Google Sites vs Wordpress

Google Sites vs Wordpress: Which one should you choose for your business website?

Google Sites and Wordpress are website building platforms to build websites. There are numerous website building platforms available on the market and if you have narrowed down your choices to Google Sites and Wordpress, this guide is aimed at helping you make an educated decision on which option is better for your business website.

The Platforms:

Google Sites:

Google Sites is a website building platform from Google. With a highly intuitive drag-and-drop website builder, Google Sites requires no coding knowledge, and is thus extremely easy to use. Google Sites comes with reliable hosting from Google (up to 15GB free per Google account to be shared across all Google Services such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Photos) which means a website can be created in just a few clicks for anyone with a Google account. Because Google Sites hosting is tied to Google, it is not possible to shift your website to another hosting provider should you choose to do so in the future.

Wordpress:

Wordpress is a website building platform from Automattic. It is one of the most popular website building platforms in the world, powering about one-third of the world's websites. Unlike Google Sites, it does not come with hosting, so you will first require a web hosting plan from a web hosting provider, before you can develop a Wordpress-powered website. But this means that unlike a Google Sites website, you won't be tied to any web hosting provider, giving you the flexibility to change your web hosting provider if you wish.


Setup:

Google Sites:

A Google Sites website can be set up in just a few clicks; after logging into your Google account, navigate to Google Sites, and create a new site. This ease of setup means anybody with minimal to no technical experience can setup a Google Sites website.

Wordpress:

A Wordpress website on the other hand is considerably more complicated to set up, and can be daunting for a beginner. While it is possible for you to learn and set up a Wordpress website, the relatively steep learning curve means you will have to make a trade-off between spending considerable time and effort towards learning and developing a Wordpress-based website yourself, or hiring an experienced developer to develop the website while you spend your time developing other areas of your business.


Building:

Google Sites:

Google Sites has an intuitive drag and drop website builder which anyone with no coding knowledge can use to build a decent website.

Wordpress:

Wordpress on the other hand is more of a Content Management System (CMS) which relies on plugins, themes and coding knowledge to build and customize the website. Again, there is a steep learning curve here so while it is possible for you to build a Wordpress-based website yourself, it will mean considerable time spent away from attending to other areas of your business.


Functionality:

Google Sites:

Google Sites offers basic design features such as contact forms, image carousels, as well as easy integration of Google's products such as Google Docs, Google Maps, and Google Drive. However the features currently offered by Google for website development are very few which considerably restricts your ability to completely customize the site to your needs in terms of functionality. Consequently, depending on the nature of your business and the purpose of your website, you may find that Google Sites is too basic a solution for your business website. It is not possible for instance to develop an e-ecommerce website using Google Sites, although you could build a rudimentary website with online sales capabilities by integrating third-party solutions such as Paypal.

Wordpress:

Wordpress is a very powerful tool to develop a website. With a wide range of plugins (free and paid) offering an endless stream of functionality you can integrate into your website, Wordpress is one of the most popular website building platforms for millions of businesses worldwide. From e-commerce, and digital magazine websites, to online courses and restaurant reservation websites, Wordpress can be used to create almost any kind of website your business needs.


Look-and-Feel:

Google Sites:

Google Sites offers a few themes which you can use to change the look-and-feel of your website. However, Google's theme offering is currently very small which considerably restricts your ability to completely customize the site's look and feel. Google Sites may not be an ideal solution if you have very specific design requirements as there is currently no option to edit the themes using code, and the theme customization options currently offered by Google are very limited.

Wordpress:

Wordpress offers a plethora of theme options (free and paid) from a vibrant community of designers, which you can choose and use as is, or you could customize using code to suit your brand. If you have very specific design requirements, then Wordpress may be a better option.


Security:

Google Sites:

Because Google Sites uses no third-party plugins and themes and is hosted on Google's own servers, Google Sites websites are generally more secure in that it is relatively tougher for a Google Sites website to be hacked, though it is not impossible.

Wordpress:

Wordpress websites are generally a common target among hackers because Wordpress is the most popular website building platform and a number of websites are built on it. There are many avenues available to a hacker to attack a Wordpress website. Some of them are:

  1. Insecure web hosting provider: if your web hosting provider's servers are inadequately secured, the websites hosted on them can be compromised by hackers. This is why having a reputable web hosting provider is crucial to securing your website. Please see our Resources page for suggestions on reputed web hosting providers.

