Copyright 2019 Scott Dorman
Danvers is a ready-to-use Jekyll template to help you create an awesome website quickly. Perfect for personal sites, blogs, or simple project websites. It's a somewhat simpler version of the beautiful-jekyll theme by Dean Attali that has been updated to work with Bootstrap 4.
Since Danvers is based on Bootstrap 4, it's designed to look great on both large and small screen devices. Load up your site on your phone or your gigantic iMac, and the site will work well on both, though it will look slightly different.
If you enjoy this theme, please consider supporting me for developing and maintaining this template.
Table of contents
- Build your website in 3 steps
- Add your own content
- YAML front matter ("parameters" for a page)
- FAQ and support
- Credits and contributions
- You need to have a GitHub account. If you don't have one, sign up here - it takes one minute. This is where your website will live - if you sign up with username
johnsmiththen your website will be
- It would be helpful to understand what Markdown is and how to write it. Markdown is just a way to take a piece of text and format it to look a little nicer. For example, this whole instruction set that you're reading is written in markdown - it's just text with some words being bold/larger/italicized/etc. I recommend taking 5 minutes to learn markdown with this amazingly easy yet useful tutorial.
Build your website in 3 steps
Getting started is literally as easy as 1-2-3
1. Fork this repository
(Assuming you are on this page and logged into GitHub) Fork this repository by clicking the Fork button on the top right corner. Forking means that you now copied this whole project and all the files into your account.
2. Rename the repository to
This will create a GitHub User page ready with the Danvers template that will be available at
https://<yourusername>.github.io within a couple minutes. To do this, click on Settings at the top (the cog icon) and there you'll have an option to rename.
3. Customize your website settings
_config.yml file to change all the settings to reflect your site. To edit the file, click on it and then click on the pencil icon (watch the video tutorial above if you're confused). The settings in the file are fairly self-explanatory and I added comments inside the file to help you further. Any line that begins with a pound sign (
#) is a comment, and the rest of the lines are actual settings.
After you save your changes to the config file (by clicking on Commit changes as the video tutorial shows), your website should be ready in a minute or two at
https://<yourusername>.github.io. Every time you make a change to any file, your website will get rebuilt and should be updated in about a minute or so.
You can now visit your shiny new website, which will be seeded with several sample blog posts and a couple other pages. Your website is at
<yourusername> with your user name). Do not add
www to the URL - it will not work!
If you want to customize the colors or anything else about the look of the template, you should start by taking a look at
_variables.scss. If you can't customize something there, then look at the full stylesheet.
Add your own content
To add pages to your site, you can either write a markdown file (
.md) or you can write an HTML file directly. It is much easier to write markdown than HTML, so I suggest you do that (use the tutorial I mentioned above if you need to learn markdown). You can look at some files on this site to get an idea of how to write markdown. To look at existing files, click on any file that ends in
.md, for example
aboutme.md. On the next page you can see some nicely formatted text (there is a word in bold, a link, bullet points), and if you click on the pencil icon to edit the file, you will see the markdown that generated the pretty text. Very easy!
In contrast, look at
index.html. That's how your write HTML - not as pretty. So stick with markdown if you don't know HTML.
Any file that you add inside the
_posts directory will be treated as a blog entry. You can look at the existing files there to get an idea of how to write blog posts. After you successfully add your own post, you can delete the existing files inside
_posts to remove the sample posts, as those are just demo posts to help you learn.
YAML front matter ("parameters" for a page)
In order to have your new pages use this template and not just be plain pages, you need to add YAML front matter to the top of each page. This is where you'll give each page some parameters that I made available, such as a title and subtitle. I'll go into more detail about what parameters are available later. If you don't want to use any parameters on your new page (this also means having no title), then use the empty YAML front matter:
If you want to use any parameters, write them between the two lines. For example, you can have this at the top of a page:
--- title: Contact me subtitle: Here you'll find all the ways to get in touch with me ---
Important takeaway: ALWAYS add the YAML front matter, which is two lines with three dashes, to EVERY page. If you have any parameters, they go between the two lines. If you don't include YAML then your file will not use the template.
