Google Sites: Great for Clinician-Educators Who Want to Build a Website in Two Hours

This post offers a few tools one can use at the University of Michigan (UM) Medical School and UMHS to build a website, focusing on Google Site resources.

1. Introduction

Building a web site with Google Site is relatively easy and does not require any knowledge of HTML coding. Remember you can not put ePHI (electronic private health information) on a Google Site.

As a clinician-educator, sometimes you want to create a space - a website for sharing and for collaborating on resources related to education or ongoing projects. In one-two hours you can build a simple website and add your favorite links.

2. Build a Google Site (Easier)

The effort needed to build a site is low and results are easy to see quickly. You can learn to build a site in one hour.

Why Google Sites?

  • It's intuitive, hard to break or corrupt the site
  • You can start on your own and don't need IT support
  • It's free

Start with these resources for the UM and UMHS community

Learn more at Google

Learn even more

3. Build a WordPress or Drupal Site (Harder)

The cost varies based on how much you will do and how much the web designer you hire will do. UM IT will starts the process with an installation of either WordPress (WP) or Drupal.

  • Drupal is the preferred hosting option.
  • Learn more about installation and cost  on the UM Hosting Platform site.
  • Cost $500/ year to maintain the site (as of June 2016).
  • The choice between WP and Drupal depends on your goals for the site, the time you are willing to invest in building and maintaining content, and your budget.

4. Keeping Your Site Alive: Adding Content

Content is King

The little gem of a quote (don't know who said it first) is true. Adding quality content to your website is important and takes more time than you think.

5. My Own Journey Learning to Build Websites

In 2007 I started using Dreamweaver and learned a fair bit of HTML coding (2007) to build a websites 'from scratch'. That approach did not work out (for many reasons), so I evolved to using a Content Management System (CMS).

If you Google search the term options of a Content Management System, you will find many options.  I explored these options, talked to folks in the business and met designers. After a winding and longer than expected odyssey that included experimenting with Google Sites, Drupal and  WordPress (WP), I chose WP.  The site you are now using is a WP site.

6. Summary

If you want to get a site up and running quickly, I would suggest you begin with a Google Site because of simplicity and availability of helpful resources.

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Created and maintained by Raf Rizk, MD | Division of Gastroenterology | Michigan Medicine

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