Google Sites is a great website builder for complete beginners. Users with reasonable computer operating knowledge can make the most out of it. It’s definitely not an app for advanced designers or developers although they could use it successfully for simple projects.
- Completely free with hosting included
- Intuitive and easy to use interface
- Responsive layouts by default
- Supports multiple pages
- Few ready-made templates to choose from
- Limited design customization options
- No advanced functionalities
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It’s a basic software, easy to learn and capable of producing good looking websites if wielded properly. Beginners will love Sites because it enables them to build their online projects in the shortest amount of time. No need to hire freelancers or start learning web design.
I checked the other reviews available online and it gets bad rep for 2 main reasons:
- It’s a free website builder that doesn’t offer an affiliate program. Which means review makers don’t get paid to promote it
- It’s compared to builders in different weight categories like Wix and Squarespace. So inevitably it will take a beating
After using it for a couple of projects I can easily recommend it for personal, portfolio, small business, event and product landing page type of websites. If you agree that projects are better built in stages then Google Sites is the website builder for the first ones.
Here is a portfolio website that I recently created using Google Sites
- See it in action: https://sites.google.com/view/portfolio-website-wow
- Video tutorial: https://tutoriac.com/create-portfolio-website-google-sites-2-5
Also a business website I’ve made with Google Sites
- See it in action: https://sites.google.com/view/business-websitewow
- Video tutorial: https://tutoriac.com/create-business-website-google-sites-4
Now let’s dive into the features that make Google Sites a reliable website builder for beginners. At the end you will find a growing list of selected useful resources.
To start using Google Sites all you need is a Google account which you already have if you’re using Gmail. So while logged in into your Google/Gmail account click on the Google Apps button.
The button is a 9 dots square positioned next to your profile image. Click on that and then scroll down to More From Google. Click and scroll to Browse All Products. Sites is towards the bottom.
Here is the link to save you the trouble sites.google.com
The Admin interface is very straight forward. Top area is for new sites while the bottom area is for previously created sites. It will be empty of course when you first open it.
In the top area you have the option to start from scratch or use a template. We’ll talk about templates later. Once you click on Start New Blank Site you’ll open the Editor interface.
The Editor window is split into two main parts positioned side by side. The main part to the left is for building and previewing the web page. The second part to the right is the Tools panel.
Inserting components to build sections is intuitive. Also controlling global typography and color settings is fairly easy through the Themes tab in the Tools panel.
One highlight of Google Sites is that you can build multi-page websites. So if you need to add details about your projects or some articles you can easily do it using the Pages tab.
It’s a far cry from blogging but definitely a step up from other basic builders that focus on single page projects. You can add extensive details about your products, services and ideas.
Google Sites offers a couple of essential content blocks like cards, carousel, accordion, videos and more. They’ll get the job done and can be customized for different variations.
You can add Forms by integrating with the Google Forms app. Create it in the distinct Forms app then add it to your web page via the Forms placeholder. Sheets and Slides are also available.
There is no granular control for design and typography but you can adjust them globally in the Themes tab. Having only essential options is what makes it a beginner friendly website builder.
As mentioned earlier Google Sites gives you the option to start from ready-made templates. The ones available are great and cover multiple use cases. The only issue is that there aren’t so many. Users would definitely appreciate more.
With a little bit of customization work you can extend the use case scope for any of the existing templates. You can find 3rd party free and paid templates in the Resources section below.
Please take your time to check them well and even talk to the makers before purchasing. I am not affiliated with them and can’t vouch for the quality or support. I just collect them for you.
There is no pricing plan. No paywalls or paid tiers for advanced features. Google Sites is completely free. Building, editing and hosting are free.
Publishing websites is just a matter of clicking a button and selecting an available link. There is a link availability checker integrated in the Publish window.
You can use Sites subdomain links or even connect to your own custom domain. The option is available at any point in time and doesn’t cost anything.
It’s worth mentioning that every webpage you crate with Sites is automatically made responsive by the Editor. You don’t have to adjust the design to make it look great on any device. Phone, tablet or big screen, your project will scale automatically and look at its best.
Google Sites is a useful website builder created with complete beginners in mind. It’s not a power tool for designers or developers since it lacks advanced features and detailed design control. Keeping that in mind it’s capable of producing decent results if used properly. Multi-page support, free hosting and default responsiveness make it a solid option among light-weight builder apps.
This is a growing list of selected resources that will help you learn how to use Google sites and make the most out it.
- Tutoriac – video tutorials for complete website builds from scratch
- Websitevice – gallery of website examples
- Googlesites.dev – text tutorials, tips & tricks
- She Designs Things – YouTube channels with tips & tricks, guides, website previews
- Google Sites Templates Blog – helpful guides, articles and tips & tricks
- Mastering Google Sites – Mastering Google Sites book
- Copywriting and SEO Workbook for Google Sites – guide to help you create text for your pages and SEO optimization tricks
- Google Sites Help Center – official help library
- Google Sites – Twitter community
- r/GoogleSites – Reddit subreddit for showcasing Sites projects and asking questions
- Google Sites – Facebook group
- Google Sites Help Community – official help community
- Imaketemplates – free templates
- Seasalt.studio – premium templates
- She Designs Things – premium templates
- Steegle – free and premium templates
- Googlesitestemplates – premium templates
- Imaketemplates – Google Sites Developer in UK
- Googlesites.dev – Google Sites Developer in UK
- She Designs Things – Google Sites Developer in US
- Steegle – Google Sites Developer in UK and US
- Googlesitestemplates – Google Sites Developer in US