Same Content, New Look

data science programming R R Studio

My site has a brand new look.

Danielle Brantley

When I first decided to start my Data Sci Dani blog, I did a lot of research into website builders in an effort to find one that would be easiest to use. After doing much research, I decided on WordPress because I was most familiar with it, having previously blogged on the platform and used it for school. It was also cheaper than what I had previously used.

WordPress was a great option for me for a while but I longed to cut costs further. At the time I was not working and with no money coming in, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep it up for long. I remembered the very first website I made many years ago and I recalled that it was a lot less expensive than than using a CMS service. I was looking for a way to build a website that was simple and didn’t have a lot of bells and whistles.

I did some preliminary research and came across Hugo and Github Pages. I had heard a bit about Github Pages but not Hugo so I decided to take to Twitter:

I got a few responses about Jekyll and Github Pages but it looked a bit too complex for me. Several folks suggested Hugo and Blogdown but I was overwhelmed by the number of themes to choose from. Then I recieved a reply by Shannon Pileggi better known as PipingHotData on Twitter. She shared a bit about her experience with blogdown before sharing that she now uses distill, with a link to the distill documentation. I had never heard of distill so I checked out the documentation. As I read the documentation, I had an aha moment. This was exactly what I was looking for.

So one Saturday morning, I looked up distill on YouTube and came across this distill tutorial by Matt Crump:

Blogging with R and Github Using Distill

I followed his video step-by-step and I was surprised by how easily and how quickly I was able to build a distill blog.

The most time-consuming part of building the site at this point was bringing all my content from WordPress to this new distill site. I actually just copied and pasted my posts from WordPress to Distill(I’m sure there is an easier way to do this that I haven’t figured out yet!).

There were a few hiccups along the way. Somehow I accidentially deleted the folder with all my distill website content from my computer. Fortunately, I had already uploaded everything to Github so I downloaded those files, deleted the repo and then created a new repo with the downloaded files. I then had issues resizing my images. I asked twitter about reszizing photos in R Markdown and was directed to this article. I also had trouble publishing the site to Netlify, a free deployment service. It turns out that I had to change the output directory in the yaml file to "_site" before publishing the site. I found these blog posts by Shamindra Shrotriya and Thomas Mock to be incredibly helpful. Additionally, I had to transfer my domain name away from WordPress to another domain provider.

After all the hiccups, my website is finally up and running. I decided to use the Tidymodels theme by Desirée De Leon. There are a few things I want to work on:

  1. How to set up an email subscription. I’d love for folks to recieve an email when I’ve published a new post.
  2. How to set up a gallery of featured/most recent posts.
  3. How to implement Google Analytics on my site for tracking activity.
  4. The look of my site needs just a bit of tweaking. I want to to add a favicon, a logo, search bar, and maybe change the colors.

As you can see, the site is still a work in progress but I’m happy with how far the site has come.

Until next time…


For attribution, please cite this work as

Brantley (2020, Dec. 14). Data Sci Dani: Same Content, New Look. Retrieved from

BibTeX citation

  author = {Brantley, Danielle},
  title = {Data Sci Dani: Same Content, New Look},
  url = {},
  year = {2020}