Creating Your Own Site – step-by-step

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Google in Education

Google Sites allows you to display a variety of information online, including videos, curriculum, calendars, student activities, attachments and text. Because owners always have control of their site, it can be shared privately or publicly for use with a project team, a school, or an entire community.

Create your own teacher or class website

To create a site in Google Sites, you must first login to your school Google Apps account.

  1. In the top-right corner of any apps, you can click on the  App Launcher icon to view your enabled services.
  2. Click Sites.

In addition to the links at the top left of any Google Apps page, you can also access Google Sites through a custom URL for your school. While you are logged in to your school domain, type http://www.google.com/sites into your browser address bar.

Create a name for the site

Once you have logged in to Google Sites on your school Apps account, you can create a new site. You can design your own site, or you can choose a site template to help you get started. Some common site templates are highlighted on the site creation page, or you can clickBrowse the gallery for more to see more template options.

To create a new site:

  1. Click on the  button located in your Google Sites directory.
  2. Select Blank template if you would like to design your own site from scratch, or click theBrowse the gallery link to choose from a variety of site templates.
  3. Type your site name—this will also auto-populate your site URL to besites.google.com/a/yourschool.edu/your-site-name (where yourschool.edu is your school Apps domain).
  4. If you would like to change your site URL, you can change what appears after yourschool.edu. Just type the new name for your site in the box following yourschool.edu.

Note: Choose your site URL with care. If you change the site name later, your site URL will not change. The URL you choose cannot be changed after you create your site or be used again if the site is deleted.

When selecting a URL for your site, keep the following in mind:

  • Your site name (and URL) cannot conflict with an existing site name
  • Site URLs can only use these characters: A-Z, a-z, 0-9

Beneath the site URL, there are also two additional sections, Choose a theme and More Options.

  • Select a design for your site in the Choose a theme section
  • Add a description and category for your site and select the sharing access level in the More Options section

Make a site easier to find with site categories and descriptions

When creating your site, you can also add site categories and a site description in the More Options section.

Categories allow you to group related sites and make them accessible together within the popular categories list for your school Apps domain. Categories are deemed popular when they contain more than five sites. Categories can have multiple words such as ‘math department’ or ‘student projects.’

For example, if you used a ‘math department’ category for your site, and all other math teachers used that category, then someone at your school could browse the ‘math department’ category to view all ‘math department’ sites. Or you could use a ‘athletics’ category that identifies the sites that have information related about school sports teams.

Note: The site category setting does not affect search results.

A site description can be added to identify the purpose of your site. This will appear next to your site name in the list of sites at your school’s domain.

Both the category and site description settings are not required and can be modified after the site is created.

When in the site creation process, you can add the site category and description in the More Options section beneath the site name and URL:

  1. Click on the More Options section on the Create a new site page.
    • Type in the names of the categories for your site in the Site Categories box, separated by commas (e.g., math department, ms. smith)
  2. Type in a short description of your site in the Site Description box (e.g., Ms. Smith’s math class site with homework assignments, class schedule, parent newsletter, and class materials).

Use a theme design for a site

Whether you are building an intranet, a project wiki, a classroom site, or a public website, we know it is important for your site to look good. Google Sites has over 50 themes to make it easier to get started with a great looking site. Themes are pre-packaged combinations of site layouts, colors and images that are available in Google Sites.

Once you chose a theme, you can still change specific values such as background colors and images via the Themes, Colors and Fonts section.

When in the site creation process, you can choose a theme for your site. If you do not choose a Theme, your Site will default to the Sky theme.

  1. Click the drop-down arrow next to Select a theme to expand the page and show all available themes.
  2. Select the theme you would like to use by clicking the thumbnail. The thumbnail will turn red to indicate your selection.
  3. If you have already filled out the site name, URL, categories, and description, click Create Site.

Create a new page

When you create a new page in Google Sites, you are given the option to choose from several page types. The following sections will review the different types of pages you can create.

Individuals with editing access (as a collaborator or an owner of the site) also have the ability toSubscribe to page changes. The notifications of page changes vary depending on the page type.

Types of page templates

There are several different page templates to choose from when you create your Google Site.

Web Page

A Web Page is an unstructured page that will allow you to add text, images, videos, calendars, tables, gadgets, and more.

Announcement page

An Announcement page is a page which makes it easy for an individual or group to post chronological information like news, status updates, or notable events. It can be used to post organizational news, post project updates, announce new releases, post interesting links from around the web, as a simple blog, and more. Each post is like a mini-webpage – you can format the text, include pictures, links, and gadgets. You can also edit and update these posts at any time.

File Cabinet page

A File Cabinet page type allows you to upload and manage documents from your hard drive onto your site and organize them into folders. This can be used to organize common documents in one place.

List page

A List page allows you to easily track lists of information. You can choose from a list of templates or configure your own custom columns. Items can be easily added, updated, and removed.

Start Page

On the Start Page, you can add content, including text, images, and gadgets, in a locked area, which users cannot modify. You can also choose a theme and other design elements for the page. At any time, you can update the locked area and page design, and all users’ Start Pages will be updated with the changes.

Below the locked area on the Start Page, users can add gadgets of their choice from the public directory to personalize the page.

Change a page type template

A site owner or collaborator can change the page template at any time. This means that you could change one of your pages from a List page type template to a Web page type template

To change a page type template:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Select Page settings.
  4. Click the Change link next to the page template type.
  5. Select the new page template type and click the Change button.

Choose a page layout

Google Sites offers nine different types of layouts for standard webpages. The nine layouts fall into one of three categories: simple columns, columns with a header and footer, and sidebar page.

These layouts can be applied to the four types of page templates (webpage type, list, announcement and file cabinet).

To change the layout of your page:

  1. On the page, make sure you are editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If you are not in editing mode, click the Edit page button.
  2. Click on the Layout menu.
  3. Select the desired layout from the drop-down menu.

Google Sites will then apply the new layout to your page and adjust your content accordingly. Your content will not be removed, but it may be shuffled as a result of the new layout.

Edit page settings

You can make several changes to individual pages in your site including:

  • Show/hide the page title: Make the page title visible at the top of the main content area
  • Show/hide links to subpages: Pages that are children of the current page in the site hierarchy
  • Allow attachments or comments: Allow site editors or site owners to add attachments or comments to the page
  • Include in sidebar navigation gadgets: Have the page appear in a sidebar navigation gadget
  • Change the page URL: Change the final item in the URL that is associated with this page (e.g. for sites.google.com/a/myschool.edu/mysite/mypage you can changemypage)
  • Change the page template: Change the page type or page template applied to the page

To access Page settings:

  1. On your page, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the More menu and select Page settings from the drop-down menu.
  3. From here, you can make changes to the page settings as described above.
  4. Click Save when done.