If you are a teenager, you should always be looking for ways to make money and share your ideas. A great way to do this is by experimenting with creating a website or blog. In this article, I will give a basic tutorial on creating a simple website with Google Sites. All necessary steps are free. This website can be a blog, portfolio, event tracker, or even a store with a small amount of work. I will dive into the more advanced uses for a website in future articles.
Step 1: Buy a Domain (Optional)
The first step for making a successful website is a domain name. A domain makes it easy for people to find and share your site. For example, healthyteen.org is my domain name. Start by going to domains.google.com. Note: I have found that Google Domains works best for this tutorial for many reasons. Next, input your desired domain name and follow the steps to purchase it. (I recommend that you explore alternative possible alternative domain names because you can get many for as cheap as $12 US dollars a year.)
Step 2: Create Your Website
The next step in creating a website is making the interface in which your users will interact. Start by visiting sites.google.com. Then sign in or create a Google Account. Once you have signed in, click blank at the top or choose from one of the preexisting templates. I recommend using one of these templates if you are new to making websites.
Step 3: Customize Your Home Page
On the right side of your screen is the toolbar. You can use the toolbar to insert text, photos, Google Drive files, YouTube videos, and more! If you do not want to change the design, select Themes at the top of the toolbar and choose the theme that suits you best.
Start by adding a title for your website by double-clicking and changing it to what you like. Try to keep the website title short, just 1-3 words, so that users are not confused. Next, upload a background photo or choose one from the gallery. A good source for awesome backgrounds is unsplash.com. All images are completely free. Finally, populate your home page with content. Use the toolbar to upload photos, add text, and embed videos or other web pages.
Step 4: Add and Customize Other Pages
The next step in making a website is expanding it beyond your home page. To do this, select Pages in the toolbar. If you created your site with a template, there will likely already be pages. Otherwise, there will only be a “Home” page. Add as many pages as you need as there is no limit. For example, you can have one for each blog post you make or product you are selling. You can click the three dots and choose additional settings for your page. You can click hide from navigation to make a page not show in the navigator at the top of your website. Add titles and background photos to your new pages and customize them by adding links to other pages, more text, images, and videos.
Step 5: Finalize and Publish Your Website
Once you have decided that your website is ready, select the settings icon next to the toolbar and ensure everything is how you want it. Add a site logo and favicon (the small picture in the tab to the left of your website name). You can create a great logo and favicon for free at express.adobe.com. If you bought a custom domain, connect it here. Just click custom domains and follow the steps. After you have confirmed your site settings, go through every page of your website and check for any mistakes to ensure that your site looks how it should. If you are ready to release your masterpiece to the public, click publish above the toolbar and follow the steps to publish your website. You can click the link to see your site in action!
Step 6: Grow Your Website (Optional)
If you have worked hard on a website and have started putting great content on it, the next logical step is to get people to visit it and see what you have created! Here are the best ways to make sure people visit your website.
Add a Domain
If you are at this point, I would highly recommend purchasing a domain. Using domains will make it easier to share and view your website. See step one above to learn how to do this.
Share Your Site on Social Media
One of the best ways to drive traffic to your site is to share it with your friends and post it on social media. Do not worry! Most people will not judge you for creating a website. You would not judge a friend or family member harshly if they made a website. Do not expect to be judged by them.
Optimize Your Website
Making your website faster is one of the best ways to increase visitors. Search engines like Google rank your site higher in search results when it loads quicker. Use a free tool like Page Speed Insights to get valuable information on how to optimize your site. Note: It is impossible to edit the code of a page in Google Sites, so many tips that website optimizers will give you are not possible.
Google Analytics is a free service that will not directly help you grow your website, but it is an essential tool to see what is and is not working for you. With Google Analytics, you can see how many people have visited your website, where those people clicked, and estimated profit from any products and ads.
Advertise Your Website
Note: This is NOT free. The best way to drive traffic to your website is by advertising your site with Google Ads. Although this option will cost you money, it is the best way to get more site visitors. If you decide to go this route and advertise your website, I would not recommend using Google Sites and instead using something like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress. These web services are for people who are serious about their websites. Google Sites is for people who are just getting started with their website.
A Note on Google Ads and Analytics
Step 7: Have FUN!
The most important thing is that you have fun creating your website. Make sure to take breaks from time to time and not work on your site 24/7. I hope you got value out of this article and now know how to make a simple website with Google Sites. I will post more in-depth tutorials for the topics covered in this article at a later date.