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Everything you need to sell online

Set up an online store in minutes to sell on a website, social media, or marketplaces.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Sites

14 min read

Are you looking to start an online store? Maybe you’re thinking about revamping the one you already have? If you’re looking for an easy way to start selling products online, Google Sites might be the perfect place to start.

Why Should I Use Google Sites?

Why use Google Sites? Great question.

The simple answer is: all of the options for online stores can be pretty intimidating. You want to build a top-notch website, but that might seem like a tall order if you’re not a tech-savvy person. That’s where Google Sites comes in. With this tool, you can build a customizable site and start selling your products immediately–no programmer, designer, or IT guidance needed.

To help you navigate more easily, we’ve put together this detailed article for everything you should know about Google Sites. Below you’ll find:

  • What are Google Sites?
  • How to Use Google Sites
  • Are Google Sites Free?
  • New Google Sites vs. Classic Google Sites
  • Google Sites Tips and Tricks

Keep reading for more!

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What are Google Sites?

Google Sites is a website builder from Google, which comes in the form of an app that’s part of Google’s G Suite package. There are other Google apps which you’re probably already using, like Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, and more.

If you’re familiar with other website-building platforms (like WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix) it’s helpful to think of Google Sites in a similar vein. Google Sites makes it possible for you to create a website and sell products online without knowing how to write the code yourself.

With Google Sites, you can:

  • Start selling your products online
  • Tailor your site for your target audience
  • Choose from multiple different page types
  • Publish your favorite images, videos, tutorials, google docs, and more!
  • Work with other team members to create (and maintain) your site
  • Share your online store with as many people as you would like

How to Use Google Sites

You don’t need to have a technical background to effectively use Google Sites. Every function is intuitive and user-friendly, and you can get started in a matter of minutes.

If you don’t already have a Google Account, you’ll be prompted to create one before setting up your Google Sites. Once you’ve finished, you’ll be asked to use your own domain. If you don’t have a domain yet, you’ll get the chance to select one before moving on to the next steps.

If you already have a Google account, no sign-up is necessary! Simply head over to Google Sites and start building your site.

Create your site

Open Google Sites on your computer, and click the “+” to start with a blank site–or choose one of the existing templates. There are several small business templates to choose from. Alternatively, you can find ready-made Google Sites templates on the Internet created by Google Sites fans or agencies.

Add content

Next, give your site a title, start adding content, adjust the layout, and add your products. To save your changes, hit “Publish” (but change the settings for this if you don’t want your site to go live just yet).

Here are some helpful links:

Publish and share your site

Now you’re ready to share your site with the world. To publish your changes, click “publish” in the top right corner.

Are Google Sites Free?

Google Sites come free of charge with any standard Google account.

You can set up as many Google Sites as you’d like, using up to 15GB of storage, although you should keep in mind that this storage is also shared with your other Google apps.

Do you know what else is free? We are.

That’s right, you can quickly set up your Ecwid store today and sell across multiple platforms; your website, social media, and even in-person. Click here for more information!

New Google Sites vs. Classic Google Sites

In 2006, the site builder tool (Google Page Creator) transitioned over to a new platform, and Classic Sites was conceived. Then, in 2016, Google updated this site builder in order to make it compatible with the rest of Google’s functionality. They also saw the need to keep up with the capabilities of other site builders which were rapidly adding user-friendly functionalities.

The new Google Sites simply looks better than Classic Sites, and it’s also far easier to use. It’s a bit more restricting in terms of what you can build with it, but for users who want to use an easy, free website builder, Google Sites may still be the best choice.

Google Sites Tips and Tricks

Do you want to make your Google Site stand out from the rest? We’ve got you covered. Here are some helpful site-building tips to get you started:

Take advantage of Google tools

Having slow pages on your website will frustrate your customers, and make it harder to capture their attention. Because of this, it’s a good idea to use tools like Google Page Speed Insights to see how your site is performing, and where it can be improved.

There are other Google tools that you can avail yourself of–tools like Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Google My Business, to name a few.

Improve your contact page

It’s also a good idea to boost the impact of your contact page. This means going beyond the basic information (email addresses and phone numbers) and offering multiple ways for your customers to get a hold of you. When possible, try to include a contact form, in addition to your email, phone, and social accounts.

Simplify site navigation

If you want to encourage your visitors to return, make your site simple and easy to navigate.

Keep the on-screen links to a minimum and focus on optimizing the content so it’s easy to read and serves a purpose. While one CTA button on your homepage might be fun and compelling, five is confusing and complicated.

The Best Way To Add Ecommerce to Google Sites

Although you can add Ecwid shopping cart to your Google Sites website in several ways, some of them might not match your expectations and can influence your customers’ shopping experience. It happens due to the way Google Sites work with embeddable code.

Embedding a store as code into a page (not yet the best way)

You already know that you can add almost any code to your website using the “Embed code” tool. But what you didn’t know is that Google Sites block some important functionality of the Ecwid store, which results in a poor shopping experience. Plus, your store will be locked and limited with container borders. If you don’t stretch it enough, the frame will have its own scroll.

