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Google Sites Vs WordPress: How Do They Compare in 2024?

google sites vs wordpress

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Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. i.e., if you sign up for their paid programs, I will get a commission, at no cost to you. Please rest assured that I only recommend software/ products I genuinely believe in, and trust to be good for you.

Google Sites and WordPress are two very popular and influential website systems that allow you to create and manage websites easily.

They both offer a range of features and tools to build any website, such as drag-and-drop editors and customizable templates. However, they differ in terms of functionality, ease of use, and flexibility, and they also cater to different types of users and needs.

In this article, we compare Google Sites vs WordPress in detail, discussing their features, strengths, and weaknesses to help you choose the best or most useful website builder and content management system (CMS) for your small business website.

What is Google Sites?

Google Sites

Google Sites is a free, web-based platform and CMS that Google offers for creating and managing websites.

It provides you with a user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface to build a simple website, even if you don’t have coding knowledge or web design skills.

Google Sites integrates seamlessly with other Google Workspace apps. This makes it easy for you to embed Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms into your site, which is great if you are already investing in the Google ecosystem as a business.

While relatively basic compared to more advanced platforms, Google Sites gives you a range of features that cater to your needs as an individual or small business.

These include choosing site colors and fonts, managing page layout options, creating custom themes, adding social media links, and previewing how your site will look on different devices.

Key features:

  • Ease of use: The drag-and-drop interface makes it straightforward for anyone to build a site.
  • Integration: Seamlessly integrates with other Google services.
  • Collaboration: Allows multiple users to work on a site simultaneously.
  • Cost: Free to use with a Google account, though with Google branding.

Other features:

  •  Sections for grouping content
  •  Layout templates and section layouts
  •  Collapsible text boxes
  • Buttons and announcement banners
  •  Image carousels and dividers
  • Google apps integration (Docs, Sheets, Forms, etc.)

What is WordPress?

WordPress

WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) that allows you to create and manage websites, blogs, and even complex web applications. Its user-friendly interface and many features make it a popular choice for individuals and businesses.

WordPress is very popular, as it powers 43% of the web, which continues to rise daily.

It is used by major companies across various industries, including media and news outlets like The New York Times and BBC America, music and entertainment giants like Sony Music and Disney Books, sports organizations like ESPN, NASA, and Havard, and retailers like Etsy and Yelp.

WordPress’ popularity stems from its simplicity, working in parallel with flexibility and customization.

You can use WordPress for free with a hosted platform (WordPress.com) or get a paid web hosting service to use WordPress.org. Generally, for a business, you would ideally need WordPress.org with a paid host, as that offers the most flexibility.

WordPress.com is a bit limited in terms of features like Google Sites.

Key Features:

  • Customization: Offers extensive themes and plugins for advanced customization.
  • Flexibility: Suitable for creating any website, from blogs to large e-commerce sites.
  • Community support: Large community offering themes, plugins, and advice.
  • Cost: WordPress.org is free to use, but you’ll need to pay to host your website. WordPress.com offers free plans with limited features and paid plans for advanced needs.

Other features:

  • Easy content management and publishing tools
  • Media management and social integrations
  • Customizable themes and plugins
  • User management and permission system
  • SEO-friendly and multi-language support

Google Sites vs WordPress: Key differences

Choosing between Google Sites and WordPress comes down to what you need and how you plan to use your site.

Google Sites is perfect for quickly setting up a straightforward website and is ideal for sharing updates and basic business information.

However, if you need a more customized, feature-rich site that grows alongside your business, WordPress is the better bet.  It offers extensive customization through themes and plugins, catering to everything from blogs to e-commerce.

Choose Google Sites for simplicity and ease or WordPress for growth and customization.

Here is an in-depth comparison between the two systems.

Metric Google Sites WordPress
FUNCTIONALITIES
Extensibility Limited, basic built-in features Highly extensible via vast plugin and theme ecosystem
Website Builder Self-contained Self-contained like Gutenberg + other sophisticated options like Divi & Elementor
Design flexibility Basic templates and layout options Highly customizable with themes and CSS
E-commerce features No built-in e-commerce support E-commerce support is available via plugins (WooCommerce, etc.)
Mobile responsiveness Mobile-friendly templates Mobile responsive themes available
Third-party integrations Integrates well with Google apps (Docs, Sheets, etc.) Integrates with various third-party tools via plugins
Security Decent security with regular Google updates Good security with frequent updates, lbut requires user maintenance
Analytics and Reporting No built-in analytics (requires Google Analytics integration) No built-in analytics (requires plugin integration)
Cost Free Free open-source software, but requires paid web hosting
Multilingual support Limited multilingual support Strong multilingual support with translation plugins
SEO capabilities Limited built-in SEO features Strong SEO capabilities, enhanced with plugins
Scalability Limited scalability for larger/high-traffic sites Highly scalable for websites of all sizes
USER INTERFACE & SKILLS NEEDED
Ease of use Very easy drag-and-drop interface, and no coding required User-friendly for basic use, but more technical knowledge is required for advanced customizations
Best for Simple personal/small business websites Versatile websites of all types and sizes (blogs, businesses, e-commerce, etc.)
Learning curve Minimal learning curve, very user-friendly A steeper learning curve for advanced features and customizations
Community support Limited community, Google support docs Vast community with forums, meetups, and online resources
PERFORMANCE & MAINTENANCE
Update process Automatic updates handled by Google Manual updates are required, with potential compatibility issues
Performance Generally good performance, limited by Google infrastructure Performance varies based on hosting, plugins, and optimizations
Backup and restore Limited backup and restore options Backup and restore options available via plugins

