Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, just announced that it is rolling out a vertical for portfolio sites. This, the company says, is meant to allow photographers, videographers, illustrators, painters, designers and others who want to showcase their creations on WordPress.com.
WordPress.com users, of course, were always able to choose some portfolio-like themes for their sites, but this is the first time Automattic is making this a priority. Last year, the company also rolled out verticals for wedding sites, band pages, cities and restaurants.
Overall, WordPress users can now choose from over 30 different portfolio themes. These, of course, come with all the usual WordPress trappings, including the ability to customize colors, fonts and – for a fee of $30/year – dig into the CSS for full control over how the site looks. Users can embed images and audio on their sites, though users who want to embed their own HD videos will have to pay $60/year for the VideoPress service. Custom domains on WordPress.com cost about $30/year.
Chances are these vertical sites are the ones that make WordPress.com a good amount of money, given that its users are more likely to buy add-on services like custom domains, custom CSS access and space upgrades. A focus on portfolios makes sense in this context, given that you probably want your portfolio to look unique and not have a wordpress.com address.