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Is anybody using Sites available with Google Apps? I have a very small business and I just want to make a 3/4 pages website giving some information about who we are and what we do? I have purchased domain from GoDaddy and my email and other services are already running through Google Apps. I just wanted to know if the available Google Sites (part of the Google Apps Bundle) is good enough and does it support some sort of dynamic content (like ASP/ASP.NET Hosting etc) or not?

Anybody having real experience with these?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I tried it out some time ago. You can set up a site very quickly, but I found that the (layout/graphics) customization options are not very compelling: limited use of HTML and CSS cannot be incorporated in theme templates. I found it also difficult to implement the same site in different languages (localization). I think Google sites could be okay for company-internal purposes (intranet, documentation etc.).

Originally a company called Jotspot developed the product, was targeted mainly at small-sized and medium-sized businesses. It basically is a structured wiki and primarily thought for static content. Simple dynamic content can be inserted using so called "Gadgets". See this tutorial: Building Gadgets for Google Sites. Here is the Gadget's API Developer's Guide.

You could find some background information on the Google Sites Blog. This page, compiled by the groups community, contains a list of important things that are missing in the current version: Things We Would Like Google to add/do to Google Sites.

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Google Sites are static pages (mostly, I think you can integrate some dynamic functionality) that you can easily create using templates and populate using an online editor. I do believe they are a good option if you only have a simple "brochure" site that you need to publish without worrying about setting up hosting. Given that there is little investment in setting up a few pages, why don't you try? It is easy to upgrade at a later time if you need more features.

Google does also provide Google App Engine that allows you to host web applications (Python, Java), but that's probably overkill for what you are describing.

If you want to set up a blog (WordPress), a CMS-based site (Drupal), a gallery, etc. you could have a look at someone like Dreamhost Apps, or similar payed plans, where you can host web applications. Do keep in mind that, while anyone can create a template site with Google Sites, you will need someone who knows what they're doing to customize WordPress for you.

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