Getting started with Google Sites


Google Sites is one of those forgotten G Suite tools that actually can be very useful for creating a quick website, whether it be an internal team site or public site that can be indexed by search engine bots and displayed in web search results.

Google Sites have actually been very popular in the classroom.  Teachers at schools who have a Google For Education license use the Sites product to collaborate with students, display class information, and much more because of how incredibly simple Sites is to setup and use.  Sites is literally a drag-and-drop web tool, so just about anyone can use it.  Sometimes "drag-and-drop" web tools are given a bad rap, and for good reason. They often don't look nice and don't pass for looking very professional.  I have been around website development tools for a long time, and have worked hands on with many of them, and I can honestly say that Google Sites is the best out there.

I am a long-time, loyal Squarespace customer and continue to use Squarespace for client projects, but I use Google Sites for a lot of personal one-off web projects that don't fit within my public-facing, personal brand site.  Most of my Google Sites projects are internal only, but I will be building some public ones over the coming weeks to show the capabilities of the Sites tool.

How to get started with Google Sites

I wanted to offer up a quick how-to post on getting started with Google Sites.  The steps below are set up to only show you how to get to the Sites tool. Coming posts will go into more detail on building out a site.

Getting to the Google Sites tool

After logging into your Google account, click on the app launcher in the top-right corner of the browser window (shown in the image below).  In that launcher, you will see the Sites logo.  If you do not see the Sites logo, click on the "More" link.  This launcher menu offers customization, so you can drag-and-drop the icons to put them in any order you would like.  (NOTE: I recommend using Google Chrome as your browser for all your web activities, but especially when using Google Sites.)

Classic Sites vs. Updated Sites

In the summer of 2016, Google released a completely revamped interface for Sites.  The legacy or "Classic" version will remain up until mid-2018, so for now you are launched into the older interface.  In the left-side navigation menu, I recommend clicking on the option that will take you to the new version of Google Sites.

Your dashboard in Google Sites

Now you are your site directory, where all the site you build will be shown.  If you are new to Google Sites, nothing will be in this view and you will need to get started with a new site!

Starting your first site in Google Sites

To start a brand new site, simply click on the red plus sign button in the bottom right of the screen.  That will load up a template for you to get started with.

Keep learning about how to use Google Sites

This article just gets you to the starting line... now the fun begins!  I will be offering tips and tricks for using Google Sites, so to stay up-to-date on all the great articles to come, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter, where you can select different Google topics you want to follow, including Google Sites!