Introduction to Google Sites

Google Sites allows users to create high-quality websites for their team, project or event. No programming or design skills are required. This article provides instructions for setting up a Google Site on a Davidson account.

Start a New Google Site

All Davidson accounts have access to Google Sites as part of the larger Google Workspace. Google Sites can be created, edited and shared with others in the same ways as Google Docs, Google Sheets and other Google Drive files. All Google Sites created with Davidson accounts must comply with these Guidelines for Google Sites.

1. To create a site, navigate to If you are not already logged in with your Davidson credentials, log in to Google Drive as usual. 

2. In the Start a new site section at the top of the page you'll see options to create a blank site or begin a site from a template. If you have editing access to previously created Google Sites you'll see them listed below.

3. A Davidson-specific template can be accessed by clicking on Template Gallery at the top right of the section and then choosing Davidson College. This Sample Google Drive site is preloaded with Davidson College colors and a standard layout.

4. Click on the Sample Google Drive Site preview image, or any other template preview image to create a new site draft based on that template. This new draft site will automatically save just like other Google Drive applications, but it will not be live on the web until you publish it.


Make Edits to a Google Site

Google Sites are built with a drag-and-drop interface. The left-hand side of the screen previews your working site and the right-hand column hosts options for content and editing.

Adding and Managing Elements

To add a new element to your site, click on the element type you want to add. That element will be added to your site preview. You can then click on the element to resize it or move it to your desired location. Google Sites also provides Content Blocks with pre-arranged content for commonly used layouts.

Elements available to add to Google Sites include:

Text Box
Code Embed
Collapsible group
Table of contents
Image carousel
Social links
Cloud Search (This organizational content search can search Google Drive for all files that you have access to across your My Drive, Shared Drive, and files that others may have shared with you.)
YouTube embed
Google Workspace embed options, including Google Maps, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms and Charts. 

Adding and Managing Pages
Pages are accessed by clicking on the Pages heading on the right-hand column. Use the Plus button at the bottom of the column to add new pages, links or menu sections. Once a page is created you can double-click on the name to rename it, or choose additional options by using the three vertical dots menu that appears when you hover over the page title. Additional options include duplicating the page, adding a subpage, or hiding a page from navigation.

Rearranging the order that pages appear in will modify the order that pages are shown on the navigation menu. To nest pages within a dropdown in the menu, use the Plus button and choose New menu section. Then, click on any pages in the page listing and drag them into the menu section. 

You can choose to set the navigation to the top or the left side by clicking on the gear icon in the top menu to open Settings and then choosing Navigation.

For more information on using Google Sites and formatting content, see Google's How to use Google Sites.


Publishing a Google Site

Publishing a Site for the First Time

1. When you are ready to publish a Google Site, either to a small test group or a larger group, click on the Publish button on the top right. 

2. The first time you click Publish, a pop-up box will appear and ask you for the Web address. Type the name of your site in the box. Whatever you type will be added to the end of the default address. For example if you type danceteam the full web address for your site will be 

3. Click Manage to set permissions for this site. The People with access section allows you to choose to add individuals as Published Viewers (can view the site) or Editors (can edit the site). The General access section lets you open up viewing access to the site to a larger group of users for both the draft and the published site. Restricted allows for only people in the People with access section to view the site. Davidson College opens up the site to be viewed by all people with a Davidson email address, and Public enables anyone on the web to view the site.

Note: All Google Sites published with a Davidson account must be restricted to authenticated Davidson College users, and comply with the college's Guidelines for Google Sites

4. Click on Publish to publish the site with the options you chose. 

Publishing Edits to an Already Published Site

1. When you are ready to publish edits to an already published site, click on click on the Publish button on the top right. 

2. A Review changes and publish page will open. Changes you made since the last time you published the site will appear listed on the left. On the right will show a preview of draft site with edits and the currently published site. When you have finished reviewing any edits, click on the Publish button on the top right. 

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