Ten out of 10
Last updated: April 28, 2022
|Best for||Collaboration with Others|
|Strengths||Easy to Publish – Free and Simple|
|Weaknesses||There are limited blogging options|
What is Google Sites?
Google Sites is Google’s free website-building software, which it offers as part its Google Workplace.
Google Sites is not as well-known as its other products. Sites is a Google product that I have always considered like Drawing and Blogger. But they are often forgotten about and still amazing in their own right.
Go to Google Sites if you have a Google Workplace Account.
Although I have written extensively about Google Domains and Blogger, I have not yet looked into Google Sites as a way to create a website.
Google Sites was a new experience for me when I started my web design company many years ago. I had never used Google Sites to manage my own projects, until I was asked by a client who needed it for a few tasks.
Since then, however, there has been better competition.
- Website creator
There are many other website builders.
Google has updated the “classic Google website” product that I used. It has been simplified to make it “easy to create beautiful websites.” You can see some examples of Google Sites.
For a personal project, I decided to test it again to see if it would be a good fit and not just compare it with other hosted site builders.
I wanted to also compare Google Sites with other web solutions such as hosting your own website, or using a hosted eCommerce platform.
Google Sites Plan
|Domain Name Design|
|No cost domain name||–|
Google Sites Alternatives
Google Sites is a great product and serves a purpose. But how does it compare to other products in website building? Soon you’ll discover that Google Sites is not the only option. There are better alternatives.
Monthly Freebie – $49+
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Monthly Freebie – $26
Register with Weebly to Get a Free Account
FREE – $15 per month
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Find the Best Website Builder
Google Sites vs. Squarespace
Squarespace was reviewed by me. Google Sites is the best choice if you are looking for a temporary solution to a small project. Squarespace is expensive and requires a lot of learning. Squarespace is a good fit for those who have a long-term project or business and value high-quality templates.
Google Sites vs. Wix
Wix was also reviewed by me. Wix has a free plan where you use a [yoursitename].wix.com domain name – so in some ways it’s similar to Google Sites. Wix also offers premium plans that allow you to access custom domains. You also get more features with their free plan. Wix is not as easy to use as other website builders. However, if you have a small project that requires a lot of work, Wix is a good choice. Wix, unlike Google Sites allows you to design more websites and expand your free plan. Wix pricing and plans.
Google Sites vs. GoDaddy’s Website Builder
GoDaddy’s website builder (aka “GoCentral”) was reviewed by me. Although it is a limited service, it is still very easy to use and includes a few additional marketing tools. It allows you to integrate custom domains seamlessly. It is also a paid product. GoDaddy’s website builder is a good option if you are on a budget and don’t need many features. Google Sites offers a similar product at a discounted price.
Google Sites vs. Weebly
I have reviewed Weebly. Weebly is an excellent hosted website builder. They have a free plan with a [yoursitename].weebly.com domain name – but they also have upgrade options and custom domain name options and interesting beginner-level eCommerce options. I would recommend Weebly if you don’t have any specific reason to use Google Sites.
Google Sites vs. WordPress.com
Here is a comparison of WordPress.com and WordPress.com. WordPress.com has a free plan that is limited to [yoursitename].wordpress.com domain name. Although the setup is limited to blogging, they offer many website features and many upgrade options. This includes a custom domain option. Unless there is a compelling reason to use Google Sites I would recommend WordPress.com due to their design features and the possibility of upgrading.
Google Sites vs. Self hosted WordPress
I have written about how to set up a WordPress site. Although it requires a small budget ($5/month), this option is the best option for long-term investments in your online presence. Google Sites is best for a short-term, definite project. If you are certain that you are working on a long-term project, you will want to learn the ropes and then set up your site on your own hosting.
What are Google Sites?
Google is known for introducing products that are overlapping or competing with their own products, only to have them removed or updated after a few years.
Google Sites is no exception. There are up to four products available when we talk about Google’s website builders product.
Ok – Blogger, an old-school, but still very good blogging platform. It is possible to create a website using it. It allows you to create designs and templates. It’s free. But – you are stuck with the reverse-chronological display of posts. This is not something I will be discussing. Blogger was the subject of my review.
2. Google My Business Website
This is Google’s local website product. It can only be used if you have a Google My Business Account. This product is not a website builder, but a highly detailed local business listing. This is something I won’t be discussing here. This product has a great FAQ that you can find with your business profile.
3. Google Sites Classic
This is the classic site product I created years ago. It’s still available at sites.google.com, but it’s definitely old school.
It is possible to find links to it on Google Sites.
It is ironic that Classic Google Sites has more technical options and is easier to use than Google Sites.
The pros and cons of Classic Sites are almost identical to Google Sites. It is not something I would consider for a long-term project, as Google could easily kill it, if their past history is any indication.
4. Google Web Designer
This product is not related to any other product, despite the name.
Google Web Designer allows you to design banner ads for the Web with a desktop application.
5. Google Sites New (Free)
Okay, this is the “new Google website” product we’re going talk about. This is Google’s main website builder software. Anyone can access it with a Google Account. It is available on Google Drive. You can also market it with Sheets, Docs and Drawings. With your Google Sheets and Google Doc Saves, you can find your Google website.
