Google Sites – is a free DIY website builder that comes as a part of the Google Workspace package. The software has initially won user recognition due to its ability to set up simple projects with no coding skills and deep web design expertise.
As a web-based platform, it allows subscribers to work with it directly in their browser.
The system works best for informational portals, small businesses, educational projects and simple personal websites (see examples). What you need is a Google account to get access to the software dashboard and to start working on your project.
Regardless of the platform’s simplicity and its free nature, users frequently decide to look for other web design alternatives. This happens for several reasons:
- Limited functionality and customization options – Google Sites does not offer enough features to set up even a medium website (not to mention large-scale projects). It lacks eCommerce functionality and third-party extensions to let you launch online stores and some other popular website types. The same is about customizability;
- No integration options – The software does not integrate with other tools like website analytics, email marketing software, CRM etc. This limits your website development opportunities;
- Lack of design solutions – Some users are looking for web design platforms that grant access to more templates and more advanced customization options;
- Insufficient customer support methods – Many subscribers admit that Google Sites customer support options are very limited. They need more options to get in touch with the support team like phone or live chat, for example;
- Cost – While Google Sites is initially free to use, there may be the need to upgrade to Google Workspace to get access to advanced features. This may result in extra budget investment.
Regardless of the reason you have to switch to other Google Sites alternatives, it makes sense to find out more about each option you may go for. Let’s focus on that below.
Google Sites Substitutes: What Are They?
The choice of the best Google Sites alternative should initially depend on the reason you have to switch, your website goals, specialization, budget, skills and the way you plan to expand your project. Here are the following options to choose from:
- Other website builders. There are lots of DIY website builders that differ in integrated functionality, customizability, pricing policy, design options and special tools needed for various types of web projects. You may select from all-in-one platforms and specialized website builders used for the completion of specific tasks. Analyze your web design needs and objectives to make the best choice;
- Content Management Systems (CMS). This is the solution that works best for complex large-scale projects. The platforms allow users to create, manage, customize and publish projects of various types and complexity levels – from landing pages and business sites and up to web stores. It lets you realize solutions that cannot be handled with DIY website builders. However, CMS use requires at least baseline coding proficiency that increases along with the complexity of tasks you plan to complete;
- Frameworks. These are software development platforms that provide a structure for website creation. If you are a newbie, however, don’t even try using this option as it works for web design pros only. This is the most complicated website development approach and the most time-taking one.
Each of these solutions has its own pros and cons that mainly depend on users’ needs and preferences. CMS and frameworks require more tech expertise yet they offer more flexibility and customization options. Website builders are easier to use and require less coding knowledge, which makes them a more preferable solution for regular users. To simplify the choice, we have compiled the list of the best web design platforms you can use instead of Google Sites.
HostGator – The Best Alternative for a Small Business Website
HostGator – is the best alternative for a small business website, which comes with features, tools and templates that make it easy to create a professional-looking project without any coding knowledge. It makes it possible to set up, customize and host a ready-made project in one place, with no need to look for a third-party provider. As opposed to Google Sites with its limited selection of business themes, HostGator grants access to quite a rich collection of responsive, fully-customizable and free designs that are divided into categories with regard to the business type you run. Other advantages of the website builder are as follows:
- eCommerce. HostGator makes it possible to set up and run online stores due to its eCommerce support and availability of eCommerce plugins provided by WordPress and other CMS.
- SEO-Friendliness. The platform comes with SEO tools that can help you optimize your small business website for search engines. This helps improve its visibility and attract more visitors.
- Variety of Layouts. It offers a variety of layouts, allowing users to choose and customize according to their preferences.
- Templates. HostGator offers a wider variety of themes than Google Sites, which is beneficial for users looking for more design options.
- Value for Money. It is rated well in terms of value for money, indicating a good balance between the cost and the features provided.
HostGator’s pricing is competitive with other hosting providers. You won’t find any hidden fees or charges here. Free plan, however, is unavailable as well. The system offers three plans (Hatchling, Baby and Business) to find one that fits your budget and needs. The cost starts at $3.75 per month. If you intend to set up and host a website at once, consider upgrading to one of WordPress hosting plans. The cost starts at $5.95 per month here.
