Igor Lanko's avatar Igor Lanko

How to build your own portfolio site?

Recently I realized a lot of my ex-colleagues would often ask me a recommendation for a software tool of some sort. Obviously most of the times it related to the stuff we were doing at work, like design tools for instance.

I must have been an obvious nerd for those (especially given the fact that I could switch a dozen during the process of making something). So I thought I’d document my recommendations in a blog post so that next time someone asks me, I’m like “a-ha!“.

Who is it for

It should work for any tech profficiency (or your involvement patience level): whether you’re a researcher, designer, or a full-stack engineer maniac. I don’t know why, but developer’s portfolios are such a rarity.

I split the list into complexity categories.

The general trend important to understand though is this: customization increases involvement.


Not going to involve price into consideration because: a) all the services have relatively similar price points; b) I’m not NerdWallet.

Level 1: I just want to upload pictures and edit text

I’d honestly start with something as simple as read.cv. It seems to be growing really well as a network, but also you get to have your own pretty profile with about, work experience, and even show case sections. Follow me, by the way. I also see absolutely no reason not to share this with your next recruiter instead of obliging to the “Send PDF resume“ request. Looks neat.

Cargo.site or its sister product Persona.co is just dope. It’s an actual site builder. Content editing is fast, you have some modern swiss-inspired design layouts to choose from that you can override. And my favorite—is how easy it is to create some freaky animations that even turn my wife’s head when she sees a Cargo site opened on my laptop. And trust me, she’s seen some shit as an artist. Works well on mobile too. Persona does, though my wife’s good at multiple things too, of course.

Level 2: I’m ready to suffer a little in order to gain spiritual balance and big-boy web features

Now if you want to go further, like have multiple pages, maybe even include payments, there’re other options.

Readymag.com my all time favorite. I’ve been using it since 2014. It’s like a smart canvas that instantly becomes a site as you publish it. Worth noting the Readymag designer Stas Aki whose visual style I just admire endlessly. It’s not as good with reusability, not good for blogs, or multi-paging. Though people manage that too, but I just found it a little too clumsy for 2023. Still, it’s worth trying if you want your portfolio showcase act like it’s on LSD and not be a Google Doc. Responsive might take time to figure out, but when you do, it’s a breeze. Also just the fact that it scales the layout, rather than always expects you to calculate every breakpoint is such an amazing 180º perspective.

mmm.page is very similar to Readymag, worth a try too.

Framer.com design tool pivoted yet another time into a site builder now. I actually quite enjoy it. It took the best from Figma (like components and variables) and kind of shoved some CMS/multi-page features with some pre-built modules too. Can be a little restrainting, but overall it’s fast. Also if you designed something in Figma, import to Framer is very easy and fast.

What I can’t recommend: Webflow or Semplice. Webflow always seemed overly complex to me for the tasks. I’m sure I can figure it out, but for the simplicity I’m looking for, I’d be faster coding something. Semplice—I used it on my old site, but battles with WordPress are just not worth a portfolio site.

Level 3: mom, can you pick me up?

First of all, I’m going to plug this in here and say that you should learn coding. Even the basics. Even with Copilot, but it’s never been easier than now to launch your hello-world into… the world. Hit me up if you’d like to talk about this.

If you do know something about code, want all the customizability freedom—I can’t recommendd Kirby enough. It is that an amazing PHP headless CMS. My favorite part though is the admin panel customizability. Just write props in a yaml blueprint template and you have yourself a control UI. Also no need to set up databases, everything is in .md, well, headless like I said. This site runs on Kirby. No JavaScript, just plain PHP snippets and Tailwind. You can enhance it with JS framework if you wanted to though. Great community too.


No conclusion, it’s an ongoing list, so I’ll change it when/if I change my mind.

If you found this useful, let me know on Twitter @igorlanko. If you disagree—do the same.

Thank you for reading!

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