Google is really been busy lately working on new features and services. Just when you think they’ve run out of ideas, they turn around and come up with something else totally convenient and useful. You may (or may not) be familiar with Google Sites and the many free templates that are offered; well now they’ve add free mobile templates to the roster. That’s right, now you can create your very own mobile site using Google’s mobile site builder.
It only makes sense since the mobile web is now taking over the world. Smartphones and tablets are selling like hotcakes! That’s why it’s so important to have a mobile website along with your regular website and Google is helping to make this task easier than ever.
Within just a few minutes you can have a very basic, yet functional mobile site (or mobile landing page as they call it) up and running. Best of all, it’s free! Cost would only come into play if you decided to use your own custom domain; then you would, of course, have to buy the domain (if you didn’t already have one) and pay for hosting. Let’s take a look at the process of setting up a mobile site.
First, you’ll need to choose your template. Right now there aren’t many to choose from, but the ones that are available are pretty impressive. Remember, these templates won’t require any kind of coding skills like HTML or CSS; they’re pretty much like creating and editing a blog post.
- Restaurant – includes pages for special offers, menu, and directions
- Local Business – includes Google Map and click-to-call button
- Lead Generation – includes Google form for collecting sign ups into a spreadsheet
- Social – includes social buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube
- eCommerce – includes Google Checkout buttons
- Custom – add your own personal touch with a custom look
Next, you can select a main color for your background; the choices are: black, white, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
Once you’re done, click on “Try this template” button for a preview of what your site will look like.
If you like what you see, then click “Use this template” button in the top right corner of the page.
Next, you’ll enter some information for your site. This is where you create a name, choose your URL, choose a theme (optional), and choose who you’d like to share your site with. You can make it public to everyone or only available for specific users. You’ll be able to share your site later in the settings.
Once you’re done click on the “Create site” button so that you can start editing it.
Finally, this is where you can edit the main page and create new pages. You can change the title of your page here, enter a headline and text, and edit any forms or gadgets that may be included with your template. If you’re looking to edit your actual settings, all of these options can be found in the “More actions” menu.
From the “More actions” menu go to “Manage site” to access the more important features. This is where you can change your site content, settings and appearance.
Some of the things you’ll see here:
- Recent Activity – very handy if you’ll have more than one person editing your site.
- Pages – view your site structure as a tree or list
- Deleted Items – recover things that were deleted by accident or delete items permanently
- General Settings – enable Google Analytics, AdSense, and Webmaster Tools
- Share Your Site – choose who can access your site (works just like sharing in Google Docs)
- Web Address – add a custom domain
- Site Layout – change layout, colors and fonts, theme, and more
A short video about Google Mobile Site Builder
Below you can see how the site looks on an iPad – it’s almost exactly as it appears in editing mode.
After setting up a test site and going through all of the features, it seems that a Google mobile site would be best used as a temporary solution until you can get a more professional looking mobile site.
While this is a great option for those who don’t have any HTML or CSS knowledge, it’s also pretty limited. There doesn’t appear to be a way to add any kind code of your own. So if you had a widget or something else that involves inserting code to your site, you wouldn’t be able to; you can only use Google gadgets. This may be efficient for some, but more advanced users will definitely not be satisfied with these limitations.
Try Google Mobile Sites out for yourself.