Creating a Personal Web at Google Sites

There's a new and better place where you can create your own personal web site and that is at Google Sites. The good thing is that you can create an actual web site and not just a blog. And as true with Blogger, you can also monetize your site with Google Adsense.

I just completed creating a small personal web at Google Sites and I was well satisfied with the outcome. Google Site's services are designed for team web building and would be suited for small business or large projects.

I accidentally stumbled upon this Google service a few weeks ago and started reading about the features that the service offers. YouTube has a Google Sites channel where you can view a lot of tutorial videos on creating and hosting your web at Google Sites.

With just a hazy idea of what sample site I can build, I began creating a personal web and started building pages that will compose my web. One page led to another and pretty soon, some sort of structure emerged. I came to conclude that the web site I am making will showcase the different media outputs I have so far created such as articles, poems, photographs, blog posts and videos.

Make Do with Limited Functionality

Google Sites' free web site service gives you just enough functionality to create a very simple site with no bells and whistles that you would find in a professionally created web site. I found out that what Google Sites offers are just perfect for a simple personal web that can enable you to have your say in an issue that you are passionate about. Take a look at the personal web I created at Google Sites by opening this URL http://sites.google.com/site/themightypenproject/Home in a new tab or window of your Internet browser.

It will be somewhat difficult but not impossible for someone with no HTML background to come up with a good enough web site using Google Sites. One thing that would make the job easier is to have a lot of ready materials available that can be placed in the web site project. Bigfoto (www.bigfoto.com) and Free Digital Photos (www.freedigitalphotos.net) are good sources of pictures. You can just create articles with dummy text and pictures downloaded from free photo sites. A lot of publicly available videos in YouTube (www.youtube.com) and Google Video (video.google.com) can be used in your web project.

Put All Pages at the Top Level

When just starting and learning the ropes in creating web sites at Google Sites, don't worry as yet too much on how the web project is to be organized. Just keep on creating web pages for the site and put all the pages at the top level of your site. Google Sites offers a versatile tool that lets you move any page to under any other page in your site. When you have made a good number of pages, you can start creating what I call organizing pages that would serve as table of contents for a category of similar pages that you have a lot of in your site.

Google Sites will automatically include links to pages under a certain page at the bottom part of the organizing page. It won't look good to have such links on a personal web so what I do is to have all my pages at the top level. However, I only include the organizing pages in the sidebar and put a link back to the organizing page in all of the pages included in it. Given the limited features made available under the free web offer, that is just how far my site organization could go.

There wouldn't be such a lot of pages on a personal web so putting all the pages at the top level would not make the project unwieldy. In addition, you can always remove the site map link on the sidebar so no one would know that every page of your site is a top level page. Look at the personal web I have created and you would not be able to see my site map. Now open this URL http://sites.google.com/site/themightypenproject/system/app/pages/sitemap/hierarchy in a new tab or window of your Internet browser to see that my files are not in any way organized.

More Features

One good feature that you will appreciate in the Google Sites web building environment is that when making links to outside pages, you are given the option of opening the page in a new tab of the user's Internet browser. This is a really cool feature that I liked very much and I'm sure you would like too. Be sure that you use this feature so that all your outside links open in a new browser tab or window.

Another cool feature that you will appreciate is that Google Sites automatically places a search tool at the top right hand part of your page. This search facility will enable your user to search your site for pages that include a certain word or phrase. It is a powerful search tool and you don't have to do anything to have that search facility included in your personal web. Now, isn't that cool?

Make a Most Attractive Home Page

Your home page serves as the window to the rest of your web site so make the extra effort of highlighting the best that your site has to offer in this page. Make this page the most attractive page in your site. In my personal web, I included screen snapshots of what can be found inside my web site.

If you find my site attractive, it could be because all my pages include at least one picture in it. Pictures and color add interest to a page and make the page come alive. I always use photographs on my pages and absolutely avoid including any graphics except photographs. That helps to make my pages look more professional.

When working with text be sure that your paragraphs are broken into manageable and readable sizes. Absolutely avoid having a very long paragraph that would prove difficult to read. Ensure also that your paragraphs are of varying sizes and check that there is plenty of white spaces on the page. Break your articles into manageable sizes by using subheadings as a means of organizing your paragraphs.

Two-Column Layout

Another cool feature that you will appreciate in Google Sites is the option to have two columns for text and pictures on your page. This option will prove handy for long articles that could be tiring to read when placed on a single-column layout. Again even short paragraphs on one-column layout will appear long on two-column layout so further break the paragraphs when using the two-column layout.

A two-column layout makes the page easy to view and enables lots of white space to breathe life into the page. You can also use the two-column layout for preparing your organizing contents pages instead of using tables that are unsightly to look at. There is no way in Google Sites to make the lines of the tables disappear and tables don't look well on a page.

Maximum Page Width

I keep my maximum page width to 800 pixels with my sidebar consuming 186 pixels of that width. This is just an arbitrary width that I found appealing. That leaves my two columns to have 307 pixels each, just the right size for my 10 points text size. I think that a page width of beyond 800 pixels makes the page unwieldy and loose. I want my page to look tight but easy for the eyes to navigate.

Finally, use one or two gadgets that would fit in to your overall personal web concept.  I used the inspirational quotes gadget since I am an avid follower of the self improvement movement. Click on the Before You Go link on my sidebar and see how the gadget fits in to my overall personal web concept.

You will only learn what Google Sites is all about by creating a small personal web project on Google Sites. I could only tell you what possibilities there may be if you decide to go and make one. I cannot teach you how to do it. You can only learn by doing it yourself. So go ahead and start your project. And don’t stop until you’re satisfied with the result.

Read my other article on ways to improve your blog or personal website at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/ways-to-improve-your-blog-or-personal-website.

Read an article on what you should know if you want to create a personal website at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/11/what-you-should-know-if-you-want-to.html.

Read an article on three skills that you should develop if you want to improve your personal web site at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2012/01/three-skills-that-you-need-to-develop.html.

Read an article on what and how to write an article for your personal web site at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-and-how-to-write-article-for-your.html.

Read an article on simple ways for writers to promote their blog or personal web site at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/02/simple-ways-for-writers-to-promote.html.

Read an article on good ideas about writing as a mental process at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/03/good-ideas-about-writing-as-mental.html.

Read an article on practical ways to improve your writing skills at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/11/practical-ways-to-improve-your-writing.html.

Read an article on how you can permanently remove your web page from the Google search index at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-you-can-permanently-remove-your-web.html.