  2. Poor quality themes and plugins: Wordpress websites depend heavily on third-party plugins and themes, and if your website happens to use a poor quality plugin, it is very possible for hackers to hack your website by exploiting this weakness.

  3. Outdated Wordpress software, themes and plugins: Wordpress software, plugins, and theme updates fix security flaws and bugs. However, updating these themes, plugins, and software can sometimes have unintended consequences such as a broken website. Consequently, website owners often delay installing updating these key components of their website, leaving the website vulnerable to hacks.


Speed:

Google Sites:

Since Google controls most aspects of building a Google Sites website from the hosting to the website building platform itself, the resulting website's speed is also largely controlled by Google. With a network of servers all around the world, and a lean website builder built by experienced developers, a Google Sites website is often very fast.

Wordpress:

With Wordpress, a bloated website is all too common, with a myriad plugins serving a variety of purposes ranging from front end website functionalities such as online shopping carts, contact forms, and fonts, to back-end website maintenance need such as backups, spam protection, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A high number of third party plugins, some of which are poorly coded often results in sluggish speed performances from Wordpress websites.


Backups:

Google Sites:

Since a Google Sites website does not rely on third-party plugins, themes, and hosting, and the resulting website solidly is built using a high-quality (albeit feature-poor) website builder, a Google Sites website is comparatively not as vulnerable to crashes and hacking attempts compared to a Wordpress-based website. Nevertheless, it is recommended to have a backup in case your Google account is compromised (for instance due to a weak password). Backing up a Google Sites website extremely simple; add another Google account as an editor, then create a duplicate site in that new editor's Google Account. The only limitation is that it is currently not possible to download a copy of your website to your local machine. It will simply remain as a copy on your second Google account.

Wordpress:

It is crucial to have regular backups of Wordpress websites, so they could be easily restored if your website crashes (for instance after installing an update), or if it is hacked, or if for some reason your web hosting provider goes down. While some web hosting providers charge a fee for website backups, most provide automatic backups for free, but some of these hosting providers charge a fee for restoring a backed-up website. Meanwhile, others may provide backups and restoration for free, but the backed up website takes up your disk space (as opposed to being allocated separate disk space for website backups). It is recommended that you inquire with your web hosting provider for their latest policies.

One workaround to these limitations is to use a backup plugin such as Duplicator to backup your website, download a copy of it to your local machine and upload it to your host's servers if your website crashes. However, this requires some time and technical experience, so unless you hire a developer to handle this task, you will end up spending time away from your business while you sort it out.


User-Friendliness:

Google Sites:

Google Sites is extremely easy to use, requires no coding, and the user interface is clean, and minimal, much like the user interfaces of all Google's products. It is highly unlikely you will require a developer to help manage your Google Sites websites, except in instances where you find yourself with little time and therefore needing to delegate this task.

Wordpress:

Once your Wordpress website is set up, designed, and developed, with a little training, it is possible for you to manage your Wordpress website yourself and numerous business owners do so. You may require a developer to fix unexpected glitches (especially after installing updates to plugins, themes, and Wordpress software), but apart from this, managing a Wordpress website is generally easy, though not as easy as a Google Sites website.


Cost:

Google Sites:

The Google Sites website builder is free and comes with free 15GB hosting space and unlimited traffic (bandwidth). This makes Googles Sites a very attractive option for new businesses, and established businesses looking to develop intranets, external-facing websites, or very simple consumer-facing websites.

Wordpress:

A Wordpress website requires a web hosting plan which means your business will have to include this expense in their budget. It is also highly likely that you will require an experienced Wordpress developer to design, and build the website. You might also hire the developer to maintain the website or at least assist with website maintenance at times when you stumble upon problems that need to be resolved urgently but are beyond your expertise. This can add up to be a considerable expense.


Conclusion:

Google Sites is a good solution for your business if:

  • Your business needs an intranet, an external website, or a simple consumer-facing website with limited functionality and design requirements

  • Your business is on a tight budget

Wordpress is better suited for your business if:

  • Your business needs a powerful, feature-rich website with specific design needs

  • Your business can afford to set aside funds for website development and maintenance