You can have your own personal website for free without having to pay any hosting services monthly or annualy. The blog that you are reading the content is hosted in github pages.
Create a Github account
The first thing that I had to do was to have a Github account. Github has become a big community of developers that share their code with other people for free, it’s a social network for developers and all the people that want to become involved in the world of software development. But even if you are not a developer you can take advantage of it and create a blog like the one that you are reading.
Fork a repository
Once you have created a Github account you have to fork a repository. Fork a repository means to create a copy of a project that somebody else has created before and you want to continue from the point that this person is working at that moment.
Is like if you want to continue a book that another person has started, you create a copy of his book and you start to write your own chapters. At this moment you become the writer of a new book based on the original book. You can modify a chapter that the original author has written, add more chapters or delete one that you don’t like. It’s up to you.
Jekyll is a simple blog aware, static site generator that allows you to create a blog/website without using a database. I could have started from scratch but I wanted to use the work in jekyll-now that eases the addition of things like google analytics or disqus that I wanted to add in my blog.
Adding content to your blog
When talking about committing in software development it is like writting something into your new book. You write a section or a chapter and then you commit to it and after that you publish this new content in your book (repository).
When a developer commits code he is writing a chapter, section of his book. A good practise is to commit something meaningful for other people that will be able to see what you have commited. They should be able to understand your changes without asking you what have you written. Another helpful thing of a commit is to write a good comment of the commit, with the purpose of the changes that you are uploading to your book. At the end of the chapter/book if you have done meaningful commits you will have a comprehensive list of changes that will talk by themselves. You can check out the best practises related to a commit in the following link.
If you don’t want to download the repository and do the job in your computer without installing anything you can do it committing directly to Github. You will end up with a lot of commits but you don’t have to configure nothing extra in your computer (I prefer to do it locally first because this way I can see how everything fits, specially if you want to add some resources like images, and also you have less commits in your repository).
Adding a new post to your blog in Jekyll is as easy as adding a new file in the
_posts directory of your new repository. You should customize other things like your links to other websites and your
about section where you present yourself to your readers.
Urls of your new blog
After forking the original repository I had it created in https://github.com/alexmanrique/blog and also ready and available to read for people in https://alexmanrique.github.io/blog where you are able to access to blog index with a list of posts.
So, everytime that you create a new repository in github you will have it available to modify files in
https://github.com/username/repository_name and available for reading in
Bonus - Changing the url of your blog
After forking the repository I had access to it in https://alexmanrique.github.io/blog but I wanted that my blog appeared in http://www.alexmanrique.com/blog because I have my resume in this domain and I wanted to group everything in the same place.
Then what I did was to add a CNAME file in the root directory of my project with
www.alexmanrique.com and also change the property
base_url:/blog in the
_config.yml configuration file.
It’s not really difficult to start your own blog if you know the tools to do it. You don’t have to pay to have it up and running and you can add content to it simply by adding content to the an specific folder of a repository created in Github continuing “the book” that another person has started before you. If you need help creating your blog send me an email or contact me in twitter at https://twitter.com/amanrique