Sites

Sites > Chapter 3: Choose page types

Table of contents

Page types overview

Create a new page

Web page

Start page

Announcement page

File cabinet page

List page

Custom page type templates

Page location

Understanding site hierarchy

Set page location

Change page location

Change page URL

Choose a page layout

Types of page layout

Simple columns layout

Column layouts with header and footer

Sidebar layouts with header and footer

Share files with a file cabinet page

Create a file cabinet page

Attach files to a file cabinet

Organize files with folders

View files in a file cabinet page

Show class/school announcements with an announcement page

Create an announcement page

Add a new post to an announcement page

Edit an existing post

Delete or recover a post

View posts

Recent posts gadget

RSS subscriptions

Create a class/project blog with an announcement page

Create a blog announcement page

Add a new blog post

Edit an existing blog post

Delete or recover a blog post

View blog posts

Recent posts gadgets

RSS subscriptions

Create a vocabulary or reading list with a list page

Create a list page

Create or edit a list structure

Add a new list item

Edit or remove a list item

Sort a list

Delete a list

Create a school portal page with a start page

Create a start page

Edit the main content of a start page

Customize start page with gadgets

Whitelist or blacklist gadgets for the start page

Create and edit page templates for a site

Overview of page templates

Create a page template

Edit a page template

Create a new page from template

Manage page templates

Page types overview

Create a new page

When you create a new page in Google Sites, you are given the option to choose from several page types. This section will review the different types of pages you can create.

Individuals with editing access (as a collaborator or an owner of the site) also have the ability to 'Subscribe' to a page changes. The notifications of the page changes vary depending on the page type. In each of the page type sections, we will include what types of changes a Page subscriber will receive.

Changing a page type template:

A site owner or collaborator can change the page template at any time. This means that you could change one of your pages from a List page type template to a Web page type template

To change a page type template, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click on the More button.
  3. Select Page settings.
  4. Click the Change link next to the page template type.
  5. Select the new page template type and click the Change button

Web page

The first type of page you can create in Google Sites is the most common  type- a web page.

A web page is an unstructured page where you can enter text, images, tables, and embed spreadsheets, presentations, videos, and more. The Web Page has standard formatting controls like bold, italic, underline, font control, text color, and text highlighting. You can create bulleted lists, numbered lists, and easily link to other pages in your site. You can attach documents from your hard drive to the bottom of the page, and allow other site collaborators to comment on your pages.

Examples:

Google Sites also has several layout options available for your web page, which will be reviewed in the page layout lesson.

Because Google Sites is built on a wiki foundation, all versions of your document that have ever existed are saved. This means you can always go back to early versions of the document and compare changes between different versions.

Page subscribers are notified when the page is updated.

Sample web page:

Start page

A start page is a web page with a special area where each viewer of the page can add their own personalized set of gadgets. Page collaborators can still put content on the page that everyone will see, but below that is content that will be different for every viewer.

A start page is similar in idea to an iGoogle page where a user can customize a page with gadgets. The benefit of a start page is that there is a dedicated section where the site owner or collaborators can add content that everyone will see. This content can be updated just as you would to any other web page.

Anyone can choose the start page as a page type in Google Sites, however one should consider when it is most appropriate to have an area where a user can customize the page. If you create different start pages, the user can customize each of those start pages individually - the gadget content will not carry over from one start page to another. Thus it can be more effective to use a start page sparingly so that users do not have many places they are adding their customized gadgets. Useful applications could be for the first page of a school site - such as a homepage just for students, or a homepage just for faculty. Then you those pages could be where students/faculty go to find important school information as well as their own information in gadgets.

Examples:

Same as with a web page, Page subscribers of the start page type are notified when the page is updated.

Sample start page:

Announcement page

An Announcement page is a page which makes it easy for an individual or group to post chronological information like news, status updates, or notable events. It can be used to post organizational news, post project updates, announce new releases, post interesting links from around the web, as a simple blog, and more. Each post is like a mini-web page - you can format the text, include pictures, links, and gadgets. You can also edit and update these posts at any time.

Other examples of announcement pages at your school could include:

Announcement pages also generate an RSS feed that individuals can subscribe to using a feed reader.

When you create an announcement page, you can also use a gadget in Google Sites that will post the most recent items. This can be useful if, for example, you use the announcement page to post homework assignments. You could then include the announcement gadget on your class homepage to show the most recent posts.

Page subscribers of announcement page types are notified of new posts, and updates on existing posts.

Sample announcement page:

File cabinet page

A File Cabinet page type allows you to upload and manage documents from your hard drive onto your site and organize them into folders. This can be used to organize common documents in one place.

Please note: A file cabinet page  cannot be used to upload a document created in Google Docs. It is only for documents that you already have on your computer and want to upload to your site.

For those times when your hard drive crashes or you accidentally save over a document, version history is stored for documents so you can always return to an earlier version.

Other examples of file cabinet pages at your school could include:

Any attachment you make to a file cabinet page will also be available to manage in your site settings under More Actions > Manage site > Attachments. There you will see attachments from any file cabinet page within yoru site, in addition to attachments added to individual pages, or images uploaded to place on a page.

Page subscribers of file cabinet page types are notified of new files, updated files, and delete files.

Sample file cabinet page:

List page

A List page allows you to easily track lists of information. You can choose from a list of templates or configure your own custom columns. Items can be easily added, updated, and removed.

You can specify several types of 'columns' in a list including checkbox, date, text, drop down, or URL. For the drop down column, you can specify the values a user can choose from when entering a new item in the list. This can be useful to standardize how you want information to appear so that it can be easily sorted and uniform.

