How to use four improved Google Sites features

Learn how to insert an image carousel and/or page table of contents, enable the date last updated indicator, and duplicate a Google Site in G Suite.

Illustration with red lines or circles on a drawn Google Site image: Duplicate site, Tablet of contents, Image carousel, and Page last update info (in footer)

Image: TechRepublic/Andy Wolber

The new Google Sites continues to get upgraded. In the first half of 2019, Google made several significant improvements to Sites that may appeal to people who want to showcase rotating images, create especially long pages, and/or create multiple sites. Every viewer of a Google Site might notice that the footer no longer includes the "Made by Google Sites" message.

Here are four features that people who create and edit Google Sites may find helpful to know.

SEE: G Suite: Tips and tricks for business professionals (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

1. How to feature visuals with an image carousel in Google Sites

From the menu to the right of the page, select Insert | Image Carousel. Then either upload or select images from Google Drive to display in rotating sequence (Figure A). 

Figure A

Screenshot of image carousel shown on mobile phone format, with three dots below the carousel, one for each image.

In a Google Site, select Insert | Image Carousel, then upload or select images. Preview how the carousel might appear on various devices, then adjust the size of the carousel frame, if desired.

For the carousel feature to work, you'll need to choose at least two images to display. If you like, you may select the gear—visible in the upper right portion of the select images window—to toggle the dots that appear at the bottom of the carousel to indicate sequence. The gear also gives you access to an Auto-Start option that rotates between the images.

You also may want to adjust the default size of the inserted carousel to reveal more (or less) of the surface area of the selected images.

2. How to speed navigation on a page with a table of contents in Google Sites

A table of contents displays the structure of a long page for viewers. While on a page, select Insert | Table Of Contents from the menu on the right side. This places a text field that lists all of the headings and subheadings on your page, with an active link to each section (Figure B).

Figure B 

Screenshot of a Site, with table of contents sections: "Communicate effectively", "Automate appropriately", "Secure all the things", "How you use tech sets the tone", and "@awolber"

On a Google Site page, insert a table of contents to allow visitors to more quickly access content on long pages. Each item in the table automatically links to a specific section of your page. 

As you add, remove, or re-organize the sections on your page, the table of contents page updates to reflect the changes. A table of contents may be most useful on pages with a lot of content; however, in some cases, you might restructure your content into several shorter pages, rather than add a table of contents to a single long page.

3. How to duplicate a site to make a similar site quickly in Google Sites

You can duplicate a Google Site, which makes it possible to reduce the amount of work needed to create a site similar to one that already exists. For example, a manager might duplicate a project site, a trainer or teacher might duplicate a syllabus or class site, and a small business might duplicate a product-focused site. In April 2019, Google increased the size limit for duplicating a Google Site, so you can leverage work put into larger sites.

In the new Google Sites, select the vertical three-dot menu in the upper right, then choose Duplicate Site. In the Duplicate site options that display, you may modify the file name, folder location, and/or adjust sharing options. Then select Duplicate to create the site (Figure C).

Figure C

Screenshot of three vertical dot menu selected, with Duplicate site menu option highlighted

When editing a Google Site, select the three vertical dot menu (in the upper right), then select Duplicate Site to create a copy of the site.

4. How to display page update time to show content currency in Google Sites

Site editors may now choose to display how recently a page changed, which may help people who view the page assess how up-to-date the content on the page might be. Site visitors may find last updated information, if available, in the footer of the page.

If you're a site editor, select the vertical three-dot menu in the upper right, select Site Info Settings, move the slider to the right to Show Page Last Updated Time, then choose Save. Next, select Publish to update your site's pages (Figure D).   

Figure D

Screenshot that shows steps described in the caption.

To allow every page on your Google Site to display the last date the page was updated, select the three vertical dot menu (in the upper right), then move the slider to the right. Select Save, then Publish your site.

A G Suite administrator can control the Last Updated setting for every Google Site in the organization. To do this, go to https://admin.google.com, sign in with your G Suite administrator account, then choose Apps | G Suite | Sites | New Sites | Last Updated. Place your cursor over the Last Updated area or tap it to edit, then adjust the setting, then select Save (Figure E). By default, the option allows site editors to choose whether or not last update information is available.

Figure E

Screenshot of G Suite admin console Site setting for "Last updated": OFF, ON (allows site editors to adjust), or FORCED (on for every site).

A G Suite administrator may adjust the Last Updated feature setting in the Admin console, which applies to every Google Site in the organization. The default setting allows each site editor to enable the feature.

Your experience?

If you create or edit Google Sites, what do you think of the above features? Do you think that the removal of the "Made by Google Sites" message makes Google Sites a more enterprise-friendly website creation tool? Let me know what you think of these updates, either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).

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