Marshall, I'm actually at your current position while making my own website. I have found many alternatives but as I am a UI Designer I want to keep it simple, beautiful and fast loading. I will tell you what I will do and maybe that can help in your future research and development. I will make an example here:
Focus in colors and typography
I love how simple sites look like, use dark color backgrounds for light text and vice-versa.
Content is design
If you have multiple projects, make a template for all small projects, but for important ones make an exclusive page, clients find that fascinating. See this one from Metalab for instance: http://metalab.co/projects/slack/
Making different looking pages within your website will make you acquire more web skills in little time.
Check your website in different devices and browsers
Make a responsive design. Make sure that everything is where it should be and behaving as it should. Clients hate displacements and bad looking contact forms in their phones.
What I'm going to do for my site
For a personal website I always decide to push myself harder, so I'm forced to learn new stuff and offer to the community of people that visits me something new to see. Even though it's longer to develop, it's a lot more exciting and full of new experiences.
I'd love to see your results!
It would be really good for you and your career that you don't fall out for a CMS and templates. Even though there are a lot of wonderful templates, if you use them, you won't be learning the fundamentals of the web. Start from the very ground up using HTML and CSS, with those two technologies you can build wonder with no need of other thing. If you want to use custom fonts, go ahead and look out for Google Fonts and embed them to your site.