For example, you could create a list page for project submissions. First you might create a column for the name using the text type column. For project type, you could use a drop down to specify presentation, research paper, or video - the student/user could pick just one of the 3 options. You could then add a column for a URL where a student could include a URL to their project. You could add a date column to enter when the project was completed, and perhaps a checkbox to show whether they would like to have their project included in the end of the year showcase.

Please note: Only individuals with editing access (as a site collaborator or site owner) can add items to a list. Viewers will be able to see the list, but not add items.

Examples of list pages you could create:

Page subscribers are notified of list additions, deletions, and updates.

Sample list page:

Custom page type templates

Besides these page types provided by Google Sites, you can create your own page type that can be used on your site. If you find yourself using the same format for many pages in your site, you can save that page as a template and use it over and over without having to type the same content again.

For example maybe you created a new site to showcase student projects from a class and each project should have the same format. You could create that page once with all the elements you want included - text, links, images, gadgets, or any type of content. You can then save that page as a template that will be available as a page type whenever you create a new page in Google Sites.

Basically, when you save a page as a template, you create a copy of the page that you and others can use to create new custom pages on your site.

Please note: Only individuals with editing access (as a site collaborator or site owner) can create new pages, so only those with editing access can use your page template.

Page subscribers to this page type will reflect whatever type of page you created. If you created a list template, they will be notified as they would any other list page. If you created a web page template, they will be notified as they would for any web page.

Sample page template:

Page location

Understanding site hierarchy

Sites are typically organized in a 'tree' structure with 'parent' pages and 'child' pages. You can see this type of organization in the URL of the page.

For example, based on the structure above, if I created a page named 'content page 2b' under the 'topic page 2' page - the URL would be something like: sites.google.com/myschool.org/mysite/topic2/subject2b.

During the creation of your site, you have the option to place pages at the 'top' level. This means they sit at the top of your site hierarchy (according to the above illustration, one of the Topics).

Whenever you click the 'Create page' button while viewing a top level page, the new page will default to becoming a child of this page (or according to the above illustration, one of the subjects).

With Google Sites, when you create a page you can choose to have it appear at the top level, as a child of the current page you were viewing, or you can choose a new location. Keeping your site organized will help with the automatic site navigation - Google Sites will determine submenus based on the 'child' pages of a 'parent' page.

You can also move a page at any time within your site from the More menu.

Please note: When you move a page, you will also be moving any 'child' pages associated with it.

Set page location

When you create a new page, one of the settings you must choose is where to 'put' the page. This is referring to where in the hierarchy of the site you want the page to live.

The default options when creating a new page are:

You can also choose another option, the Choose a different location link. This will allow you to specify where you want the page to exist in your site hierarchy. Your current page will become a 'child' page of whatever page you select.

Change page location

To change a page location after you have created the page in Google Sites, you will select the new 'parent' page. If you would like the page to become a top level page, you find a 'page' that is the name of your site to be the parent page. Move your page by following these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the More button and select Move page from the drop down menu.
  3. Browse or search to select the new parent page.
  1. Click the   button at the bottom of the Select Page box.

Your page will be moved to the new location, which will now have a new URL. The previous URL will still function, but will always redirect to the new location.

Change page URL

Moving the page changes the 'directory' level of your page URL.

For example, if we wanted to move a page under 'Topic 1' to be under 'Topic 2', the first URL would be: sites.google.com/myschool.org/mysite/topic-1/mypage 

and after it moved it would be

 sites.google.com/myschool.org/mysite/topic-2/mypage.

Notice that the end of the URL - the name of the page - stays the same, while that which appears after 'mysite' - or the site name - does not.

You can also change what appears after the directories as the page name within the full URL. For example, you could change it from mypage to class-resources so the full URL would be sites.google.com/myschool.org/mysite/topic-2/class-resources

To change the page name element of the URL, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the More button and select Page settings from the drop down menu.
  3. In the box marked Page URL type in what you want the page URL to be. (e.g. class-resources)
  1. Click the Save button.

Your page name will now change in your final URL. Anyone accessing the page from the old URL will still be able to see the page, but they will be redirected to the new URL.

Choose a page layout

Types of page layout

Google Sites offers 9 different types of layouts for standard web pages.  The nine layouts fall into one of three  3 categories: simple columns, columns with a header and footer, and sidebar page.

These layouts can be applied to the 4 types of page templates ( 'web page' type,  'list', 'announcement' and 'file cabinet').

Full list of page layouts:

To change the layout of your page, follow these steps:

  1. On the page, make sure you are editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If you are not in editing mode, click the Edit page button.
  2. Click on the Layout menu.
  3. Select the desired layout from the drop down menu.

Google Sites will then apply the new layout to your page and adjust your content accordingly. Your content will not be removed, but it may be shuffled as a result of the new layout.

Simple columns layout

Here are some examples of the 'Simple' column layouts. They do not have a header or footer, so all the content is the main body of the page, below the area for the page title and above the site links in the site footer.

One column (simple):

Two column (simple):

Three column (simple):

To choose a simple column layout, follow these steps:

  1. On the page, make sure you are editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If you are not in editing mode, click the Edit page button.
  2. Click on the Layout menu.
  3. Select the one of the (simple) options layout from the drop down menu.

Column layouts with header and footer

Here are some examples of layouts with a header and footer. The header and footer give you more space to include content that is not within the columns. This could be useful if you wanted to divide up your page for different purposes, but wanted to include some explanatory text. That text could go in the header and not be affected by the columns.

One column:

Two column:

Three column:

To choose a column layout with a header and footer, follow these steps:

  1. On the page, make sure you are editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If you are not in editing mode, click the Edit page button.
  2. Click on the Layout menu.
  3. Select the one of the column options layout from the drop down menu.

Sidebar layouts with header and footer

Your site may already include a sidebar which will be present on every page within the site, but you can also use a sidebar layout within your page. A sidebar is a column that is narrower than the 'main' column where the content is expected to go.

