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 you covered with this in-depth guide to Google Sites.
Google Sites has experienced some changes in the years since its debut. The classic version looked a lot like Google Docs does now, but the additional functionality and new features make it a viable contender for business owners and creators looking for an easy-to-use CMS.
If you’ve got the classic version of Google Sites already up and running, it’s a good idea to make the switch to the new interface. The updated design framework is much easier to use thanks to drag-and-drop design elements and the ability to quickly insert text, images, and videos.
Is Google Sites free?
Google Sites is completely free with any standard Google account. The number of sites you can make is only limited to the 15 GB of storage that comes with your account, but you can purchase more at any time. It’s worth noting that this storage is shared with all your other Google apps.
Not sure how to get your Google Site off the ground? Start with our step-by-step guide.
How to Use Google Sites
- Step 1: Open Google Sites.
- Step 2: Open the Google Sites Support Page.
- Step 3: Add layouts, text, and images.
- Step 4: Use free or paid templates to help your site stand out.
- Step 5: Click “Publish” when you’re done.
- Step 6: Let others view or edit your website.
Let’s look at each of these steps in more detail.
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.
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. Add media to your site.
As you create more web pages, add titles and body text in the Click to edit text area, then click Change image. 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 to 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.
Best Google Sites Templates and Themes
As noted above, Google Sites offers several free templates and themes. Here’s a look at some of our favorites developed by the Google Sites experts at Steegle.
Great for: Consultancies, B2B organizations, and agencies
A professional business needs a professional site and Steegle created a template just for this. Consulting Experts is a vibrant, customizable layout that helps you tell the story of how you can take your clients from point A to point B better than the competition can. The image carousel and Google Maps integrations provide a platform for you to display additional content that makes it perfect for B2B-style websites.
Great for: Small-to-medium sized businesses
If you're looking for a modern Google Sites template that features bold, clean lines, check out Accounting Team by Steegle. It comes with a full-width and mobile-responsive layout, and it's equipped with an icon set that works for both form and function. You can even include buttons that link to your social media accounts so you can grow your entire digital presence from your website.
Great for: Elementary and high schools, colleges, universities, and trade schools
Students, guardians, teachers, professors, administrators, staff – the list of people who keep the education system running smoothly is pretty long. But it doesn't have to be difficult to manage everyone in one place. The School Website template is a solution that not only has the capacity to communicate campus news for these groups, but it also provides public and private access to content that each group might need. Custom icons make this template easy to navigate so everyone finds the information they need.
Great for: Marketing agencies and Real estate agencies
There are several similarities between marketing and real estate agencies — one being the need for a digital presence that captures the attention of potential customers. The Marketing Agency template by Steegle is one of the best Google Sites templates we've seen for this purpose. Your Google Site will stand out with a vibrant design that's capable of conforming to your business's brand and style.
Great for: Nonprofits, associations, and clubs
Wouldn't it be nice for members of your organization to have access to all of their information on demand? That and more is possible with the Members Portal theme for Google Sites. Steegle has built a customizable layout for your website that becomes the digital home base for your members. This template supports video, a live display of your social media feed, and a suite of Google tools your members can use to collaborate, discuss, and share information.
Google Sites Examples
So what exactly does a great Google site look like? We scoured the web for the most captivating and intuitive Google Sites that will inspire you to create your own. Here are some of our favorite Google Site examples.
The Jirvus Technologies website is overflowing with gems that will inspire your website design. From the high-quality image background to the clean CTAs, this Google Site showcases many of the platform's best features that you can bring to life on your own site.
What we like about Jirvus Technologies' Google Site:
- Responsive Layout
- Clean CTAs
- Client Logo Display
- Call-Out Feature Boxes
Sylvania School's sample website is a tutorial-in-a-webpage. Just about every feature available from Google Sites is displayed in this example along with a description of how it's being used and the possibilities for future use cases. The best part is it uses a template called Impression that comes with the Google Sites platform for free.
What we like about Sylvania School's Test Google Site:
- Embedded Google Slides Presentation
- Google Forms Section
- Embedded Google Docs Discussion
- Google Maps Module
The JSVFOTO website is extremely simple but effective: Each image links to a specific photo category which keeps the reader safe from feeling overwhelmed when they first land on the site. The generous use of negative space focuses the visitor's eyes on the reason they clicked – to see beautiful photography.
