how to build a portfolio website from scratch

If you work in the creatives industry or aspire to break out into this space, you need to have a proper portfolio website. There simply is no way around it. Anyone can claim to be good at something, but you need to prove you are actually a good fit for the task if you want to land that job.

If you want to stand out as a creative, you must know how to build a portfolio website from scratch. By this point, your mind must be swimming in thousands of questions: How can I make my design portfolio look professional? Which pieces should I display? How can I make this portfolio website when I don’t have experience?

If you’re trying to find answers to these questions, you’re in the right place. With Strikingly, you don’t have to build a portfolio website from scratch. Creating a website portfolio with Strikingly enables you to focus on developing content and experimenting with different portfolio website designs instead of worrying about backend coding and server management.

On this platform, we guarantee that you can get a site up within minutes, but we do recommend that you put a lot of careful thought into planning your portfolio website’s content for the best results. If you’re curious to find more about building a portfolio website, read on!

What Content Should Be in Your Portfolio Website?

The best portfolio websites have the ability to drive your career growth by connecting you to a wider network of employers and clients. When done well, your online portfolio can become a powerful marketing tool for promoting your personal brand online.

The reality is that you’re probably not the only one who can do what you do. You are competing with thousands of other talented people, and the challenge is for you to differentiate yourself.

With that being said, if you want to know how to build a portfolio website from scratch, here are sections you need to add to your portfolio website:

  1. About Section
  2. Gallery of Creative Output
  3. Testimonies or Reviews Sections
  4. Contact Us Section

To learn more about this section, read the how to build a portfolio website section in this blog. In there, we’ll go deep into the process of building a portfolio website.

Codes vs. Website Builders: Which is Better?

building a portfolio website

Image taken from Strikingly product

If you want to learn how to build a portfolio website from scratch, using a website builder maybe your best option. If you want to get into the process of building a portfolio website, here are some things you can do with a website builder, particularly with Strikingly:

• Create a User-Centric Portfolio Website

When building a portfolio website, your target audience should be on top of your priority list. A clear understanding of what your target user is looking for will help you create a website portfolio that will appeal to your visitor.

In knowing how to build a portfolio website from scratch, you must first find out what clients are looking for. To start, you might want to check out job ads to find out how companies phrase job descriptions and identify the buzzwords that they use. You might want to use the same terms on your website so users will easily be able to determine your suitability for the job they require.

• Simple Yet Usable Website

With Strikingly, you won’t have to deal with knowing the tiny details on how to build a portfolio website from scratch. This website builder allows you to create a simple yet usable website packed with the functions and features you need.

When you’re a creative trying to make a good first impression with a portfolio website, it can be quite tempting to pull out all the stops and get fancy with your design.

Strikingly’s intuitive website builder is so easy to use that many users tend to get carried away with customizing their portfolio websites just to make them look appealing to their audience.

• Easy Navigation Experience

It’s not enough to know how to make a portfolio website from scratch, you must also know how to make the user experience more positive. Strikingly’s features allow your portfolio website to have an easy navigation experience for your clients.

Readers should be able to find their way around your portfolio website with ease. Information should be readily available and it shouldn’t take so many clicks to get to the content that a user came for. Strikingly’s single-page portfolio templates are great for this purpose. All the information that a user needs is on one page.

If you arrange your content hierarchy wisely, a one-page layout allows readers to be able to consume information smoothly. Go for a streamlined menu that features the minimum number of options so as not to overwhelm the visitor.

• Features to Let Your Personality Shine Through

Strikingly tries to keep up with the times by introducing new features and app integrations, but we also recommend that you keep things simple when it comes to online portfolios.

Once you know how to make a portfolio website from scratch, you can use Strikingly features to let your personality shine through. The best portfolio websites are able to tread the line between personal and professional success. You don’t want to make your site too stiff and business-like and lose its humanity.

Add your own personal touch to your selected website template through your choice of color schemes. Many creatives go the extra mile and create a custom logo to make things look professional and yet still personalized. If you are an illustrator, make your site come alive with custom vector images or geometric shapes that will be visually appealing to your reader.

How to Build a Portfolio Website From Scratch

Portfolio sites not only present you, the creative, as a talent worth investing in. They should also emphasize your value add to a project, organization, or company. Portfolio website examples communicate why - out of all the other creatives or professionals in the industry - they should be selected to perform a client’s task and requests.

1. Add an About Page

While your work could probably suffice as a testament to your expertise, many clients still find it interesting to read about the person or team behind the project. Personality counts a lot when companies hire people. This must be at the initial stage of knowing how to build a portfolio website from scratch.

portfolio website

Image taken from Strikingly product

We recommend that your portfolio website contains a brief introduction about you and your brand. Ideally, this should be located front and center. It must be one of the first things visitors see when they land on your website portfolio.

To know how to build a portfolio from scratch, you must also know how to introduce your portfolio website. It must include an About section that details the person behind the brand.

The portfolio website introduces the artist and talks about his interests, background and passions, thereby establishing a connection with its reader. By adding an About section to portfolio sites, you present yourself as the human behind the superb work. You inject a bit of humanity to make a professional portfolio website.

2. Place a Gallery of Your Creative Output

Your website portfolio should be what a greatest hits compilation album is to a musician. We strongly recommend that you add a curated list of your best projects to your site simply because visitors may not have all the time in the world to go through everything in your portfolio. In fact, they will probably only spend a maximum of 10 minutes reviewing your work samples before they decide whether or not to follow through with a call or shoot you a message.


Image taken from Strikingly user website

In the process of knowing how to build a website from scratch, you must also be cautious in picking which pieces to show. How you arrange these samples on your portfolio website and how you present them is also indicative of the type of projects you’re willing to take on moving forward so it is also important that you plan out how these will be displayed on your page in order to maximize their value.

If you have a diverse collection of work samples from different niches or service types, you can also group projects into categories. You can add multiple gallery sections to your portfolio website to house different project types. You would find that most of Strikingly’s portfolio website templates can accommodate several galleries with ease. Play around with different layouts to present your work effectively.

3. Insert a Section for Testimonies from Past Clients

Building a portfolio website also involves establishing an esteemed reputation. Once you know how to build a portfolio website from scratch, you move on to adding testimonies from your past clients. If you’ve had good relationships with previous clients, requesting testimonials from them should be easy enough.


Image taken from Strikingly user website

If there’s one thing that will effectively help you build trust in knowing how to build a portfolio website from scratch, it has to be social proof. This positive feedback will become a testament to your reliability and credibility as a professional and will greatly increase your chances of getting hired. Make it a practice to ask for testimonials from clients after a project has been completed so you will constantly have something to add to your website portfolio.

If you are receiving positive feedback through your social media pages, another way to display this on your portfolio website site is to connect your other profiles to your portfolio websites. Strikingly has a social stream feature that lets you display your social media feed.

4. Add a Contact Us Page

You want to be able to attend to inquiries in a timely manner. Make sure to add a Contact Us page for your contact details on your portfolio website. People shouldn’t have to guess how to reach you. Make that information readily available.

contact us page

Image taken from Strikingly product

Aside from the usual email and phone, Strikingly lets you add a chat button to your portfolio sites so web visitors can easily reach out to you for questions. We do recommend that you download the Strikingly app on your phone and enable notifications so that you can attend to messages in real-time. The specifics of knowing how to build a website from scratch can help you manage your contacts better when receiving clients.

Once you know how to build a portfolio website from scratch, Strikingly can help you reach all the features you need to make it successful. If you’re a creative professional, sign up for a free account today, and let Strikingly do its magic.