This layout can be useful if you have extra information that you would call out. The page sidebar keeps information separate from the main content, but also is only applicable to the specific page - unlike the site sidebar.

Left sidebar:

Right sidebar:

Left and right sidebar:

To choose a sidebar layout, follow these steps:

  1. On the page, make sure you are editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If you are not in editing mode, click the Edit page button.
  2. Click on the Layout menu.
  3. Select the one of the sidebar options layout from the drop down menu.

Share files with a file cabinet page

Create a file cabinet page

A File Cabinet page type allows you to upload and manage documents from your hard drive onto your site and organize them into folders. This can be used to organize common documents in one place.

One useful application for the file cabinet page is to create a repository of documents for other students or teachers. If you wanted to have file cabinets for different groups of people to access (i.e. a file cabinet for teachers, a file cabinet for students), you could create separate Sites (a 'teachers only' site and a 'students only' site) where you invite those groups to view or collaborate. This way, only the group that has access to the site will have access to your file cabinet and your files.

We will walk through how to create a page and share files with students and teachers using the file cabinet page type.

You can create as many file cabinet pages as you like within your site. That means that in addition to having folders in your file cabinets, you could also have separate pages for different purposes - a file cabinet page for one class's resources, and a separate file cabinet page for another.

To create a new file cabinet page, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the New page button.
  3. Click the 'File cabinet' page type.
  4. Type the name of your file cabinet page.
  5. Choose a location for your page. Review page location types »
  6. Click Create page.

On the page you've  created, you have the option to add in content above the 'file cabinet.' This can be an area where you explain the purpose of this file cabinet. You can edit this section as you would a standard web page, including adding gadgets and rich media.

Attach files to a file cabinet

You can attach any type of file to a file cabinet page. Please note: The maximum attachment size is 20 mb for a file.

Once you have created you can start adding files in either 'edit' mode or in 'view' mode. You can tell if you are in edit mode if there are 'Save' or 'Cancel' buttons in the top right corner. You are in view mode if there are 'New page' 'Edit page' and 'More' buttons in the top right corner.

To add a file to a file cabinet page, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Add file button.
  2. If your document is on your computer, click the Choose file button to locate it on your hard drive. If it is a file available on the Internet, paste the link into the box beneath the option 'the web (Paste in URL)'.
  3. If you select a document from your computer, the file name will be the same as the original file. For the URL option, you will also be able to enter in what you want the file name to be with the 'text you want to display' box.
  4. Enter in a description of the file that visitors to your page will see.
  5. Click the Upload button.
  6. Your file will be added to the file cabinet.
  7. To add more files, click the Add file button.
  8. If you were in edit mode and are done editing the page, you can click the Save button in the top right corner.

You can manage all files and attachments on your site using the Attachment manager in your site settings.

Organize files with folders

You can organize the files in your file cabinet by using folders. Once you upload a file to your file cabinet, you can move it to a folder.

Please note: folders in Google Sites will automatically remain 'open' so you can see all the files. At this time it is not possible to 'collapse' the folders to see only the folder name and not the files.

Like adding a file, you can create a new folder in either 'edit' mode or in 'view' mode.

To create a new folder, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Move to button.
  2. Select New folder from the drop down.
  3. Enter name for folder and click Save.

The folder will now appear in your file cabinet.

To move files to a folder, follow these steps:

  1. Click the checkbox next to the file(s) name that you would like to move. To select multiple files, select multiple checkboxes.
  2. Click the Move to button.
  3. Select the folder name from the drop down, or if you would like to move them to a new folder, click New folder and save the new folder name.

Your files will now appear underneath the folder name.

If you would like to remove a folder, all files inside of that folder will be deleted. If you would like to just delete a folder, move the files to a different folder first (by following the steps on how to move files to a folder).

To remove a folder, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Remove link next to the folder name.
  2. Google Sites will confirm you want to delete the folder and all files inside it. Click Ok.

Your folder will now be removed from your file cabinet.

View files in a file cabinet page

To download or view the files, just click on the file name link. This will either show the file (if it is an image) or download it to your computer.

Show class/school announcements with an announcement page

Create an announcement page

An announcement page type allows you to create a page with a list of 'posts'.  The posts are actually individual pages.  The announcement page then groups all of these posts together.

The announcement page type also has an RSS feed so visitors can subscribe to the new posts using. their favorite RSS feed reader.  Whenever a new post had been added they will be notified.

One way to use the announcement page type is as a quick way to post school or class updates or announcements. By posting updates that act as full web pages, you will have a single place that anyone can view you can include anything from website changes to school events. Because this page type allows you to have an RSS feed, it is best suited for information that changes often and is of interest to visitors to your site.

You can create as many announcement pages as you like within your site. In this way, you could use announcement pages for different types of updates - a page for class announcements, a page for parent information, a page for homework posting, etc. Each of these pages can contain an unlimited number of posts, with each post acting as an individual web page.

To create a new announcement page, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the New page button.
  3. Click the 'Announcement' page type.
  4. Type the name of your new announcement page (e.g., Class announcements).
  5. Choose a location for your page. Review page location types »
  6. Click Create page.

When the page has been created, you will see the option to start adding posts by using the New post button. However, you can also edit the top part of the page to include a welcome note or any other information that you want to convey to your visitors when they see this page. You can edit this section as you would a standard web page, including adding gadgets and rich media.

To edit the top section of your announcement page, click the Edit page button in the top right.

If you do not see the Edit page button, you are already in editing mode and can make changes to the page.

Add a new post to an announcement page

The primary purpose of the announcement page is to add new 'posts.' Each post is basically a mini-web page where you can add content, gadgets, images, and text as you would any other page.  The announcement page will add the newest posts on top, ensuring that your visitors read the most recent information first.

