About Google Sites Builder

Category: Website Builders
Building with Google Sites is as simple as website building can get; no code, a handful of templates that you can easily customize, and seamless integration with all other Google products. It is perfect for people looking to create online portfolios, temporary websites and simple business websites.

Company: Google LLC.

In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the search engine company, Google. It quickly became the most popular search engine and spun many other tech products and services. In 2015, Google and its subsidiaries were restructured and brought under the holding company, Alphabet, Inc. The company’s acquisitions include Youtube, Fitbit, DoubleClick and Waze.

Alphabet Inc. provides services such as digital advertising, cloud storage, internet search, email services, software applications and other tech-based enterprise solutions. The company headquarters is in Mountain View, California, United States.

In-Depth Analysis

0 Overall
Price 5.0
Performance 4.5
Ease Of Use 5.0
Features 4.5
Support 4.0

Pros

  • Highly intuitive drag-and-drop interface
  • Integrations are super easy
  • A rich reservoir of learning resources
  • Has a free-to-use plan

Cons

  • Requires separate payment to access support
  • Does not include custom domain
  • Can not be edited on mobile

Google Sites Builder Comparisons

VS
VS
VS
Plans & Pricing

The Google Sites builder is an application in the Google Workspace suite and is also one of Google’s free apps. You can use it for $0, all you need is a Google account which you already have if you use Gmail or an Android device. However, there is limited customer support, no custom business email and less cloud storage space, except if you are using Google Workspace (formerly known as G-Suite).

Keep in mind, though, that Google Sites is absolutely free and accessible to anyone with a Gmail account. However, to connect it to a custom domain and enjoy other premium perks offered by Google, you should consider signing up for one of these Workspace plans.

Business Starter
$6
/user/mo
14-day free trial
  • Custom business email
  • 24 hours Google Meet duration
  • 30 GB cloud storage per user
  • Compatible with Microsoft Office files
  • Standard customer support
Business Standard
$12
/user/mo
14-day free trial
  • Everything in Business Starter
  • 2 TB cloud storage per user
  • Appointment booking pages
  • Google Meet recordings
Business Plus
$18
/user/mo
14-day free trial
  • Everything in Business Standard
  • 5 TB storage per user
  • Secure LDAP protocol
Enterprise
From $20
/user/mo
14-day free trial
  • Everything in Business Plus
  • Unlimited cloud storage
  • Apps Script for building custom apps
  • Data loss prevention
  • Context-aware access
  • Enhanced customer support
Performance

In the areas of website loading speed and uptime availability, Google Sites performs incredibly well. That assures me that my website visitors will have an easy time accessing my website. Ultimately it translates to better overall business performance.

Site & Page Speed

I checked the speed performance of the website I created using Google’s Sites and it was pretty impressive. It scored above average. I observed that my site loading speed was much faster on desktop than it was on mobile.  However, when compared to leading brands like Apple, PwC, and even Deloitte, my website’s mobile performance is quite impressive.

Google Sites - Site & page Speed performance

Uptime

Google is an unarguably reliable website host. Google  Sites provide an assured 99% uptime. The Service Level Agreement often surpasses expectations. I have not had a time when my website was unavailable to visitors yet.

 

Uniqueness

Of all the drag-and-drop design website builders, Google Sites is by far the easiest to use. It is intuitive to design and has a user-friendly interface. It bears Google’s signature of simplicity. With a handful of templates, easy customization, and smooth integration with Google and third-party apps, Google Sites offers true ease and high functionality.

Ease of Use

Setup

If you want to use Google Sites for free, you don’t have to do anything special to set it up. Just access the Chrome home page on your PC and click on the Google apps menu, select see more, and you’ll find Sites in there. Open it and start editing, when you are satisfied, click on publish and your site is live.

Google Sites setup to get started

Using Google Workspace has its own advantages and if you want them, you’ll have to log into your Workspace account and access Sites from there. If you do not have a Workspace account, creating one is easy but takes more than just a few clicks. The process is similar to creating a new Gmail account, except that you have to answer questions like how many employees your business has.

You’ll also have to create or import a custom domain name, if you choose to create a new domain, you’ll have to pay before the Workspace account is fully set up. Then you can go to Sites from the Google App menu icon and build your website. Easy-peasy!

Designing

With less than 15 templates, Google Sites presents a pretty streamlined design path. But not to worry, with the available themes and flexible design menu, you can create truly unique websites. If you don’t want to use templates, you can start your design on a blank page.

Text styling
Text styling in Google Sites is highly intuitive. If you use Google Docs as your go-to word processor, styling text in Google Sites would be a breeze. By simply clicking on the text, the edit menu appears at the top of the text box. Using the menu you can bolden text, change text style, change text size, underline text, change text color, and adjust text alignments.

Form customizing
Adding forms to Google Sites pages is a very simple process. You would need to have created the form earlier using Google Forms, then you can add the form to your Google Sites page. You can also add the form as an embedded URL or HTML code if you’re using a third-party WYSIWYG form builder.

