4 minute read

This is a very quick walkthrough of how I built this website in an afternoon using the Minimal Mistakes template for Jekyll. Read this article to learn more!

I have summarized the steps to the bare minimum you need to get started with your own website. For more detailed/additional information you can always consult the resources section below.

For this project I used a machine running MacOs Catalina. These steps may or may not work depending on your Operating System and version.

Minimal steps I took:

I. Install Prerequisites

I installed the Jekyll prerequisites for MacOs (reproduced below). You can also look at the official prerequisites documentation here.

## Install xcode if you haven't
xcode-select --install

# You will need homebrew
/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)"

# Use homebrew to install Ruby (you may need to restart your terminal)
brew install ruby

# Add the following line to your .zshrc or your .bash_profile

# Relaunch your terminal or source it:
source ~/.zshrc # For Zsh
source ~/.bash_profile # for Bash

II. Install Jekyll and bundler gems

gem install --user-install bundler jekyll

## Get your Ruby version:
ruby --version  # You will get something like 2.7.3

# Add the following line to your .zshrc or your .bash_profile
# BUT replace the X.X with the first two digits of your ruby version
PATH="$HOME/.gem/ruby/X.X.0/bin:$PATH" # Example for version 2.7.3: PATH="$HOME/.gem/ruby/2.7.0/bin:$PATH"

III. Create a GitHub repo with the Minimal Mistakes theme starter

  1. I clicked on the Minimal Mistakes theme starter on GitHub as my starting point. I named my repository with my user name damian-romero and the suffix .github.io. This will:
    • Generate a personal website hosted on GitHub (GitHub pages) with the contents of your repository as username.github.io.
    • Allow you to work and test locally on your computer before you push any changes to your website.
    • The theme starter repo that you click on already contains the correctly generated Gemfile that you need to use for GitHub pages, so I did not need to follow the instructions for using the Minimal Mistakes as a remote theme.

* Note: If you do not have a GitHub account, go to the resources section and follow the link. You will need to learn how to use Git as well.

IV. Test your site locally

You can test your site on your computer before you push it to your remote.

bundle exec jekyll serve

# Go to on your browser and look at your website
# Press ctrl + c to quit at any time

Note that, if you get an error saying ERROR '/favicon.ico' not found, it may mean you need to run the above command from the root directory of your git repository.

V. Start adding content

  1. In the sub-directory _pages you can add any markdown on html pages you want. Then you can display them by adding them to the _data/navigation.yml file. For instance, at the top of my page you can see Home, About, etc. These are markdown or html files that are listed in _data/navigation.yml as below:
  - title: "Home"
    url: https://d-romero.com/
  - title: "About"
    url: /about/
  - title: "Portfolio"
    url: /portfolio/
  - title: "MCEC"
    url: /mcec_project/
  - title: "News"
    url: /news/
  1. Play around with your _config.yml file.
    • The _config.yml file is not loaded dynamically as the other contents of your website so you will need to run bundle exec jekyll serve every time you make a change
    • Look for inspiration from the full _config.yml file in the Minimal Mistakes GitHub repo: https://github.com/mmistakes/minimal-mistakes/blob/master/_config.yml
  2. Add posts as markdown files to your _posts. Posts have a specific structure. For an example look at my first posts here
  3. Further develop your site. You can follow the Minimal Mistakes customization documentation here.

VI. Push to remote

Once you are happy with your progress, follow the normal Git/GitHub steps to push to remote. Make sure you are not pushing any confidential information

git add -A
git commit -m 'First commit'
git push

VII. Visit your site

open https://username.github.io # replace 'username' with your user name

VIII. Custom domain

Because I wanted to have my custom domain instead of using https://damian-romero.github.io, I did the following (I linked a YouTube video tutorial on how to set up your custom domain in the references section, although it was a bit outdated):

  1. I got a Google domain for $12 USD per year.
  2. I created a text file inside my repository called CNAME (no file extension). The only content in this file is the domain for my website (d-romero.com)
    cd my/repo/directory
    touch CNAME
    echo d-romero.com >> CNAME
  3. Once I had my domain, I had to point my site to GitHub:
    • I went to My domains on the side bar.
    • I clicked on the domain I wanted to use (I’ve got several, but for this case I wanted to use d-romero.com)
    • I clicked on the the DNS link on the side bar.
    • I scrolled down to Custom resource records.
    • I followed the official GitHub documentation and created an “A” record with the following IP addresses:
    • I created an additional record as such:
      • www CNAME 1h damian-romero.github.io

The result looks like this:


IX That is it!

You’ve made it. Now you’re the proud owner of your personal website.


You can check out my website repository here

Jump higher!

- Damian