October 5, 2013

Review: Portfoliobox.net + Building a good portfolio site

finally updated my site - yay


I have to say, I am blown away by how awesome Portfoliobox.net is.

I mean like, they didn't ask me to write this review - I was COMPELLED to do so!

I just finished building my site with them, after a much-needed refresh, and have to say, quite happy.

Who is this for? 

If you are the kind of person that has basic coding skills but often finds yourself tweaking stuff to DEATH - this is for you.  You can let go of the constant fussing, just upload, do some polishing and let the site do the work for you.
  • Are you sick of paying crazy hosting prices?  
  • Do you have >50 pieces to show?  
  • Do you want your e-commerce + portfolio (+ blog if you wish) all in one place?
  • Need automatic mobile integration?  
It's pretty awesome.

People can leave you comments or you can make it private, you can have a guestbook if you want or link to an external blog, send a newsletter, add your social network accounts to make easy links at the bottom … it's all there.

Here's the catch:
  • It's free for one month while you build the site.
  • Then after one month it locks unless you buy the PRO account.
  • You can pay $7 a month for hosting, a professional email, unlimited images, and all unlocked pro templates.
  • Or, you can pay a one time $10 fee to open your site and update.
(*If you enabled Pro templates during your free month trial, those will remain locked unless you upgrade to Pro.)

Why I love this:
  • We were paying so much to host the site - the PRO account is STILL CHEAPER than before.  
  • Also, I personally, have a terrible habit.  Of constantly…. fixing… little things…  it's a problem.  I like knowing "oop, this is going to close soon so I should just put up the best and leave it!" (Do I really need to keep changing this site font??  No.)
  • They also have eeeexcellent customer service!  They are fast, responsive and very nice to work with.  Highly recommended :)
  • Beautiful and easy to navigate admin layout


► Here's a link for 10 more images + $10 off a pro account:

A look at the Portfoliobox admin panel

Tips for Building a Good Portfolio Site

►Put up the work you want to attract.

You don't have to try and be everything to everyone.  If you are getting a lot of work for subjects that you hate, change your portfolio images to reflect the kind of projects you WANT to be getting.

*This goes for your social networking, too!

Usually an art director hires you for similar work because they can see what the result will kind of look like based on your current offerings.

If they can already visualize the assignment in your style, it makes their lives easier.
"Okay, this is what this person can deliver to me quickly and efficiently because they do it all the time"

*dress for the job you want, not the job you have, right?

►Edit down.

My blog allows me to show my current work along with process images and fun sketches.  When putting together a portfolio, it's good to not over-share.  Editing is key.

UNLESS you want to build a site that has complex roll-overs that show process work and have 12840 sketches back-logged so a visitor will stay on your site for hours - then more power to you.

I don't have the coding skills (because I'm too busy painting and don't want to pay an IT guy $40,000) to create a site of that scope.

A big, beautiful, catalogued site that has everything you've ever done is something to behold, but sadly I haven't the time to commit.

► Consolidate your traffic.

It's quite difficult trying to hold down all kinds of accounts (Big Cartel, Twitter, the blog, the portfolio site…) That's a lot of energy and time spent going in different directions.

Try to bring the majority of your traffic to one place.  I'd recommend picking one thing that is your corner stone - like the blog if that's your favorite - and treat the blog like a store (adding in PayPal buttons etc)

That also means accepting that you can't give everything 100% of your attention.  If you want the most of your income to be from art sales, then you'll need to devote most of your time to the store aspect of your site.

* That's not really my style, I like fulfilling random print-on-demand requests, preferring most of my energy go to comics or finding my next assignment.

But to each his own, right!

Some other stuff methink's a good idea:
  • simple layouts
  • simple colors
  • simple fonts

Happy Freelancing!


  1. you got me interested, though I already built my portfolio site, I'm always like MOOOAN when I have to update it...plus I want to have another one just for my illustration methinks...

  2. I agree it's an awesome resource. So very easy to use and since my coding skills are very, very basic, it means I'll actually keep my site (mostly) up to date. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. I paid up front for a year of PRO. I agree it's awesomely easy to work with and since my coding skills are very, very basic it ensures I'll actually keep it (mostly) up to date. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. How long did it take them to give you your domain name? I've paid for the first month and no one has responded to my support email asking about the domain name I chose. Any tips?

    1. Oh no, that sucks! You should bother them! I had my domain already via Godaddy so I just set up a forwarding through that account. Yeah just keep trying - they should get on that!