6. Google Workspace – New Google Sites
This software is identical to the free Google Sites. However, it was designed for business subscribers to Google Workspace (the old Google Apps for Business). It works exactly as the free Google Sites but it has different account permissions. You generally get product updates, such as custom domain mapping, sooner than the free version.
Let’s take a look at the positives and negatives.
Google Sites: The Pros
Google Sites offers a lot of benefits. An eCommerce store owner I know started her business in 2012 and managed it for two years. She then began looking for a better solution. It took a lot of work with PayPal scripts. These are the main pros.
Google Sites Pricing
Google Sites comes with unlimited traffic and unlimited use. This is the best part of Google Sites.
This is part of Google’s constant push to make sure you are signed in to your Google account as often as possible. You can access sites.google.com immediately after you have signed in to your Google account. There are no upsells, risks, expiration dates, or limitations. Google’s innovative business model makes it free.
Sites comes with every subscription if you’re a paid G Suite for Business user.
There’s no risk, no catch and you don’t have to “try” anything. You can get started right now. * Selling compelling sales pitches is about lowering your website’s total costs.
*of course, there’s your learning curve investment and time – which we’ll talk about in the negatives section.
Google Sites integrates seamlessly with Google products. Google Sites has all of the Material Design conventions that Google’s other products have, and it is now fully integrated with Google Sites.
Your Google Sites website can be saved in your Google Drive. It is accessible from any device and can be accessed anywhere. It can be downloaded with all your data from Google Takeout.
It doesn’t require additional passwords or account configuration – it is seamless and integrated.
Simplicity & Security
Google Sites is easy to use.
The learning curve takes only minutes. Because everything is already included with the product, there is no need for “onboarding” or education.
It is easy to create a beautiful and functional website with multiple pages.
Google also handles security issues…because it is the same as your email address.
Speed and Sharing
Google also handles speed concerns, just like security. The resulting HTML/CSS product is fast and available worldwide.
It is easy to share and preview because it integrates with your Google Account. As easily as a Google Doc, you can create, collaborate and review changes to a website.
Cons of Google Sites
There are many negatives to Google Sites. As I said, there is no “best” website builder. You need to consider your goals, budget, time and resources.
You are likely wondering why Google Sites isn’t the best solution for all websites after reading the pros and cons of Google Sites.
Google Sites is not without its flaws. Google Sites has many negatives, but the bottom line is that it is not designed for long-term website projects and is therefore very feature-limited.
Real estate is a great analogy. Running your website from your own web hosting account is similar to owning a building. Using a website builder such as Weebly to run a business is like leasing a place at a farmers market.
This is a great tool for quick, short-term projects. You have many options to make it your own, but it is not meant to be used for long-term business websites. Let’s take a look at the details.
Limiting Design Features
Google Sites’ design options are severely limited.
The template restricts what you can or cannot modify. You have very few templates available to you in the first instance.
It is not possible to add or modify CSS or add interactivity. The text box is very basic. There are only a handful of widget options.
These design features are easy to use and are all Google Drive-related. You can embed the details, but not edit them.
The templates are beautiful, but you cannot edit them or the core parameters.
You can choose to have your navigation menu appear in the top right or sidebar. That’s all. There is no third option, or even rearranging.
These templates allow you to create responsive websites that work on all devices, but they have strict limitations on what can be done.
Google Sites is a great tool for creating brand identities and custom designs with tempates.
Limited Marketing Features
Google Sites’ marketing tools are also severely limited. This is a major problem for professional marketers.
Google Analytics access is available to you so that you have important data such as Sessions and Pageviews, but that’s it.
You cannot add a Facebook Pixel, Share buttons, or redirects. You cannot modify your meta description or Title tag if you are interested in SEO. This is a very strange rule for products built by search engines.
These tools might not be relevant if your traffic comes from offline sources, such as word of mouth or direct web referrals.
Google Sites is not a good choice if you plan to use other marketing channels or grow your marketing data.
Domain setup custom
All Google Sites use https://sites.google.com/[yoursitename] as the default domain name. There is no way to add a custom domain to Classic Google Sites.
I’m not sure why. This feature could be coming after Google introduced custom domains only to Google Sites for Google Workplace subscribers.
This is either a problem for Google Sites, a business website or personal website. A domain name is essential for any long-term project, even though it’s not necessary.
This missing feature is what really highlights that Google Sites can only be used for temporary projects or internal purposes – much like a Google Doc, Presentation or Google Doc.
Google is known for destroying popular products. Google Sites seems to be an integral part of Google’s productivity suite, but that could change at any moment (as it is with the Classic Google Sites). I have learned to always have a backup plan for any Google service I use.
While you can export your data through Google’s Takeout program to access it, there is no way to export or access your account directly via FTP within Google Sites.
You should plan ahead if you have a Google Sites business or personal website.
Google Sites is good for small businesses. Yes…ish. It’s great as a project-based or short-term solution. My guide to setting up Google Sites websites.
You can also search Google Sites Examples.
If you’re looking for a site or project to expand your existing website, I would consider other options. Check out my top website builder article. Google Workspace is a great option if you’re just interested in email.
Find the Best Website Builder
If your project is worthwhile and long-term, I would recommend setting up your own website with instructions.