Creating my own website

This is my first blogpost. Here, you can read more about how I started this website.

Welcome to my personal website! As this is my first blogpost, I’ll try to explain why and how I created this website.

How it started: "Cool, my own website!"

At the start of 2020, I came across a tutorial by Dan Quintana to create a personal website via GitHub. As I had just started learning how to use git and GitHub at OpenMR Benelux 2020, I thought: let's save this resource for later.

Of course, in practice this meant simply leaving the tab open on my phone for ages.

Some ages and 20 tabs later, I figured my phone battery would be much better off if I closed some tabs. The tutorial now moved from my phone to my never-ending to do list, where it risked complete neglect and finally, removal. However, in the summer, I joined a few projects where I got into GitHub again:

  1. I volunteered for website maintenance at the OHBM Hackathon 2020, which took a lot more time than I thought, but did result in major GitHub activity:
  2. I joined the organizing committee of OpenMR Benelux 2021, where we also started updating the website for the new 2021 edition
  3. Together with my colleague Eduard, we started a wiki for our lab (the SYNC lab) with all kinds of useful information surrounding our research. This also meant figuring out how to deploy text files onto a website

By the way, I am far from technically skilled. But I will always be a Dutch person, and therefore I will always take an opportunity to do something without spending money on it. So in these collaborations, I slowly and steadily learned a few different ways to host a website for free! My confidence grew that it may actually be something I could do. It couldn't be that hard, right?

I was wrong.

Actually building a website

As a total html-noob, I got to work. Translation: I got to googling. Where did I put all those handy links again?

When I finally found them, it seemed rather simple. I was lucky to already have all necessary software installed - I use Windows 10, which actually is a nightmare with all cool software project thingies. All I needed to do was choose a theme and fill the website with personal content, it seemed.

Ok, so that disappointed a little. I broke my navigation, removed critical html files and failed to include even simple hyperlinks in my text. Google truly became my best friend for literally everything. A small selection of search terms: "hyperlink html", "yml file error", "change background color html", "center text", etc.


Because I used my free time to make this website, I did not track how much time I spent on it. I can assure you, it is more like a couple of months than a couple of days. In Dutch, we say it is a process "van de lange adem" ("of the long breath"), basically meaning it is a long-term process.

So here it is! I'm still not entirely content with it, but: there is some basic functionality and some content. Google will remain my BFF though. I guess my main takeaway of this is that if a tutorial marks something as "easy", I will probably still need a couple of days to get it. Oh wel, live and learn (a lot).

Want to do this too?

If you only came here for yourself - who didn’t? - I also wrote a short introductory tutorial that shows how I got things to work. Hopefully, that will save you some precious time.