Free Online Portfolios; Saving Paper and Cash

Looking for a job in a tough economy can be a daunting task, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve updated your portfolio. Luckily, with a little computer know-how, a USB full of jpgs, and a few hours to kill, you can create a nifty online portfolio without the costs of printing (and reprinting, and reprinting…).

Think of it as if you were creating a portfolio for your own start-up company. What do you look for when sifting through a prospective employer’s website? Bright, colorful images and a clear description of the projects they’ve handled can be an extremely useful and persuasive tool when you’re marketing your business, much is the same on the flip side when marketing your design skills to employers.

There are some great sites out there that can really give you a bang for your buck, or in most cases give you a bang for free:

· Mac’s iWeb ( is a there for all the Mac lovers, allowing users to create web-based portfolios and webpages to suit their individual personalities.

· Online portfolio provider Carbonmade ( has a two-tiered system. For those that want the free version, there’s the ‘Meh.’ which includes up to 5 projects and 35 images, or for a small monthly fee there is the aptly-named ‘Whoo!’ that allows users the freedom to display over 50 of their favorite projects, 500 high-res images, and 10 high quality videos.

· Using free weblog sites like WordPress ( and Blogger ( may be a little trickier to get the format you want but as long as you’re up for some creative thinking, this could be just the right fit.

See image above for an example of my work in progress at Carbonmade. After having used WordPress as well, I found the Carbonmade site quite a bit easier to create. Although I appreciated the availability of bar tabs and hyperlinks on WordPress, the image quality and clean look is what I’ve enjoyed about Carbonmade.

One of the great benefits to utilizing a web-based portfolio is the opportunity of knowing who your viewers are. Free programs like StatCounter and Google Analytics keep a record of viewer activity so you won’t be left wondering if hiring managers are taking the time to check out your masterpiece. And believe me, they will. If you provide them with a simple web link, as opposed to a document that’ll most likely be a huge file, this creates an ease of use that hiring managers appreciate.

What has been your experience with online portfolios? Now it’s your turn to tell me your success (or not so successful) stories. What other portfolio websites would you recommend to other landscape architects ready to share their work?

Published in Blog


  1. Great post Jill! Here is a video portfolio that Tyler Guettler posted to The Lounge that I thought was creative:

    Find more videos like this on Land8Lounge

  2. Another one I’ve heard of is viewbook. Its not free, I think the rates run between $4-20 a month depending on what you are looking for. That’s not too terribly expensive considering the cost of hosting your own site isn’t much cheaper.

    Regarding websites, I have a mixed opinion regarding their use when I left my job in Britain to return to the US. I’ve always sent hard copies because I wasn’t sure how employer’s might react to a link only approach. My concern was that they would ignore the link and move on to next person who had hard copies or digital copies attached to an email (especially if the person getting your email is admin….they aren’t going to print your site, and there is no guarantee they’ll forward it to the hiring manager).

    Therefore my approach was to always place the links on my hard copies, mention them in my letters, and if I was following up by email – in my signature. Unfortunately, my IP logs showed that only about 30% of the firms looked at my website. My guess is that a hiring manager doesn’t really want to take the time to navigate a website unless they are already convinced by the person’s resume or work. That being said, the 30% who did look at the site wanted interviews and returned offers so perhaps the site played an important role (at the very least as you said, it showed their interest).

    I will also say that my 30% figure was probably on the low side because I was applying from Britain and some firms may have been excluding my applications immediately because I wasn’t in the country much less the region. Still, it was mildly frustrating because of the time spent building the site from scratch.

    Online portfolios are still very important (i’m always updating mine), but my take from 2007 is that it didn’t seem to be a foot in the door kind of tool, instead it helps keep you inside once you’ve crossed the threshold.

    Having said all of this, perhaps using a link without hard copies or pdfs is worth the risk because you have more potential for site hits.

  3. Hey All,

    I found one that is free for the basic package and extremely efficient and flexible with that you are wanting to do and how much imagination you may have. Check out and check out my website Portfolio to see what I have done
    I definitely think that having a portfolio website is a great thing to show a future Employer, because it does show something different, allthoughschmid said about having a disc you can take in to an interview and leave behind is also a great idea.


  4. You all are welcome to look at my online portfolio as an example!
    I got a job in Sweden two weeks before moving here with help of the “green” portfolio!
    Best of luck:)

  5. Thanks for all the comments! It’s great to see what you’ve done to market yourselves, I hope that this post can continue to add more links and ideas for those looking for work or just updating their portfolios.

    I also had another point that didn’t make it into the original post, that putting your work in an online format can help to ensure you don’t lose your work! I’ve managed to break a USB in half (not on purpose) and lost probably 250MB of work, something I don’t recommend to anyone. Once it’s on the web, it’s going to stay there.

  6. I’m using the Google Presentations app via LinkedIn to create a portfolio. It’s basically an online (and free!) version of PowerPoint. Having a Gmail account in place helps a lot, and it’ll be nice to be able to link to it directly from my LinkedIn profile!

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