All the above will result in several disadvantages:

  • surfing the store, the URLs don’t change. So the store will keep working inside the frame while you will stay on the same page.
  • customer account issues. Your customers will face the inability to log in to their customer account.
  • the cart reset. The cart may “forget” what a customer put into it while browsing the store in different tabs.
  • blank pages. Sometimes, your customers may see blank pages popping up in a new tab.
  • not enough space. Your store will be displayed in a frame. The frame has its borders. Although Ecwid will do its best to resize to fit into the frame, sometimes it won’t be possible. You will need to scroll down or sidewise inside the widget to see the full picture.

It’s important to understand that this behavior does not mean that Ecwid or Google are bad solutions. This is just an embedment limitation that Google and we are working on together.

Embedding a store as a page (almost the best way)

Google Sites let you embed the code as a full-size page. It’s still iframe, but it’s not has page-size borders. So it always displays the whole content of your store.

Adding your store to Google Sites as a page solves some issues from the previous part, but some of them remain.

  • the URLs won’t change. If you don’t care about SERP visibility of your product pages and totally rely on content pages created with Google Sites, it’s not a problem for you.
  • customer account issues. Your customers will face the inability to log in to their customer account.
  • the cart reset. The cart may “forget” what a customer put into it while browsing the store in different tabs.

Aside from these issues, your store will work as expected and your customers won’t feel uncomfortable browsing and purchasing your products.

Instant Site and subdomain (the best way!)

What would you do if you met a brick wall? Correct, you’d walk around. And that’s exactly what you can do to marry beautiful solutions like Ecwid and Google on your domain.

Link to Instant Site

All Ecwid stores have free storefronts (Instant Site) accessible from the web. In addition, they have indexable URLs and are fully functional.

And this is a place where you can send your Google Sites visitors right from the main menu. Add a link to your Instant Site with the word “Store” and offer your visitors to shop in a dedicated section.

Linking the store that doesn’t belong to the same domain as a website is common for many businesses. People see that your official website is sending them there and treat it as a legitimate place to make a purchase.

Place Ecwid Instant Site on a subdomain

But if you believe that your customers need another reason to feel safe with you, placing Ecwid Instant Site on a subdomain is definitely a way to consider.

Perhaps, this is the most widely used way the big brands use to run e-commerce along with the main website. The web address “store.brand.com” won’t scare away cautious customers and will gather your entire business assets under one roof—your domain.

Although both (adding as code and as page) ways to add a shopping cart to Google Sites have pros and cons, we recommend the second variant. And there’s a handful of reasons for that:

  • best shopping experience. You’ll avoid unexpected errors and limitations.
  • you’ll control the layout. Instant Site looks amazing and can be redesigned to match your business needs.
  • SEO boost. Instead of working in a frame, your store will have its own navigation. All your products and categories will have their pages accessible from the web and indexable by Google.

But you may ask, “Why would I need Google Sites if Ecwid’s Instant Site is so good?” But don’t hurry.

Your Google site can win you lots of traffic if you continue creating limitless pages linking back to your storefront. They can be a part of the main navigation and can be hidden as well. In fact, you can create a universe of landing pages with Google Sites and generate free traffic for your store.

Try all the options to find the one that works for your business. And we’ll be here to help.

Before You Go…

Google Sites user-friendly platform allows you to easily create and publish a new site so you can start selling products online today.

While it doesn’t really compete with more in-depth, paid alternatives, it’s still a great option if you’re looking to get your site up without spending a ton of time and money.

We want to help you choose the perfect platform to sell your products on, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us or head over to our Ecwid Ecommerce Blog for more information.

Do You Use Google Sites?

Have you used Google sites before? Are you currently using it now? What do you think about Google’s site-building platform? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Do you want to learn more about Google Sites?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

Ecommerce that has your back

So simple to use – even my most technophobic clients can manage. Easy to install, quick to set up. Light years ahead of other shop plugins.
I’m so impressed I’ve recommended it to my website clients and am now using it for my own store along with four others for which I webmaster. Beautiful coding, excellent top-notch support, great documentation, fantastic how-to videos. Thank you so much Ecwid, you rock!
I’ve used Ecwid and I love the platform itself. Everything is so simplified it’s insane. I love how you have different options to choose shipping carriers, to be able to put in so many different variants. It’s a pretty open e-commerce gateway.
Easy to use, affordable (and a free option if starting off). Looks professional, many templates to select from. The App is my favorite feature as I can manage my store right from my phone. Highly recommended 👌👍
I like that Ecwid was easy to start and to use. Even for a person like me, without any technical background. Very well written help articles. And the support team is the best for my opinion.
For everything it has to offer, ECWID is incredibly easy to set up. Highly recommend! I did a lot of research and tried about 3 other competitors. Just try ECWID and you'll be online in no time.

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