As a freelance designer, illustrator, photographer, or visual artist, you’re used to sharing portfolio items (or carting around samples) when you apply for new gigs. If you usually send links to online clips or attach a PDF to your emails, you should consider switching to an online portfolio.

Here’s what an online portfolio does:

  • It shows the full variety of your work
  • It can provide not only images, but case studies and explanations of your process
  • It makes your work Google search friendly (and can introduce your work to new clients in search results)
  • It’s the hub of all your social media activity
  • Best of all, it’s low cost.

Most of these templates are free if you want to have a subdomain (yourname.4ormat.com, for example), but charge a monthly fee to have a unique domain name (yourname.com).

Here are five great online portfolio platforms for freelance artists:

Behance ProSite

ProSite offers many features of the above portfolios, but I like that you are automatically included as part of a network of creative professionals across the web. (The problem with having your own website is that all the work of driving traffic to your website is up to you.) They also offer unlimited bandwidth, which would be important if you’re an artist with lots of high resolution images.

Price: $11 a month.

Squarespace

Great templates, easy to use, and easy to modify. Optimized mobile display is built-in. Freelancers we’ve talked to have been fairly pleased with the service.

Price: $8 a month for the most basic plan. The additional plans provide more storage, content, and advanced features; linking to a custom domain name is also available for members who sign up for a yearly plan.

PortfolioBox

Perfect for minimalists who don’t want the template to compete with their work. I like the flat design templates and appreciate that an E-commerce option is automatically included in the basic fee (includes PayPal integration). Very customizable templates.

Price: $6.90 a month for the basic plan. Additional cost allows for HTML custom editing and higher bandwidth.

4ormat

Like PortfolioBox, very minimal templates. I like that they are continually designing new templates that they release to the community every month. Customer reviews seem to indicate that this site is a special favorite of photographers, who appreciate the full-page images.

However, if you want to customize the templates, you’ll have to go for a more expensive plan.

Price: $6.99 for the basic plan, but with limited bandwidth.

Carbonmade

A quirkier and decidedly more playful experience is available on Carbonmade. Seems to be the portfolio site of choice for many illustrators. I’m not the hugest fan of the most common template since it feels a bit unintriguing to me, but people like it!

Price: $12 a month

What portfolio sites have you used and liked (or disliked)?