In certain situations, having a fast and free solution for creating a very simple environment for working online is a great thing. Google Sites belong to such solutions. Like other Google apps, this app has certain benefits. Yet, it doesn’t work for most projects.
Can you rely on Google Sites, or should you avoid the instrument? What website can you build with the help of Google Sites? This review will guide you through the Google Sites capacities and help you answer the above questions.
What Is Google Sites?
Introduced in 2008, Google Sites represent a Google Workspace instrument designed for creating web pages in the first place. Take it as an online application that does not require downloads or setups. With its help, you can easily create a sort of online site.
Like other Google apps, Google Sites perfectly integrates with other Google products like Google Docs, Forms, Slides, Sheets, Calendar, and others. This app is completely free. Even if you’ve started with the Internet today, you’ll likely cope with the app quickly. No coding or web design skills are needed to use the software.
What’s Google Sites Used For
So, when can you benefit from using Google Sites? The Google Workspace developers aimed to create an online environment for cooperative work. That is, the key goal of all the Google apps is to let you freely collaborate with your partners, clients, students, etc. The tool is great for sharing policies, company rules, and such likes.
The service includes Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Google Drive, and other Google applications. It integrates with Google Images, too. The app offers a modest choice of templates and layouts, but its strong features include autosave and the ability to search videos on Youtube directly from the Google Sites interface. The situations in which Google Sites will come in handy include the following:
- guidelines and all sorts of wiki articles for colleagues, clients, etc.;
- contact forms;
- simplistic portfolios;
- online resumes;
- family sites for sharing photos and events;
- simple projects with inner docs, event calendars, meeting reviews, presentations, and so on;
- online classrooms with schedules, simple sheets, etc.;
- budget team or club sites with the ability to share invitations and news and inform members about events, locations, working hours, and so on. For instance, you can use convenient Google announcement banners.
You see, the app looks more like an organizational instrument for small groups. Using it for creating a website capable of gathering wide audiences and increasing traffic is rather doubtful.
How Much Does Google Sites Cost?
The Google Sites app is free. Yes, this is one of those few advantages that may lure you into using this tool for creating a website. If you are OK with your Google Sites free domain and don’t need any paid integrations, yes, you can get a website based on it without investing a coin.
Yet, a domain looking like “sites.google.com/view/yourwebsite” would scarcely impress you, let alone your clients and partners! So, the first source of extra investment in your Google Sites project is a custom domain.
Google will let you change your domain, so it’s only a matter of price. There are plenty of budget domain registrars, so you can easily find an affordable one and purchase a decent domain like “yourwebsite.com” for about $12 a year.
Storage is another frequent reason to pay for anything when using Google Sites. If you use massive photo and video galleries, you might need more voluminous storage than the preset 15Gb. Google offers three storage plans, and you can order either 100 Gb for $1.99, 200 Gb for $2.99, or 2 Tb for $9.99 a month.
Google Sites SEO Review
If a quick thesis is needed, Google Sites is bad for SEO. When describing your SEO options with Google Sites, we are doomed to use only “cannot-s”:
- You cannot edit your page titles or other metadata.
- You cannot create your website’s XML sitemap.
- You cannot use canonical tags.
- You cannot create redirects for your pages.
Moreover, if your project requires Schema.org to structure your pages so that search engines and bots can easily work them out, you won’t be able to use such an option.
For justice’s sake, Google Sites – as part of Google products – has built-in instruments for standard Google optimization. You can also connect Google Analytics to your Google-based site. However, you won’t be able to view reports until you get a Google Analytics account.
Finally, your business or online store may need custom SEO settings, and here, Google Sites will let you complete 0% of your SEO goals. Either take the app as it is or search for a more advanced website builder with enough SEO features for your project.
Is Google Sites Good for Blog or eCommerce?
Again, the answer is negative. Google Sites allow building various forms, but its functionality is insufficient for creating full-power blogs. There are no eCommerce features here. You can integrate Google Sites solely with the Workplace products. So, there’s no way to connect third-party online store add-ons or marketing tools to your project either. You won’t be able to accept payments, manage products, etc.
Google Sites Templates Review
As to design options, Google Sites is also very limited. The app offers a template gallery, but even the most modest site builders in this respect will offer you a broader choice of templates.
At your disposal will be 14 of them. Your customization rights will be limited to fonts, colors, image layouts, and text edits. However, the editor is absolutely beginner-friendly, thanks to a clear and easy-to-manage interface. Each template goes with snippets and hints.
There will be 6 ready-made layout choices for you. For design dummies, it’s a good option since they can simply choose an appealing layout and refill it with all the necessary content using drag and drop.
You can easily move or resize your text boxes or images on your pages under construction. You can extend your Google website’s functionality by providing various design extras to it. It takes no time to add the following elements to your website:
- an image carousel;
- collapsible groups;
- special buttons;
- Youtube videos, and more.
Google Sites allow using a blank template, so you can build your design with Google Sites if you have enough coding skills. Another plus of the app is that it has a built-in grammar checker to keep your copy in order.
Google Sites Pros and Cons
There are no completely bad or 100% good website builders. They all have both strengths and weaknesses. The same is true for Google Sites. Let’s summarize our review by listing the benefits and drawbacks of the app.
- $0 cost;
- an easy-to-use editor;
- autosaving options;
- a great tool for collaboration and announcements within smaller groups;
- good for creating simple portfolios, resumes, and presentations quickly;
- integration with Google apps, Google Analytics, and Youtube.
- a too limited number of templates;
- no blogging tools;
- no eCommerce integrations;
- bad SEO;
- no integration with non-Google apps except Youtube;
- no social media buttons;
- many other “no.”
So, take any website category, and you’ll see that Google Sites doesn’t offer enough tools for full performance. It may serve as a quick, interim means rather than a full-power website builder.
Is Google Sites a Good Website Builder?
Although Google Sites is an interesting, easy-to-use instrument, it is insufficient and mostly outdated in today’s web development reality. Yes, you can create a simple and convenient room for online collaboration, and it’ll take only a few clicks. However, no, you can’t develop a fully-equipped website with certain specifics with the help of Google Sites.
Google Sites is a bad choice in terms of SEO, email marketing, eCommerce, and blogging. The software doesn’t offer at all or covers insufficiently the necessary features. The worst thing about it is that you won’t even be able to extend your Google site’s functionality by connecting side apps. Google Sites integrates with other Google products only.
So, if you plan to launch a professional website with standard features for today’s online activities, Google Sites won’t work for you. Let alone complex sites. Even the simplest and the most budget-saving site builders will be more useful for your online project.