In a previous piece on Adobe Portfolio vs Squarespace vs Authory, I compared three popular portfolio builders so that you could make a more informed decision without having to test these tools from scratch. To keep the momentum going, this time, I'll be comparing Adobe Portfolio vs Wix vs Authory.
Why am I comparing portfolio makers? Because when I decided to switch to freelance writing, I realized employers expect more than a random list of a few cherrypicked work samples when evaluating you for a project or two. I then spent a couple of months trying out the different tools that would let me create a professional portfolio website with minimal effort and expenditure on my part.
I ran through a gamut of tools, and you can find some initial observations on each in this piece — The Best Portfolio Builders for 2023.
But now it's time for a deeper dive into specific tools and how they match up against particular competitors.
• My criteria for comparing Adobe Portfolio, Wix and Authory
• A detailed critical review of each tool
• My justification for why I chose one tool over the other two
My criteria for judging the "ideal" portfolio website builder
At a high level, the following features were the ones I most cared about finding and using in the portfolio builders I tested:
- An easy-to-use, user-friendly UI that allowed me to set up my portfolio website within a few minutes.
- No coding knowledge required. My HTML and CSS knowledge, as well as technical and design skills are less than non-existent.
- A reasonable measure of customizability (I'm a writer, so I don't need my portfolio to win a RED DOT DESIGN Award).
- Analytics support for the content I include in my portfolio. I'd like to know how my pieces perform after publication.
- A price point I could afford.
If you're a photographer and want a portfolio to showcase your work, choose Adobe Portfolio, point blank, period (as the kids say these days).
Bundled as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, this is a dedicated portfolio builder that provides particular features that make it a favorite among photographers. Adobe Portfolio offers specific features like integration with Adobe Lightroom and Behance (must-have tools for photographers and visual artists), making it perfect for anyone who creates or works with high-quality images.
You can create a single-page or multi-page portfolio, all without any technical or design skills.
Primary features of Adobe Portfolio
- Comes as part of Adobe Creative Cloud. No separate payment is required for Adobe Portfolio.
- Provides responsive themes optimized for desktop and mobile devices.
- Allows crafting of single or multiple-page portfolios.
- Offers numerous themes that are quite customizable.
- Easy integration with Behance.
- Enables seamless image importing from Adobe Lightroom.
- Enables use of Adobe Fonts.
- Offers use of dynamic galleries. You can use photo grids and can include Lightroom photos in the mix.
- Allows you to password-protect your portfolio, whether on one specific page or the entire thing.
- You can use your custom domain for your portfolio. But you'll have to register and host this domain manually. You can also buy a domain through Adobe Portfolio, and your site will be hosted on Namecheap. However, the entire setup process is manual and on you.
Adobe Portfolio's price
As I mentioned above, Adobe Portfolio comes bundled with Adobe Creative Cloud. So you'll have to pay for Adobe Creative Cloud, not Adobe Portfolio specifically. Price of Adobe Creative Cloud:
Creative Cloud — Photography: $9.99/month
Creative Cloud — All Apps: $54.99/month
Portfolios built with Adobe Portfolio
ilustraminacje (Kamila Romaniak) is a freelance illustrator from Poland.
am studio de arquitetura ltda is an architectural studio based in Sao Paulo.
You'll often see Wix on the lists for "best website builders" and the like. It's quite similar to Squarespace, in that it provides templates (in my opinion, Squarespace templates are more visually appealing) and essential website components like eCommerce tools.
Wix pages are quite customizable, thanks to a drag-and-drop editor. It's also quite beginner-friendly. Needless to say, since you can use Wix to create any kind of website, it's useful enough to create portfolios.
Primary features of Wix
- Over 500 designer-made templates to cater to different businesses.
- Complete control over website customizability.
- Solid, in-built SEO tools, including customizable meta-tags and the like.
- Mobile optimized templates, so your site looks great on all screens.
- An extensive app market you can use to expand your site's functions. For e.g., you can use a Google Analytics integration to track the number of visitors, engagement levels, etc.
- Extensive design features, such as scroll effects, media galleries, and unlimited fonts.
- Custom domain name and free web hosting.
- In-built analytics to track how your site performs.
- SSL certification.
- Social media integration.
- While Wix does not offer industry-leading customer support (yet), it is still known for having a relatively responsive and helpful support team.
Combo Plan — $16
Unlimited Plan — $22
There are other plans, but they are largely suitable for businesses rather than individuals creating portfolios.
Portfolios built with Wix
Wendy Ju is a UI/UX designer based in NYC.
Christina Vanessa is a Fullbright scholar, artist, and designer.
Spoiler alert: I went with this one. Authory lets me create a ready-to-send portfolio in just a few clicks because the tool did the lion's share of the work — actually finding every piece I had written over five years or so.
