Google Sites and WordPress are two popular web building tools, which offer quite different approaches to the process of website development and are geared towards diverse user categories. The systems, however, have the same mission – to help users build websites, which will feature nice performance and appealing design. It’s quite difficult to compare these two platforms as they don’t have much in common.
Google Sites – is a website builder, which is quite simple to master for all users categories. The system also provides a free hosting platform and creates an intuitive web building environment. The feature set it offers is quite simple and works well for the development of ordinary websites for everyday use.
WordPress – is the world-known powerful Content Management System, which works equally well for proficient web designers and beginners. What you should know, though, is that WordPress is not one-size-fits-all. The system still implies at least the basic programming knowledge required to reach the desired result. It provides advanced integration options and a rich feature set needed to develop websites that really rank high in the search engines.
Google Sites and WordPress really differ a lot and this is exactly what makes the choice of the best platform a real challenge for most users. Which system has more to offer? Which of them comprises convenience, simplicity and nice performance? Which of them is easier to master in the long run? To answer these and other questions, it makes sense to review these web building tools in detail. Let’s do that right away to detect the winner of the comparison.
Google Sites allows starting simple web projects, ranging from websites for internal use and up to personal projects. This is a free cloud website builder that is provided as a part of a standard Google account. The system is quite intuitive and easy to use, which makes it a worthy pick for non-techies. Mastering the software is not complicated at all. This lets even newbies cope with the task in the best way possible.
The platform was released in 2008. Currently, it has been applied to start over 1,064,752 websites. More projects are still under development, though. Mind, however, that its functionality is not enough to set up large and feature-laden websites. Google Sites makes it possible to launch standard web projects to come up to your web design needs. These include intranet websites, portfolios, news feeds, school projects, restaurant and event websites.
WordPress has distinguished itself as the world-known web development platform and a free Content Management System that lets its subscribers set up all types of web projects for commercial and non-commercial use. These include business websites, portfolios, landing pages, small or midsize web stores, information platforms, blogs and what not.
The software was created in 2008 as a blogging system yet it quickly evolved into a powerful web design tool. According to recent stats, over 61,909,719 websites have been powered by the CMS and this number keeps steadily growing with every passing month. WordPress comes with high end integration options, making it possible to pick and use lots of free/paid plugins to boost your website performance. The use of the platform additionally requires hosting choice, which implies the necessity to look for a third-party host online. Experts recommend using Bluehost with this purpose as this is one of the most trusted, secure and reliable hosting providers.
Which One Is Easier to Use?
Google Sites provides the all-in-one web design approach. This means that you get everything you need to design, publish and administer your site under the same roof – there’s nothing to upload and install. What you need to get started is a standard free Google account. What also matters a lot here is that Google Sites comes with integrated hosting, which eliminates the need to look for a trusted hosting provider elsewhere. That’s another bonus that makes the website builder easy-to-use and convenient for everyone.
Working with Google Sites is so simple and quick that even the average user with little or no coding skills can create a standard project in around half an hour here. The system comes with the WYSIWYG editor, which is very intuitive, understandable and easy. You don’t have to be a web design pro to explore and master it with ease. If you are fortunate to have at least basic programming knowledge, then you’ll be able to manually edit your website code to give the project unique design and high end functionality.
Google Sites is a simple and understandable website builder, but first-time users may still require the assistance of the system developers. This is where an informative Help Center with multiple tutorials and how-to guides might come in handy to you. The platform also lets you pick and send feedbacks along with the screenshots to describe the problem in details. This frequently helps save user/web developer time.
WordPress proves to be a more complicated platform as compared to Google Sites. To start with, the open-source software requires preliminary download and installation. This takes more time and effort, even though, the process is not complex at all. Secondly, this is just a CMS – it doesn’t include ready themes and web hosting. You have to manage these aspects yourself.
It’s difficult to consider WordPress a simple web design platform as it definitely requires time and effort investment. This is especially true, if you don’t have a preliminary web design background yet face the need to launch a web project with the CMS for some reason. However, mastering the system basics does not take much time yet you will have to dive deep into details to create feature-laden projects with it.
The CMS delivers extensive flexibility, when it comes to content editing. It’s up to you to create the required number of website pages your project requires, add and manage content, integrate media files and project-related extensions, add online blocks, forms and other elements. WordPress also allows starting and customizing large-scale projects, using HTML/CSS coding skills. It is possible to change website structure, add new features and elements, new blocks and features with almost no limitations at all. You definitely need knowledge and preliminary expertise to cope with these tasks.
