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Is Google Sites suited for a real business site?

Is Google Sites suited for a real business site?

on Sep 26, 2012 | 0 comments

Google Sites is a simple web page-creation tool, offered by Google, either as part of the Google Apps suite or standalone.

Because Google Sites started out as JotSpot, a service that mainly targeted small-sized and medium-sized businesses, you’d think the answer to this article’s topic is rather straightforward. Having used Google Sites extensively as a web-designer, I feel there’s room for discussion though…

Yes, Google Sites is great for your business because…

  • The price is right.

It’s hard to beat free, isn’t it? You can run a website for your business at practically no cost (I’d still recommend registering a custom domain name). Especially when you’re just starting out with your business, this can be important.

  • Content beats style.

Getting your business online is important. If you need to choose between not having a website at all or getting your information out there in a barebones format, the latter is usually preferable.

  • It’s well integrated with other Google services.

As you would expect, adding a YouTube video, a Google spreadsheet, a Google+ button, etcetera is easy. So is adding Google Analytics code to track your visitor statistics. And your site will easily get indexed up by Google’s search engine. Yummy!

  • Reliable hosting

It doesn’t get much better than getting your site hosted on Google’s cloud. With Google Sites you don’t have to worry about your sites loading speed and uptime at all.

But, …

No, I wouldn’t recommend Google Sites for your site because…

  • It’s features are lacking.

Several features you take for granted for your small business site are not part of the standard Google Sites package. Do you want an image slider on your front page? Sorry, not possible. A gallery? Don’t think so! A contact form? No can do.There are some tricks you can apply to circumvent these limitations, but that brings us to the next point:

  • It doesn’t look professional.

The basic templates are just that: basic. Compared to other entry-level website building tools, Google Sites is severely lacking in the graphics department. Sure, like I mentioned before, content is more important than style. But when your customers look at your website you also want them to get the impression you’re professional.

You could turn to a web-designer, but even for them it’s rather hard to create nice templates on the Google Sites platform.

Conclusion

If you’re starting a new company and you’re bootstrapping, Google Sites is great. You can quickly get a dynamic website up at no cost.

Also, because you’re doing a lot of the groundwork, creating the content and structure of the site, chances are you can get a better deal from a web-designer later on, should you decide to ‘upgrade’ your website to another platform.

However, if your business is already established, I can’t recommend Google Sites. A well set-up WordPress site for example, with a nice template, will look much more professional.

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