I knew I had to move away from Wordpress.com at some point, but it was too convenent to bother making the switch. The annual renewal was coming around quickly and $100 was not going to fly this year so I started to look at Static Site Generators again.

Having previously used Pelican before, I knew how good they could be but also what a pain they could make out of the blogging workflow.

Pelican required me to run its scripts to generate the site, and I still had to find somewhere to host the static HTML files. Not a big deal granted, but it meant having to SSH into a VPS whenever I wanted to change something. It meant saving $100 per year which was totally worth the trade offs for me.

I started the move back to Pelican again last month, but came across several issues with my converted Markdown posts and began to search for an alternative as Pelican was choking on the files without indicating which files were causing the problem. Jekyll is that alternative which is powering the site you are reading now.

I am using GitHub pages to host now and fundamentally that means I write my post in markdown using whatever editing I want, commit it to the master branch of my repository and Github will then generate and publish my pages for me. It’s also completely free.

Publishing a blog post with Github Pages

Nothing to host, nothing to maintain, nothing to worry about. I can blog from my phone, my chromebook, or the github web interface if it really came to it.

I started with the Jekyll-Now base, but moved onto the Poole/Hyde theme. I’ve spent the last week customising the theme to my liking. So far I’ve added the following items with more planned for the future. If you want to see how any of this has been done, then check out my github repository.

  • Font Awesome icons for metadata and social links
  • Post image tags that show up on index (and soon archive) pages. These can be set per post, otherwise they will default to a category level image
  • OG Graph tags for prettier sharing on Twitter and Facebook
  • A scrollable version of my travel map
  • Fix /archives/ - this is currently rendering particularly badly!

I am super happy with the results, and now it’s just the SUPER FUN task of migrating over one hundred more posts as I get the time.