WordPress doesn’t have an official support team. The user community, however, is quite extensive and will help you find answers to all the platform-related questions you might have. It includes text/video tutorials, informative forums and a set of online resources that help you explore and master the CMS with maximum efficacy.
Design and Flexibility
Google Sites and WordPress both make it possible to start and manage web projects. However, the systems differ a lot in terms of design customization flexibility, functionality and web development approach in general. To define the platform that has more to offer and allows starting more feature-laden projects, it makes sense to compare their major characteristics and features now.
Google Sites is not the platform to be used for the development of online stores. The website builder doesn’t have a built-in eCommerce engine at all. If you still have an intention to start selling online with this platform, you can use the following options.
The first solution is to select and integrate one of third-party eCommerce extensions. This can be WooCommerce, Shopify or any other system that is available for integration. To complete the task, you will have to use the iframe application opportunity. This, however, obviously implies extra budget and time investment, not to mention specific programming knowledge required for this.
The second option is to use Google Sheets along with the Sheet2Site open-source plugin. To launch a web store here, it is enough to add the required product-related info, including the description, cost, special parameters, photos etc. This info should be initially added to Google Sheets. Upon the completion of the task, you will have to use Sheet2Site to create a website with a built-in shopping cart, order/payment processing features and other eCommerce-specific tools/elements.
It goes without saying that starting a web store with Google Sites is not a simple process and you won’t be able to get a full-featured eCommerce project with the system. So, using this website builder is not the best solution in this case.
WordPress provides deeper eCommerce functionality. Just like Google Sites, the CMS doesn’t have a built-in eCommerce engine, but it still makes it possible to start and manage powerful online stores by means of plugin integration. There are lots of eCommerce plugins for WordPress, which are available on the web and can be integrated with a few clicks only. Most of them are paid, but this is a worthy investment as the CMS lets you build professional eCommerce projects. Some of the most popular plugins of this type include BigCommerce WP Plugin, WP eCommerce, Cart66 Cloud, Ecwid eCommerce Shopping Cart, WP EasyCart Shopping Cart and eCommerce Store and many more.
The most trustworthy and feature-rich WordPress eCommerce plugin is WooCommerce. This is the open-source shopping cart plugin that lets you design and manage functional online stores. The extension comes with a set of high end integrated features. Some of them include geolocation support, mobile-optimized design, opportunity to upload and sell physical and digital products, discounts and special deals, coupon code creation option, product reviews, multiple checkout alternatives, convenient product organization, secure and simple inventory management etc. WooCommerce is absolutely free for download and installation yet you might consider the necessity to use some of the paid features to improve the performance of your eCommerce project.
Google Sites doesn’t have a built-in blogging engine as well. As a result, there is no chance to set up a professional blog with the system. The only thing you can do if you need an informational project and plan to use Google Sites for this purpose is to pick a blank theme and start a blog from scratch, filling it with required content.
You can also use the website builder for creating intranet and internal websites. This can be quite a nice basis for effective team cooperation, if you plan to manage the project with other users.
WordPress was created specifically for blogging purposes. This implies that the platform has an impressive set of features that make it possible to start blogs. Apart from the convenient admin panel that allows setting up your blog parameters and filling it with content, the CMS also allows for plugin integration. Some of the most handy and functional plugins you can use for this purpose, the following ones should be the first to mention: NextGEN Gallery, Easy Social Sharing, Everest Forms, Akismet, User Registration, Jetpack, WPDiscuz, UpdraftPlus, Maintenance Page etc.
Third-Party Apps and Special Features
Google Sites lacks flexibility and does not let you get the most out of the design customization process. However, it grants access to the set of web-based Google apps, integration of which allows boosting your project performance. These include Documents, YouTube Gmail, Calendar, Sheets, Maps and other apps provided within the Google Workspace environment.
Integration of these cloud applications, which are also used as widgets makes it possible to add diagrams, charts tables, sheets images, web pages, slideshows, presentations, Google Maps, YouTube video forms, Hangouts and other required elements to Google Sites-powered projects. Having added the selected element/block to the web page, you will further be able to set up its parameters and work on further content formatting. Thus, you can modify color schemes, fonts, links, alignment and other settings here.
