Looking to build a new website or give your current site a makeover? Google Sites let you quickly create and customize websites with an accessible and easy-to-use platform.
If you’re an experienced website builder or consider yourself particularly tech-savvy, Google’s framework provides plenty of web development and deployment options to leverage at your leisure.
Meanwhile, if you’d prefer a more step-by-step approach, we’ve got your covered with this in-depth guide to Google Sites.
Google Sites is a free webpage creation and publishing platform. Its “classic” version looked a lot like Google Docs, while the new iteration of Sites works more like Google Forms.
If you’ve got a Classic site already up and running, it’s a good idea to make the switch — the new Google Sites design framework is much easier to use thanks to drag-and-drop design elements and the ability to quickly insert text, images and videos.
How to Use Google Sites
Open Google Sites.
Open the Google Sites Support Page.
Add layouts, text and images.
Use free or paid templates to help your site stand out.
Click “Publish” when you’re done.
Let others view or edit your website.
Let’s tackle each of these steps.
1. Open Google Sites.
Head to Google Sites to start creating your new website. Click the "+" in the bottom corner to get started.
2. Open the Google Sites Support Page.
Since you’ll probably have some questions during the process, it’s worth opening the Google Sites Support Page for a list of some of the most common Google Sites functions. Keep this tab up as you build your website.
3. Add layouts, text and images.
Using the right-hand sidebar, you can add layouts, text, images and videos to any Google Sites page.
4. Use free or paid templates and themes to help your site stand out.
Free templates are available directly from Google, allowing you quickly change things like fonts, color schemes, or layouts. You can also purchase and install new themes and templates. I’ve included a handful of top templates and themes below.
5. Click Publish when you’re done.
Choose a new URL or link your site to a domain name you already own.
6. Allow others to view or edit your site.
Just like Google Docs, you can get a shareable link to let others view your site or edit your site.
Seems easy, right? It is — for the most part — thanks to Google’s efforts in streamlining the creation and publishing process. But let’s dig a little deeper; here’s a step-by-step guide for how to make a website for free on Google.
How to Make a Website for Free on Google
Open Google Sites.
Name your Google Site.
Title your first web page.
Choose your Site layout.
Create additional pages.
Expand your Site content.
Choose and add a theme.
Publish your Google Site.
Choose your web address and set viewing rights.
Incorporate your own URL.
Now, let’s consider each step in more detail.
1. Open Google Sites.
Head to Google Sites to get started. Click on the multicolored “+” button in the bottom-right.
2. Name your Google Site.
In the top-left of the screen click Enter Site Name and choose a name for your new website.
3. Title your first web page.
Click on Your Page Title and enter a title for your page. You can change the font size, add bold or italic text and include links.
4. Choose your Site layout.
On the sidebar, you’ll see multiple options for page layouts including single images with text, multiple images, and more. Click on the layout you prefer or drag-and-drop it into your new website.
5. Create additional pages.
As you create more web pages, add titles and body text in the Click to edit text area, then click on the “+”. This brings up a menu that lets you upload media — an image from your computer or Google Drive, a video from YouTube, or a Google Maps image.
6. Expand your Site content.
Add additional context and content using the menu on the bottom-right of the screen. Here, you’ll find options to include collapsible text menus, tables of contents, image carousels and even buttons. Need inspiration? Check out our Google Sites examples below.
7. Choose and add a theme.
Click Themes and choose from six available free themes with multiple color schemes and fonts. (I’ve included a few top themes below.)
8. Publish your Google Site.
When you’re happy with your site’s layout and content, click Publish in the upper-right hand corner.
9. Choose your web address and set viewing rights.
You can now select a web address and select viewing or editing rights for your site, allowing visitors to simply view your site or make changes.
10. Incorporate your own URL.
If you prefer to use a URL you already own, visit this Google Support page and follow the steps listed — you’ll need to verify you own the URL, point your URL your Google Site through your hosting provider’s platform and then directly assign your custom URL. You can also register a new domain name for your Google Site.
Google Sites Examples
So what does a great Google site look like? Here are some great examples.
The JSVFOTO website is extremely simple but effective: Each image links to a specific photo category. Without large blocks of text and thanks to the generous use of white space, this site easily stands out.
Filip Rzepka is a Czech videographer and video editor with commercial and set experience and a focus in storytelling with the camera. The homepage of his site is striking with its dark colors, white text, and subtle movement.
This organization provides IT consultancy services, auditing, and project work to businesses ranging from manufacturing to financial services. The user is met with big, bold text and a cool color scheme the moment they hit the page.
PCS is a professional technical sales organization in the electrical industry, and they use a dynamic, compelling image of a power plant on their home page. This coupled with the hexagonal icons to guide the user through the site make for a streamlined user experience.
Accounting Team has a full-width and mobile-responsive layout, and it's equipped with an icon set and social media buttons. You'll enjoy the bold look and clean lines.
If you’re ready to get your site up and running, Google Sites makes it easy to design your own page with a simple interface and multiple templates. Prefer a helping hand? Try CMS Hub — our certified agency partners can help migrate or redesign your site and let you focus on running your business.
Get Started with Google Sites
Google Sites is an easy-to-use website building platform that lets you quickly create and publish new sites. While it can’t compete with some more in-depth, paid and freemium alternatives — such as Squarespace or Wix — it’s a great way to get your site up-and-running without the costs of professional design and development.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Nov 16, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated November 16 2020