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Creating a Website for Free, for Nontechies

template to create a website for free

If Google Domains is your domain name registrar, then you can get 100 free custom business emails and create a website for free. You only have to pay your yearly domain renewal fee, which, in most cases, is $12/year.

We already showed you how to set up your free business emails. This article focuses on how to build a free website. The site won’t be anything fancy, however. You can add your YouTube videos and embed your Twitter feed, for example. Beyond this, the website won’t have many other moving parts.

You won’t need to understand the technical parts of building websites. You can probably build it in under an hour.

For some businesses, this might be enough for the long term. For other businesses that are more online-focused, this could be a good temporary site until you finish building your full site.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Access Google Domains

Being able to create a website for free is one of the perks of using Google Domains as your registrar. So, the first step is to go to Google Domains, sign in, and get to that page that shows all your domains registered with Google Domains.

Step 2: Access Google Sites from Google Domains

Go to the domain you’re going to build a website for, and click Manage on the very right hand side. (Yes, we know that some of you might have only one domain. But, others who have read our How to Find the Right Name for Your New Business article might have also grabbed the associated .net and .org domains.)

You’ll see another screen with another menu on your left side. Click on Website.

You’ll see a new page with two choices: build a new website or forward to an existing webpage. Select build a new website.

On the next page, you’ll see a number of options. Most of these options cost extra. Only Blogger and Google Sites let you build a free website. Blogger isn’t suitable for a business website. So, pick Simple site powered by Google Sites.

You’ll be taken to one last page about Google Sites. Scroll down a little to see the Start new site button and click on it. You’ll be taken to Google Sites where you can build a free website.

Step 3: Build a Free Website Using the Tools from Google Sites

Google Sites offers various templates and fonts. If you can put together a regular document with text, photos/images, and other layout features, then you can build a free website with Google Sites.

Google Has Easy Directions, But You Might Not Need Them

Here are Google’s easy-to-understand directions on how to a create website for free with Google Sites. Google’s free website builder is highly intuitive, so you won’t have to know anything technical to build a professional-looking site. You probably won’t even need to read Google’s directions to be able to use most of the website building tools.

For illustration, we built a free website with Google Sites to show you what one could look like.

You Can Embed Certain Social Media Feeds into Google Sites

You can embed HTML codes from some third-party social media websites to automatically show your latest social media posts. Simply go to the page on the third-party site where you can obtain the HTML code, copy the code, and paste it to your site using the Embed button.

It might sound a little intimidating because you’re working with computer code, but if you can copy and paste text or a picture, then you already know how to do this.

Here are the directions for some of these social media sites:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook (you can pick either JavaScript or iFrame. IFrame worked for us, JavaScript did not).
  • Instagram (Single posts only. Use a third-party plugin to embed the entire feed.)
  • LinkedIn (Single posts only. Use a third-party plugin to embed the entire feed.)

We haven’t looked into third-party plugins that embed social media feeds into Google Sites. Just do an internet search and you should see plenty. Some are free, others are for a fee.

This gets a little technical, but you should be able to embed any code written in HTML, CSS, or JavaScript. As you can see from above, JavaScript didn’t work for us. So, you might have to go through some trial and error before you can get things working.

Once you’re satisfied with the layout of the website, hit the Publish button. Congrats! You’ve just created a website for free. Now, everyone can view your site.

The Technical Stuff Google Takes Care Of

Google takes care of all the techie backend connections to link your domain to your free website. Google makes those connections right after you hit the Publish button. After the connections have been made, when someone types your domain name in their browser, they’ll be taken to your home page.

Google also automatically gives you an SSL certificate (it’s the s in https:// that signals your website is encrypted and secure). This is very good because the Google search engine prioritizes showing sites with the SSL certificate over the ones that don’t have it.

Understanding the Limitations of a Google Sites Website

Google Sites can do a lot of things, but it can’t do everything other more sophisticated website builder software can do. To understand the difference, you’d have to understand the difference between a dynamic website and a static website. Google Sites build static websites.

It’s easier to explain what a dynamic website is, so let’s start there. A static website is just a website that can’t do the things a dynamic website can do.

What Is a Dynamic Website?

As the name implies, a dynamic website has moving parts.

Most websites are made of a combination of words, images, videos, or music. These are the visible parts of a website. But there are also hidden parts of a website—programming code—that visitors can’t see.

With a dynamic website, you can run code that automatically builds or updates various parts of the website. You wouldn’t have to manually update everything, page-by-page.

Examples of What a Dynamic Website Can Do

Here are some of the things a dynamic website can do. It automatically pulls various information from other parts of the website or from databases connected to the site:

  • Have a shopping cart. Items in shopping carts are continuously updated as your customers add or take away things in the cart. The sales price and taxes are also automatically updated.
  • Lets users post comments/run a discussion board. These are user-generated content that you can monitor.
  • Automatically generate forms for visitors to fill out. For example, you can have restaurant reservation forms that allow visitors see available times and then make a reservation. Once the tables are filled, the website will automatically show the time as unavailable.
  • Automatically update relevant pages that show newest content. Your website’s home page can automatically show your latest blog posts. You won’t have to go to the home page and manually add the link every time.
  • Automatically update inventory numbers on specific items in a webstore. A dynamic website can pull information from your inventory software and show the number of items left in stock on the product information page. This might generate sales by pushing a consumer to buy the item right away, if only 1 is left in stock.
  • Allow visitors to build customized comparison tables. Sometimes, it’s helpful to consumers to be able to select different products, compare the features/functionalities in a table, and then make their purchasing decision based on the comparison. Dynamic websites allow visitors to do customized comparisons.

Most of the time, you want to have a dynamic website. However, dynamic websites are also a little bit pricier to run and usually requires a little bit more technical know-how to build and maintain.

Static websites, however, are cheap to run and easy to build.

What is a Static Website?

A static website is more-or-less the opposite of a dynamic website. It’ll still have text and images. You can even embed some music and videos if you have the HTML code.

However, you can’t automatically update or render different information on a webpage to show different visitors different things.

Static websites are usually easy to set up and inexpensive to keep. But, you might have to give up various functionalities that could save labor or drive sales. When you see a build a free website type of offer advertised on the internet, they’re usually static websites.

Google Sites is a static website.

Now That You’ve Built a Free Website, Is This the Only Website You Need?

The free Google Sites website can be a permanent solution for some businesses, but it’s probably only a temporary solution for most businesses. Even if you run a blog, you can still benefit from a dynamic website.

The main benefit that comes from creating a website for free with Google Sites is that it’s a fairly professional-looking site. You won’t need to have technical know-how, and you can build the free website in a few hours or less. It’s a great temporary solution to quickly set up a web presence for your business.

And, if you end up liking it, you can keep your free website and free business emails for just $12/year. That’s a pretty good deal.

Interested in starting and running a small business? Here’s the beginning of our step-by-step guide: What to do right after getting that great business idea.

Questions? Comments?