Getting something for ‘free’ is always an attractive offer. And this is precisely why a number of small enterprises, startups and solopreneurs have been using free Google Sites to promote their businesses online.
A structured web page-creation tool, Google Sites can be accessed using any Google account to create basic websites. The service also includes Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drawings, Google Forms, and Google Keep.
With speed and ease of editing, a website can be easily designed on Google Sites. The tool does not ask for any programming, coding or database skill. There are no software installations required and the website can be directly integrated with other Google applications.
However, if you are still using this free website builder for your business or plan to deploy it soon, you must also be aware of its limitations as a digital marketing tool. Here are some:
You don’t get much to choose from while building a website using this platform. The base templates with names such as ‘Team’, ‘Portfolio’ and ‘Project’ hint at the kind of interface they intend to provide. And they do not have versatile features to showcase your products and services or promote your brand. They’re rather meant for digital projects with a limited scope and can be used to market one-off events or to announce new offers.
While you can customize templates to some extent the creative freedom in terms of font style is also limited. You are also not allowed to edit the layouts or any of the key parameters in a template.
Although the seamless integration with other Google products is a plus, your Google Site does not get the benefits of SEO plugins that enable you to easily optimize meta data. In comparison, WordPress websites are more SEO-friendly with hundreds of plugins to pick from. Of these, Yoast is the most popular one with its page analysis support, technical optimization abilities and XML sitemaps functionality.
Also, if you are keen to add third-party apps such as a CRM app, a live chat box, or flip books on a free Google Site, the integration can be really perplexing if not ‘impossible’.
Google Sites do not offer much in terms of marketing attributes and this is another limitation that can make your online branding works challenging. Unlike WordPress and custom built websites, this platform does not let you link your social media handles.
If you only expect traffic through offline methods, word of mouth promotion or direct web referral, the integration of social media buttons may not matter. However, that is not the case. If you are investing in a website and want to see visitors on it, you must pave way for them from other online channels too.
Therefore, it is worthwhile to consider a website platform that is more feature-rich and social media friendly than Google Sites.
https://sites.google.com/:/[yoursitename] is the default domain for all free Google websites and you cannot use a customized domain name.
Even if a unique domain name is not necessary for a business website, it is certainly vital to give your brand a more professional and reliable feel. When you intend to build, nurture and expand your venture for years to come, you must have a professionally developed website with a custom name.
Google Site does not offer much when it comes to technical support. You will not find any real time support for users – not even a robotically answered chat. If you face any issues, all you have is the set of support documents and the community help forum.
Although the support documents look detailed at first glance, there are many queries that they do not address. And the community help forum is also rather haphazard. It can take a lot of time before you find someone asking the same question as you have, and a satisfactory answer to it. Also, there are a lot of repetitive questions some of which have already been answered in the support documents – so going through them may be a mere waste of time.
Lastly, Google Site is largely a central part of Google’s productivity suite which can get modified at any time and this may interfere with the way you present your content. It’s already in the news that Google is shutting down its classic Sites version from January 1, 2022.
Being a free website structuring tool, Google Site is good for temporary projects or internal business purposes – it is comparable to Google Documents and PPT presentations. On the other hand, when you wish to market your brand distinctly and / or plan to sell your products using a secure e-commerce site, switching to a full-fledged formal website is strongly recommended.
At Luminary Software we provide results-driven bespoke web design and development solutions using evolved technologies. As one of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies in Miami, we stay at the forefront of innovation and help you accelerate your success in the online world. Connect with us to know more about our website building services.
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