Here’s a quick guide on how I set up my Jekyll site and hosted it using GitHub Pages. I’ll walk you through the entire process step by step, covering everything from the basics to creating your first posts and introducing git (I’ll expand on git in a future post).

Step 1: Consult Jekyll Documentation and Install Necessary Packages

The initial step is to review the Jekyll documentation. Depending on your operating system - Windows, Mac, or Linux - you’ll need to follow the corresponding instructions. Personally, I’ve worked with macOS and Ubuntu, so I’m more familiar with them. The setup is slightly different for each system, but the Jekyll Docs explain everything you need to know.

Although you can install Jekyll on Windows, my experience found it to be less smooth compared to using it on macOS or Ubuntu. Interestingly, most tools I use, like Github and VSCode, are Microsoft products.

To ensure everything is correctly set up, check the versions of the required tools with these commands:

ruby -v
gem -v
jekyll -v
bundler -v
git -v

Step 2: Create a New Jekyll Site

Now, let’s scaffold a new Jekyll site. I typically store my projects in a directory called Development, so let’s navigate there and create the site:

cd ~/Development
jekyll new test-blog
cd test-blog
bundle exec jekyll serve

Open your browser and type to see your new site, sporting the minimalist Minima theme. Customization details can wait; this guide focuses on getting you started.

Step 3: Initialize a git Repository and Push to Github

Your site is ready; now let’s manage it with git and host it on Github Pages. If git is new to you, follow this first-time git setup guide and sign up on if needed.

Once set up, use these commands to push your repository to Github:

git init
git add .
git commit -m "First commit"
git status

On Github, create a new repository with the same name as your local project (e.g., test-blog) and follow the provided commands to push:

git remote add origin
git branch -M main
git push -u origin main

Since Github Pages requires a gh-pages branch, create and push it:

git checkout -b gh-pages
git add .
git commit -m "Created gh-pages branch"
git push --set-upstream origin gh-pages
git status

Verify the gh-pages branch on Github, and your site should now be live!

Step 4: Customize Config File and Add Posts

Your Jekyll project with Github Pages is functional. Now, it’s time to configure the site and add posts.

Open the _config.yml file to make the necessary updates. Here’s an overview:

Blog Title

title: TechSnazzy Blog


description: >-
  Write any description you want here

Base URL

baseurl: 'test-blog'

Website URL

url: ''

To toggle between local and live testing, use these configurations:

# Local
baseurl: ''
url: ''
# GitHub
# baseurl: "sean-blog"
# url: ""

Next, you’ll need content. Create posts in markdown in the _posts directory following this format: Include front matter for layout, title, date, categories, author, and metadata.

Here’s a post example:

layout: post
title: 'This post demonstrates post content styles'
date: 2023-07-31 10:04:00 -0700
categories: junk
  - Bart Simpson
  - Nelson Mandela Muntz
meta: 'Springfield'

## Some great heading

Lorem ipsum...

Once you’re done, push your changes, and your Jekyll site is ready for visitors. Happy blogging!