News posts / Announcements pages

Click a graphic to enlarge it.

Creating News Posts

  1. Link to the announcements webpage
    Go to the Announcements webpage for site news: To create a post, you need to be on actual Announcements webpage for that embedded newsfeed. On the site homepage, you can click the "View more" link at the bottom of the recent posts summary box, or you can click the <SITENAME> News link in the upper left box of quick links.
  2. On the actual <SITENAME> News webpage, a box of recent posts is at the top and the various posts themselves follow that. 
  3. New post button
    Create a New post; do NOT edit the Announcements webpage itself: You DO NOT EDIT THE NEWS PAGE itself to create new posts. You only edit the news page to alter the embedded list of recent posts at the top, so do NOT click the pencil icon to edit the announcements page. Instead, click the New post button below the recent posts box. (That button is only visible to the webmaster when he or she is logged into Google Sites.)
  4. Retitle the post: An "Untitled Post" appears. Click in the title box to change "Untitled Post" to a meaningful title.
  5. Post layout
    Pick a layout: Then you will usually want to open the Layout menu near the top of the page and change from One column (simple) to something with columns that are easier for folks to read. I usually pick Two column which provides a top box across the full page width, below that two columns, and then another box across the full page width. 
  6. Sample post
    Enter the text and upload any images. I like the Two column layout's flexibility, usually only putting text in the left column and graphics in the right column. On a small screen, that means the graphics only show up below the text. You can also embed a graphic into text, and on a small screen it will usually show right below the nearest paragraph. Click the image with the bus to get a look at how I often use the various parts of the Two column layout.
  7. Save post
    Save your work: When finished, click the Save button at the top of the page. 
  8. Editing a saved draftDraft posts: If you get interrupted before you are finished creating a post, you can instead select the Save Draft button. The post won't be published, and you can re-open your draft later by returning to the Announcement page and clicking the link for the draft post that will appear near the New post button.
  9. Edit page settings
    You may want to turn off comments: After you have saved a post, you can optionally turn off some of the default options. I click on the gear icon at the top of the post, select Page settings from the menu.
  10. Page settings
    Then I UNcheck the Allow comments option and then click SAVE. While only authorized site editors can actually create comments, turning off Allow comments will remove two lines from the bottom of a post saying Comments followed by "You do not have permission to add comments." and I prefer that those not appear.


Editing the embedded Recent News boxes

You can alter how many recent posts appear on the homepage or the Site News Page. 
  1. Click the pencil icon at the top of the webpage to put it into edit mode. ut the page in edit mode
  2. Click on the Recent announcements placeholder box in the page.
  3. Click the gear icon on the pop-up menu by that box.
  4. On the Recent Announcements Properties box you can:
    1. Change which newsfeed is being embedded.
    2. Change the style of preview between Short snippetMedium snippet, or Full post. I always use Short snippet.
    3. Change the Number of posts to display. I sometimes adjust this number to get old outdated posts off the homepage, or increase it if I need a number of news items to remain visible. The default value is 5.
    4. Add an intro post to your announcements. This lets you put text or graphics at the top of embedded Recent News list. On the District Homepage, I put links to important long-term news items there so that they remain visible even after the original news post has scrolled off the embedded list of recent posts.
    5. Finally you can decide whether or not to have a border around the embedded list and how it is titled.

Formatting Tips for News Posts

One reason we use Google Sites is that it can reformat pages to improve their apperance on mobile devices. If you use columns on a page or post, on a small screen the leftmost column will appear first, then lower down will come the next column, and so forth. Any embedded images will usually appear the full width of a small screen, placed right below the nearest paragraph. Sometimes that is important to the flow of a post or page, but if not, putting any images in a second column delays them on a small screen until after all of the text in the first column is displayed.

Narrow columns are easier to read than full-page-width: Think about how traditional newspapers are laid out. Narrow columns are easier for people to track and follow than reading across the full width of a normal sheet of paper, let alone a wide newspaper. So I usually make a new webpage or post two or more columns, rather than one wide column.

