Step-by-Step Guides

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Enabling or Disabling the New Google Sites User Interface

posted Sep 26, 2011, 10:22 AM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Sep 20, 2012, 1:16 PM ]







How to Enable the New User Interface for Google Sites

To enable the new user interface for Google Sites, there are two basic options:
  • Select the Give it a try! option from the yellow alert bar across the top of the screen.  This option will only appear if your site is currently set to display using the old interface.

  • Select the option from your User Settings screen, by following the steps below:
    1. Navigate to your site
    2. Log in with your Owner account
    3. Navigate to the User Settings option under the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the browser window


    4. Place a check in the box next to Use the New Look:

    5. Save your changes
Once the new user interface has been enabled, the look and feel of your site's administrative view will change.  For example, the new look for the Create and Edit page icons will have a different appearance, a new "Share" button will be available and the "More Actions" menu will now appear as "More":



How to Disable the New User Interface for Google Sites

If there is a need/desire to revert back to the old user interface for Google Sites, simply follow the steps below:
  1. Navigate to your site
  2. Log in with your Owner account
  3. Navigate to the User Settings option under the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the browser window

  4. Remove the check from the box next to Use the New Look:

  5. Save your changes

Once the old user interface has been re-enabled, the look and feel of your site's administrative view will return to what you should already be used to.  The Create and Edit page icons will return to their original appearance, the new "Share" button will no longer be available and the "More" menu will go back to being titled "More Actions":


Other Resources

Customize Google Sites System Footer Links

posted Jun 23, 2011, 8:03 PM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Jun 26, 2011, 5:43 AM ]

Google Sites offers the ability to make minor adjustments to the links that are displayed in the system footer.  Some text/links, such as "Powered by Google Sites", cannot be removed.  The following links, however, can be hidden:

  • View Site as Desktop for mobile enabled sites - This option controls whether the link appears to visitors who are viewing your site on a mobile device.
  • Sign In
  • Recent Changes
  • Print Page



How to Customize the Google Sites System Footer Links

  1. Log into the site as an Owner
  2. Navigate to More Actions > Manage Site > Site Layout
  3. Scroll to the bottom and click the Customize System Footer Links link



  4. Select the options to hide/display
  5. Click OK
  6. Save changes

Examples

Default Layout (All links visible):


Custom Layout (All links hidden):


Official Google Announcement:  Automatic mobile rendering for Google Sites




Google Sites Mobile Rendering

posted Jun 23, 2011, 7:13 PM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Jun 23, 2011, 7:58 PM ]

Google Sites now supports automatic mobile rendering for iOS 3.0+ and Android 2.2+ devices.  In addition, mobile versions of the sites list, sites search and browse categories features is now available.



Google Sites Automatic Mobile Rendering Features

  • Header and top bar alignment
  • Set site width to match the device's screen width
  • "Smart handling" of sidebars, horizontal navigation and dropdown lists

     Mobile Preview - Show Sidebar

     Mobile Preview - Hide Sidebar



How to Enable Automatic Mobile Rendering for Google Sites

  1. Log into your site as a site Owner
  2. Navigate to More Actions > Manage Site > General
  3. Scroll down and place a check in the box next to Automatically adjust site for mobile phones
  4. Save changes and return to site

Google Sites Mobile Preview

Once automatic mobile rendering has been enabled for your site, it can be previewed from your browser as it will render on a mobile device.  To access the mobile preview:
  • Navigate to More Actions > Preview as Viewer
  • In the preview window, select Mobile from the yellow bar at the top of the page


Official Google AnnouncementAutomatic mobile rendering for Google Sites

Google Sites - This Location is Already in Use

posted Jun 13, 2011, 8:02 PM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Dec 28, 2011, 8:26 PM ]



Many users of Google Sites run into the all-too-common "This location is already in use by another service, please pick a different one" message when attempting to map their Google Sites website to their custom domain.  In some cases, this error requires the assistance of the team at Google, but in most cases, it can be handled by the website administrator in very little time.






Why is the location already in use?

This error occurs simply because there should not be two identical web addresses/URLs on the internet.  If Google allowed two sites to be mapped to the same location (www.example.com), how would they know which site to display?


One of the reasons this error is so common is that when a domain is purchased through Google, a Google Apps account is automatically created, and the "www" subdomain is mapped to a placeholder for a site that has not yet been created.  For more details, see the Errors while mapping your site to a Google Apps domain article in the official Google Sites Help center.

