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, a website that promotes your freelance writing 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 six more of the best platforms to highlight your work and help you land your next freelance writing job:
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.
One of the other nice features 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: 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 (10 articles max), or $5 to $10 per month for the pro versions (which include unlimited pages, article back-ups, and the ability to use your own domain, like http://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, this is a great choice.
Price: FREE for the basic version (16 articles max), $4.99-$11.99 per month for the pro version (which include unlimited clippings, custom domains, and features like resume hosting).
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. (Disclosure: The Write Life’s editor is also the editor of the Muck Rack blog.)
The best part? Because Muck Rack creates and maintains the portfolio for you (by automatically compiling articles, outlets, and social media profiles) this 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.
Cool Feature: As a writer on Muck Rack, you’re likely to receive a lot of PR pitches. One awesome related feature is the ability to post the specific topics or beats you don’t cover — which limits the number of off-target pitches coming your way.
Price: FREE for journalists.
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: $9.99 per month for the LITE version (up to 250 articles), and $14.99 per month for the Pro version (which includes unlimited stories and a custom domain name)
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. While there are many website building tools — like Wix and Weebly — Squarespace comes out ahead for its sleek visual design.
Cool Feature: Squarespace’s 24/7 client support (via email or live chat from Monday-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.
Price: $12-$26 per month for pro versions (which all include unlimited pages, storage, and a free custom domain).
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 photographer 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?
Annie Rose Favreau is a Seattle-based freelance writer. You can find her on Twitter at @A_Favreau.