Google sites features
Image: Andy Wolber

Google Sites lets you choose overall site colors and fonts as well as manage many page design and layout options. These options let you create a site with a custom theme that conforms to your organization’s design standards and style.

Site editors and owners have more control over Google Sites features for page layout and functionality, as well. For instance, in Google Sites:

  • Dividers and spacers serve as visual separators between various types of content, such as text, images, video and inserted files.
  • Collapsible text boxes display headings that reveal more text once clicked, effectively turning a long page of text into a more easily browseable set of headings.
  • Customizable social links let you offer one-click connections to various social sites, while customizable search options let you manage how the search box functions on your site.

To explore each of these Google Sites features below, sign in with your Google account to a Google Site that you either have created or to which you have editor access.

Jump to:

Create a custom theme for maximum site design control

Google Sites gives you the ability to create and edit a custom theme, which provides significant control over colors, fonts, images, navigation and, more recently, spacing (Figure A).

Figure A

Google Sites custom site theme
Create a custom theme in Google Sites for greater control over colors, fonts and more. Select the three vertical-dot menu in the upper right of the theme to the edit menu to adjust items after initial setup. Image: Andy Wolber

With a custom theme you may make the site design conform closely to your organization’s established brand standards. A marketing manager, for example, might make a new Google Site, then select Themes | +Create Theme, then add their organization’s logos, custom colors and fonts and save the site.

When other people in the organization need a site, they can make a copy of the customized starter site via More menu | Make A Copy. They can then add their colleague as an editor of the site from Share With Others | Add their email address | Choose Editor role. Optionally, they can transfer ownership of the site to their colleagues by selecting Share with others | Select the role next to the person | Transfer ownership.

Leverage dividers and spacers for layout

Dividers and spacers allow you to place lines and empty areas between content on a page (Figure B).

Figure B

Add dividers and spacers in Google Sites.
Insert a horizontal divider line to visually separate content on a page. Insert a spacer, then adjust the size wherever you want to ensure empty space around page content. Image: Andy Wolber

Horizontal dividers can delineate content that might otherwise be inaccurately paired, and spacers can add blank — or, in design terms, negative — space between content items. Spacers may be resized into a variety of rectangular shapes, and you may move them around your page as desired. Spacers might best be placed around content you wish to feature in an uncluttered portion of a page.

Add collapsible text boxes to text-dense pages

Collapsible text boxes are used when the first line of the text provides the context people need to decide whether to expand the text or not (Figure C).

Figure C

Add collapsible text boxes to Google Sites.
Collapsible groups make it easier for people to scan headings, then select a section to display the details. Collapsible text boxes are often useful on FAQ pages, for example. Image: Any Wolber

A collapsible text box works well for things such as FAQs, support pages and detailed multi-step processes. To add a collapsible text box to a page, select Insert | Collapsible group. Next, fill in the title text, which is what auto-displays, as well as the more detailed text that will be revealed below after a visitor selects the title.

Support social connections or search

Social links and Cloud Search are each best suited for use on public sites and internal sites, respectively (Figure D).

Figure D

Add Site Search and social buttons to Google Sites.
Add social links to make it easy for people to follow your social media accounts, and add search, either of site content (selectable in the site settings) or your organization’s content with Cloud Search. Image: Andy Wolber

You may use either on any site, but social links may not be terribly useful on an intranet, since people in the organization are quite likely to be familiar with an organization’s social media accounts. Similarly, Cloud Search, which can be configured to search Google Drive, will likely only be of use to people already signed in with an organizational Workspace account, not the general public.

To add social links, select Insert | Social links, then add the web address of your accounts. The system will automatically add icons for popular sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. If you need to link to a newer social network, such as Mastodon, you may upload or provide a link to an appropriate JPG or PNG file.

Site search may be configured in two ways: as a menu option, configured at Settings | Navigation | Search settings, or as an inserted item on a page, viaInsert | Cloud Search.

You may configure the menu search option to search “This site” or “Organization content,” or you can hide it entirely. The inserted Cloud Search box, however, solely supports search of your organization’s content for people signed in to organizational Workspace accounts. To learn more about Google Cloud Search, see How to get Google search capabilities for your corporate data with Google Cloud Search.

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