An important step in advertising your services, growing your brand or business or sharing your stories is creating a website that showcases your talent. A striking, beautiful website will catch the eyes of readers and potential customers and draw them to what you have to offer. Website creation in 2017 involves less work for better results than ever before. Which website builder is the best for you?


Wix

Wix brags about its Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence), an enthusiastic robot that will design a first draft of your website based on a few questions about its purpose and your interests. Of the four website builders described here, Wix involves the least amount of work while still producing gorgeous results.


You can create a Wix account with an email/password or by logging in with Facebook or Google. The excited website AI will ask questions about the purpose of your website—business, commerce, portfolio, personal, etc.—and suggest templates based on your answers. I started by choosing "Portfolio/CV." It asked me to specify what kind of website (it was the only platform to do this) and when I typed "Writing," suggested "Writing Portfolio."

The AI offers a selection of designs to help it learn your taste. And like the loading screen of a videogame, the ADI creates the "first version of your homepage" before proceeding to a step-by-step tutorial of the design and editing process.

Before the ADI takes over, Wix offers the option to go straight to the editor and start from something closer to scratch, but I see no reason to do that, even for someone with experience. For a beginner designer, trust the robot.

Wix set up my website with an impressive video header background right from the start and filled it in with coherent sample text (not that lorem ipsum nonsense language loved by text editors). Each template's colors, animations and content are customizable. The tutorial is a bit laggy and slow but comprehensive and a huge help. Preview mode shows your website on desktop and mobile.

In about an hour, you'll have a website that looks like it took a team a few days to design. Wix, like all of the four platforms discussed here, is free to start. It offers lots of tips, help articles, SEO assistance and more, while its subscription plans offer custom domains, storage and Wix ad-free sites.

Squarespace

Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial (no credit card required) to test its services and see if it's the right fit for you. It asks a similar set of questions about what the website will be used for and, without the personality of the Wix AI but with the same polish, builds a beautiful website full of placeholders for you to replace with your own text and images.

The initial difference between the two platforms is that Squarespace lacks the extremely helpful tutorial that Wix offers. Without that kickstart, I wasn't sure where, exactly, to begin or what to do about many of the placeholders.

This might have been easier to figure out if the interface was as intuitive as Wix's, but it's not. Where Wix defines clear levels of editing (pages, sections, section text, section images, buttons, etc.), Squarespace seems to be a free-for-all of editing: every aspect of a section must be edited separately, and moving from text to image to buttons quickly becomes tedious. Unlike the simple-yet-thorough Wix interface, Squarespace forces users into the highest-power zoom, editing the specifics without easy access to the broad design or content.

There is no instant preview comparable to Wix (Wix was laggy but at least it was present), little in-editor help and frustrating controls. Suddenly, I'd accidentally created a blog. Then, I couldn't easily navigate to it.

Squarespace offers more analytics than Wix, including a traffic overview, site search queries, popular content and RSS subscribers. But as a user who has made websites using several platforms but who has little experience manually building all of the specifics of a page, Squarespace frustrated me beyond saving. Use a free service, like Wix or one of the others below—visitors won't be able to tell the difference, but your wallet will.

Weebly

Weebly, refreshingly, displays itself as another enthusiastic, colorful website builder. Sign in with email, Facebook or Google and start answering its brief quiz. Question 1: Do you want to sell online? This first question indicates Weebly's slightly different priority, though you can choose "No" and add a store at any time.

Again, choose from a list of mostly good themes and let Weebly create the first draft of your site. Thankfully, it follows the creation with a series of pop-up boxes that nudge you along through a kind of tutorial.

The Weebly editor relies heavily on smooth drag-and-drop actions for an editor that is vastly better than that of Squarespace. The "Parallax" scroll effect (also available on the other services) is particularly gorgeous. It also offers video backgrounds and other features that come with premium subscriptions.

There is significantly less pre-setup from Weebly than from Wix and there doesn't seem to be an undo button. Weebly stands out with its apps, such as the Facebook "Like" button, Social Boosting, a "Testimonial Builder" and many more. Some are free and some are premium-only, but all are extremely simple to implement.

Weebly offers site stats and help that are similar to Squarespace but at a cheaper cost. Weebly's subscription tiers are almost the same as those of Wix, with an entry subscription (with a free domain) that costs $8/mo. and the next level at $12/mo. Weebly is a simple, smooth and modern website builder to rival Wix. The choice comes down to platform aesthetics.

Strikingly

Strikingly offers the same feature set as Wix when you log in with email or Facebook. If the Strikingly homepage was built with Strikingly, then I'm already less impressed. It offers a tour instead of a tutourial, though it recommends chatting with its "Happiness Officers" for help. It must be emphasized that the editor is extremely functional and easy to use.

The editor is simple but not as glossy as the others. Strikingly feels like it hasn't quite escaped the Wordpress/blog/single-page-stream format, although it's almost there. It emphasizes sections on a scrolling page over multiple pages.

While it gives nice previews of tablet and mobile layouts, its mobile customization features are lacking. It does have an app store similar to Weebly's, but with less options.

Conclusion

The choice really comes down to Wix and Weebly for their excellent combinations of features, polish, services and prices. There's really no reason to pay for Squarespace when other platforms do it better and, if you're a light user, for free. Wix and Weebly offer slightly different features at slightly different price tiers but their base offerings are basically identical.

Do you prefer lots of clicking on sections to reveal a side menu containing all of the customization options, or a sidebar from which you drag sections, text boxes and apps onto the page? Would you rather the AI do most of the work, or would you like more initial choices with a recommended path? These questions will help you decide between two fantastic, modern, powerful website builders.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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