WordPress excels at integration options, which is no wonder as the CMS has initially distinguished itself due to rich plugin selection options. Irrespective of your project specialization, size and complexity, you will be able to find and add versatile plugins, both free and paid. Some of the standard must-have extensions are included into the feature set of the CMS by default. However, many more of them are available online. You can surf the web to pick plugins for eCommerce projects, SEO optimization, marketing, promotion, anti-spam protection, website security, galleries, analytic tracking and more.
When choosing WP plugins online, you should know that you’ll need to adjust their settings manually to keep them compliant with your project. This may pose a problem to non-coders. However, if you decide to go for Bluehost to store your project, all the installed plugins will be updated automatically. This is an advantage of using this option.
Likewise, you can browse hundreds of templates out there. They are developed specially for WordPress by web design experts and they are also available for free and for extra cost. The choice depends upon your needs, budget and objectives.
Google Sites distinguishes between the notions of templates and themes, which is one of the system’s distinctive features. “Templates” provide the selection of page types and layouts, while “Themes” are more about website design (that is, the choice of color schemes, images and other related elements).
Google Sites templates are quite mediocre, while their number currently constitutes 8 designs only. The templates belong to several categories, namely Personal, Work and Education yet their selection is extremely limited as for a contemporary website builder (see Google Sites portfolio examples).
Editing website layout is very easy with Google Sites due to the intuitive and simple control panel, which has three tabs providing the required set of features. These are Insert, Pages and Themes tabs. There is also the Layout section here, where you can choose the desired layout for your project. All in all, you can choose from 6 layout options comprising 1, 2, 3 and 4 columns. Having made the choice, you’ll be offered to arrange and fill out content blocks, upload images and post texts or other desirable content.
Google Sites allows adding the unlimited number of website pages you can further customize and personalize. This can be done in the corresponding “Pages” tab, taking a few minutes only. Generally, you can create different types of pages based on your web design needs, such as announcements, list pages, start pages, file cabinets and more.
When it comes to content uploading, you may pick the desired elements in the “Insert” tab. This is where you may choose and further integrate Images, Text Boxes, files stored on your Drive or those you wish to embed in the manual mode. As to the content types the system offers, you may pick the following elements: Slides, Sheets, Table of Contents, Image Carousel, YouTube, Map, Calendar, Docs, Button, Divider, Forms and Charts. Whatever element you decide to select, you’ll have an opportunity to further customize it with regard to your project focus.
Additionally, the website builder lets you integrate standard elements that contribute to your website performance. These include news feeds, calculators, Google Webmaster Tools or other extensions available in Google Workspace.
The heart of Google Sites is collaboration. Users can work together on a site just like editing a Google Document, and you always have control over who has access. It’s up to you to share website access rights with those users you consider necessary. Likewise, you may save the project in the Draft Mode or make it absolutely private. There is also an option allowing you to select certain people, who will have the rights to edit the website.
Finally, you may enable the feature, which prevents other editors from publishing the project without your permission. That’s also very convenient. If you wish to track your website statistics and control traffic fluctuations, Google Sites makes it possible to connect Google Analytics to the project. Awareness of major parameters of your website will help you undertake special measures in case of certain problems.
WordPress has a collection of integrated templates, which is available in its dashboard (specifically, in the Design category). However, the number of themes and their assortment is not enough to cover the entire range of users’ needs. This is where the themes developed by web designers from all over the world will be of great help.
Given its open source nature, new WordPress themes are designed and added to the official and third-party libraries on a daily basis, so you get a wide range to choose from. Also, you can hire a designer to draw a custom theme. What you should know about these templates is that they are not altogether safe sometimes. The thing is that you may choose from paid and free designs – there are lots of them out there. Free themes, however, sometimes come with malicious codes that may potentially pose danger to your website. Keep that in mind, when making the choice.
To simplify the website editing process for beginners, WordPress has offered the Gutenberg editor, which has replaced classic text/HTML editor. The editor is block-based, allowing users to replace and arrange content blocks on a page in any preferable order. This approach to the web design process has made it similar to that offered by traditional website builders. Those users, who are not satisfied with the Gutenberg Editor for some reason and wish to switch to the old one, should choose and integrate the corresponding plugin, which is not quite convenient and altogether safe.