Bluehost – The Best Hosting for a WordPress Website
Bluehost is the best hosting for a WordPress website that can be used as a trusted and full-featured alternative to Google Sites. This is a reputable hosting provider that’s been recommended by WordPress since 2005 due to its range of hosting plans specifically designed for WordPress projects. The software has won the loyalty of millions of users worldwide, ensuring quick website load speed, smooth project performance and secure data storage. The major Bluehost advantages are listed below:
- Easy WordPress Installation. Bluehost makes it easy to install WordPress on your hosting account due to the one-click installation process that takes just a few minutes to complete.
- High Page Load Time. The host ensures smooth website performance, offering a set of built-in tools and features that enhance overall project functionality.
- Reliable Performance: Bluehost’s hosting infrastructure is designed for optimal WordPress performance, with features like SSD storage, CDN integration and advanced caching.
- Bluehost Marketplace. The hosting provider boasts a rich integrated marketplace of plugins, scripts, extensions and add-ons, which can enhance your website performance.
- Advanced Website Security. Bluehost offers a range of security tools to prevent all kinds of online scams and dangerous issues. These include Spam Experts, hotlink protection tools, the Spam Hammer and other security solutions to ensure reliable data preservation.
Bluehost offers a pack of hosting plans that are optimized for WordPress, with features like automatic WordPress updates, built-in security and expert WordPress support. They are competitively priced, with a range of options to suit various budgets and project requirements. The cheapest subscription will cost you $2.95/mo, including free SSL Certificate/domain name connection, unlimited bandwidth and other advantages.
SITE123 – The Best Platform for Free Website Creation
SITE123 – is the best platform for free website creation that is a great substitute for Google Sites. This is a DIY website builder that does not require any programming proficiency, offering a simple and intuitive dashboard instead. Whether you’re looking to start a blog, showcase your portfolio, establish web presence for your business or sell products online, SITE123 is definitely worth your attention. The list of the software features includes the following issues:
- eCommerce/Blogging. Unlike Google Sites, SITE123 comes with built-in blogging and eCommerce engines that make it possible to set up, customize, manage and promote web stores and personal/business blogs.
- Responsive Themes. SITE123 boasts one of the most impressive collections of free, responsive and customizable designs. They refer to various categories based on the project type you run.
- Multilingual Support. With SITE123, you have an opportunity to create several language versions of your website. This basically depends on the audience you target.
- Logo Maker. Whatever website you have, you will certainly want it to stand out from the crowd. SITE123 Logo Maker tool will help you design a website logo that is completely personalized and unique.
- App Market. The website builder has an app market where you can find and install additional extensions, widgets and integrations for your website like Google Analytics, live chat and more.
SITE123 is also known for its generous pricing policy. There is a free plan that never expires and lets you test the software and improve your skills as long as you need. The cost of subscriptions starts at $12.80 per month. However, the final price will depend on the country you come from. This is because SITE123 offers several pricing options with regard to the IP selected. This lets you pick an affordable offer that suits your needs most.
Shopify – The Best eCommerce Alternative
Shopify – is the best eCommerce alternative to Google Sites. To be precise, Google Sites does not include an eCommerce engine and, thus, it can be used for web store creation. As opposed to it, Shopify is a solely eCommerce software, the integrated toolset and features of which cover a broad range of online store development/customization needs. You can launch small-to-large shops with the platform. Here is the overview of Shopify strong points:
- eCommerce Templates. Shopify offers a wide range of responsive templates that are specially designed for various types of web stores. Free and premium designs are available here for customization (see examples).
- Customer/Order Management. The software includes customer/order management tools that allow you to track orders, user contact information, view shopping statistics and purchase history etc.
- Multi-Channel Support. Shopify makes it possible to sell products across multiple channels, including social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and popular marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
- POS Software. The system comes with the advanced Point-of-Sale (POS) software, which allows choosing from versatile features (automatic synchronization with Shopify account/Quickbooks service, the use of the external card terminal, acceptance of online orders, report option etc.) to sell products in the retail storefront.