Posts can also be edited after you have created them, or saved as drafts if you want to keep working on content without having it visible to your visitors.

You can easily navigate back to your main announcement page using the Sites breadcrumb links at the top of the main content area, above the post title.

Please note: Only those with editing access to your site will be able to add a new post to your announcement page. This includes individuals who are site owners or collaborators. Visitors cannot add new posts, but they can view all the posts in your announcement page.

For your class announcements page, here are some types of posts you could include:

To add a new post to your announcement page, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to your announcement page in your site. If you can't find it, go to your Sitemap and find the page by clicking the More actions button, select Manage site from the drop down, then click on Pages under 'Site Content.' You will then see a list of all the pages in your site. Click on the announcement page you would like to edit.
  2. Click the New post button on your announcement page.
  3. Title your post in the 'Untitled post' header.
  4. Enter in your content in the empty box - you can include text, images, video, gadgets, etc. The post will behave like a typical webpage in Google Sites – you can even choose a layout.
  5. When you are finished with your post, click Save button at the top right of the page to post it so your visitors can view.
  6. If you would like to continue editing your post later and not make the post visible, click Save draft.

If you have previously saved a post as a draft, you can access the drafts on your announcement page, just follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to your announcement page in your site. If you can't find it, go to your Sitemap and find the page by clicking the More button, select Manage site from the drop down, then click on Pages under 'Site Content.' You will then see a list of all the pages in your site. Click on the announcement page you would like to edit.
  2. Beneath the 'New post' button, you will see a section titled: Your draft posts:
  3. There will be links to any drafts that you have not yet posted to your announcement page. To access the post, click the link.
  4. Edit the post. To post to your announcement click, Save. Or if you'd like to leave it again as a draft, click Save draft.

Edit an existing post

After you save a post to your announcement page, you can go back and make changes at any time.

You can start editing your post in two ways:

  1. On your announcement page, click the (Edit post) link at the bottom of the desired post. This will take you to the post and set it into edit mode.
  2. On your announcement page, click the post title link. This will take you to the post page, then click the Edit page button.

From here, you can edit the name of the post or the content. You will not be able to edit the date of the post.

Please note: To save the post, you must click the Save button. If you wish to keep the version as a draft, click the Save draft button.

Delete or recover a post

You can delete a post at any time, just as you would any normal page in your site. To delete your post, follow these steps:

  1. On your announcement page, click the post title link.
  2. This will take you to the post page, then click the More button.
  3. Select Delete page from the drop down.
  4. You will be prompted if you want to delete this page, click Ok.

Now your post will be deleted and will no longer appear on your announcement page or in your recent announcements gadget.

If you accidentally deleted a post and would like to recover it, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the More button, then select Manage site.
  3. In the left side bar under 'Site content' select Recent site activity.
  4. Look for the item that describes the deleted post, e.g. <user name> deleted <post name>.
  5. Click the file name link.
  6. You will now be taken to a page that says the page has been deleted.
  7. To recover the file, click the Recover page button.

Now your post will reappear on your announcement page and in your recent announcements gadget.

View posts

All the posts will be available to view on your announcement page. You can also click on the title link of an individual post to be taken to a page with just that post. Each post has it's own unique URL that can be bookmarked for later viewing, while the announcements page will be constantly changing as you add new posts.

If you do not see all the posts on your announcements page, scroll to the bottom and click the forward or backward links . This will take you to previous posts made in the past.

Recent posts gadget

One way you can keep a brief summary of all the recent posts is to use the "Recent Posts" gadget available in the Insert menu in Google Sites. The recent posts gadget allows you to choose the announcement page you'd like to pull from, the number of posts to display, and the 'size' of the post summary.

This gadget can be useful to include on a homepage to bring more attention to the latest news or announcements that you have made. While you have created an announcement page that has all this information, the gadget allows you to quickly summarize the recent posts on any page within your site.

For example, if you have a page dedicated to parents on your site, it could be useful to include the recent posts from your class announcements. If a parent did not know to click on the 'Class announcement' page to get the latest information, they will be able to view the summary of the posts (and view the entire post via the links) in the gadget on their dedicated page.

To add a recent posts gadget to a page in your site, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you are editing the desired page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If you are not in editing mode, click the Edit page button.
  2. Place your cursor to the spot on the page where you would like to insert your recent announcements gadget summary.
  3. Click on the Insert menu and select Recent posts from the drop down.

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  4. Select from the drop down the name of the announcement page you would like to use.
  1. Select the length of the summary from the drop down: short snippet, medium snippet, or full post.
  1. Enter the number of posts to display. If you do not have that number of posts yet, it will show all that are available and keep adding until you reach the maximum.
  2. If you would like to add some intro text before displaying the summary of your posts, click Add an intro post to your announcements.
  1. Click Save to save the settings of your recent posts gadget.
  2. Click Save at the top right of the page to view your recent posts gadget.

RSS subscriptions

The announcements page type includes a link to subscribe to the recent posts using an RSS feed.

Please note:  You must share your site with the world to enable RSS subscriptions for your page.

Any visitor to your announcements page type can click the Subscribe to posts link at the top of the list of posts. Depending on your browser or RSS feed settings, you will be directed to a place where you can be notified of new posts to the page.

Alternatively, you can find the URL for your announcements page by adding + '/posts.xml' to the announcement page URL.

For example, for the page http://sites.google.com/a/myschool.org/language-arts-1/class-announcements , the RSS feed of posts URL would be http://sites.google.com/a/myschool.org/language-arts-1/class-announcements/posts.xml.

To learn more about RSS, watch this video http://youtu.be/0klgLsSxGsU

Create a class/project blog with an announcement page

Create a blog announcement page

As reviewed previously, an announcement page type allows you to create a page with a list of 'posts' that point to post content as individual pages. The announcement page then groups all of these posts together. Essentially, the announcement page is the 'homepage' of your blog.

