Google Sites is the easiest way for anyone with a G Suite for EDU account to create a website. Even if you have never published a website before, you can have a beautiful, functional website up in minutes using Google Sites.
I’ll walk you through every step of the process in this post, showing you how to do everything from creating your first Google Site to customizing the look and feel of your site with custom colors, graphic, and even embedding information from other sites.
Hang on gang, we’re about to get webby.
Why Use Google Sites
With so many publishing platforms out there to use, why should and your students use Google Sites? Here are a few quick facts that will help you see why Google Sites is right for you and your students:
Integration with G Suite Apps
Anything you create in the G Suite family can be embedded in a Google Site with just a few clicks. Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, even Charts created from data in a Sheet can quickly live in a Google Site.
Control Visitor Access
With Google Sites, you can control who sees your site, and so can your students. Make your site viewable to everyone on the web, to users on your domain, or to specific people only. And if you’re embedding items from Google Drive, you can control access to those individual files, as well.
Drag and Drop Design
Add text, images, videos, and documents to your site and drag them wherever you want them to go, no coding necessary. And, premade layouts will help you create sites that look great.
More of your students and parents are accessing websites on mobile devices. Sadly, many websites are not set up to display well on mobile.
Google Sites solves that problem. Using responsive design, your site will know what browser is being used and whether or not to size your site for desktop/laptop, tablet, or phone. You won’t need to change a thing.
How to Create Your Google Site
For first time publishers, you can create a new Google Site from within your Google Drive or by visiting https://sites.google.com/new and you’ll have the beginnings of your Site in seconds.
From within Google Drive:
- Click on “New”
- Mouse over “More”
- Click on “Google Sites”
NOTE: If you access Sites through the waffle grid in the upper right corner of your Google apps, you’ll be using the OLD version of Google Sites which is set to close in the near future. Please don’t use that version. I beg you. It’s awful.
How to Change the Header in Google Sites
Giving Your New Site a Title
The first thing you’ll want to take care of after creating your new Site is the header area. Included in this space are the site title, a header image (if you want to keep it), and text information in the header.
By default, your new Site will be titled “Untitled Site”. You can quickly change the title of the Site by typing a name in either the “Untitled Site” are or in the header area that says “Enter site name”
You’ve now given your Site a title, such as “My Awesome School Site”. This is how web browsers will list your site and how it will appear in your Google Drive as the files for your design are all hosted within your Google Drive.
Name the Current Page
You’ve now made a title for your entire site but your page is still called “Your page title”. If you want to put a title for the current page on display, just click inside the text box that says “Your page title” and name it whatever you like. You could name it something as simple as “Home” or “About” depending on the content you intend to add to the page.
You can delete this text box if you wish and use only an image for your page title. We’ll discuss how to to that in a later step.
Changing the Size of the Header
By default, the header in a Google Site is set to be a “banner”. You can change it to the following options:
- Cover – largest image size possible in the header
- Large Banner – smaller image size than Cover
- Banner – default size, smallest image size available in the header
- Title Only – no image, text title only
The header size you choose is up to you. As the header size increases, less of your content will be viewable on the page when a visitor first comes to your site, so be aware that you may hide text from visitors if you use one of the larger image sizes.
To change the size of the header, click the “Header type” button, then choose the header you would like to use. The header will resize automatically based on your selection
Changing the Header Image
If you choose to use an image in your header, you can change the image to just about anything you choose.
To change the image, simply click on the “Change image” button in the header. You’ll be given options to either upload an image from your computer or select an image
Using Page Layouts in Google Sites
Out of the box, Google Sites has a number of pre-made layouts that you can use to give your site a great look without stressing over design.
To use the layouts. be sure you are on the “Insert” menu on the right side of the page and you’ll see the different layout options.
Choose the layout you like and just click it with your mouse. The layout is inserted into the main content area of your site. You can then edit/add text in the text boxes and insert images.
You can use multiple layouts on a single page on your Google Site to add more content in an eye-pleasing format.
How to Add a Text Box to a Google Sites Page
Adding text to your Google Site is pretty straightforward. From the “Insert” menu, just click on “Text box”.
You’ll immediately see a new text box inserted in the main content area of your site. But that’s just the beginning.
You can customize the look of your text box with a number of options. First, you can change the text from Normal text to either:
Which one you choose is based totally on how you are designing your site.
You can also change the look of a text box. Click on the color palette located to the left of the text box and you’ll see a number of design options. The colors are based upon the theme of your site.
And yes, you can use an image as the background for your text box. But be careful, sometimes using images as the background can make your text difficult to read.
How to Add Pages to a Google Site
Of course, you’re going to want more than one page on your Google Site. To add a new page, simply click on the “Pages” menu on the right side of your screen.
This will show all of the pages on your site. To add a new page, simply click on the plus symbol at the bottom of the Pages menu. You’ll then be able to give your new page a title and click “Done” when you’re ready to add the page.
By default, your new page will look exactly like the page you were last on. You can then edit the look and feel of your new page.
You can create subpages for your Google Site, as well, adding structure to your site. Let’s say you want an “Academics” section of your site that includes multiple pages. To add subpages under the Academics page (or any existing page on your site), click on the three vertical dots (Traffic Light) to the right of the page name in the Pages menu of your site.
You’ll then see an option to “Add subpage”. Click that option, name your subpage, and click Done to add the subpage.
You can continue this process for as many pages/subpages as you like for your site.
How to Change the Theme of a Google Site
While you don’t have complete control over how your Google Site looks (yet), you do have a number of options to change the theme of the site. The theme controls the fonts that are used, the size of the fonts used, and the color scheme of the site.
To change the theme of your site,
How to Use Custom Colors for a Google Site
How to Add Files from other Google Apps to a Google Site
How to Add Any File from Google Drive to a Google Site
How to Add Images to a Google Site
How to Add Text to Images on a Google Site
How to Add Links to Text and Images on a Google Site