolios, whereas for others you can hardcode the feature into the portfolios yourself.

The best writing portfolio plug-ins and templates are going to be your premium ones, such as Nimble Portfolio, Media Grid, and Go Portfolio. Some free portfolio templates and plug-ins may offer limited features.

Again, don’t bother with the free plan on WordPress.com, as it’s limiting in storage and the number of templates available. Your best bet would be to go Premium or above, as this unlocks all available Premium templates on WordPress. This is the best way to present yourself as a seasoned author or writing professional.

Weebly

Weebly is well suited for portfolio websites. In addition to their intuitive drag-and-drop website builder, they offer many portfolio themes specially designed to showcase your past writing work along. You also get numerous options to publish new pieces.

Weebly offers the following features that are particularly useful for portfolio designers:

  • Unlimited storage
  • Document upload to showcase original writing work
  • Complete mobile-optimization

They also offer a wide variety of free and premium apps from their App Center. You can use Media Gallery to showcase your articles, or you can organize your work using the Accordion app so that visitors can easily find the writing content that interests them most.

The Starter plan may work, but if you plan to sell digital products (like ebooks) on your portfolio website, you’ll have to upgrade to their Business plan.

Jimdo

Jimdo is another builder to help writers quickly create their portfolio website. You can set up one in just three minutes using the Dolphin AI builder or use a pre-configured portfolio template for your design.

Like the other builders on this list, all templates are mobile-optimized. Unfortunately, Jimdo doesn’t offer an extensive app or plug-in library, so design elements aren’t as robust as what other builders feature. However, you can add a Goodreads Review Widget if you have work published in Goodreads and want to showcase positive reviews of your work.

The free plan forces you on a Jimdo subdomain and requires you to host Jimdo ads. Also, you get only 500MB of storage space. Jimdo’s Pro plan will work for many starter writing portfolio websites, but if you need to host lots of large files or you want to sell your work directly from your website, you’ll have to upgrade to at least their Business plan.

 

Combine a Killer Portfolio With Killer Content to Further Your Career

You’ve worked diligently to craft the perfect article or story, so it makes sense that you want a killer portfolio to showcase your work. The above website builders all give you the tools necessary to design a professional-looking writing portfolio that will help you market your work to attract new readers and clients alike. A killer portfolio coupled with killer content is the perfect combo to boost your career as a writer.

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