To edit your form in any way, you’ll have to go back to Google Forms or the third-party host. I used Google Forms to collect data from my Google Site, and the changes I make in the form automatically reflect on my website. There was no need to go back to edit the website.

You can resize your form to appear smaller on the desktop screen, but that is really as far as it goes for customizing forms on Google Sites.

Google Sites Form customization feature

Button designing
If you are looking for aesthetic or interactive buttons for your website, you won’t find them on Google Sites. Sorry! I was sad too. The button design is a simple sharp-edged rectangle. You can only stretch the width but the height is unchangeable. Also, each button can contain only 120 characters. The text color and font are determined by the theme applied to the website. There’s no changing it for now. Maybe sometime in the future.

Google sites button designing for website building

Adding a button is easy. Simply click ‘insert button’, edit the button text, and add the button destination URL. You can use the URL to take your visitors to another page on your website, to a file on your Drive or to another website.

App integration

Google Sites is already integrated with lots of other Google products, including Google Sheets, Slides, Form, Maps, YouTube, Calendar, and Docs. You’ll find them under the ‘insert’ menu. You just need to click on them and they are added to your website.

App integration for google sites with other google products

There are also advanced Google integrations that you can access through the settings button. Google Analytics is one of them. To get your website analytics you simply enter your Google Analytics account ID and click on ‘Enable Analytics’. It is that simple.

Integrating Google Sites with third-party apps can be done with HTML codes from the third-party provider. Or you can simply add apps from Google Workspace Marketplace, which has more than 5,000 apps.

Customer Support

There is no shortage of customer support materials from Google. They live up to their reputation as a repository of freely available information. Because Google Sites is not a standalone product, there is so much information to wade through. However, information is pretty easy to find with a simple Google search.

If you don’t mind learning your way into becoming a Google Sites expert on your own and with the help of a supportive user community, you’ll be impressed with Google’s free resources. If you do mind, you can get extra support for a price.

If you are not on a paid plan, your access to customer support from Google Sites is limited. You can access FAQs, the community platform, and guides but live chat is handled to Google AI. You should expect a considerable delay if you try to use email or phone support.

To enjoy faster response time, access to Google’s technical experts, and support for third-party apps, you need to pay to get Enhanced support. Premium support for the Enterprise plan has a 15-minute response time, a designated technical account manager, and other custom requirements.

FAQs

There are a lot of FAQs across Google Workspace, developers, general support, and learning webpages that answers questions about Google Sites and its capabilities. These FAQs provide simple and clear answers to the questions that typically cross the minds of new users. I found that the FAQs helped me to quickly understand what to expect and if I wanted to use the software.

Blog

I didn’t enjoy the blog as a resource for understanding Google Sites for one reason. It is not a dedicated blog for Google Sites alone but encompasses other Google products. However, there was a search button to help me filter articles that talk about Google Sites, which was what I was interested in.

The blog had inspirational entrepreneur stories, organizational productivity articles, and articles on how to get the best out of Google apps. I liked that. The blog articles are written by professionals at Google and the blog receives an average of 5 articles monthly.

Setup Guides

Instructions on setting up and troubleshooting are available through the Google Sites help center. The guides have step-by-step action points that are easy to follow. The guides were very helpful. They cover every aspect of using the Google Sites builder, from the first click to editing, publishing, and migrating from the old Google Classic Sites to Google Sites. Apart from how-tos, the help guides also carry information on the latest Google Sites improvements and how it affects users.

Live Chat

Using the Sites for free means that you’ll be able to chat with the Google chatbot and that can be very restrictive. I found that I couldn’t get any real answers through this channel and I kept getting referred to support articles. For a better experience, you’ll have to pay for a Google Workspace plan so that you can get enhanced support.

Using a Google Workspace plan, you can request direct support from a human but you might have to go through the chatbot first. You know how it gets. But, at Google, the transition from robot to human support is really quick. It took only a 3-minute waiting period. I expected it to be slower since Google is a huge company with billions of customers.

Google Learning Center

The how-to guides on the Google Sites training and help center are categorized into ‘beginners tips’, ‘intermediate’, and ‘advanced’. The instructions here are similar to what you have in the setup guides in topics but offer more details. There are screen illustrations showing you what your screen will look like at every step and what you should do next.

You don’t have to worry about obsolete instructions. The guides are updated with new information when Google makes a change to the site builder software.

Google Sites Community

The Sites community is managed by designated Google Community Managers who post announcements regarding Sites updates and changes. Users can ask and answer questions or create posts to share tips and feedback. Google rewards users that are active in the community with badges and that encourages a rather quick interaction on posts. There is a search button to help you find what you are looking for fast.

I observed that there are two levels of communities for Google Sites; the admin community and the user community.