Basically, the announcement page acts like a blog 'homepage' where the most recent posts are listed first, with the rest listed below. Like a blog, the announcement page shows a limited number of posts, but a visitor can navigate to older posts by clicking the Older posts link at the bottom of the announcement page.

Also like a blog, the announcement page includes an RSS subscription feed so that visitors can subscribe to the latest posts using their favorite RSS feed readers.

Because the 'blog' is just a page type, you can create as many blogs as you like within your Google Site by creating new Announcement pages.

Please note: Unlike a blog, there are no 'tags' that can be added to posts for organization at this time. You could create organization by having different blogs that serve different purposes.

A class blog could differ from class announcements in being more descriptive of what has been completed in class, or anecdotes or stories from the classroom.

To create a new announcement page, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the New page button.
  3. Click the 'Announcement' page type.
  4. Type the name of your new announcement page (e.g., class blog).
  5. Click Create.

With the page created, you will see the option to start adding posts by using the New post button. However, you can also edit the top part of the page to include a welcome note or any other information that you want to convey to your visitors when they see this page. You can edit this section as you would a standard web page, including adding gadgets and rich media.

To edit the top section of your announcement page, click the Edit page button in the top right.

If you do not see the Edit page button, you are already in editing mode and can make changes to the page.

Add a new blog post

The primary purpose of the announcement page is to add new 'posts.' Each post is basically a mini-web page where you can add content, gadgets, images, and text as you would any other page.

Like a blog, your announcement page will collect all the posts together and make them viewable from one page. The newest posts will appear at the top of your announcement page, ensuring that your visitors read the most recent information first.

Posts can also be edited after you have created them, or saved as drafts if you want to keep working on content without having it visible to your visitors.

You can easily navigate back to your main announcement page using the Sites breadcrumb links at the top of the main content area, above the post title.

Please note: Only those with editing access to your site will be able to add a new post to your blog page. This includes individuals who are site owners or collaborators. Visitors cannot add new posts, but they can view all the posts in your class blog. If you would like to make this a class blog where students can also add new posts, you will need to add the students as collaborators on the site. Please be aware that if a student is added as a Collaborator, the student will have access to edit other pages of the site, not just the class blog. An alternative could be to have student submit  blog posts to the teacher via email, Google Docs form, or Google Docs document, and then the teacher could add the post with the student byline.

For your class blog page, here are some types of posts you could include:

You can choose what type of content you'd like to include in your blog, the main advantage is the ability to quickly add these new posts and have them collected on a single page.

To add a new post to your blog, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to your blog page in your site. If you can't find it, go to your sitemap and find the page by clicking the More button, select Manage site from the drop down, then click on Pages in the menu on the left side of the page. You will then see a list of all the pages in your site. Click on the blog page you would like to edit.
  2. Click the New post button on your announcement page.
  3. Title your post in the 'Untitled post' header.
  4. Enter in your content in the empty box - you can include text, images, video, gadgets, etc. The post will behave like a typical webpage in Google Sites – you can even choose a layout.
  5. When you are finished with your post, click Save to post it so your visitors can view.
  6. If you would like to continue editing your post later and not make the post visible, click Save draft.

If you have previously saved a post as a draft, you can access the drafts on your blog, just follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to your blog page in your site. If you can't find it, go to your sitemap and find the page by clicking the More button, select Manage site from the drop down, then click on Pages in the menu on the left side of the page. You will then see a list of all the pages in your site. Click on the blog page you would like to edit.
  2. Beneath the 'New post' button, you will see a section titled: Your draft posts:
  3. There will be links to any drafts that you have not yet posted to your announcement page. To access the post, click the link.
  4. Edit the post. To post to your announcement click, Save. Or if you'd like to leave it again as a draft, click Save draft.

Edit an existing blog post

After you save a post to your blog page, you can go back and make changes at any time.

You can start editing your post in two ways:

  1. On your blog announcement page, click the (Edit post) link at the bottom of the desired post. This will take you to the post and set it into edit mode.
  2. On your blog announcement page, click the post title link. This will take you to the post page, then click the Edit page button.

From here, you can edit the name of the post or the content. You will not be able to edit the date of the post.

Please note: To save the post, you must click the Save button. If you wish to keep the version as a draft, click the Save draft button.

Delete or recover a blog post

Those who can add or edit posts can also delete or recover deleted posts. This includes those who have editing access to the full site as a site owner or collaborator.

You can delete a post at any time, just follow these steps:

  1. On your blog page, click the post title link.
  2. This will take you to the post page, then click the More button.
  3. Select Delete page from the drop down.
  4. You will be prompted if you want to delete this page, click Ok.

Now your post will be deleted and will no longer appear on your blog or in your recent posts gadget.

If you accidentally deleted a post and would like to recover it, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the More button and select Manage site.
  3. In the left side bar select Recent site activity.
  4. Look for the item that describes the deleted post, e.g. <user name> deleted <post name>.
  5. Click the file name link.
  6. You will now be taken to a page that says the page has been deleted.
  7. To recover the file, click the Recover page button.

Now your post will reappear on your blog and in your recent posts gadget.

View blog posts

All the posts will be available to view on your main blog page. You can also click on the title link of an individual post to be taken to a page with just that post. Each post has it's own unique URL that can be bookmarked for later viewing, while the announcements page will be constantly changing as you add new posts.

If you do not see all the posts on your blog page, scroll to the bottom and click the Older posts link. This will take you to previous posts made on the page.

Recent posts gadgets

One way you can keep a brief summary of all the recent posts is to use the Recent posts gadget available in the Insert menu in Google Sites. The recent posts gadget allows you to choose the announcement page you'd like to pull from (including your blog page), the number of posts to display, and the 'size' of the post summary.

