Skip to Main Content
University of York Library
Library Subject Guides

Skills Guides

Google Sites

Why use Google Sites?

Google Sites is a great tool for creating a website to display information in a way which is easy to access, navigate and looks good. The tool is designed to help build attractive websites as simply and easily as possible. 

When to use Google Sites

Collaborate with anyone

Google Sites is ideal for projects where you will be working cooperatively with others; you can add collaborators from any organisation, so long as they have a Google account. Just make sure you are following GDPR guidelines.

Easy to share

Sites is one of the easiet tools to use to promote the information you are wanting to share. Add to your social media profiles, business cards, or presentation for immediate impact.

Ever looked into SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) before? Sites is great for getting people to stumble upon your website through search engines. Simply use commonly searched words and phrases; you might be surprised at who visits you!

No need to regularly update

Once you've put time into building your website, you won't need to update it very much. Sites is by far one of the easiest and quickesy ways to build an attractive website; if you spend time building it just how you want, you won't need to alter much as you go along.

If you're wanting to regularly update people with news that goes directly to them, perhaps a blog or Google Group is better suited for your needs.

Publish when you want

If you want to build up to a release/publish date, Sites is ideal. With or without collaborators, you can build it in its entirety before anyone else will see it.

This also counts for any changes you make after you first published it. Want to add an extra page, but don't want anyone to see it until it's complete? Build it before you press 'Publish'. Need to publish a different change? No problem: just hide it from navigation until you're ready.

Personalise your website name and URL

If you're a member of staff and you're using Sites to share information pertaining to the University of York, you can request a personalised URL for free by emailing For personal use, you can still personalise the URL for a (generally) reasonable cost.

Starting out with Google Sites

Find out some of the vital elements of website design and why Google Sites is so good at building attractive ways to share information.

Designing for users

When planning your Google site, you need to think carefully about what the purpose of your site is, who it is aimed at, and how they will be using it. You want it to fulfil your aims and be usable by as many people as possible. 

Universal design principles can help with this. A good starting point is the Designing for Users section of our Practical Guide to Coding. Although you do NOT need to code to build a Google site, it covers the design principles you need to consider to enable users to fully engage with your work. With regard to Google sites, particular points to consider are the contrast of text against any backgrounds (especially in the header) and the nesting of your pages, as this determines how easy it will be to navigate your site content.

Remember to use the alt text function to add in descriptions for any images you use, to improve the accessibility of your site. If you want more information about image description, see the guide on our Accessibility Skills Guide