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Suggestions for creating a website to show off portfolio?


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Hello all, I'm a software developer by day, but have long been a creative hobbyist. Many years ago, I created websites (and even developed my own content management system), but when my wife wanted to set up a blog over a year ago, we did a bit of research, and it seemed like the simplest and most cost-effective way to get going as quickly as possible, while still having our domain hosted ourselves and having our own domain name, was to use bluehost as a hosting provider combined with WordPress as the back-end CMS.  There were a ton of templates available that my wife could choose from and then customize.

Flash forward to today and my daughter (Senior in college getting a BA in Art) wants to set up a website to showcase her portfolio.  Now it is with much sadness that I must tell you that my daughter has been anti-technology for some time.  Her artwork uses traditional mediums (her primary focus is printmaking).  She's extremely talented, but has also been pretty stubborn about wanting to do much in the way of graphic design.  Recently though, I was finally able to get her to use one of my iPads (with Apple Pencil) to dabble with Affinity Designer (and also Procreate), so I'm still holding out hope that it will "click" with her and she'll start to love it (or, worst case, she finds it hard to find a job after graduating, and then softens up to the idea of delving more into graphic design). But I mention this mainly to point out that my daughter isn't currently equipped to create her own website from the ground-up, so I've been thinking that something like bluehost w/WordPress will be the best way to go for her, too.  Plus, since my wife has some experience now with the back-end WordPress CMS functionality, she'll be able to help get her up-to-speed on that.

Now, because my daughter is an artist, and the website is meant to showcase her work, I want to use a template that doesn't have too much of its own graphical elements (a few that she could replace with her own, would be fine), because I don't want to give the impression to anyone that she designed the website itself.  Personally, I'm thinking something very clean/white, where her uploaded artwork will be the primary focus.

So a couple of questions:

1) First off, if anyone thinks that going the bluehost / WordPress route is a bad idea and that you have a much better recommendation for this scenario, please offer up your recommendations.  Again, I'd prefer something that has a minimal learning curve, because she gets quickly impatient when working with technology. :(

2) Assuming the bluehost / WordPress approach makes sense, can you recommend some templates out there that would meet my requirements of being pretty simple such that it makes the uploaded photos of her artwork the main focus?  I'm open to paying for the template, rather than a free template, if there are particular paid ones that you think are really worth spending extra for.

Thanks in advance!

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http://www.wysiwygwebbuilder.com has some really nice templates and their sites are responsive which you can find here: http://www.wysiwygwebbuilder.com/templates.html.

That would be my choice, in fact, it is my choice. Great support and a great product.

You'll notice support mentioned first. That's because as great as the product is --- and it is great --- the support is even better.

And (you'll like this), as with Affinity, it is NOT A SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE!

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I moved from static handcrafted html sites to WordPress some years ago. Highly recommended but you do have to look around for templates that meet your needs. They always need tweaking and a few plugins to get the desired look and feel but I always use the free templates. The only thing I have issues with is the Gutenberg block editor and have turned it off on many of my sites.

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I know nothing at all about the facilities being discussed so I do not comment on them.

However, I am still, happily, using a "free with dial-up internet" webspace started in late 1997. Alas, the supplier is not accepting new customers for the webspace facility, it is just a legacy matter from a company they took over which had along the way taken over the company which originally offered the webspace.

The "dial-up" facility was closed about five years ago, but I have been allowed to keep the webspace. In fact, broadband has been used from around 2004, but also kept the dial-up going, even though not actually using the dial-up itself, just to keep the website (though there is a webmail with it too, though largely unused now, just for sending myself emails with an attachment as a extra back-up facility).

So why am I mentioning this here?

The reason is that I have produced the webspace entirely using raw HTML (hypertext markup language) and I am pleased with what I have got. The webspace loads quickly, carries no advertisements for anything else not under my control, and it is "all my own work". Not flashy, animated can-cause-some-people-issues flashing things, no stuff designed to impress management in a quick demo yet quickly become a nuisance for anyone else viewing the site in its regular operation. So the service provider is doing just that, providing a service of a clean, accessible webspace hosted on their server, the rest is up to me, subject only to legal obligations over content that apply to everybody, however they produce a webspace with whatever provider, must adhere. My webspace has always been, and always well be, entirely suitable for family viewing, so no problem there.