This gadget can be useful to include on a homepage to bring more attention to the latest news or announcements that you have made. While you have created a blog that has all this information, the gadget allows you to quickly summarize the recent posts on any page within your site.

For example, you may link to your class blog from a class resources page. A link can be easily overlooked and visitors may not click on it and see the valuable information you've included in your blog. To make the information in your blog more visible, you could add a Recent posts gadget to the class resources page to highlight the information that appears in the blog. Visitors can then click on a particular post link to learn more, or view all the posts in the blog from the 'View all' link.

To add a recent posts gadget to a page in your site, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you are editing the desired page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If you are not in editing mode, click the Edit page button.
  2. Place your cursor to the spot on the page where you would like to insert your recent announcements gadget summary.
  3. Click on the Insert menu and select Recent posts from the drop down.

  4. Select from the drop down the name of the announcement page you would like to use.
  1. Select the length of the summary from the drop down: short snippet, medium snippet, or full post.
  1. If you would like to add some intro text before displaying the summary of your posts, click Add an intro post to your announcements.
  1. Click Save to save the settings of your recent posts gadget.
  2. Click Save at the top right of the page to view your recent posts gadget.

RSS subscriptions

The announcements page type includes a link to subscribe to the recent posts using an RSS feed.

Please note:  You must share your site with the world to enable RSS subscriptions for your page.

Any visitor to your blogcan click the Subscribe to posts link at the top of the list of posts. Depending on your browser or RSS feed settings, you will be directed to a place where you can be notified of new posts to the page.

Alternatively, you can find the URL for your blog page by adding + '/posts.xml' to the blog URL.

For example, for the page http://sites.google.com/a/myschool.org/language-arts-1/class-blog , the page comments feed URL would be http://sites.google.com/a/myschool.org/language-arts-1/class-blog/posts.xml.

Please note: Comment feeds follow the permission of the site and require authentication for private sites. This means online feed readers which don't support authenticated feeds won't be able to subscribe to private site feeds or site activity.

Create a vocabulary or reading list with a list page

Create a list page

A list page is a simple way to track lists of information. It is easy to add new items to the list or to sort the list. You can include as many or as few pieces of information for each list item.

For example, in a reading list page you may want to include the book name, the author, the genre, a short summary, and the reading level or 'points'. For a vocabulary list page, you may include the word, the part of speech, the definition, and the unit or chapter this word is associated with.

Lists are a way to structure and standardize how a group of elements appear. For the vocabulary list, you would want all items in that list to have the same structure. The same goes for a reading list.

List pages allow you to easily track lists of information. You can choose from a list of templates or configure your own custom columns. Items can be easily added, updated, and removed.

Google Sites also includes a 'Recent list items' gadget that allows you to display the latest list items on any page within your site. For the reading list, it could be useful to include this on the class resources page, or the student page. This way the information is more dynamic than a text link, and shows more interesting information.

You can include as many list pages as you want within your site.

To create a new list page, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the New page  button.
  3. Click the 'List' page type.
  4. Type the name of your new list page (e.g., Reading list).
  5. Click Create.

Your new list page will have a few list options to get you started: Action items, Issue list, Unit Status, and Create your own.

The Create your own option will allow you to customize the structure of your list and will most likely be the option you choose when creating lists in your school or class site. The other options are more corporate in nature, but can be selected and customized later if you wish to begin with a set structure.

With the list page created, you will see the option to start adding list items by using the Add item button. However, you can also edit the top part of the page to include a welcome note or any other information that you want to convey to your visitors when they see this page. You can edit this section as you would a standard web page, including adding gadgets and rich media.

To edit the top section of your list page, click the Edit page button in the top right.

If you do not see the Edit page button, you are already in editing mode and can make changes to the page.

Create or edit a list structure

You can customize a list page to have a standard structure in place for every list item. This will simplify the ability to sort all the list items by each element of the structure.

If you selected  'Create your own' from the list options, you can create the structure for your list by following these steps:

  1. Each element of your list structure is called a 'Column' or 'Field.' Name your first column (e.g., book name).
  2. From the drop down menu, you can choose the type of information this column collects:
  1. To add an additional column, click the Add column link. In our reading list example, you may want to include columns for the book name, author name, the genre, a short summary, the reading level, and a required reading option.
  2. To edit how the columns in your list appear, click the up or down arrows next to the column name. The columns will appear from left to right.
  3. You can set how your list is originally sorted by selecting the from the drop down in the 'Sorting' category.
  1. You can also choose to have a 'secondary' sorting level. After using the primary sort, you can then choose additional columns to sort by by clicking on the Add another sort by link. This will present the same options as before.
  2. Click Save.

You can now view your new list structure on your list page.

If you have used a preset list type and wish to change it, or wish to edit the list structure you created, click the Customize this list link next to the 'Add item' button.

Add a new list item

Once you have setup your list structure, you can begin adding items to the list.

You can add items to lists regardless if you are editing or viewing a page - the only requirement is that you have editing access to the site as either a Site owner or a Collaborator.

To add a new list item to your list, you can be in 'edit' mode or 'view' mode.follow these steps:

  1. Click the Add item button.
  2. Enter in the information for the list button as specified by the columns of the list and your list structure. For example, if you specified a text input, the field will be a blank line. If you specified a list format, there will be a drop-down for options.
  3. Click Save.

The new list item will now appear in your list.

Edit or remove a list item

Only those with editing access to the site can add edit or remove list items, including individuals with collaborator or site owner access.

Once you add an item to your list, you can easily edit the information, just follow these steps:

  1. Click anywhere on the item row (when you mouse over the item, the entire row will be highlighted).
  2. You can now edit any of the item's columns with new information.
  3. Click Save.

