3 Settings to Try in Google Sites

Google Sites is a fast way to create a website. I use one to do tutorials for my students. I use one for a class site. I have students to create one for projects or portfolios. Keep in mind that it’s multiple pages and multi-media .. you can use this for many things. The first step is to create a Google Sites site if you do not already have one. Note that changes to a Google document are only visible to students when you publish your changes. Here are 3 options you can try in Google Sites.

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Google Sites settings

In the toolbar at the top you will see a setting ball. Click on this to find many new features in Google Sites. Note: Your site is not visible to others until you click the Publish button and provide the link to view. The link to edit the site is not the same as the published link. You must click the link icon in the toolbar to share the link with students. Note that until you click “Publish”, the link is dimmed.

1. Customize the colors of the place

The second option in the settings is “Brand images”. You may not think you need branded images, but Google identifies the colors in the logo you upload and allows you to set one of the colors as the color of the place.

Google Sites brand images in the settings

Choose a color for your site’s theme.

Color settings taken from the image logo


The favicon is the small image on the tab. Note that on the tab on this web page you are reading right now, my logo is on the tab. It’s a purple circle with a green A. This appears on the tab no matter which page on my site you read. I would usually upload exactly the same image to the favicon as I did for the logo.

2. Anchor links

Whether you use Google Sites or a Google Doc, you want to be sure to include HEADINGS. Headlines help screen readers navigate your Google Doc or site. By default, when you add headlines to a Google site, they include an anchor link when the viewer hovers over the headline. I actually find this incredibly useful. Instead of just referring a student to my page on class policies, I hover over the headline that describes the specific policy I want to refer them to. A link icon is displayed. I can click on that link icon to get the link to the exact place on the page. For this reason, I prefer a Google site over a Google Docs for creating informative “documents”.

Viewer tools in Google Sites settings

By default, you can see that “Anchorlinks” is already enabled under “Viewer Tools”. You can disable this if you want. I recommend that you leave it on.

3. Message banner

When students visit your class’s site, would you like to draw attention to them? “Reminder, test on Friday.” or “Parent Conferences Next Week, We Have a Changed Schedule.” By default, the message banner is OFF. Turn this on and off as you have messages displayed throughout the site.

Message banner in Google Sites settings.  Turn on the display banner and be sure to write a message.

Add a button

In addition to a message at the top of your site, you can include an action button. Scroll down a bit in the settings to create a button. Enter the button text “Buy return tickets” and the link to which the button goes. Check the “Open in a new tab” box if you do not want students to navigate away from your site. By default, the banner appears on all pages of the site. You can instead choose to display it only on the home page.

Google Banner Advertising Sites settings that allow you to add a button label and a link.

Saves on Google Drive

One of the best things about Google Sites is that they store on Google Drive just like a Google Doc. This means you can organize them into a folder and you can easily find the site you have created.

Since Google Sites stores on Google Drive, students can add their portfolio / project Google Site to a Google Classroom task by simply using the Drive icon. Note that just like with Google Docs, when students submit the assignment, it will transfer ownership to the teacher and students will become viewers of the site. So be sure to return the assignment immediately to the student to restore editing rights.

3 Settings to try in Google Sites

Google Sites are super easy sites to create. Check out these 3 options to help you make your site great.

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