Most People Shouldn’t Use It (Here’s Why)

Considering using Google Sites to build your website? In our Google Sites review, we’ll help you decide if it’s a good option.

Google Sites can be a workable solution if you want a free way to build a very, very simple website. However, for most people, it would be worth investing a little time and money to use a more full-featured website building solution, such as WordPress or a true website builder.

👨‍💻 Keep reading our Google Sites review to learn more about how it works, as well as whether it can handle your needs or you’d be better off using a different option.

In the latter case, we’ll also share some other great tools to build a website and how you can get started with them.

📚 Table of contents:

Google Sites review: What does it do? 🤔

Google Sites gives you a simple way to build a simple website.

You’ll see the word “simple” a lot in our Google Sites review because that really is the best descriptor.

For some people, simple is okay. But for most sites, you’d be better off using a tool that gives you more flexibility, even if it does have a slightly higher learning curve.

You can build from a few pre-made templates or start from a blank slate. Then, you get a basic, but functional, drag-and-drop editor.

Google Sites relies heavily on other Google services to add features.

👉 For example, if you want to add a form to your site, you’ll use Google Forms. If you want to embed a map, you’ll use Google Maps.

Google Sites’ limitations

One important detail to understand is that Google Sites is very limited.

👉 For example, Google Sites doesn’t even offer a built-in blog tool, let alone eCommerce functionality. You can create a blog with Blogger and then link it to Google Sites, but that’s really not an ideal solution for any type of serious website.

Similarly, there’s no such thing as “plugins” or “apps” like you’d get with WordPress or website builders. This means you’ll struggle to add features or integrations beyond what Google Sites gives you.

With that being said, Google Sites can still be a helpful tool as long as you understand its limitations.

👉 For example, if you just want to build a basic web presence for a local business, it can get the job done. It’s functional enough for restaurants, service providers (plumbers, cleaners, contractors…), and so on.

However, if you’re planning to make search engine optimization (SEO) a part of your web strategy, you should go with a more full-featured tool, even if you fit into those categories.

How to build a website with Google Sites 🚧

To create a site, head to the Google Sites page.

If you’re already logged in to your Google account, you can get started right away.

  1. Choose a template or build from a blank slate
  2. Customize your homepage
  3. Add new pages if needed
  4. Edit your theme (optional)
  5. Configure settings
  6. Publish your site

1. Choose a template or build from a blank slate

To begin, click the option to expand the Template gallery:

Expand templates

Now, you can either choose one of the pre-made templates as your starting point or click the Blank option to build your site from scratch:

Google Sites template library review

The template selection is very limited in comparison to other website building tools, but you might be able to find one that you like.

👉 For this example, I’ll choose the Restaurant template.

2. Customize your homepage

Now, you’ll be launched into the visual, drag-and-drop Google Sites editor.

Though it’s limited in terms of what it can do, the Google Sites editor is very simple and intuitive. This is one of the big advantages of Google Sites (as long as you’re building a simple site).

Google Sites editor

Here are some of the main things that you can do:

  • Edit text by clicking and typing on the page.
  • Rearrange content with drag and drop.
  • Add new content or layouts by using the sidebar on the right.
  • Customize section colors by hovering over it and clicking the paintbrush icon that appears on the left.

👉 For example, if you want to add a form, you would click on the Forms option on the right. You can then select a form from Google Forms. If you haven’t created any forms yet, you’d need to head to Google Forms to do that first.

Again, the downside is that the builder is limited in terms of the content elements and design options. A WordPress page builder plugin or a website builder like Wix will give you significantly more control over your design (though at the expense of adding some complexity).

3. Add new pages if needed

If you only want to create a single page, you can skip this step. It’s totally fine to create a single-page website, and many people even prefer that approach.

However, if you want to create multiple pages, Google Sites does support that. Just click the Pages option and then the plus icon at the bottom of the sidebar:

Adding pages

When you create a new page, it will automatically show up in your menu, and you can customize it using the same editor:

Editing a new page

You can also add custom content to your menu by choosing the New link or New menu section options that appear when you hover over the plus icon.

This system is fine if your page has fewer than ~10 pages, but it can quickly get complex if you have more than that. If you’re planning to build 10+ pages, WordPress’ content management system is much more robust.

4. Edit your theme (optional)

Your theme controls the main colors and typography for your entire site. You can adjust it to quickly change those across your entire site.

If you’d like to do this, just go to the Themes tab:

Choosing a different theme

5. Configure settings

If you click the gear icon on the top menu, you’ll open a popup that contains a few useful settings.

Most notably, this is where you can link a custom domain name and set up Google Analytics to track what’s happening on your site.

Configuring settings

Google Sites does include some basic SEO settings. But again, it’s very limited, which is why Google Sites isn’t a good option if you want to use SEO to grow your business.

6. Publish your site

Once you’re happy with your site, all you need to do is click the Publish button in the top-right corner and your site will be live.

Google Sites pricing 💳

Google Sites is 100% free forever. We’d say that free is a fair price for Google Sites.

Beyond its simplicity, that’s pretty much the only other thing that’s attractive about Google Sites as a website building tool.

There are only two potential costs of using Google Sites, neither of which comes directly from Google Sites.

The first is if you want to use a custom domain – e.g., yoursite.com instead of sites.google.com/view/yoursite.

Google Sites does not charge you to use a custom domain, but you will need to purchase the domain itself. Typically, this will cost you around $9-$12 per year for a .com domain name if you use a cheap domain registrar.

The cheapest option is Cloudflare Registrar, which would cost you just $8.57 per year to purchase your domain name.

The second potential (but unlikely) cost is storage. The storage for your Google Sites websites is linked to your overall Google account. That is, the same storage that’s available to you in Google Drive and Google Docs.

Most websites won’t take up much space at all. But if you’ve already used up most of your Google account storage limit and you want to host some large files, you might need to spend a couple of dollars per month to increase storage (which would also increase your storage in Google Drive and so on).

Should you use Google Sites or a different tool? 🔧

Now for the final question of our Google Sites review – should you use it for your website?

Google Sites can be a good option for very simple sites, as long as you’re not planning to use SEO as a marketing strategy.

If you just want the absolute easiest way to share some information online, Google Sites actually does that pretty well.

However, it quickly runs into limitations if you want to do anything beyond that. Even adding simple contact forms or opt-in forms feels unintuitive.

Similarly, Google Sites doesn’t even offer its own blogging tool. There is a workaround where you can create a blog with Blogger and link it to Google Sites, but that’s not an ideal solution for serious websites.

For those reasons, most people will be better off using a more full-featured website building tool. While you’ll need to spend a little money and invest some time into a slightly higher learning curve, the added flexibility of these tools is worth the investment for most websites.

📌 You have two options here:

  1. WordPress
  2. A website builder tool

WordPress

First, you can use WordPress, which powers over 42.9% of all websites on the internet and is by far the most popular way to make a website. WordPress is a little more complex, but it’s still something non-technical people can handle, and it will give you so much more flexibility on your site.

💡 Here are some posts to get you started:

Website builders

Second, you can use a website builder like Wix or Squarespace. These tools kind of sit in between WordPress and Google Sites, so they can be another good option for non-techies.

ℹ️ If you’re interested in this route, we also have some posts that can help:

You can also check out our post that collects some of the best Google Sites alternatives, which is probably where you should go next.

Do you still have any questions about Google Sites or our Google Sites review? Let us know in the comments!

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