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Making your own Jekyll site on Github

Date published: 2016-10-04

Setting up your site

I basically followed Jonathan McGlone’s guide to Creating and Hosting a Personal Site on GitHub. Setting up the project starts at “step 7”. It also has some very helpful links on what to do after you finish the guide.

I then proceeded to set up Jekyll locally so I could test. You can use jekyll build -watch and jekyll serve and then you can view your site at localhost:4000 Jekyll usage documentation

Setting up locally

I wanted to be able to work on my site locally without the internet. You can follow these installation instructions to set up Jekyll locally.

I ran into a few issues setting up jekyll locally on OSX 10.11.6. Got an error when I was trying to do sudo rem install jekyll.

ERROR:  Error installing jekyll:
ERROR: Failed to build gem native extension.

What ended up saving me was this github issue:gem install jekyll failed on Mac OS X 10.11 I used an answer from fulldecent commented on Sep 22, 2015

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
brew install ruby
sudo gem install jekyll

Maybe you don’t have to use sudo but I haven’t figured that one out. This checklist might also help a bit (from the same issue)…

There is also a checklist that might be helpful from ghost commented on Sep 25, 2015

  • Install the Xcode command line utilities xcode-select –install
  • Install Homebrew (instructions at
  • Modify $PATH to use Homebrew export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH
  • Modify $PATH for GUI apps launchctl setenv PATH “/usr/local/bin:$PATH”
  • Install the latest Ruby brew install ruby
  • Install the latest Jekyll gem install jekyll

Markup syntax

In order to use Github markup syntax put this in _config.yml

markdown: kramdown
  input: GFM
  syntax_highlighter: rouge

If you want nice colored syntax higlighting in your markdown I recommend using Prism

Then you can do things like

def this_stupid_function(a):
    number = 12
    return True

Choosing a theme for your site

There are multiple themes online that you can look at. You can find a collection of them at or

Example of the themes:

I based my site originally off of devAid by Xiaoying Riley. It was thought as a Bootstrap theme designed to help developers promote their personal projects

HTTPS and making your site faster

If you want to be able to serve your domain through a custom domain I recommend setting up Https through Cloudflare

While looking through Jekyll themes I came across this I am Jekyll God post by Garth Braithwaite. They had been using Jekyll and GitHub Pages to host The interesting thing was they had managed to make their Jekyll site incredibly fast. (Reaching a stagering Google PageSpeed Insights score of 96)

So I followed their lead and the score actually turned out to be 97 for mobile and 98 on desktop. I recommend you do the same. It basically shows you how to minify your HTML and SASS on your Github page.



I only use SVG images on this site so they can easily scale them and make them interactive. I just place them in my _include file and include them where needed.

I use SVGO to delete metadata from SVG files.

It’s very easy to use once it’s set up. If you have a file named tmp.svg just write the following in your terminal svgo tmp.svg or if you want the minified version to be saved as another filename like tmp.min.svg use svgo tmp.svg tmp.min.svg

Static files

If you use images on your site always remember to minimize them. If you’re using a Mac you can use something like ImageOptim to get rid of Metadata for images and minify them.

Jekyll has a place for Static files like images under _static_files Jekyll static files documentation


If you want to generate favicons for your site you can use Faveicon-generator. Just remember to minimize them with something like ImageOptim when you’re done.

A few other things to note on Jekyll sites.

I recommend reading the Jekyll documentation Remember to restart always your site after you add something to your _config.yml

Jekyll also uses a templating language called Liquid. It might be good to check out the Liquid documentation

  • Looping in Liquid

  • Collections: I don’t always want to add dates to my posts. In that case you might be looking for Collections. Add collections to your site

  • Data files: If you don’t want to work in multiple files, and have short lists and properties. You can use Data files (default placement is under _data) Add data files to your site

  • Drafts: If you’ve written a post, but aren’t ready to publish it. You can put it in your drafts so that you can preview it later. Drafts documentation