A brochure website is what you would call a static website in terms of content. This means that site content does not change much, if at all. This kind of website usually has a small number of pages and these pages are structured on one level, only rarely utilising a hierachy of subpages.
A brochure website is useful when there is something you want to share with the world outside. This could be a small business, a start-up, yourself (think of a CV or portfolio), a future event, something you sell (e.g. a house or some second hand items from your attic), etc. Your first objective is to make something known as soon as possible, first to a circle of people you know, then to a broader target audience. With a brochure website you can't go wrong; Populate it with clear information, compelling text and photographs and you have a quick, successful receipt of how to promote your business or event.
We are all aware that static content is rather a deal breaker, especially if you want to add new pieces of information and pictures, or make amendments to the existing text. If you've ever wanted to change a date, time, place or existing photo, you'll like what comes next.
Google Sites allows users to perform all these things by themselves. You won't need to call a developer or raise a ticket. You are in charge of your website, because you have the power to build it entirely from the ground up. With an improved interface Google Sites is almost like a Content Management System but much, much easier, without the numerous features that a classic CMS (WordPress, Drupal, etc) offers. The only prerequisite is to have a Google account.
Go to "sites.google.com", click on <Create> button and follow the instructions.
Choose a theme and start adding your pages. To prove how clutter-free an interface can be, you have only three buttons on top of each page: "Edit page", "Create page" and "More actions". Editing a page is like working with your Word processor, using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface, hence no coding whatsoever. For more advanced users, there is an option to directly edit the HTML code behind the content. As I mentioned above, there is no need for a developer since you can add, adjust, format or remove any section of your content by yourself. You are completely in control of the website. Moreover, the website is up from the moment you clicked the <Create> button. Use the <Share> button to control the privacy related aspects of your website. You can also collaborate with your friends or peers and work concurrently on the website, review the content, if necesary.
The "More options" button gives you access to a list of features, although those you will be using often are "Page settings" and "Manage site". See the screen shot below:
They give you access to page level and, respectively, to site level.
After a few trials you will get familiar with this interface and its subtleties. In a matter of hours your site can be up and public. All you have to do is send the announcement to your friends/distribution list or start creating the flyers. Your site will be available at a web address that looks like this:
Quick, easy and secure (GoogleSites comes, by default, with a layer of HTTP/SSL security). A brochure website or a presentation website is out there, online in just a couple of hours. And, all by yourself; no developers involved, no money spent.
If the website address is not what you want, don't fret. If you have already your domain name, it's also possible to transfer the website you've just created on Google Sites to your domain. This procedure is simple once you've read the documentation written on this topic.
For more advanced users, Google Sites makes available a wonderful tool - Google Gadgets - which allows you to include all kind of features in your pages. You can customize your navigation menu, add an image gallery or include social sharing buttons.
As you can see, there are many advantages of using Google Sites and not so many disadvantages:
1. Easy to create a new website. The title and description is the main information required.
2. No need to set up databases (MySQL or otherwise).
3. Easy to add new pages or edit existing pages.
4. Sharing or peer review is at ease with the "Share" option within Google Sites.
5. No developer skills are required; you have access to your website around the clock.
6. Formatting a page is like working with an Word processor: change the font, colors or alignment at your convenience.
7. Your website is secure; Google Sites uses by default the 'https' protocol.
8. No money spent.
9. Your website is SEO friendly and, with the proper font adjustments, it can also offer a responsive design, available to any kind of mobile device.
10. No updates of the software are required (like it happens for other Open Source CMS - Drupal, WordPress - where you have to manually update modules, according to the latest release). Any updates are being automatically done by Google behind the scenes.
1. Some people might not be happy with a web address like this: https://sites.google.com/site/your-site-name; however, Google Sites allows you to easily transfer the content created on Google Sites to your domain.
2. Google Sites has limitations, as with any software. One of them is that you can't create a multilingual website. Therefore, if your goal is to have a website in more than one language, you better look for another option (or, you will just create separate websites, one for each language).
3. Some slick features might require the use of Gadgets. Once you learn the basics, adding gadgets to your Google Site becomes regular practice.