24/7 Help & Support
24/7 Help & Support
There is 24/7 support available to all users.
Phone Support
Phone Support
Phone support available to all users, regardless of package.
Live Online Chat
Live Online Chat
Connect with super-intelligent bots and human support.
Email
Email
There is an option for all users to email the support team.
Video Tutorials
Video Tutorials
There are a number of videos available on YouTube.
FAQ
FAQ
The FAQ covers basic and advanced software-related issues.
Blog
Blog
Blog available on the website.
Features & Functionality
Design

Google Sites builder has some features that make the design process easy. Functions like collapsible fields and carousel creation add some style and interactiveness to the otherwise rigid look of Google Sites builder. 

But beyond the look and feel, other features can be helpful to small online businesses.

Auto SEO

Google Sites have some auto SEO functionalities, like creating page descriptions. Using a custom domain, submitting your website to Google Search Console, and setting up Google Analytics increases your website SEO.

There are lots of tips available online through Google support and SEO experts that you can use to improve your website’s performance. Considering the fact that Google is the dictator of SEO rules, its website builder should be well-positioned to abide by those rules.

Google Marketplace

There are over 5,000 third-party apps available on the Google Workspace Marketplace. These apps include business tools, CRM tools, sales tools, document management tools, and workflow tools. Thankfully, there is a search button available so you can find what you are looking for easier. You can add any third-party app to your Workspace and use it to modify what Sites can do.

If you don’t want add-ons from the marketplace, you can embed apps from other sources or create your own custom apps using the App Script tool (only available to Enterprise users).

Pre-formatted website layouts (templates and themes)

Creating your design from scratch can get intense and confusing if you are a true beginner in website building. Knowing where to set elements, keeping elements in harmony and other simple things can be difficult without guides and formats.

Google Sites has pre-designed templates, themes, and content blocks. These preformatted layouts make it easy to arrange elements on your website. There is a grid background and block divider that helps you keep elements in proper alignment and prevent overlaying by accident.

That there are preformatted website layouts doesn’t mean you can not customize. You can customize templates by moving content blocks up and down a page or switching themes. You can create custom themes too. It’s almost complete creative freedom.

Google Sites Pre-formatted website layouts (templates and themes)

Analytics and Reports

Website analytics is an important tool that businesses use to monitor and improve their marketing strategy. It also reveals how users interact with your websites, which can help you identify and remove pain points on your user journey. Most website builders depend on third-party apps for analytics and reports but Google Sites do not.

Websites created with Google Sites are integrated with Google Analytics. This allows you to leverage the full capacity of analytics to track your website visitors and generate reports. You can visualize data and share reports via email.

Analytics and reports feature for Google Sites

Mobile responsiveness

A mobile responsive website is one with content that automatically aligns with various screen sizes (especially mobile phones, tablets, and desktops).

Although website designing with Google Sites can only be done on a desktop, you don’t have to create a different design for a smartphone screen. You can toggle between different screen sizes on your desktop to see how it would look on mobile and tablets.

Most times, you don’t need to adjust the elements to fit. They just fit into smaller screens by default. That is because Google Sites websites are designed to be seamlessly mobile responsive.

Mobile Responsiveness - Google Sites Feature & Functionality

Announcement banner

Changing your business name? Running a promotion? A website banner is the easiest way to get customers to see the information easily and quickly. An announcement banner is an eye-catching tool that website owners use to relay urgent and important information.

Most other drag-and-drop website builders often restrict banner displays to paid plans and the top tier plans at that. With Google Sites, you can display your banner on your website, even on a free plan. You can choose to display the banner sitewide or restrict it to specific pages.

Annoucement Banner option for Website Builder Google Sites

Features
  • 100+ Templates
  • Add HTML Code
  • Blog Templates
  • Portfolio
  • Drag & Drop Editor
  • Multi-lingual Website
  • Fully Customized
  • Mobile-friendly
Marketing
Features
  • SEO Tools
  • Social Media Integration
  • Widgets + Apps
  • Newsletter Tool
  • Monetization
  • Visitor statistics
Hosting
Features
  • Multiple Sites
  • Free Custom Domain
  • Unlimited Space
  • Unmetered Bandwidth
Multimedia
Features
  • Free Stock Photos
  • Video Plug-Ins
  • Audio Plug-Ins
Good For
Features
  • Blogging
  • Online Stores
  • Automatic Website Building
Verdict

Google Sites is possibly one of the most intuitive drag-and-drop website builders available today. It is ideal for simple organizational and personal website needs.

Personally, I think it’s great for small businesses that want to establish a basic online presence or a page to showcase their services and collect simple leads. Other than that, Google Sites isn’t a particularly idea for graphic-intensive websites.

Nevertheless, the fact that it’s mostly free of charge avails creative freedom and allows an insanely wide range of app integration, I’d recommend it to any small business working on a tight budget.

Augustine Ojeh
Author: Augustine Ojeh
Augustine is a freelance writer with a focus on organizational productivity; diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI); marketing and sales; and startup ecosystems in developing economies. He plays 8-Ball Pool when stressed and Chess when anxious.
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