In a sense, a website is a portfolio of your work, its a place where people can see what work you've done and where you can explain how you've done it. Being able to explain your work is good, because your physical portfolio may not always answer the questions people may have about your work.
It is important to keep your explanations concise and not over laboured on your actual portfolio page on your website, however having the option of links to your blog or extra pages is useful. Jack Hughes' website created through Tumblr is a great example of this as it features his work but also lots of links and updates to ongoing work which clients can look, at if they were interested:
Now not only does a website give you chance to explain your work, but also give the idea of the sense of place your work creates. In this sense a website is better if your style and ideas are consistent throughout your work and your website, much like a business card a website shouldn't be an after thought with pieces of your work just plastered onto it, a website should be a piece of your work in itself.
A great example of this is Lord Whitneys website. On their enter page it features a photograph which instantly shows the way they work. You know that this was specially made for the website and clearly wasn't an after thought:
It is important to set your work out neatly and easy to understand. A good way which I have seen many times is to use a small crop of the image, which links to the full page, like here, again on Lord Whitney's website:
It is also vital to have easy to understand navigation throughout your website. Timba Smits does this well having a header of all different aspects of his work, this sort of navigation would be good for someone like me who likes to showcase different types of work (in my case illustration and photography):
There are lots of different online platforms for creating websites. Tumblr and Cargo are both great places available at the moment for places to upload your work, they can be as simple or complicated in design as you wish and you can also connect with other people by 'following' them on there too which is a great was to connect other people to your work. If you're looking to sell products, Big Cartel is a good place to start off with an online shop, you can connect this to your website and have the small online shop for free, this is really easy to use and has a nice simple design which you can changed the colours, header etc.
I bought my domain a few years ago and have since tried out a lot of online platforms, I have even created my own website from scratch, however I am excited next year to get started with my brand new website which can have a great overall look and perfect navigation throughout showcasing the best of my work and design skills all in one place.