These are the main parameters you can place inside a page's YAML front matter that Danvers supports.
|title||Page or blog post title|
|subtitle||Short description of page or blog post that goes under the title|
|tags||List of tags to categorize the post. Separate the tags with commas and place them inside square brackets. Example:
|banners||Include a large full-width image at the top of the page. You can either give the path to a single image (
|comments||If you want do add comments to a specific page, use
|show-avatar||If you have an avatar configured in the
|image||If you want to add a personalized image to your blog post that will show up next to the post's excerpt and on the post itself, use
|social-share||If you don't want to show buttons to share a blog post on social media, use
|layout||What type of page this is (default is
Customizations can be done in
config.yml to do things such as setting your name and site's description, setting your avatar to add a little image in the navigation bar, customizing what social media links to show in the footer, and more.
To change the colors and other style related things, start with
Allowing users to leave comments
If you want to enable comments on your site, Danvers supports either the Disqus comments plugin, Facebook comments or Utterances. If any of these are set in the configuration file, then all blog posts will have comments turned on by default. To turn off comments on a particular blog post, add
comments: false to the YAML front matter. If you want to add comments on the bottom of a non-blog page, add
comments: true to the YAML front matter.
To use Disqus, simply sign up to Disqus and add your Disqus shortname to the
disqus parameter in the
To use Facebook comments, create a Facebook app using Facebook developers, and add the Facebook App ID to the
fb_comment_id parameter in
To use Utterances, simply go to https://utteranc.es/ and follow the steps in the configuration section. Lastly, fill in your
repository in the Utterances section of
If you want to change the behavior of Utterances, such as how issues are mapped to blog posts, you may need to make additional changes to
Adding Google Analytics to track page views
Danvers lets you easily add Google Analytics to all your pages. This will let you track all sorts of information about visits to your website, such as how many times each page is viewed and where (geographically) your users come from. To add Google Analytics, simply sign up to Google Analytics to obtain your Google Tracking ID, and add this tracking ID to the
google_analytics parameter in
Sharing blog posts on social media
By default, all blog posts will have buttons at the bottom of the post to allow people to share the current page on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn. You can choose to enable/disable specific social media websites in the
_config.yml file. You can also turn off the social media buttons on specific blog posts using
social-share: false in the YAML front matter.
Danvers automatically generates a simple RSS feed of your blog posts, to allow others to subscribe to your posts. If you want to add a link to your RSS feed in the footer of every page, find the
rss: false line in
_config.yml and change it to
- post - To write a blog post, add a markdown or HTML file in the
_postsfolder. As long as you give it YAML front matter (the two lines of three dashes), it will automatically be rendered like a blog post. Look at the existing blog post files to see examples of how to use YAML parameters in blog posts.
- page - Any page outside the
_postsfolder that uses YAML front matter will have a very similar style to blog posts.
- If you want to completely bypass the template engine and just write your own HTML page, simply omit the YAML front matter. Only do this if you know how to write HTML!
If you want to include a caption with your banner images, you need to use a more complex format for the
banners front matter. Instead of just specifying an image (or list of images), it needs to look like
banners: - src: "path/to/image1.jpg" caption: "caption 1" - src: "path/to/image2.jpg" caption: "caption 2"
If you just want a single image with a caption this is also the format you need to use, and just include a single entry.
FAQ and support
This template was not made entirely from scratch. It is based on the beautiful-jekyll theme by Dean Attali.
If you find anything wrong or would like to contribute in any way, feel free to create a pull request or open an issue. Any comments are welcome!
If you do fork or clone this project to use as a template for your site, I would appreciate it if you keep the link in the footer to this project.
- If you have a project page and you want a custom 404 page, you must have a custom domain. See https://help.github.com/articles/custom-404-pages/. This means that if you have a regular User Page you can use the 404 page from this theme, but if it's a website for a specific repository, the 404 page will not be used.