You can also delete any item that appears in your list, just follow these steps:

  1. Click anywhere on the item row (when you mouse over the item, the entire row will be highlighted).
  2. Click the Delete this item link.
  3. Click Save.

Sort a list

You can sort a list at any time by any of the columns you created in your list structure.

Please note: Only those with editing access to the site can sort a list, including individuals with collaborator or site owner access.

When you create your list, you can specify how list items are sorted. If you would like to specify how the list should sort be default, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Customize this list link next to the 'Add item' button on your list page.
  2. Under 'Sorting', select from the drop down how you would like to sort your list:
  1. If you would like to create a secondary sort, you can click the Add another sort by link. This will allow you to sort by another value. For example, if you first sort by 'Website Name' and then sort by 'Type,' your list will have all the genre's grouped together, then within each genre, the author names will be sorted in alphabetical order. You can continue to add additional sorting values by clicking the Add another sort by link.
  2. Click Save.

You can also easily sort your list from the list page itself, just follow these steps:

  1. Beneath each column is a Sort link. To sort by a particular column, click on Sort beneath the column name.
  2. Select from the drop down if you would like to sort by Ascending or Descending order.
  3. You can sort as many columns as you like. Google Sites will try and preserve the previous sort on the page. For example, if you first click Sort under author name, and then Sort under genre, the list will be sorted by genre, but then within each genre the list will be sorted by author. If you wish to have multiple levels of sort, perform the sort in 'reverse' order, as the last sort will be the sort that is applied to all the list items.

Delete a list

Deleting a list is the same as deleting the entire list page.

To delete a list, follow these steps:

  1. Click the More menu. (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode. Click Save or Cancel to exit.)
  2. Select Delete page from the drop down menu.
  3. Click Delete to confirm the removal of your list and list page.

If you accidentally deleted a list page or wish to recover a list page, follow these steps:

  1. On any page in your site, click the More menu. (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode. Click Save or Cancel to exit.)
  2. Select Manage site from the drop down menu.
  3. Recent site activity will already be selected. Search for the list page name within the list of changes.
  4. Click on the link of the page name. You will now be taken to a page that says the page has been deleted.
  5. To recover the list, click the Recover page button.

Now your list will reappear in your site, as if it had never been deleted. The URL and page information will remain the same as it was prior to removal.

Create a school portal page with a start page

Create a start page

A start page is a web page with a special area where each viewer of the page can add their own personalized set of gadgets.

The bottom half of the start page is similar in concept to an iGoogle page where a user can customize a page with gadgets. However, the top half of the start page is set by the page creator. In the top half, you can include content as you would any other standard web page, including images, gadgets, video, Google Docs, Calendars, etc.

For example, a start page is a useful page type for a 'portal' page, such as the homepage for all your students, your faculty, or your school. Let's look at a student portal page. When a student opens an Internet browser and goes to a website to get the latest information for school, you want to offer a page that has all the information they need - a calendar, useful links, the latest announcements, etc. To make the page more compelling and interesting to students (or faculty if you want to create a faculty portal), you could allow the students to customize the page so not only can they get all their school information in one place, but they can add their own information to make this page even more useful. Each student has the power to customize what they want to appear on their own page - perhaps there's a SAT/ACT word of the day gadget, or a weather gadget. They could also include a gadget with the latest news headlines, or even a gadget that has a search for a keyword in the news. This informational page then becomes a much more dynamic and customized page for the visitor (in this case, students).

The advantage of the start page is that it is not only a great way to engage your visitor so they can customize the page, but it also resides within your Google Site. The start page is just one of the pages in your site, so you can continue to add additional pages and gadgets and have it all available within the navigation. Thus your school site, built on Google Sites, could have all the information a student needs in addition to having the 'portal' start page.

Here's a quick summary of the advantages of a start page as a portal in a Google Site:

You can include as many start pages as you want within your site. However, you may want to limit the number of start pages as a user would have to customize every start page to have the gadgets and information they want. Multiple start pages would mean having to customize a page multiple times. If it is not necessary to have your visitor customize content, consider using just a standard web page to house your information.

To create a new start page, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the New page button.
  3. Click the 'Start Page' page type.
  4. Type the name of your new start page (e.g., School portal).
  5. Click Create.

You can now edit the top half of the page, which every visitor to the page can see. This part of the page behaves as a standard web page where you can add rich media like text, images, videos, embedded Google Docs, gadgets, and more.

In the example below, the red outlined area is the area where the site owners and collaborators can enter information. The blue outlined area is an area where individual students/teachers can personalize with gadgets. The blue outlined area will be unique for each user at your school, while the red outlined area will show the same information to everyone.

Edit the main content of a start page

The primary advantage of a start page is the ability to include important information on the page while also allowing users to customize the page with gadgets.

To edit the main content of a start page - the content that every user will see when visiting the page - follow these steps:

  1. Click the Edit page button. If you do not see the edit page button, you are already in editing mode.
  2. You can choose a layout as you would any other standard web page, or add any gadgets or media to the page.
  3. Start entering content into the main box (not the 'Personal gadgets' box).
  4. Click Save.

Your page now appears with the content you entered on top, with an area below that each individual user can customize with gadgets. In the example below, the red outlined area is the content that will always appear on the school portal page.

Customize start page with gadgets

Once you have created your 'start page,' visitors to your site can customize the bottom part of the page with gadgets of their choosing. These gadgets are associated with individual accounts, so no two start page personal areas are the same.

Gadgets are lightweight applications written in HTML and JavaScript. Review Chapter 8 for a list of school appropriate gadgets.