What we like about JSVFOTO's Google Site:
- Simple Design
- High-quality Visuals
- Limited, Impactful Copy
- Generous Use of White Space
4. Emmaus House
Emmaus House is a residential care home that's responsible for accepting new clients, sharing information with the clients' families, and staffing the facility with talented caregivers. The company's Google Site is the website builder that helps its team achieve all of these goals. The navigational menu at the top provides a section for more information about the facility, how the clients are cared for, and it even includes a page for job seekers to apply for open positions.
What we like about Emmaus House Google Site:
- Easy-to-use Navigation Menu
- Staff Vacancies Portal
- Vivid Photography
5. Filip Rzepka
Filip Rzepka is a Czech videographer and video editor with commercial and set experience and a focus on storytelling with the camera. The homepage of his site is striking with its dark colors, white text, and subtle movement. The use of video on this site is well-executed as it simply uses embedded YouTube links that don't slow down the site which means a positive user experience for the visitor.
What we like about Filip Rzepka's Google Site:
- Embedded YouTube Videos
- Large Footer Social Media Icons
- Image Cards
- Hero Background Video
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. Plus, there's no question what the purpose of the website is and who the company serves as it's one of the main features on the homepage.
What we like about DrPete Technology Experts' Google Site:
- Bold Title Text
- Information Cards
- What, Who, Why Section
7. JMD WORKS
Artists will find a lot of inspiration in JMD Work's Google Site. This bright, cheerful site welcomes the reader to Joe's artistic style. Here, he showcases his portfolio of writing samples and artwork. Below that, he links to some of his best projects — and the links open in a new tab so the reader doesn't lose their place on the JMD site — a crowd-favorite feature at HubSpot!)
What we like about JMD WORKS' Google Site:
- Organized Portfolio
- Bright Color Scheme
- External Links to Portfolio Projects
- About Me Bio
PCS is a professional technical sales organization in the electrical industry. The company uses a dynamic, compelling image of a power plant on its homepage coupled with hexagonal icons to guide the user through a streamlined experience on the site.
What we like about Protection and Control Solutions Google Site:
- Vibrant Hero Image
- Unique Navigation Icons
- Image Grid
Did you know that it's possible to make a website for a school using Google Sites? If you're creating a site for this purpose, El Paso Gridley Schools is a great source of inspiration. This example site includes some of Google Sites' best features like icons, customizable buttons, and a Google calendar widget.
What we like about El Paso Gridley Schools' Google Site:
- Unique Icons
- Custom CTA Buttons
- Events Calendar
- Report a Problem Google Form
One of the best parts of having a Google Site is the ability to share your business, side hustle, or hobby with the public for free. This universal access to the platform makes it easy for companies like Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre to provide unique wedding ring delivery services. (That's right, you can have your wedding ring delivered to the alter by bird!) On this website, you'll find internal links to other pages on the site for more details about services, a live view of the company's Facebook page, and a map of the Cumberland Bird of Prey Visiting Centre.
What we like about Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre's Google Site:
- Embedded YouTube Videos
- Internal Links
- Embedded Google Map
- Email Subscription
11. Joshua Pomeroy
While Google Sites may have limited functionality compared to other website builders, graphic designer Joshua Pomeroy uses a simple full-width grid layout to let his work speak for itself. The images jump off the page with splashes of color against a black and white background. In fact, most of the copy appears toward the bottom of the page — after you've been wowed by the intricate visuals.
What we like about Joshua Pomeroy's' Google Site:
- Colorful Graphics
- Symmetrical Grid Layout
- Limited, Impactful Copy
12. RWP Training Ltd
Training providers, consultants, and freelancers, this is the Google Site example for you. RWP Training Ltd's website was created to support both the learner who receives the training and the employer that oversees the training. Once the website visitor selects which option they identify with, they're taken to another page with more specific information about how to get started with RWP Training Ltd.
What we like about RWP Training Ltd's Google Site:
- Simple Navigation
- Welcome Message
- Branded Hero Image
13. Things Trending
There are plenty of ways to experiment with your Google Sites layout and Things Trending proves it. When people on the web want to see the latest and greatest news, trends, and content, they visit Things Trending for a sleek and practical user experience. This site uses GIFs, accordion dropdowns, and blocks of color to keep the reader engaged on the page.
