How to Make a Free Online Portfolio with Google Sites
How to Publish a Portfolio on Google Sites
The process for creating, writing and launching a Google Site is basically a guided #nocode experience. Starting from any Google account you can simply type sites.new to start a new Google Sites document. I say document because Google Sites is all saved within Google Drive and it part of that ecosystem. So all your Sites files are kept in your My Drive by default, but of course can be moved, shared, etc.
Why you should connect to a domain name
Once you have created your Google Site and loaded in as much content as you want you can hit the Publish button and check Publishing settings. It is at this point that you may want to connect a Custom Domain to your site, which is highly recommended for SEO (See our article on Google Sites SEO Best Practices). Hundreds of thousands of Google Sites URLs exist within sites.google.com and so it behooves the user to move away from this directory. A Google Sites URL might be virtually invisible for months or years, perhaps never being crawled or indexed by Google into the SERP. The point is, add a custom domain URL like a .com, .net, etc.
Learning the Basics of Domain Name Management
One sticky issue that exists at this point is the newcomer’s first exposure to DNS and domain management. Adding A records, CNAME records, Forwarding, Redirects, TXT Records and such may be new territory for some. The instructions from Google are there, but still this is a challenge for some. We have a video tutorial which covers common ground like GoDaddy, Google Domains, which may be rebranded as Squarespace Domains, Gmail and Google Workspace accounts. The experience between Domain Registrars can differ, but the general settings are the same. Acquaint yourself with the Domain Management dashboard and you’ll soon conquer this area of web development.
Why use Google Sites vs Other Platforms?
Google Sites is a free web content building platform and therefore presents an excellent medium for creating online portfolio, profiles, resumes and personal websites. Due to the simple nature of these kind of websites, Google Sites has all the necessary tools including ability to connect a custom domain name to the Site. Google Sites is part of Drive, with or without a Google Workspace license. Many people consider editing Google Sites as a similar experience to publishing Google Docs. The advantage of Google Sites is the possibility of web page designing and different page layouts conducive to presenting web-based material.
It is Free and Familiar
We’ve mentioned here that Google Sites is part of any Google account and that it is part of the Google Drive experience. Therefore, Google Sites handles very much similar to Google Docs and any word processor really. The familiarity here presents a low threshold for getting started which new users will find refreshing. We’ve tried other platforms like Squarespace, Framer and Webflow, but the learning curve is too steep for some and even daunting for some experienced nocode veterans. And none of those platforms are free, or are freemium, or presenting limited tiers of use.
Google Sites is free forever, this selling point is the most pronounced. Google Sites is hosted by Google servers, in Google Drive, for free. So you have an extremely stable, reliable, secure product on which your site can exist into perpetuity. You could essentially create your site and forget it. It would be a lasting online testament. One caveat is that a custom domain name costs money to register and renew, but only about $12-15 a year.
Only one event has occurred in Google Sites history that disrupted the hosting of websites and that is when Classic Google Sites transitioning to New Google Sites. Google Inc. and the Google Sites team gave years of heads up time on the need to migrate. Will there ever be a Google Sites 3.0, only time will tell.