You can supply these instructions on your start page to help guide visitors:

Customize the bottom portion of this page with gadgets - like using an iGoogle page:

  1. Click the Add personal gadget link.
  2. Browse or search the gadget directory.
  3. To choose a gadget, click on the gadget from the list. This will show more details about the gadget. To confirm you want this gadget on your page, click Select. Otherwise, click Cancel to return to the gadget directory.
  4. The gadget now appears on your page. To edit the settings of the gadget, click the 'down' arrow in the top right corner of the gadget.
  1. To move gadgets on your page, click on the top title bar area of the gadget and drag to desired location.

Whitelist or blacklist gadgets for the start page

Google Apps administrators can use a open source project, the Feed Server Client Tool (FSCT) to control which gadgets appear in the Google Sites gadget directory for their domain. Before beginning, make sure you are running Java 1.6:

  1. Download and unzip FSCT from this page: http://code.google.com/p/google-feedserver/downloads/list
  2. In the FSCT directory:
  3. $ chmod +x fsct  // Makes the main program executable
  4. $ fsct shell    // Runs the program in shell mode        
  5. Next you will be prompted to login. Note: You must be a domain administrator to change the directory settings for you domain
  6. To see your options
  7. fsct> help      // Shows a list of all available commands

If you want to specifically ban certain gadgets from your directory you should use the Blacklist option. If you want to explicitly authorize every gadget in the directory then use a Whitelist. Here are the commands you would run if you only wanted the What's Popular gadget to appear in your directory:

fsct>

addWhiteListedGadget http://www.google.com/ig/modules/pop/pop.xml // The URL of the gadget spec

fsct> setPublicGadgetDirFilter WHITE_LIST

Please note: Because of caching, it can take a few hours for your changes to be reflected in the directory. During that time, you can use FSCT's dirPublicGadget command to get the up-to-date list of the gadgets that will show up in the directory. Or alternatively, you can add "?nocache=1" to the end of your Site URL to see an uncached version of the page.

Create and edit page templates for a site

Overview of page templates

Often times within a website you can find yourself creating a similar type of page over and over. For example, every time you post a new project, it has the same content and format. Or each time you create a new unit resource page, it has the same content and format.

Instead of copying and pasting pages, you can create a page template which will allow you to define default content as well as settings, like layout, that other collaborators or site owners can use when they create a new page. Page templates can save you time and add consistency to your site.

Examples of page types that could be used as a template:

Basically, you can use a page template when you have a common or standard format that you would like to apply to pages more than once in your site.

Once you create a page template, it will appear in the list of page types when you click to create a new page. The new page will then be pre-formatted to match your page template.

You can edit a page template at any time if you need to make changes.

Create a page template

A page template first starts out as a regular page you create in your site. Google Sites then copies that page and saves it as a template that can be used over and over again.

If you would like to create a template based on a new page, create the page as you any other page. The template can be for a standard web page, announcement page, list page, or start page. Add the content you would like to appear on the page.

If you have an existing page you would like to use as a template, navigate to that page.

To save your page as a template that you and other site collaborators or owners can use when creating new pages, follow these steps:

  1. On your page, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the More button and select Save as page template from the drop down.
  3. You can now enter the name for your template, a description of the template page. Only the template name is required, however.
  4. Click Save.

Now when you create a new page, you'll see all the templates you've saved. Any content that you had on your 'master' page is now included by default in the new template.

Edit a page template

Once you create a page template, you can modify the page as you would any other page within your site. However, please note that any changes made to your template will not affect pages that have already been created with the template. Pages do not dynamically update with changes to a template.

If you add or remove the content from the template after creating a page, the content won't be removed from the page. In other words, once a page is created by a template, it is not dynamically updated with the latest template changes.

For example, if you create a page template with an outline of a class unit and fill in the information for unit 1, then create a new page using the class unit template, the content for unit 1 will get included in the new page. But if you later remove the content for unit 1 from your class unit template, the content for unit 1 will still appear on the previously created page.

To edit a page template, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the More  button and select Manage site from the drop down menu.
  3. Click Page templates from under the Site content category.
  4. Here you will see a list of all the page templates you have created. Find the page template you would like to edit and click the template title link.
  5. Click the Edit page button to start editing the page template.
  1. Make your changes and then click Save.

Create a new page from template

After you have saved a page as a page template, the template will appear as an page type when you create a new page.

Now, when you click the New page button on your site, you should see your templates listed with the Google Sites page types. Select the template you would like to use and create the page as usual.

The new page will be pre-formatted and pre-filled with content from the template. You can still make any changes to the template as you would to any other page. The template is just meant to simplify any formatting or content creation process.

Manage page templates

You can manage all your page templates from your site settings. In the Page templates settings you can :

To manage your templates in site settings, follow these steps:

  1. In your site, make sure you are not editing a page (if you see the Save and Cancel button, you are in editing mode). If in editing mode, click Save or Cancel to exit.
  2. Click the More menu and select  Manage site from the drop down menu.
  3. Select Page templates from the Site content category.
  4. Modify the page template settings (options listed below) and click Save.

To choose which templates to be displayed in the page type selection while creating a new page, follow these steps:

  1. Select the checkbox next to each template and click the Show or Hide button. Next time you create a new page, you'll only see the templates you selected to be displayed.

To choose a template to be the default page type for all new pages (a site collaborator can always choose a different page type, but this will be the default if they do not make a selection), follow these steps:

  1. Select the checkbox next to the template you would like to be default and click the Set as default button.

To view revisions to a page template you or another site collaborator has created, follow these steps:

  1. Find the template you would like to view and click the number linked under the far right 'Revisions' column.
  2. This will take you to a version history of your page template. Click on any of the revisions to view, or if you wish to revert to an older version, click the (Revert to this version) link.

To create new templates, click the Create page template button.

Please note: Page template selections aren't visible to site viewers. Site viewers can view any page, but they cannot create new pages or edit the site settings, so they will never see the different page templates or page types. Only site collaborators or site owners will be able to see types of page templates.