Thoughts of a Poindexter

Articles about topics that interest me as I progress through my career as a Back End Engineer

Setting Up My Git Hub Page/Jekyll Site

As a back end engineer, it’s rare that I mosey into the land of front end adventures, but I wanted to give it a whirl for this blog site. I wanted something relatively easy to maintain, so I decided to go with a Github Pages / Jekyll combo . After completing my site, I wanted to complete a guide to help you do the same.

Setup Your Blog Repository In Github

  1. Log into your Github account
  2. On your homepage, there will be a New Repository button, click it
  3. For the repository name, input where the username is your Github username
    • It is very important for the username portion to match your username exactly. Otherwise, Github Pages will not work
  4. Fill out the remainder of the form as you’d like, and click Create repository
  5. Once created, your newly created repository will have a list of tabs (Code, Issues, Pull Requests, etc).Select the Settings tab
  6. Navigate down to the Github Pages section, and click the Change Theme button
  7. Select the theme that strikes your fancy, and commit

Locally Clone The Newly Created Repo

  1. Within your browser, click into your new blog repo
  2. Along the right side, there will be a Clone or download button, click it
  3. Make sure the the title of the pop-up is Clone with HTTPS. If it is not, click the Use HTTPS hyperlink in the upper right hand corner of the pop up
  4. Copy the URL, and go back to your terminal
  5. Navigate to the directory you’d like the repo to exist
  6. Type git clone… (the full URL will be the one you just copied)

Add Jekyll dependencies on your local

  1. Change directories into your recently cloned repo
  2. Check if you have a Gemfile within your directory by typing ls into your terminal
  3. Do the following:
    • vim Gemfile (If the file already exists, this will simply open the file. If the file does not exist, it will create it, and also allow you to enter text)
    • Type a lowercase i to enter Vim’s insert mode
    • Copy the two lines into the file:

source ‘’

gem ‘github-pages’, group: :jekyll_plugins

Install Jekyll and its dependencies:

  1. bundle install
    • If you recently updated your Mac to High Sierra, and receive an error on any gem install (nokogiri, for example), try xcode-select --install
  2. In the future, you can keep your bundle updated by running a simple bundle update
  3. Run your site locally: bundle exec jekyll serve
  4. View your site: http://localhost:4000

Overall Words of Wisdom

Directory structure is key within Jekyll, so you’ll have to be mindful of this as you make your changes. If you’re ever unsure, you can always reference the Jekyll documentation. In my short time of working with Jekyll and Github Pages, the _layouts and _posts folders have been most useful for me. Within my _layouts folder, I have two html files: one that formats my welcome page and the other that formats my posts. If you want a layout to be your site’s default layout (say for your site’s initial page), simply name it default.html. The name will allow Jekyll to pick this layout up as your default layout. The _posts folder contains markdown files of my writings. If markdown confuses you, there is plenty of solid documentation on the web.

When writing a post, make sure that you follow Jekyll’s rules for naming your files and also include the YAML Front Matter at the start of every post.

Any changes that you try to make within the folder that’s name equals your Jekyll theme (mine is Architect), it will be overwritten. Any modifications you’d like to make should be executed with either an index file, or by creating new layouts in the _layouts folder.

Execute your first push!

  1. Once you’ve made your desired changes, type the following commands into your terminal:

git add -a

git commit -a -m “first push”

git push