How to Make a Website With Google Sites

Create a website for free with this versatile tool

Google Sites is a free service that anyone can use to create a website without any preexisting knowledge or skills pertaining to web development. This free service uses a what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editor to help you quickly create responsive, interactive sites, and advanced users even have the option to edit their own hypertext markup language (HTML) code. It acts as both a site builder and a web host, so you don't have to pay for hosting elsewhere.

How to Build a Website With Google Sites

Sites is a Google service, so you need to create a Google account before you can use it to build your website. If you don't already have one, we have an easy guide to creating a Google account that you can use for Sites, Gmail, Drive, and other Google services.

If you have a Google account, then creating a website with Google Sites is very easy:

  1. Navigate to the Google sites webpage, and click the + button in the bottom right corner.

    A screenshot of the Google Sites webpage.
  2. Click SKIP THIS TOUR to start making your site, or click NEXT each time it appears to read about each Google Sites feature.

    A screenshot of the Google Sites tour.
  3. Click Untitled site in the upper left corner, type the name of your new website, and press Enter or Return.

    A screenshot showing how to name a Google Sites page.
  4. Click Your page title, type a title for your page, and press Enter or Return.

    A screenshot of the Google Sites site builder.
  5. Move your mouse over the header image, then click Change image > Upload, then select an image from your computer to use on your new website.

    A screenshot showing how to set a header image in Google Sites.

No images at the ready? Try a free stock photo site.

How to Add Content to Your Google Sites Website

You have the bare bones of a webpage now, but you still need to add content. Think about the type of website that you're creating. Is it an image gallery to showcase your photography? Is it a blog to keep track of your thoughts? Are you making a website to promote your business, or to act as an online resume?

Once you've figured out the type of content that you want to add, it's time to get started:

  1. In the Layouts section on the right hand side of the Google Sites interface, select a layout that looks the most like the website you have in your imagination. You can add additional elements later, but you need to start with a basic layout.

    A screenshot of a Google Site.
  2. Click each + button to insert an image from your computer into the corresponding slot.

    A screenshot of a layout in Google Sites.
  3. Click each text field where it says Click to edit text, and add some text. Some of these sections are for titles, and others will accept as much text as you want to type.

    A screenshot of a partially filled-out layout in Google Sites.

How to Create Additional Pages in Google Sites

Your first Google Sites page functions as your home page, and you can publish it as-is if you like. However, you are free to make additional pages that all interlink if you like. Some very basic sites function very well with just a single home page, but most will need additional pages to provide more information.

Here's how to create additional pages in Google Sites:

  1. With your home page open, click Pages in the upper right corner.

    A screenshot of a Google Site.
  2. Click the + button to create a new page or link.

    A screenshot of adding a page in Google Sites.
  3. Enter a name for your new page, and click Done.

    A screenshot of naming a page on Google Sites.
  4. Click Insert in the upper right corner to add some content.

    A screenshot of a new page in Google Sites.
  5. Click a layout like you did for your home page, or continue scrolling to add a specific element like a table of contents, image carousel, map, slideshow, or any of the other listed options. We'll add an image carousel.

    A screenshot of new elements to insert in a page on Google Sites.
  6. Follow any on-screen prompts to finish adding your element. For example, you need to upload several images and then click Insert when inserting an image carousel.

    A screenshot of inserting images into a carousel on Google Sites.
  7. Add additional elements, or repeat these steps to create additional pages with other types of content.

How to Connect Your Google Sites Pages

Once you've made at least one page in addition to your home page, you'll have to start adding navigational links. These links are how your viewers will get from one page to the next, so they're pretty important.

  1. From your home page, click an image to reveal the submenu then click the link icon.

    A screenshot showing how to link pages in Google Sites.
  2. Enter a URL for an external page, or click one of the pages in the This Site drop down menu. For example, we will link to the photography page. Then click Apply.

    A screenshot showing how to link pages in Google Sites.
  3. Alternately, or in addition to that, you can also add text links. To accomplish that, highlight some text to reveal the submenu and then click the link icon.

    A screenshot showing how to link from text in Google Sites.
  4. Enter a URL, or select one of your pages and click Apply.

  5. Repeat these steps to add links to any other pages you have created. You can also link from other pages back to your home page, and from pages to other pages. Make sure that each link makes sense so that your viewers will have an easy time navigating your site.

How to Change Your Theme in Google Sites

Your website is pretty much ready to publish at this point, although you can continue to add as much content as you like using all of the available options. You also have the option to set a theme, which changes the default colors, fonts, and other aspects of your site.

Here's how to change your theme:

  1. Click Themes in the upper right corner.

    A screenshot of a Google Sites website.
  2. The Simple theme is selected by default. Scroll though the themes, and click each one to see if you like it.

    A screenshot of themes in Google Sites.

    Changing the theme will apply to every one of your pages. If you have set custom header images, they will be overwritten with color blocks. If you still want the custom headers, you can manually set them later the same way you learned to do earlier in this document.

  3. Once you find a theme that you like, you can click the color swatches to change up the colors a little.

    A screenshot of themes in Google Sites.
  4. If you want your image headers back, move your mouse over the header, click change image, and select your custom header image.

How to Publish Your Google Sites Website

Once you're satisfied with your new website, publishing it is extremely simple. You have the option to publish it to a Google Sites URL that uses the format of sites.google.com/view/your_site, or use a custom URL using any domain that you own.

  1. Click Publish in the upper right corner.

    A screenshot of a Google Sites website.
  2. Type a name for your site into the web address field, and click Publish.

    A screenshot of publishing a Google Sites page.
  3. Alternately, click MANAGE in the Custom URL section if you want to use your own domain.

  4. Enter a domain name into the custom URL field, and click verify your ownership.

    A screenshot of adding a custom domain to Google Sites.
  5. Select your domain registrar from the drop down box, click VERIFY, then follow the instructions. You will have to make changes to your DNS records through your domain registrar or web host. If you have trouble figuring out how, contact your web host or domain registrar for assistance.

    A screenshot of domain verification on Google Sites.

    It can take a while for the verification process to complete.

  6. When you're done, click Publish to make your site go live.