- Built-In Payment Processing/Inventory Management Tools. Shopify supports a wide range of payment gateways and currencies, while its inventory management tools make it easy to track products, manage stock levels and fulfill orders.
- App Store. The platform has a large app store with a range of third-party integrations and add-ons, such as shipping calculators, social media integrations etc.
Shopify is not the cheapest eCommerce software but the cost of its plans absolutely complies with its functionality. The 14-day trial is free, letting you find out more about the system and tools it has in stock. Premium subscriptions start at $29 per month, if billed annually. This is quite a reasonable offer for web store creation.
Wix – The Simplest DIY Website Builder
Wix – is the simplest DIY website builder for anyone searching for a trusted and multifaceted Google Sites alternative. Whatever project you intend to set up, Wix is ready to provide a long list of tools and features to help you get started with ease. You don’t have to learn how to code or explore complex web design nuances to work with it. Wix initially targets beginners with little or zero programming skills. This is what makes it one of the top substitutes to Google Sites. To find out more about the platform, view the list of its pros below:
- Hundreds of Templates. There is hardly a DIY website builder that can offer you a more extensive template collection as Wix. Currently, it includes over 600 templates, all of which are free, responsive, niche-specific and easy-to-customize.
- Wix ADI. As a newbie, you will certainly appreciate the availability of the high end Artificial Design Intelligence tool. It will create a website for you in the automated mode, using the content you submit upon its request.
- Video Hosting. Wix allows you to host videos directly on your website, with support for HD video and customizable video players.
- eCommerce/Blogging Platforms. While Google Sites does not provide an opportunity to set up a blog or a web store, Wix offers one. Due to its built-in blogging and eCommerce engines (Wix Stores widget), this is done with a few clicks only.
- Ascend by Wix. If you plan to run a business website with Wix, this option will certainly appeal to you. Ascend platform grants access to dozens of tools, being the all-in-one solution for business project creation.
- Multilingual Support. Wix website builder supports multiple languages, letting you create a website in several language variations to cater to a global audience.
- Wix App Market. The system grants access to free and paid integrations/widgets, the use of which can notably boost your website functionality, design and performance.
Wix has a free everlasting plan and two types of premium packages – Business and eCommerce. Each of them includes more detailed plans that differ in tools, features, services and price. The cost starts at $22 per month. However, it is possible to save your budget when using one of the loyalty offers or bonuses the system offers on a regular basis.
Ok, I’ve made my choice. What’s next?
Once you have selected the Google Sites alternative that works best for you and your project, you have to switch to it. With this purpose, you have to transfer your Google Sites website entities to the new platform. This includes content, media files, domain name, hosting etc. The more complicated and feature-rich your project was, the more time-taking and challenging the migration process would be.
Actually, you have two options when it comes to moving your Google Sites website to the selected platform. You can either do that independently or hire an expert to do that for you.
The first solution takes much time and web design background. Otherwise, you won’t be able to properly move all the entities, not to mention hosting and domain name. This can be just a waste of your time and you may end up desperately trying to restore the initial website version.
To avoid the problems, it makes sense to entrust this task with professionals. They are competent in the niche, have years of expertise and enough knowledge to complete the project as required.
The decision to move from Google Sites to another platform may be caused by various reasons. As a part of the Google Workspace package, the website builder somewhat lacks design customization options, functionality, scalability as well as customer support and integrations. Likewise, it does not include eCommerce and blogging tools. As a result, the software works well for small personal or educational projects only.
To get access to more advanced features and to let you set up more complex websites, users may decide to switch to other systems. The choice should depend on several factors like project type, skills, degree of web design expertise, available budget and goals. Gator, Bluehost, SITE123, Shopify and Wix are the best alternatives to Google Sites. They have various implications, which define their integrated feature set and applicability.
Regardless of the platform you choose, get ready to spend time and effort to move your website to the new software. To minimize the challenges, contact experts who will help you handle the task in the best way possible.