Functionalities & features

Extensibility

From my standpoint, Google Sites is a more basic toolkit, ideal for simple websites like a one-page business card or a project hub for a classroom. But as your business grows, you might find it somewhat restrictive.

However, WordPress is akin to an ever-expanding toolbox and allows you to add advanced functionalities such as membership systems, online booking calendars, or even a learning management system (LMS) by using plugins like MemberPress, Bookly, or LearnDash, respectively.

Website Builder

Google has an in-built website builder, and that’s the only one you can use. It’s a bit like Wix or Squarespace.

What I love about WordPress is that even though it has an in-built editor like Gutenberg, it can also integrate with third-party editors like Elementor or Divi.

These page builders offer much more extensive customization options.

I prefer Elementor way more than Gutenberg – I frankly don’t find it very intuitive when it comes to flexibility and ease of use.

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Design Flexibility

Using Google Sites for your website design is like painting by numbers. It’s straightforward and can produce decent results to give you a generic website, but it lacks the customization that reflects a brand’s unique identity.

On the other hand, WordPress offers the freedom of an artist’s canvas, filled with tools and colors that can help you completely customize your site’s appearance.

You have access to a vast library of highly customizable free and premium themes, and you can also modify styles through CSS.

For example, you can use a theme like Divi to create a visually striking site with a wide range of design elements or Astra for a fast, SEO-friendly business website with personalized layouts.

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Browse themes & templates by niche, category, & industry

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Additionally, WordPress’s open-source nature allows you to hire a developer to create a custom theme from scratch, giving you unparalleled design control and branding opportunities. You can also modify styles

E-commerce

Google Sites has no native e-commerce features, making it unsuitable if you want to build an online store.

This is why I often steer clients towards WordPress, which offers dedicated plugins like WooCommerce, Open Cart, and others. These plugins enable you to create a fully-featured online store, manage inventory, process payments, and offer a seamless shopping experience to your customers.

Related: WooCommerce vs WordPress

Mobile responsiveness

While Google Sites offers mobile-friendly templates, this often means you’re limited to the provided responsive designs by default.

WordPress, however, ensures that your site is not only responsive but also gives you the freedom to customize the mobile experience using plugins such as WPtouch or by using themes that are built with a mobile-first approach.

If it’s just mobile responsiveness you need without much customization. Honestly, both options are great.

Third-party integrations

Google Sites can integrate with Google’s services like Google Analytics or Google Maps, which can be sufficient for basic site requirements.

However, it’s somewhat isolated from broader third-party services.

WordPress excels in this area, letting your website integrate with virtually any third-party service you might need, including marketing tools like MailChimp for email campaigns or HubSpot for customer relationship management

This flexibility is something I often highlight as crucial for a dynamic online presence.

Cost

Google Sites is entirely free, which is a significant plus if you have limited funds in your business.

However, with WordPress, while the software itself is free, you need to consider the cost of web hosting, premium themes, or plugins.

Even though a WordPress website is not exactly free, I often discuss with my clients that the platform, despite initial costs, is a valuable investment in your site’s future capabilities and growth potential.

Besides, if you are unsure if you can manage and maintain your website yourself, you can use a managed WordPress hosting service like Kinsta. They will do regular backups, enhanced security, and superior performance, but at an additional cost.

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Security

Google Sites leverages Google’s security, which provides a reliable level of protection with less hassle on your part.

WordPress, while it has a robust security model, requires you to be proactive, with plugins such as Wordfence or Sucuri providing layers of security to protect against hacks and data breaches.

Multilingual support

If you’re aiming to reach a global audience, WordPress is the way to go.

With plugins like Polylang or WPML, it’s as if you have a multilingual team ready to welcome visitors from across the globe. By comparison, Google Sites lacks this support level, potentially limiting your reach.

SEO capabilities

WordPress, in my opinion, handles SEO the best out of all the other website platforms.

Plugins like Yoast SEO or RankMath make the optimization process very easy, making your site more visible online.

Google Sites, from what I’ve seen, provides only the bare minimum in SEO, somewhat like ensuring your business is listed in a directory, but not much beyond that.

That could suffice if you have a small local business or a personal portfolio, but if you want to do serious SEO for your business, Google Sites will not work.

Analytics and reporting

Google Sites typically relies on Google Analytics to track visitor data, which is usually enough.

