A Farewell to Google Sites

There are different ways one can go about building a website, and the choice of methods should depend on the nature and purpose of the website. Years ago, I created the website for CathMarshall.com using Google Sites, and it was a great choice at the time. As an early adopter of Google Apps, I was able to use Google Sites with my own domain and enjoy the synergy between Google Sites and other Google services.

In addition to providing free website hosting with ample storage, Google Sites allowed me to quickly add new content that would automatically be added to a navigation menu. I could do basic text formatting using a visual editor and then drop into an HTML editor for further tweaking. I could edit and then upload photos using (now defunct) Picasa, make a slideshow, then insert that into a page with a few clicks. I could select from a library of widgets to enhance my website — and if I needed something special, I could create a widget of my own.What I discovered over the years, however, is that Google Sites tended to require more monitoring and more unexpected maintenance than the websites I created using other methods.

People often assume that, once a website is working, it will continue to work unless you forget to pay your hosting fees or become the victim of hackers. In truth, websites depend on various technologies that continue to move forward. In some cases, those technologies are managed to provide maximum backward compatibility. In other cases, not so much. Indeed, there’s often a tradeoff between making big advances and maintaining backward compatibility.

So, for what I expect are good business reasons, Google has decided to discontinue the “classic” version of Google Sites that I enjoyed using for many years. That presented me with the choice of rebuilding my website with the “new” Google Sites vs. using some other method. For reasons I may explain some other time, I decided to rebuild this website using WordPress.