How to get rid of "Location already in use" for Google Apps users

For users who have built their site as part of a Google Apps domain (or who have a Google Apps domain under the domain they are trying to map to their site), there are two primary locations to check for the root cause:
  • Mapped Sites for the domain: 

  • Custom URL's for Apps Services: 

    • http://www.google.com/a/example.com/CustomUrl
    • If the subdomain ("www", for example) exists under the "Sites URL" heading (or any other section), it should be deleted or replaced.  If replacing, "sites" would be a good alternative.



How to get rid of "Location already in use" for stand-alone (non-Google Apps) users

For users of the stand-alone version of Google Sites, the process is not quite as clear-cut as with Google Apps users.  However, there are a few suggestions that may help in resolving this issue:
  • Was the subdomain previously mapped to a different Google Sites website?  If so, does that site still exist, or has it been deleted?  If deleted, was it deleted within the past 30 days?  Can the site be recovered/accessed to remove the previous mapping?
  • Was the subdomain previously mapped to a blog on blogger.com?  If so, does the blog still exist, or has it been deleted?  Can the blog be accessed to remove the previous mapping
  • Has the subdomain been previously mapped to any other Google service (AdSense, etc)?

One other thing you can try is to register your domain (example.com) with the free version of Google Apps to try to "override" the domain mapping.  This has been known to correct the "Location already in use..." issue in many extreme situations.  The steps for this are as follows:
  1. Register your domain (example.com) with the free version of Google Apps
  2. Map www.example.com to the Sites service in Apps.  (This step may be automatically done during the registration process.)
  3. Release www.example.com from Sites service by mapping sites.example.com to the Sites service
  4. Return to your site and map it to www.example.com
Note that the above will NOT move your site to Google Apps.  It should simply give you the ability to override the mapping so you can use it in your existing site.

After removing any existing mappings, what's next?

Once the subdomain mapping has been removed, or a Google Sites TC or Google Employee have helped resolve the issue, try mapping the site again.  How this is accomplished will vary depending on whether you are a Google Apps user, or a stand-alone (non-Google Apps) user.  For a detailed explanation of how to complete the mapping, please see the following:


What if I need help from Google (or a Google Sites TC)?

If the "this location is already in use by another service" message is still present, post your issue on the Google Sites User Forum.  Be sure to include the following:
  • The system URL for your site (http://sites.google.com....)
  • The subdomain you are trying to map to your site (www.example.com)
  • A description of your issue, and any specific problems you may be having.


Deleted Sites List

posted Jun 13, 2011, 3:15 PM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Jun 14, 2011, 7:22 AM ]




Google has released a new feature that will enable Google Sites administrators greater ease of access when it comes to permanently deleting or restoring previously deleted sites.  To access this feature, log into Google account and navigate to the following page:

Stand-alone (non-Google Apps):  https://sites.google.com/site/sites
Google Apps:  https://sites.google.com/a/EXAMPLE.COM

(Be sure to use your domain in place of EXAMPLE.COM)

Any site that has been deleted within the past 30 days will be listed.  For example:


Adding +1 Button to Google Sites

posted Jun 5, 2011, 11:53 AM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Sep 22, 2011, 7:30 PM by Brian Johnson ]


Google Sites offers a seamless integration with the Google +1 Button.  This integration allows users to place the +1 button either in the sidebar of a site, or inline with the content of the page.  This article outlines how each of these options are used.




Adding the Google +1 Button to a Google Sites Sidebar

To add the +1 button to the sidebar of your Google Sites website, follow the steps below.  Following these steps will add the button to the sidebar for all pages on your Google Sites website.  The is the only option for globally inserting the +1 button:
  1. Navigate to More > Manage Site
  2. Select the Site Layout option from the left navigation pane
  3. Click the Add a Sidebar Item link
  4. Locate the +1 Button option and click the Add button
  5. Position the +1 Button gadget in your sidebar by dragging and dropping the gadget to the desired position in the sidebar
  6. Click the Save button to save changes


Adding the Google +1 Button to the Content Area (Body) of a Google Sites Website

To add the +1 button to the content area (body) of your Google Sites website, follow the steps below.  Following these steps will add the button to individual/specific locations of your website:
  1. Navigate to the page you wish to add the +1 button to
  2. Click the Edit icon (small "pencil" icon in upper-right corner of page when logged in)
  3. Place the cursor in the desired location for the +1 button.  This must be in the body/content area of the page
  4. Click the Insert menu and select the +1 Button option
  5. Configure the button options by selecting the button Size and whether or not to display the Click Count along side the gadget.  The following example shows "standard" size with click count displayed:

Adding the Google +1 Button via Third Party Gadget

In some cases, the dynamic nature of the integrated Google +1 Button may not be what you are looking for.  In these situations, a third party gadget may be a better choice.