What we like about Things Trending's Google Site:
- Accordion Dropdown FAQ
- GIF Hero Image
- Bold CTA Buttons
14. Morton Park Hall
Some of the best elements to include on your Google Site are a welcome message, a straightforward navigation bar, and plenty of photos. Morton Park Hall does all of that and more which makes it a great site to emulate. In addition to these features, the church includes a video that gives the viewer a glimpse into what the spirit of the organization is like.
What we like about Morton Park Hall's Google Site:
- Welcoming Hero Image
- Hours of Operation
- Embedded Google Map
- Embedded YouTube Video
The crisp, clean lines, full-sized imagery, and bold font style of 9810's Google Site stand out from the crowd. 9810 even uses a hamburger menu instead of the traditional header navigation section. This gives the hero image more space to breathe and leaves the visitor wondering "What else is below the fold?"
What we like about 9810's Google Site:
- Full-Width Images
- Bold Font
- Text CTAs
- Hamburger Menu
Google Sites Tips
Want to make your Google Site stand out from the crowd? We’ve got you covered with some great site-building tips.
1. Build CTA buttons.
If you’re looking to capture visitor attention and drive sales or service conversion, include a strong CTA that communicates what your brand is about and what you offer. Along with compelling copy for your CTA, it’s also a good idea to add CTA buttons that let users click through to newsletter signups or download pages that offer immediate value.
2. Create a table of contents.
For pages that have a substantial amount of content, it’s a good idea to create a table of contents (ToC) that makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for with a single click. Here’s why: If you make users scroll too long to find specific information, they’ll simply take their business elsewhere.
3. Take advantage of Google tools.
Slow pages frustrate users and make it hard to capture attention. As a result, it’s a good idea to leverage tools like Google Page Speed Insights to see how your site is performing and where it can be improved.
4. Improve your contact page.
It’s also a good idea to boost the impact of your contact page. This means going beyond basic email addresses to offer multiple ways for customers to get in touch. Where possible, include a contact form, email address, phone number, and social accounts to cast the broadest net possible.
5. Streamline navigation.
Keep your site simple to encourage repeat visits. This means choosing one organizational structure and sticking with it. For example, you might choose top-bar menu navigation or opt for a side-bar approach. That way, users understand that they can access any page on your site by clicking on a tab in your header or sidebar menu.
Google Sites FAQs
1. Is Google Sites a good website builder?
The answer depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re building your first site to generate customer interest and establish a digital presence, Google Sites reviews say it's an ideal starting point because it’s free, easy to use, and naturally integrates with other Google services.
If you’re looking to build a more robust sales or service website, however, you may be better served by more robust site design tools that come with a monthly or yearly cost.
2. How do I upload to my website on Google Sites?
Uploading files to your website is simple: Open your site, select Insert select the file you want to upload, click Insert again, and then Publish in the top right-hand corner.
Note: Google’s official help page recommends first publishing your file in Docs, Sheets, or Slides before uploading to improve response times.
3. How do I earn money from Google Sites?
While it’s possible to sell products or services on your Google site — especially if you have a Google Business account — one of the easiest ways to earn money is by displaying ads using Google AdSense.
Step1: Create an AdSense account.
Step 2: Head to the More Actions menu at the top-right of your site and click on Manage Site.
Step 3: Click Monetize on the left-hand side of the page, then Monetize this site. You’ll be prompted to log in to your AdSense account.
Step 4: Once you log in, open any of your site’s pages in edit mode, select Insert, and then AdSense to insert ads directly onto the page or into the sidebar.
You can also customize displayed ads to ensure they match the overall theme or tone of your site — and if users decide to click through, you get a small payment for facilitating the click.
4. How do I point my domain to Google sites?
When you make a Google site, the URL will display as sites.google.com/a/domain/yoursitename — and while this works for personal pages, you may want a custom URL if you’re planning to use your site for professional activities or product sales.
Here's how to point your domain to a Google site:
Step 1: Start by registering your preferred domain with a domain name registrar.
Step 2: Head to the Sites setting of your Admin console and select Custom URL then click Add > Continue and enter your current Google Sites domain.
Step 3: Select Continue again and then enter your custom URL and click Add Custom URL.
5. How do I delete a page on Google Sites?
Here's how to delete a page on Google Sites:
Step 1: Click Pages on the right-hand side of your site
Step 2: Select More for the page you want to remove and choose Delete.
Made a mistake? Sites pages are stored as files in Google Drive Trash and can be restored. To permanently delete a page or site, you also need to empty your Google Drive Trash.
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 Dec 16, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated December 16 2021