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Building a portfolio site

A portfolio site presents your work to the world, making it easy for people to see who you are and what you've done. In this guide, we'll cover various methods for displaying your work. You can also expand your portfolio to include a bio or CV, drop-down menus, and secure client logins.

Tip: This guide focuses on site design for artist, designer, and writer portfolios. If you're a photographer who works with clients, our Building a photographer site guide may be more relevant.

Start with a portfolio design

While all Squarespace sites have the built-in design tools to make an exciting, original portfolio site, you may want to start with a design from the Portfolios category of the template store. These portfolio-centered designs showcase different projects and encourage visitors to peruse your work.

To get started, visit the template store and select Portfolios in the menu on the left. This filters the designs to only show portfolio-focused templates. Click Preview on any design, or click Start With to create a new site using that design. 

To learn more, visit Choosing the right template.

Show your work

Every Squarespace site can display your photographs, illustrations, or designs in innovative ways. The primary methods for displaying sets of images and other projects are portfolio pages, gallery sections, and image blocks. This section covers the key differences and how each method relates to one another and to your overall portfolio design.

Portfolio pages

Use portfolio pages to display sets of content in unique layouts. Each portfolio page has a two-tier structure: the landing page and its sub-pages. The landing page displays sub-pages as featured images or text links on the landing page in a grid or hover layout, making them a great way to organize sets of photos, paintings, or projects within your portfolio.

Gallery sections

Use gallery sections to display a set of images on a page. Arrange gallery sections in a variety of layouts, and add image descriptions and clickthrough links as you see fit. Gallery sections are ideal for grouping images by subject, theme, or series. You can add gallery sections to any type of page, as well as to portfolio sub-pages.

Image blocks

Use image blocks to add single images in a variety of layouts. This is great for when you want to highlight individual images or experiment with alternative caption placement and text styling. Although image blocks won't automatically display in cohesive layouts like images in a gallery section, you can arrange them into columns and rows as necessary.

Add a bio or CV

You can add a text block to a layout page to provide further details about your work. Using headers helps organize your content into tidy sections like "Past Clients" or "Awards."

Another option is to embed a .pdf using the third-party service Issuu. Keep in mind that the .pdf format prevents search engines from crawling your bio or resume text.

For more help, visit Displaying your resume on your site.

Create a filtered drop-down menu

If your work includes multiple keywords, you can use tags and categories to organize your content and display it in a drop-down menu. To do so, add a folder and then add navigation links for your separate categories. This will appear in your main navigation as a clickable drop-down menu.

Limit content to clients

To display work on your site while restricting who views it, you can create pages that don't appear in your main navigation menu as well as password-protect pages with customizable lock screens. This way, clients can log in through a branded portal to view sensitive or private materials without leaving your site.

Optimize for search engines

If you'd like your images to appear in search results, adding image descriptions and captions helps Google understand what your pictures depict. Image captions are also used as alt text, making your site more universally accessible.

Beyond adding image text, verifying your site with Google Search Console and following these best practices can help your portfolio's search ranking.

Building a portfolio without images

If you're creating a writer's portfolio or presenting scientific findings, you might not want images for your site. Follow these tips to make a beautiful, eye-catching portfolio without using images.

Add your work

There are lots of ways to add text content to your site, but here are the most versatile options:

  • Layout pages - Add your words to a blank layout page with text blocks. Customize your content further with other options like form, newsletter, quote, and button blocks.
  • Portfolio pages - Add a portfolio page with a hover layout to create a text-centric landing page. You can add a sub-page for each example of your work, then add new sub-pages as you create more.
  • Blog pages - Add a blog page to act as a landing page for your content. Similar to a portfolio page, you can link out to examples of your work by setting up a blog page, then adding individual posts for each piece of content you want to highlight.

Build interesting layouts

After you add content to a page or post, you can move the blocks to create columns and break up the page with different layouts. For help, visit our guide on moving blocks to customize layouts.

Tip: If you create a page or post layout that you like, you can duplicate it to use it again. 

Add creative touches

When creating a text-focused site, it’s important to break up big blocks of text. This makes your content more visually appealing and easier to scan. To format and style your text, add headers and bullets, then select a variety of text fonts, sizes, and colors. These guides will get you started:

There are also elements you can add to your site that aren't text or images. Here are a few popular options:

Next steps

This just the start of your portfolio's possibilities. You can use the following guides to build out your portfolio site and show the world what you're about.

Watch a video

This video applies to version 7.0.

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