Customization of WordPress templates is more complicated as compared to Google Sites, but the result will be worth that in the long run. To give your project the desired look, you can add parallax effects, animations, change website background, layout, font styles and sizes, adjust typography settings, title design etc. It is also possible to customize header, footer, sidebar and other parts of your website.
What’s more, each WordPress template comes with individual settings that allow you to get the most out of your project design. Thus, you can pick and upload a logo, create a main menu, activate/deactivate widget display options, adjust color palette etc. If you have CSS/PHP skills or web design background, then your chances to create one-of-a-kind website design become much higher. That’s another WordPress advantage that makes it prevail over the competitor.
General Pricing Comparison
Google Sites can be used at no cost at all as this is an absolutely free DIY website builder. What you need to get started with the system without investing a penny into the web design process is just to create a Google account. That’s it.
The website builder now also offers an opportunity of free domain name connection, while your ready-made website will be safely hosted on Google servers. All the extra options, apps and elements are provided at no cost as well. However, you should realize that the functionality of Google Sites is extremely limited, which does not let you start a feature-laden website.
When working on your website creation, though, you may encounter the need to integrate third-party extensions. Google Sites allows doing that on the paid basis. Additionally, you may decide to host a ready-made website with another platform for some reason. This may also require additional money investment.
WordPress is technically free. However, if you have long-lasting aspirations and plan to develop a full-featured website (or even several of them), you won’t go without plugin/template integration. Hosting and domain name choice is also a must, but it’s still up to you to pick reliable hosting provider and domain that will come up to your niche specialization. WordPress, however, officially recommends using HostGator as a reliable, full-featured and reasonably-priced hosting provider.
The host offers multiple advantages to the owners of WordPress websites. Along with unlimited bandwidth, 24/7 responsive support, SSL certificates, one-click WordPress installation and free domain, users get an opportunity to transfer their projects from other platforms for free here.
Additionally, it is possible to get the required number of free email accounts, free Google and Bing Ads Credits and a range of advanced security tools. The latter include the SpamAssassin feature, the Secure Socket Shell Access, Cron Job scheduling feature etc.
HostGator pricing is quite affordable as well. There is a separate group of subscriptions for WordPress websites. It currently includes 3 plans. The most affordable of them will cost you $5.95/mo only. The 45-day refund option is also provided here.
Which One Is the Best for SEO?
Google Sites SEO settings are quite poor. You won’t be able to do much about the search engine optimization to boost your website promotion results here. The only thing you can do in the manual mode is filling out the web page URL, title and tracking website stats by using the integrated tools. Nothing more.
WordPress has much more to offer in terms of Search Engine Optimization. To effectively set up your SEO parameters, you will also need to integrate some of the plugins meant for this purpose. The plugins differ with regard to their functionality, cost and integration complexity and it’s up to you to choose those that come up to your project needs.
Among the most popular SEO plugins, the following ones deserve special attention: SEMRush, Google Search Console, Yoast SEO, All In One SEO Pack, SEO Press, Rank Math, Broken Link Checker, Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs and some others.
Which One Is Better for a Small Business Website?
Google Sites is a website builder, which can be used to design and run a small business website (see examples). You can pick and customize a suitable template here, but you won’t be able to give it unique and personalized look because of the limited toolset and functionality. The platform makes it possible to upload and integrate a business logo, but there is no opportunity to design it on your own here. The good news is that you can select and add some of the required G Suite widgets (Google Maps, online forms, calendar, YouTube videos, media files etc.) that will contribute to the performance of your small business project.
WordPress is suitable for the development of all web projects and small business websites are not an exception. The platform lets you pick the preferred template either from its stock set or the online collection to start customizing it as you need. To enhance the result and functionality of your project, you will have to use some of the plugins created for business websites. These encompass UpdraftPlus, WP Rocket, Beaver Builder, Constant Contact, OptinMonster, WP Forms, MonsterInsights, Sucuri, MemberPress, RafflePress, CSS Hero and more. The choice of plugins should basically be based upon the type of website you intend to launch.
Which One Is the Best for eCommerce?
Google Sites does not let you start a web store as it doesn’t have an eCommerce engine. Likewise, there are no eCommerce templates or integrated tools to run a web store here. If you intend to launch this type of project from the very beginning, Google Sites is definitely not what you need.
