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 the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.