WordPress offers more options like MonsterInsights or Jetpack that integrate seamlessly with Google Analytics and also provide a dashboard within WordPress, offering deeper insights and more actionable data.

I honestly think GA4 is enough to provide you with a lot of information about the behavior of your visitors, which would mean both Google Sites and WordPress would work for you.

If you need additional analytics from MonsterInsights, of course, you would have to consider WordPress.

Scalability

For businesses planning to grow, WordPress is a clear winner in my book.

It’s like starting with a flexible office space that can expand as needed. Look at sites like TechCrunch or The New Yorker, which use WordPress to handle millions of visitors.

Google Sites might soon feel too cramped as your needs evolve. It is not designed for high-traffic volumes or complex website functionality, making it less scalable.

I always stress the importance of thinking ahead to my clients, and WordPress offers that room to grow.

User interface & skills needed

Ease of use

The drag-and-drop interface of Google Sites is incredibly easy for anyone to pick up, making it a breeze to publish a simple site.

WordPress is also very easy to use, especially if you simply want to add content like pages and posts.

The initial creation of the website may be a bit more complicated, especially as there are lots of options to choose from. You need to find the theme you want, know which WordPress plugins to install,

Learning curve

Using Google Sites to create a website is as easy as drafting a document, which I find quite appealing for anyone new to website building.

WordPress, on the other hand, requires a bit more effort to master if you want to create your brand website yourself. It might require watching tutorial videos or reading guides to understand, especially for more complex site elements fully.

But, from my perspective, the versatility and control it offers are well worth the learning curve. You can also get professional web design services which can make the initial setup easy for you.

Jumping into Google Sites is as smooth as it gets, with practically no experience required. However, WordPress, despite its initial complexity, opens up a vast world of possibilities. I often point my clients to the wealth of online tutorials and guides available, likening it to having a library at your fingertips. It’s an investment in time that pays off significantly.

Community support

One of the reasons I lean towards WordPress for my clients is its vast community. It’s like joining a club where help and advice are always just a post away. Users contribute to forums, create detailed tutorials, and answer your questions.

The support for Google Sites is limited to basic tutorials and support documentation provided by Google.

So your website journey can feel a bit solitary, with support feeling like flipping through a manual rather than engaging with a vibrant community.

Performance & maintenance

Update process

With Google Sites, you’re off the hook for updates—Google handles everything automatically, which is a relief I often hear appreciated.

For WordPress, staying on top of updates is crucial but manageable. It’s like regular maintenance of a vehicle, which is essential for smooth performance. If you don’t want to do it yourself,

Performance

Google Sites does the job well for basic sites.

But when you need a site that can handle complex interactions, I advise WordPress. Optimized hosting solutions like SiteGround or Kinsta can provide lightning-fast speeds and handle substantial traffic loads.

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Backup and restore

I’ve seen the pitfalls of neglecting backups. Trust me, you don’t want to be burned if your site crashes. Maintaining backups is super critical!

Backup and restore capabilities are quite rudimentary with Google Sites.

WordPress excels in this area with plugins like UpdraftPlus which automate the backup process and make it easy to restore your site to a previous state in case of emergencies.

Hosts like Siteground also maintain daily backups of your site.

It’s an insurance policy I recommend to all my clients.

When should you use Google Sites or WordPress?

I think you have understood from the comparison above that Google Sites is worth thinking about if you need to quickly establish an online presence with basic information, contact details, and a few pages without the need for advanced features or extensive customization.

Its user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop editor make it a decent choice if you have limited technical expertise or resources.

However, if we’re looking at crafting a professional site that will grow with your business, WordPress is my go-to recommendation.

It’s scalable and flexible and can power business websites of all types and sizes, from complex business blogs and small business sites to complex e-commerce stores and enterprise-level applications.

In other words, WordPress can do what Google Sites can do, but Google Sites can’t do what WordPress can’t do. So why not think ahead and get a basic website done in WordPress? Get a host, get a theme, and get started! You can scale it if needed later, or keep it simple forever.

Do you use Google Sites or WordPress? Why? Let me know in the comments!

Also, check out my post on

FAQ: Google Sites vs WordPress

Google Sites is simpler and more user-friendly, ideal for basic websites, while WordPress offers extensive customization and functionality, suitable for everything from blogs to complex e-commerce sites.

Google Sites is not suitable for e-commerce as it lacks features like shopping carts and payment processing. For e-commerce, WordPress with WooCommerce is recommended.

WordPress requires regular updates and security measures to stay secure, whereas Google Sites benefits from Google’s strong security protocols with less maintenance.

WordPress is superior for SEO due to its extensive customization options and the availability of powerful SEO plugins like Yoast SEO.

Google Sites is free, including hosting. WordPress is also free but requires paid hosting, and additional costs can arise from premium themes, plugins, and professional services.

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2 Responses

    1. Me too, love the flexibility and customization options that WordPress provides. Till date, I have not needed a single feature that a client wanted to add but was not possible on WordPress. Thanks for commenting, Gaurav!

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