Authory literally builds the portfolio for you. You put in the digital source (the URL of the website you've published on), and every bylined article is automatically imported into the database. Then you just organize them as you see fit, click a button, and have a live portfolio to send off to prospective clients.
Authory imports and hosts content in text, audio, and video formats. Many of its users create broadcast quality videos, publish and/or appear in podcasts. These videos and audio content are also showcased via their Authory portfolios.
Primary features of Authory
- As I mentioned, you enter a source, and all your content from that site becomes yours to access. In a single place, you can see, read and get the original link for every piece you've ever written.
- Not only that, the tool continues to import any bylined piece in the future — every new piece under your name that goes live on any of the websites you offered as a digital source — is drawn into the database.
- All imported content is backed up permanently. It doesn't matter if the source link dies/becomes a redirect; you never lose your content.
- The tool saves content in its original format, i.e., text/media. No screenshots here.
- Customization options are limited but precise. You don't get templates/element editors, but you don't really need them. Pre-set designs are in place, and you can upload your own images. Your profile ends up looking great no matter what you move around on it.
- Your content is eternally downloadable. Get it as high-quality PDFs, or export it as HTML files.
- You are notified every time a new article is imported.
- All portfolios are SEO-optimized and responsive. Your work will look great on mobile screens.
- You'll get to know how your content performs every 30 days. The Analytics feature breaks down engagement numbers by month, so you know exactly how your work is being received across the larger digital landscape.
- If you have subscribers, you can use the newsletter tool (with like two clicks), and it will automatically send out all your new content. Two clicks and your readers/viewers never miss a new post from you.
- If you have a personal site, you get a widget that displays your work on said site. Again, it takes around two clicks to accomplish this.
Portfolios built with Authory
David Pogue is a correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning,” a periodic host of "NOVA,” and host of the Emmy award-winning “Unsung Science” podcast.
Melissa Kalt is an MD and author who creates videos discussing mental and physical issues from a real-world-brass-tacks perspective.
Why I chose Authory
When I compare Adobe Portfolio and Wix with Authory, the winner is easy to pick. Not because Authory does everything better than the other two, but because it does a few things perfectly.
Let's break it down for each tool.
Adobe Portfolio — why not?
Adobe Portfolio is a great option... but for someone else. As a writer, I didn't need dynamic galleries and integration with Lightroom (I'm not even sure exactly what it does; I never used it).
The fact that I could import images from Lightroom didn't mean anything to me. I needed to import articles from about 5-6 different sites. Using Adobe Lightroom would mean copy-pasting links, and that was the primary hurdle I wanted a tool to surpass.
Add to that the fact that I had to get a Creative Cloud subscription to ever get started with Adobe Portfolio; it made zero sense to use this tool. Why would I spend for a bundle of tools I would literally never use?
Wix — why not?
Then there's Wix. An exceptional website builder, but once again, not applicable to my particular requirements. I didn't need business management software, eCommerce features (I'd love to sell digital and print graphics someday, but not today), or designer-grade templates. My potential clients don't care about the nuances of my portfolio's visuals as long as they can easily navigate my work samples. All my work needs to be easily viewable, and the whole portfolio needs to look professional-grade.
If I purchased a Wix plan, I would be paying for features I would, once again, never use. Additionally, and most importantly, I'll still have to track down my published pieces and add them manually, which was my main pain point.
Authory — why yes?
Enter Authory. To be honest, I mostly chose it for its automatic importation feature. It was literally doing most of the work for me. I kid you not, within 48 hours, I had over 500 articles published across various websites at different times, at my fingertips. All I had to do was organize them into relevant "collections” and add these collections to my portfolio, and I was done.
Outside of importing (which takes 48 hours or so), the setup process is less than 3 minutes. And, I didn't mind waiting those 48 hours because if I had to collate all those articles myself... well, I probably couldn't do it.
Don't forget the automatic backup feature. Never worrying about losing my content takes an enormous weight off my shoulders, and it's nice to know exactly which of my pieces are doing well with their respective readership. The analytics feature helps me double down on what's working with readers and reconsider what isn't. This input is invaluable for a freelance writer to keep up with changing trends and preferences.
Oh, and did I mention that Authory is the cheapest of the three options? At $8 a month, I was getting more than my money's worth.
If you're curious, here's what my portfolio looks like: authory.com/shreya-bose
Now, I want to make it clear that Authory is the best option for me and my specific requirements. It may not so for you, but I'm willing to bet you're at least curious about getting all your work in one dashboard without having to do anything but enter your digital sources.
So, why not try Authory's 30-day free trial? You've got nothing to lose, and a great portfolio to gain.