I’ve always found well-written essays particularly fascinating, to the point that I’ve decided to experiment on finding a method to convey messages effectively that suits me. In order to feel committed, I purchased a domain on Google Domains (took 5 minutes in total and €15) and hosted this basic website. I have always used R at work and I am planning to transition from sales/acc. management roles to more analytical ones, This space will be used to collect gotchas and observations I find interesting through this path. Landing on Hugo as a blogging platform has been somewhat of a natural decision:

  • stupidly easy to use (just choose a theme and write your posts in markdown, tweaking theme’s .css file as needed)
  • deployed on github and hosted for free on netlify (5 minutes in total)
  • good syntax highlighting: this will be crucial as I’ll be mainly writing about R and analytics in general

Getting started

Setting everything up has taken an hour at most. First of all, purchase a domain from whatever registrar you choose (I’ve chosen Google Domains to avoid registering and verifying a new account). Below the steps I’ve followed to install hugo on my Linux machine (I went for the ‘longish’ route as sudo apt-get install hugo was installing an old version which gave problem with the theme I chose). All the steps listed below are explained at length on Hugo docs.

To follow the steps above you need to download the right tarfile from your system from Hugo’s github repo

# Move downloaded tarball and extract it 
sudo mv ~/Donwloads/hugo_0.62.2_Linux-64bit.tar.gz /usr/local/bin/
sudo tar -xvzf /usr/local/bin/hugo_0.62.2_Linux-64bit.tar.gz

# Check everything has worked
➜  ~ hugo version
Hugo Static Site Generator v0.62.2-83E50184 linux/amd64 BuildDate: 2020-01-05T18:51:38Z

Now we can initialise our website and choose a theme (I went for hugo-notepadium for its simplicity):

# Create new website
cd ~/code
hugo new site your_website_name

# Add hugo theme
cd your_website_name
git init
git submodule add https://github.com/cntrump/hugo-notepadium themes/hugo-notepadium

# Push your website to a github repo
git remote add origin https://github.com/your-username/your-repo.git
git push -u origin master

We can check everything has worked properly by launching our website locally with hugo server.
Depending on your theme, you can customize your website by editing fields in config.toml file, this allows to setup things like:

  • general theme appearance
  • title and website base url
  • Google Analytics tracking-ID

Creating content in Hugo is as simple as launching hugo new my_first_post.md and editing the newly created markdown file.


I am currently experimenting with GCP, but the steps to host a simple static website in a cloud Storage Bucket were kind of overwhelming for a beginner (putting a load balancer in front of the bucket to get https certificates working). Because of that, I’ve decided to opt for netlify’s free plan instead. Hosting a website is as simple as:

  • Opening an account
  • Pointing to the github repo created above steps
  • Setting up a custom domain by pointing to the right DNS. In my case this involved setting up the following entries in Google Domains settings (under DNS tab):
Name Type TTL Data
@ A 1H
www CNAME 1H your_netlify_project_code

It took around ~24h for the settings to propagate, but after that everything will be up and running.