Hosting on Github-Pages

2 minute read

The first project that I needed to tackle was setting up this site. I wanted to set up a quick blog site that I could share some of my data analytics work. I’ve never created a blog before, but wanted somewhere to keep track of some ideas and projects I am working on. While setting it up I wrote down a few requirements for the site:

  1. Needs to be easy to update. I’m not a developer, I don’t want to write HTML and CSS.
  2. Needs to be hosted. I didn’t want to manage OS or bandwidth.
  3. Needs to be inexpensive. I didn’t want to spend much money on it.
  4. Don’t want any ads. Even if it is free, I don’t want someone else’s ads next to my ideas.
  5. Needs to be easy to share files and keep them up-to-date.

I started by looking at putting my project files on GitHub when I discovered that they have a static site hosting service called GitHub Pages. GitHub Pages is designed to host your personal, organization, or project pages directly from a GitHub repository.

Github Pages allows you to build web pages with Jekyll. Jekyll is a simple, blog-aware, static site generator. It takes a template directory containing raw text files in various formats, runs it through a converter (like Markdown) and their Liquid renderer, and spits out a complete, ready-to-publish static website suitable for serving with your favorite web server. Jekyll is the engine behind GitHub Pages, which means you can use Jekyll to host your project’s page, blog, or website from GitHub’s servers for free. How cool is that?

My site is using a template called ‘minimal mistakes’. You can view it on my public github account. Minimal Mistakes is a flexible two-column Jekyll theme. As the name implies — styling is purposely minimalistic to be enhanced and customized.

Here are the steps to create the site:

1. Create a GitHub repository named username.github.io, where username is your username (or organization name) on GitHub. If the first part of the repository doesn’t exactly match your Github username, it won’t work.

2. Go to the Settings for the new repositry and choose a Jekyll theme. GitHub provides some basic themes you can use to start. Once the initial site is setup I used the git command line tools to copy my site to my laptop and make changes, including adding a new theme called Minimal Mistakes.

3. There is a QuickStart Guide from Minimal Mistakes on how to integrate the the Jekyll template.

4. Now the site is on my laptop and setup on GitHub. I can use the CLI git commands to make changes and update the site whenever I want.

I’m fairly new at using git and Jekyll, but it is easy to get started. I was happy to get the site up so quickly and it covers all of my initial requirements.

Going forward I would like to set up separate pages for my projects and link them together. I also hope to try different themes and get the site pointed to my logadvisor.com domain.