Painfully Simple Jekyll Sites

2 minute read

Everybody wants to have a website. A lot less people realize how easy it is to get started. Lucky you, I’m going to show you exactly how you can get started with a live website in less than 10 minutes - for free!

We’re going to build our site using GitHub Pages. GitHub harnesses the power of Jekyll to turn markdown documents into lovely websites.

Create a New Repository on GitHub

If you don’t have an account sign up for free.

Once you have an account, go back to the GitHub landing page, click on the (+) dropdown and select New repository.

new repo

Add a repository title, optional description, and make sure you check the box next to ‘Initialize this repository with a README’.

repo details

Generate Your Site

After your repository is created, go to the Settings tab and scroll down to the GitHub Pages section.

Here, you turn on GitHub Pages by selecting the branch you want GitHub to build your site from. We want to build our site from our repository’s master branch.

settings

This will prompt GitHub to start building your site. At the top of the GitHub Pages section you’ll see the url GitHub will publish your site to.

published url

If you preview the site now, it will just be a prettified-version of your README. This is the essence of the Jekyll blog. But we want our site to have a bit more pizzaz, so we’re going to pick a theme.

Pick A Theme

Click on Choose a theme button under the Theme Chooser section.

Here, we can select any theme for our site. Most built-in Jekyll themes in GitHub Pages offer us a simple UI boost for our README, so choose whichever one you like the best. For my basic site I’m picking the Minimal theme.

theme chooser

Now we can check out our site (from that link in the Settings page). Here’s what mine looks like.

generated site

Update Site Content

The Minimal theme is just that - minimal. All you have to do to update your site content is update your README.md file.

I’m just going to add a couple of my own posts to my ‘blog’.

update readme

When you’re done updating, click on the Commit changes button to save your updates. Your changes should be updated almost immediately. Here’s what mine look like.

updated site

And that’s pretty much it! You have a live site and blank slate for your updates!

What’s Next?

You just published a site in less than 10 minutes! But we just scratched the surface of the possibilities of Jekyll and GitHub Pages. Here’s some resources to get you on to your next site.

Jekyll Docs

Themes

I like themes from CloudCannon which are all available on their GitHub profile.

If you like my theme, check it out here. Fair warning - this theme is deprecated.