To access Google Sites, you’ll need to log into your WFU Google Account. Go to google.wfu.edu on a web browser and log in using your WFU Email and password. In the upper right hand corner of your browser you should see a square grid next to your name, thus button will open a pulldown of other Google Apps on your account.
You should see an icon for “Sites”. If it isn’t in your intial list click “More” to scroll through even more apps.
See Example 1
Clicking “Sites” will bring you into the Google Sites main page. Here you will see a list of sites that you have created, or sites that have been shared with you, along with the “Create” button to create a new site.
When your group is ready to begin your site, pick one person to create the site on their account and then share that site with the rest of your group members.
Click the red “CREATE” button to create a new site. On the Create page you can choose a site template, name your site, or add a theme to your site. We’ll cover the templates and themes later, as they can be changed at any time while editing the site. You can also change the name of your site at any time, but the “Site Location” URL listed below the site name cannot be changed once you create the site. Make sure to take some time to decide what you want your URL to be before creating your site. Also remember that you can easily create multiple sites, so if you decide you don’t like the URL of your site later just make a new site!
Once you have created a site, you’ll want to share it with the rest of your group. Click the “Share” button in the upper right-hand corner. This will pull up a dialog box familiar to anyone who’s used Google Docs before. Type the names or email addresses of your groupmates into the share box and make sure to give them “owner” privileges. This will give everyone full editing privileges over all site functions. “Edit” privileges will grant you the ability to change text and other content on web pages, but not the ability to change overall site settings, so it is generally less useful in this kind of project. You’ll also want to take note of the site’s publishing setting, listed above the individuals in the sharing box. By default anyone with a WFU email can find and edit your site, so you’ll want to change that setting to something more private. You’ll want to set the sharing settings to allow everyone with a WFU email to view the site, so your classmates and professor can see your work.
See Example 2
When you first create your site, the only page you’ll have is your Home page. This will be the landing site for visitors when they come to your site. To create more pages use the “New” button at the top of the screen.
See Example 3
Here you can name your page as well as select a template for your page to follow. Web Page is the most common template and will be the one you’ll want to use most of the time. You may find some use for a page using the “file cabinet” template to store data files you wish visitors to download, or an “announcement” page if you want to have a place to update visitors on site changes. You can also alter the page template at any time. You’ll also be given the choice as to where you want the new page to nest, either as a subpage to an existing page, or as a page on the top level. This can also be changed later. You can also create and save page or site templates, which would allow you to save work if you know you’ll be creating pages or sites with similar settings or content in the future.
Once you’ve named the page you’ll be taken into the editing mode for the new page. You can enter this mode on any page by clicking the pencil icon at the top of the screen.
While in editing mode you’ll see a bar across the screen that looks like a typical word processing menu you’d see in Google Docs. You can add text directly onto the page from here, as well as insert pictures, video, or even Google Docs into the pages by clicking the “Insert” menu and choosing the appropriate option.
See Example 4
You may find it easier to create the text portion of your site in a Google Doc shared among your group and insert it into your site instead of adding the content directly to a page. It is also very easy to use the Google Doc Sheets to present your data and create charts to embed directly into the site. Conversely you can create charts in something like Microsoft Excel, save them as a picture, then insert them as an image in your site. If you need to add videos into your site, you can accomplish this by uploading them into either Youtube or Google Drive, and using the appropriate insert command for those videos. Both will appear the same way in the site, so use whichever you prefer. You can also insert links to pages on your own site or other website in the same insert menu.
A common item you will need on the Home page of your site is a “Contact Us” link that sends an email to your group. It is easy to do this, just go into the editing mode on your Home page, go to “Insert” and choose a link. You will be able to add what text you want the hyperlink to show as on the page, then have the option to link to a page on your site or to add your own hyperlink. Instead of typing the URL of a webpage, type:
This creates a link that will open your visitor’s email client and prefill their address bar with the emails you listed.
Click “Save” to view the changes to the site as they will appear to visitors. You can also check a revision history for any of your pages by going to that page, clicking the gear shaped icon for “settings” and clicking “Revision history.” This is useful if you make a mistake and need to step back to an older version of the page.
While working on your site, one thing you’ll notice is the automatic sidebar Google Sites creates for you. It will list all the pages you create and provides easy navigation to the different sections you’ll have. You’ll want to make sure to edit this side bar to put your pages in the appropriate order, etc. Do this by going to the “settings” button and go to “Edit Site Layout”.
See Example 5
This will allow you to edit things like the site’s header or footer, change where the navigation bar is and how it looks, and to edit the sidebar. Click on an item you want to change and you should see the pencil icon to edit each individual piece.
For the sidebar specifically, you’ll want to disable the automatic sorting by unchecking the automatic sorting box. You’ll then need to add the pages you want to show in the navigation or sidebar and adjust the order they appear in. Make sure to save any changes to see how the site looks!
Another important aspect of your site is the theme you use. Themes influence the background, fonts, and colors that run throughout your site. Go into the settings, as above, and choose “Manage Site” in the drop down menu. The bulk of the site options are listed here, at the bottom of the list is “Themes, Colors, and Fonts”. In this section you can choose from a number of pre-built themes for your site, choosing one will apply it to every page. There are numerous options, so choose the one your group likes best and is most fitting for your project. Remember that this is an academic site, so some of the more flamboyant themes will not be appropriate. You can also click through the list of site sections below the theme to edit individual aspects of the theme individually, allowing you a great deal of freedom. Also remember that you can switch back to the default theme at any time, so feel free to use trial and error.