So, if you can find a provider that can provide you with that basic, quality service for a fee then I suggest, if I may, that you consider using basic HTML.

The following page gives the nearest page to the sort of thing that you might like to do, as regards layout. I am not one for knocking my own stuff but the graphics are just bits of pieces of my own hobbyist work, the link is not included here to showcase my graphics as such, I am just trying to give an idea of what could be done using raw HTML to showcase a portfolio. Near the top of the page are links to PDF (portable document format) documents, some of which contain graphics, further down the page are some graphics displayed as images upon the page as well.


Here is a link to a set of linked pages from some years ago that shows some photographs in a sort-of-interactive setting.


The link to the home page of the webspace is as follows.


These days, I produce the HTML pages using WordPad and saving as a text file, not using any fancy rich text format at all.

I then upload using an ftp (file transfer protocol) link, item by item, from Windows 10.

The website is safe to use. It is on a server run by PlusNet PLC, a subsidiary of BT.

The following thread may be helpful. It certainly helped me enormously.






Using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England

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I have used WIx both for premium and free websites and found the wysiwyg editor quite simple to use and they have a range of templates. The premium site cost me £140 with domain registration and hosting for 2 years. you can also try it for free but your domain name is via a wix domain. Their support has been quite responsive.



Alan Pickup

Windows 10 Home all Afinity suite of Apps PC and Gigabyte Laptop 16gb Ram and Nvidia GTX1660 Super on each.

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  1. Wordpress/Mysql is probably the most used combination for such website backends and nowadays offered by most hosting services. If you have made good experiences with that one you named, use that then.
  2. There are thousends of wordpress templates free and commercial, look through some plain simplified/reduced to show the basics ones and choose one your daughter likes. Usually here those templates which deal with photography, art etc. are good candidate templates to showcase things. Like ...
    - Clean photography
    - Photography themes
    - etc.

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.5 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.5 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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My website host is SmugMug so of course I'm biased and recommend it!  ;)

All drag and drop - both content and site design rearrangement (start with one of their templates then customise it). All very easy - no HTML / prior website building knowledge required.

SmugMug is primarily for photographers so quite suitable for all visual art genres.

The basic plan is US$48.00 p.a. As your daughter moves further into her career SmugMug has the marketing and other professional tools (in other plans) that could well be an asset to her ...     


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  • 2 weeks later...


SquareSpace.com - lots of artsy stuff there



The above are drag and drop.


FotoMotocom (click the Designers tab).  Designs and Illustrations can be sold through them

Those are the ones that I know about, but I have not tried any.

For some reason (s), I have stayed away from WordPress even though it is available through BlueHost (where my website is hosted) and GoDaddy (where a couple clients sites are hosted).  I use Adobe Dreamweaver CC and extensions that I have purchased.  DW CC is a monthly subscription.

I am not sure if Adobe Creative Cloud is a paid subscription, but their Portfolio product is free (https://portfolio.adobe.com/).  This looks very easy to use and may be perfect for what your daughter needs to do.



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Before deciding on platform, first decide why you need this site. Who is it for, what’s the goal?

Is it to get feedback from similar artists? Get noticed by clients? Showcase for future education? Is it to get hired? - content will differ based on that

Then check similar artists and see what they do. Do that together with your daughter, she might get inspired!

A stale portfolio can be worse than no portfolio.

lots of artists only have an Instagram presence: easy to maintain, visually appealing, easy to find and share

depending on the type of art, a dribbbble account could be good also

do register the domain-name!

edit: in your situation I would really recommend squarespace over Wordpress. I know how much fun it is to manually set up a website (I handcode most of mine). But for your daughter visual appeal, easy maintenance and reliability sound much more important!

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