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Google Sites

Google Sites is another free service from Google. Google sites allows you to construct a fairly traditional set of web pages that can serve as your website. How is this different from blogger? Blogger is set up for blogging: creating a series of short, timely articles about current topics. Google Sites is for creating a more static site. It's well-suited for setting up pages like About Us, Contact Us, Our Products, etc. If you have a Google account, you can set up a Google site.

Go to sites.google.com and click the 'create' button in the upper right. You'll get to name your site, and set it's url, or web address. The most confusing part of creating a new site is the different between a template and a theme. A template is a prototype website with graphics, sections, other pages, all set to go. You get to choose the template such as Project site, Restaurant, Contractor, Church, Classroom, etc. These are good starting points if the site you want closely aligns to one of the templates they offer. A theme is nothing more than a color scheme and a bit of graphics on a blank site. Think of it as colored stationary on which you can write.

My suggestion is to start with a template that matches your business need. One issue is how to get your logo onto the site and how to make it match your logo's colors. Google sites in general look good straight out of the box, but customizing them may require some graphics and web-savvy.

The real power of Google sites comes in the widgets you can insert into the site. These bit of program can be anything from a YouTube video to a map to a list of current news stories, to a calendar. It makes the site very functional.

See our example Google site for instance. I've worked with a lot of content management systems and website builders, and I'd rate Google sites as one of the more difficult products to work with. You're actually editing pages, rather than simply adding new entries like in a blogging platform.

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