Using a platform like Format, SquareSpace or Wix may seem counterintuitive to some designers, photographers and creative, especially when sometimes it may feel like they don’t have as much creative control as they’d like but what a lot of these people don’t consider is that website and UX design are very established fields often relying on an existing platform with bullet proof and beautiful templates can be the right way to ensure your work shines though.
We’ve put together a shortcut process to follow when setting up a website using one of these platforms.
1. Do your homework.
Look at portfolios you like and determine the elements that you think make them great.
2. Choose your own adventure.
Decide what you want your site to do. If your vision is to simply showcase work then either Format or SquareSpace could be the tool for you but if your dream is to have an online store or sell/teach an online course Wix or Podia might be a better fit.
3. Choose your theme.
Based on your goals and the reference sites you’ve looked at, choose a theme which offers close to what you want in terms of interaction, functionality and as best as possible look and feel too.
If you decide later that you don’t like the theme you’ve picked, you can change things up so don’t worry too much. Keep in mind that once you have your basic site set up, you’ll have lots of time to customize things.
4. Curate your work.
Don’t try to show every photo you’ve ever taken or every project you’ve ever worked on, select no more than your best 20 and ensure the images are sized and cropped to ensure maximum impact.
You will be lucky to have 15 seconds of your website's users attention to make a great impression!
It makes sense to put your best work first because if you don’t, there is a big chance it will go unnoticed.
5. Customize your site.
Before you add too much content it can be a good idea to customise your site, add a logo, choose a font and ensure the colours and animations are up to scratch.
6. Edit your menu.
Add the pages you feel are important, things like About and Contact are a standard part of every site.
Having a clean, easy-to-find menu will add to your visitor’s experience. A lot of people will browse on their phones so it’s important to ensure that your portfolio website is mobile optimised.
7. Make it easy for people to find you.
Once you’ve got most of your content added, it’s time to begin doing some of the basic SEO and nitty gritty work, add titles and descriptions as well as sharing images to ensure your pages look great on Google and social media.
8. Let the world know.
Link to your social media accounts, add links to your social bios and post your new site so the world can explore it!
While Format and SquareSpace lack some of the advanced functionality that Wix offers they tend to have more creative feeling template options, while staying relatively user friendly. If this is your first portfolio site or you are sick of building and maintaining sites check some of these tools out for free and find the right one for you.