Portfolio: why using a CMS?


I noticed that pretty much every web designer uses a WP template or one of another CMS for his or her portfolio.

I don’t understand that, because to me it is as if a baker is selling bread made by another baker. I mean, if I were a client I would think : “Hmm, this web designer hasn’t even taken the time to design himself his own website!”

Are all web designers in the world too much busy to design themselves their own portoflio websites ?

Hi baia, welcome to SitePoint! :wave:

Yes that sounds contradictional.

My thought is that using a CMS would allow a coworker to update the site.

For the self-employed designers, maybe some make use of the CMS they prefer their clients to use, just to convince them to do too?

Ok, thanks for the response.

  • far from that and depends on the how factor. If you have seen some of the boards recently, knowing a CMS, such as Wordpress or Joomla, can get you the job. I can attest to that currently. If one builds the site through WP and skins it themselves, that shows that that one can actually do the work to customize the CMS to produce the product. It’s not a cheap way out if one knows where to take the credit. Utilizing a CMS allows one to update the site easily and adopt any other possibilities. For instance, the ability to blog, and bring together their social media profiles through aggregation - all in one centralized hub.

Now it’s clear to me. Thanks!

(I was hesitating about whether using WP for my website, now I will definitely do so)

There’s a flaw in your analogy. A more proper analogy would be for a baker having to be able to build the machines/tools with which he creates bread.

A web designer must not be able to create a CMS as a web designer is a web designer, not a programmer.

A CMS is a content management system.

Furthermore, using a CMS in no way implies that a web designer hasn’t designed his own site and written his own code or structured the IA. It simply means that a designer used an off-the-shelf product to “manage is content” instead of hiring a programmer to create a content management system.

It can never harm to know a thing or two about one or more programming languages as a web designer, but a web designer’s main field is the front-end.

If you build the site through WP, you can do the work to customize the CMS, update the site easily any time you want. Website looks change with time and maybe you are tired of your old look. It might need a little tweaking to improve its presentation and performance, or maybe it’s time for a new WordPress Theme.
So, I think it’s really ok to use CMS for portfolio.

It depends upon what ‘target audience’ you are trying to impress; all it says is you know how to use or modify a specific tool to achieve a desired outcome.

In some cases a prospective client may want that and in others they’d consider you might be locking/tying yourself into a specific product. Thus may not have a broad enough knowledge of other web design aspects; Swings-and-Roundabouts.

Having a CMS in your ‘toolbox’ is very valuable.
It’s not the answer to every client’s needs, however it’s a great way to build a site that can then be handed to a client, with some training in the use of the CMS, which allow them control of their own content.

There’s also the idea that reinventing the wheel is a pointless endeavour. If you can’t improve upon someone else’s implementation, why bother making something for yourself and burning loads of hours on it. While it may on the surface seem lazy or against the skills of the individual, it’s worth pointing out that there’s no shame in making your own life easier by taking something that probably took a few years work and using it to scale your work better. :slight_smile:

Yes that baffles me too.
I can understand designers using wordpress, etc as they are designers not developers and the main purpose of the site is to showcase their graphical work, etc.

However, it confuses the hell out of me as to why a developer would use a pre-built system. Aren’t you killing the point of your portfolio? If you were an artist would you take someone else’s work to an interview?

Some say ‘Why reinvent the wheel?’. Yes, i get what your saying but your defeating the point of your portfolio, basically I believe that your portfolio is your place to show that you can reinvent the wheel.

I may be going over the top with my portfolio, but im building a framework from scratch, a bespoke cms, etc. Thats just to show what I can do.

This. Web “designers” love using wordpress templates as their portfolio. Why? If their clients love it, thats all that matters. Think about it, if you didn’t know how to recognize a wordpress template, would you care? A beautiful looking site is just that, not dependent on which tools you use to create it.

Keep in mind that some people see WP portfolios and think “wow” as opposed to “pssh just another wordpress template, unoriginal”.

WordPress is a tool to publish content. I am a web designer and I use WP for my site. I also develop and design custom WordPress themes for my clients. All the XHTML and CSS is coded from scratch then I convert it into the various template files and add special actions and hooks through the functions.php file.

Using the “Bread Baker Analogy” WordPress is more like the oven. You wouldn’t expect the Baker to fabricate his oven would you?

Mostly I use CMS systems because it frees up the client. They can make changes to the content themselves without having to resort to paid help all the time.

It’s also more convenient for me…at the building stage I can take a phone call and do the requested changes live while the client is watching.

And finally, it’s about cost and time. WP -and other CMS systems- have a bunch of stuff built in (or available as plugins) that would take a long time to build from scratch. The client isn’t going to pay for the development time, usually…they just want a site that does X, Y and Z; they want it cheap and they want it yesterday. With an off-the-peg CMS system, you can deliver that.

I’m not exactly sure what you are asking here. Why do people use Wordpress or another CMS for their portfolio in general, or why would the use a theme that someone else made for their portfolio on Wordpress? Two very different things here.

Wordpress and other CMS’s are very valuable. They save a lot of time and money, content can be very structured and organized, and really, the benefits far outweigh the cons.

However, as a designer, you probably would not want your portfolio to be designed by someone else. For example, say I made my portfolio, called “Markisonfire’s Portfolio” and I used a free theme provided by, I dunno, “XYZ Wordpress Themes”. That would not be a prudent way to market your skills as a designer.

At the same time, it is no easy task to theme Wordpress for the first time.