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.

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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.


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.

how to use google sites support page

 

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.

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.

how to use google sites choose a site layout

 

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.

how to use google sites publish your google site

 

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.

Jirvus Technologies

The Jirvus Technoloiges website was made using the Modern template in Google Sites. It’s simple, easy-to-navigate and includes an eye-catching image.

google sites examples jirvus technologies

 

KeyIngredient

The KeyIngredient website uses a custom-built Google Site that includes an image carousel. All the images can be clicked and take users to specific recipes, making the site easy to navigate.

google sites examples keyingredient

 

JSVFOTO

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.

google sites examples jirvus technologies

Best Google Sites Templates and Themes

As noted above, Google Sites offers several free templates and themes. Here’s a look at some of the most useful.

Intranet Site Template

This intranet site template offers an easy way to organize key intranet links including documents, calendars and directories. It’s not pretty, but it doesn’t need to be — it gets the job done.

best google sites templates intranet site template

 

Professional Site Template

This professional site template provides a great starting point for both organizational staff pages and independent professionals. It offers a quick links menu, image bar and space for a headshot.

best google sites templates professional site template

 

Project Tracking Template

This project tracking template provides links to key project details with a minimum of clutter.

best google sites templates project tracking template

 

Restaurant Template

This restaurant template lets you quickly get a restaurant or retail site off the ground with space for pictures, business details and reviews.

best google sites templates restaurant template

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.

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Originally published Mar 12, 2020 11:40:06 AM, updated April 10 2020

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Website Development