WordPress eCommerce functionality is obviously above the average. The CMS makes it possible to create any kind of a web store by means of picking and integrating special eCommerce plugins, such as Cart66 Cloud or WP Plugin to mention a few. The best choice, however, is WooCommerce – the open-source shopping cart plugin design specifically for WordPress. The plugin is free and it comes with a set of out-of-the-box features. These are the opportunity to upload and sell physical and digital products, issue coupon codes, create mobile-optimized projects, set geolocation tags and safety parameters etc.
Which One to Choose for Blogging?
Google Sites doesn’t have a blogging engine. If you are right about to set up a blog for personal or business use, then it’s not the best option. However, the website builder lets you select its blank template and fill it with content you would like to be available on your blog. Still, don’t expect deep functionality and flexibility from it just because the website builder is not geared toward blog development at all.
WordPress was initially created as a blogging platform and this fact already speaks for itself. The CMS abounds in blog design tools and features while its admin panel is intuitive, easy-to-use and convenient for everyone, even for a first-timer. What you can do here is adding, editing, managing and updating posts, adjusting SEO optimization parameters, customizing blog templates, inserting media files, previewing and publishing the ready-made project. What’s more, the CMS allows integrating some of the most popular plugins created specifically for blog building purposes. These include UpdraftPlus, Everest Forms, Maintenance Page, Jetpack, Akismet, WPDiscuz and more.
Key Differences Between Google Sites and WordPress
|Ease of Use:||Google Sites is a simple Google-based website builder. It is good for creating intranet projects and standard business websites, portfolios, event projects etc.||WordPress is the CMS, which is quite complicated for first-timers. However, it’s quite easy to master it, if you have some time, patience and skills.|
|Functionality:||The system makes it possible to create simple websites, integrate popular GSuite widgets (YouTube, Google Maps, contact and online forms, slides, docs, charts, calendar etc.), logos and some other elements.||The platform is quite feature-laden. It offers advanced integration options, which let you start and manage almost any type of website, such as blogs, business websites, web stores or landing pages.|
|Design:||Google Sites offers a limited template collection with a few designs only. The same is about template customization options. As a result, all the websites launched with the system look similar, while the mobile view should be activated manually.||WordPress has a set of built-in themes, but there are hundreds of third-party templates available on the web. They are free and paid and they are well optimized for mobile viewing.|
|eCommerce:||Google Sites doesn’t have an integrated eCommerce engine, which makes it impossible to start a web store with the platform.||The CMS allows starting a web store by means of eCommerce plugin integration. The most popular shopping cart plugin created for WordPress is WooCommerce, which is free for everyone.|
|Blogging:||The system doesn’t have a blogging engine, which makes blog creation impossible as well.||WordPress started as a blogging platform. The set of its tools and plugins meant for blog development is rich and versatile to let you start and post feature-laden blogs.|
|Small Business:||With Google Sites, you can start a simple business website. The website builder has several business templates to choose from and it also lets you integrate some of the GSuite widgets meant for business use.||WordPress grants access to lots of plugins, which were specially designed for the creation of small business websites.|
|Pricing:||Google Sites is a free website builder, which also implies a free domain connection option.||The CMS is free, but get ready to invest into paid plugins, templates, hosting and domain name to go live with your website. The cheapest HostGator plan for WordPress websites costs $5.95/mo only.|
|SEO:||The platform provides poor SEO optimization options. It lets you fill out your website title and URL only.||Websites created with WordPress rank high in the search engines. The CMS lets you choose from multiple SEO plugins, integration of which has a positive effect upon website promotion.|
|Customer Support:||Built-in Help Section with a detailed website editing guide, useful Help Center, feedback forms with automated screenshot inclusion.||No official customer support, extensive worldwide user community.|
Comparison Conclusion: Which One Is Better?
Google Sites and WordPress are vastly different. Each service has much to offer to the target audience and each of them has an individual approach to the process of website development.
While Google Sites provides an all-in-one approach to the process of website creation and works well for simple projects only, WordPress is an open-source software that requires installation, updates and manual project customization. This is a worthy pick for complex feature-rich websites.
The final choice is obvious: if you have long lasting web design objectives and intend to launch a full-featured project with high end performance and stunning design, then WordPress is definitely the system to go for. Its powerful integration options, deep flexibility, extensive design customization parameters, advanced SEO settings and versatility of features make it possible to start almost any commercial or non-commercial website to come up to your requirements.