Google Sites is another free collaboration tool that I highly recommend using and was mentioned in one of my previous posts. In this article I will walk you through the basic steps of creating a site where you can communicate and collaborate with a large audience. Much of the information below was obtained through Google’s help archives. Let’s get started.
Overview of Google Sites
With Google Sites, you can easily create and update your own site. Google Sites allows you display a variety of information in one place—including videos, slideshows, calendars, presentations, attachments, forms and text—and share it for viewing or editing with a small group, an entire organization, or the world. You always control who has access to your site.
Here’s what you can do with Google Sites:
- Customize your site
- Create sub-pages to keep your content organized
- Choose page types: webpage, announcements, file cabinet
- Have a central location for your web content and offline files
- Keep your site as private or public as you’d like
- Search across your Google Sites content with Google search technology
Creating a Site
If you already have a Google account, you can sign in and access Sites by navigating to: http://sites.google.com/site. Don’t worry, if you don’t have a Google account you can still sign up for free using the email of your choice.
Once you have signed in, you can begin creating your site.
- Click the Create button.
- Choose one of the displayed site templates, use the default blank template, or click Browse gallery for more to review more template choices
- Enter your site name and the URL where it will be located (for example, sites.google.com/site/yoursite). The name and URL you choose can’t be changed after you create your site, or used again if the site is deleted.
- Click “More options” and select the appropriate checkbox if your site contains mature material. You can also add an optional site description in this section.
- If you wish, click “Select a theme” to pick a theme for your site.
- Enter the wavy characters in the word verification section, and click the Create button at the top of the page.
Now that you’ve created your site, you can create a new page by clicking the New page button in the top right corner of your window.
Then, name the new page and select the type of page you want: webpage, announcement, file cabinet, or list. After you’ve selected where you want to locate the page, click the Create button at the top of the page.
Adding Content to the Site
To start adding objects and apps to your site, just click Edit page, select Insert, and pick the object or app you’d like to insert.
When the embedded app (a Google Presentation, for example) is updated at its source and published (in this example, within Google Drive), it gets updated automatically within Sites. Make sure you set the app to automatically republish changes, so your site’s information is always updated.
Here are some of the objects you can insert:
- An image: Click Insert, select Image, and either browse for an image on your machine or upload one from a specific web address. After you’ve uploaded and saved the image, you can click it to view it in full screen. You can choose one of these standard sizes for your image: small, medium, large, or original size. If you’d like to resize your image manually on the page, click the HTML button and within the source view, include attributes for width, height, or both, within the ‘img src’ tag.
- A Google Spreadsheet: Hover over “Drive” and select Spreadsheet from the Insert drop-down menu, and a window appears with a list of the spreadsheets that you own or can view or edit in Google Docs. Click the spreadsheet you want to insert, or enter the URL in the box right below the list of spreadsheets. Click Select and you’ll see the properties of the spreadsheet. Select your options and click Save.
- A Google Form: Hover over “Drive” and select Form from the Insert drop-down menu, and a window appears with a list of the forms that you own or can view or edit in Google Docs. Click the form you want to insert, or enter the URL in the box right below the list of forms. Click Select and you’ll see the properties of the form. Select your options and click Save. (Note: Select this for collecting assessments as mentioned in Phase 3 of the Training and Implementation Plan)
- A video: Click Insert and select YouTube to include a video from YouTube on the page. Paste the URL, enter a title, and save. You can also click Insert, hover over “Drive”, and select Video to choose a video you’ve uploaded to Google Drive.
Sharing the Site
Now that you’ve created your Google site, you can share it with your friends, family, coworkers, or make it public. Just choose Share this site from the More actions drop-down menu. By default, all new sites are public.
Note: Share this site lets you choose who views, edits, and owns content on your site. Even with these controls, use care when you publish sensitive personal information on the web.
Users set to “Can view” can:
- View pages
Users set to “Can edit” can:
- Create, edit, delete pages
- Move pages
- Add attachments
- Add comments
- Subscribe to site and page changes
Users set to “Is owner” can:
- Do everything that users set to “Can edit” can do
- Set other people as “Can view,” “Can edit,” and “Is owner”
- Change site themes and layout
- Change the site name
- Delete the site
If you are a Google Apps user, you can also control sharing settings across the entire domain. However, if your Google Apps domain is managed by an administrator, the administrator can restrict your ability to share your site with people outside your domain.
How I used Google Sites During a Global Implementation
When I was managing multiple rollouts of Oracle across numerous countries, it was important for me to have a central location where users could interact with the core team and to also complete monthly proficiency tasks and other exams. There was also a FAQ section under each module where people could read answers to common questions regarding the project.