Avoid scrolling, however: Readers don't like having to scroll down to read more of a post or page, however. So if confining text to a single column makes that column longer than your computer screen so you have to scroll down to read all of it, consider breaking the text up across two or more columns and putting any images at the bottom of the last column.

Other uses for Announcement Pages (e.g. FAQs)

Announcements pages can also be used to post other information. The sites use a separate Announcement page on each site, for example, for their Frequently Asked Questions. That allows the FAQs to be easily edited and also ensures that any edits, additions, or deletions automatically appear on the site's Information webpage by use of a Subpage listing from the Insert menu.

While it is a good idea to post infrequent or irregular documents and newsletters on a site's main news feed, for regularly published newsletters and other documents, my preference is to post them using File Cabinet pages. That creates an accessible and searchable archive of the periodicals, and you can embed a list of recent files on that File Cabinet page or a different page on the site, much like you can embed a list of recent posts. See the help page on Newsletters/File Cabinet ages for more details.

Creating a new Announcements page

  1. Page buttons
    Go to the webpage under which you want to create the new page. For example, if you want to create a new Announcements page for a Parent Support Group, you might want to go to your website's existing Information page.
  2. On that "parent" webpage, click the +file button at the top right, which is located between the pencil and the gear buttons.
  3. In the Name your page: box type the title of the new page. For example, Parent Support Group. Google Sites will automatically create a matching URL. You can click change URL if you don't care for the URL Google creates.
  4. Change the Select a template to use from the default of Web Page to Announcements.
  5. Under Select a location: change the setting as needed. The default puts it right at the top level of your site where you homepage is located. Usually you'll want to change that to Put page under Pagename where Pagename is the parent page you selected earlier. In this example, that would be Information. But you can put a page anywhere you like by selecting Choose a different location and navigating through the site structure to choose a parent page.
  6. Click the Create button.
  7. A blank Announcements page is created with the title you typed in earlier. You can just start creating posts, if you like, by clicking on the New post button.

Creating a new embedded recent posts listing

You probably will want to embed a list of recent posts at the top of this new page, and maybe on other pages of your website:

  1. While on your new Announcements page, click the pencil icon at the top right to enter edit mode.
  2. Recent announcements properties
    From the
    Insert menu, select Recent posts from the middle GADGETS column.
  3. In the Insert Recent Announcements dialog box, change the Show posts from:  setting to the Announcements page you just created. You will also see other Announcements pages already on your site, such as Frequently Asked Questions and site News.
  4. Pick a Post length. I always use Short snippet.
  5. Click to put a checkmark in the box beside Include thumbnail of first image in post. This will make your recent posts list more eye-catching and informative if you are careful to always include a meaningful image with each post.
  6. Choose the Number of posts to display:, which defaults to 5. You may want to change this to fewer posts for infrequently updated pages, or to more for pages with lots of posts.
  7. If you want to put something above the list of recent posts, click on Add an intro post to your announcements. A dialog box will expand letting you customize text and images. I use this feature on the district website to show important posts that I want to remain visible long after the original post has scrolled off the recent posts listing. I make a bulleted list of titles for those important posts and highlight each entry and click on the chain link icon above the entry box to link each title to a particular post, navigating through the Sites pages to find the appropriate one in the Announcements listing.
  8. Click to check on or off the border and title for the new recent posts box. I typically leave the border on and change the title to something more specific than the default Recent Announcements, such as Recent Parent Support Group News.
  9. Click the SAVE button when you are done.
  10. Back on the Announcement page, you will see a blank Recent announcements box has appeared. Click the Save button at the top right of the page to finish up.
You should now see a listing of recent posts above the various posts for this new Announcements page. You can go through the above steps to create recent posts boxes on other pages on the website if needed.

Subpages (1): Sample news page
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