Google Sites Top Contributor prac has made a fully functional gadget for adding the Google +1 button to your Google Sites pages.  To include this gadget on your pages, log into your site as a user with edit permissions, navigate to the page you wish to add the button to, and do the following:

  1. Click Edit Page to begin editing the page
  2. Place the cursor in the location you want the +1 Button to appear and select Insert >> More Gadgets...
  3. In the Add a Gadget to Your Page window, click the Add gadget by URL option in the left navigation list
  4. Paste the following gadget URL into the Add gadget by URL box and click Add


  5. Configure the gadget options:



    NOTE:  The Background of Container field is used to determine the background color of the gadget.  (This is the area around the +1 button.)  It requires the use of hex notation instead of actual color names.  For example, #FFFFFF represents white, #FF0000 is red, and so on.  As most of us don't know these off-hand, there's a pretty good list over at webmonkey.com that may come in handy.

  6. Save the edits to your page and preview/test the changes.

Related Links

Delete Google Sites Website

posted May 25, 2011, 7:14 PM by Brian Johnson   [ updated May 25, 2011, 7:33 PM ]




From time to time, it may be necessary to permanently delete a Google Sites website.  This can be done in just a few, simple steps:

  1. Log in with an account that has Admin/Owner permissions for the site
  2. Navigate to More Actions >> Manage Site
  3. Select the General option from the left navigation


  4. Scroll to the bottom and click the Delete This Site link


  5. Read the warning and click Delete to confirm.

Web Fonts

posted May 20, 2011, 7:50 PM by Brian Johnson   [ updated May 20, 2011, 8:27 PM by Brian Johnson ]




In April 2011, Web Fonts were added to Google Sites.  This enhancement provides over 100 new, unique fonts for use across all aspects of your Google SItes website(s).  To make use of this new feature, simply do the following:
  1. Select the More Actions >> Manage Site
  2. On the site management page, select the Colors & Fonts option from the left navigation
  3. Select the section of your site for which you would like to use an alternate Web Font
  4. Click the "Custom" option and select the desired font style from the drop-down menu
  5. Once satisfied with the changes, click the Save Changes button to save your selection(s) and return to the site.



Google Web Fonts:  http://www.google.com/webfonts
Google Docs Blog:  Google Sites brings you over 100 new web fonts

Restore Deleted Site

posted Apr 13, 2011, 6:44 PM by Brian Johnson



If an Owner of a Google Sites website deletes a site, the site can be recovered by visiting the site's URL within 30 days.  This applies only to sites deleted after the recovery feature was implemented (around April 13, 2011).  Here's how it works:

At the time the site is deleted, the Owner will be asked to confirm that they wish to delete the site:



If the Owner chooses the "Delete" option in the message above, the site will no longer be accessible to those attempting to visit the site.  However, if an Owner navigates to the URL for the deleted site, they will be prompted to "Restore Site" or "Delete Permanently" the site:


If the "Restore Site" option is selected, the site will be restored to the same state it was in at the time it was deleted. 

Selecting the "Delete Permanently" option will permanently delete the site, leaving no option to recover in the future.  This is a permanent option that cannot be reversed. 

For more information, see the official Google announcement concerning this feature.

Google Apps Naked Domain Redirect

posted Apr 12, 2011, 7:22 PM by Brian Johnson   [ updated Apr 21, 2011, 2:27 PM ]




If you are a Google Apps user, you can use the forwarding features outlined below to point your naked domain (http://example.com/) to one of your mapped subdomains/CNAMEs:

Note

While the Google Apps Naked Domain Redirect (GANDR) will do the trick, it is not - in my opinion - as robust as the alternate method of forwarding your domain via your DNS management console. 

The main issue I see is that when using GANDR
, all redirects will land on the root of your domain, regardless of whether a subdirectory or page is specified in the URL. 

For example, http://example.com/subdirectory will redirect to http://www.example.com when using GANDR.  Using the standard DNS redirect, the same URL would redirect to http://www.example.com/subdirectory.


  1. Log into your Google Apps control panel at http://www.google.com/a/[example.com]
  2. Click on the Domain Settings tab
  3. Select the Domain Names sub-tab of the Domain Settings screen
  4. Click the Redirect your naked domain link:



  5. Enter the sub-domain/CNAME for location you wish to redirect visitors to when they enter your naked domain name (http://example.com) and click the Continue button



  6. Log into the DNS management console for your domain (GoDaddy, eNom, etc.) and enter the A records specified on the Changing the A-Record for Your Domain page:


  7. Once the A records noted in step 6 above have been created, click the I've Completed These Steps button.
Note:  It may take some time (up to 24 hours) for the DNS changes to fully propagate across the web.  Also note that if you've previously set up a domain redirect/forward for your naked domain, you will want to remove it prior to completing the steps above.



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