1.6 Other themes

In the beginning, you will probably spend much time on looking for a Hugo theme that you like from the collection listed at http://themes.gohugo.io, if you care a lot about the appearance of your website. Please note that not all themes have been tested against blogdown. If you find a certain theme does not work well with blogdown, you may report to https://github.com/rstudio/blogdown/issues, and we will try to investigate the reason, but it can be time-consuming to learn and understand how a new theme works, so we recommend you to learn more about Hugo by yourself before asking, and we also encourage users to help each other there.

After you have found a satisfactory theme, you need to figure out its GitHub user name and repository name, then either install the theme via blogdown::install_theme(), or just create a new site under another new directory and pass the GitHub repository name to the theme argument of new_site(). We recommend that you use the second approach, because Hugo themes could be very complicated and the usage of each theme can be very different and highly dependent on config.toml. If you use new_site() instead of install_theme(), the default sample config.toml of the theme will be copied to the root directory of your website, so you can edit it immediately, otherwise you will have to read the documentation of the theme carefully to know how to properly write a config.toml by yourself.

# for example, create a new site with the academic theme
blogdown::new_site(theme = "gcushen/hugo-academic")

To save you some time, we list a few themes below that match our taste:

If you do not understand HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, and have no experience with Hugo themes or templates, it may take you about 10 minutes to get started with your new website, since you have to accept everything you are given (such as the default theme). If you do have the knowledge and experience, it may take you several days to get started. Hugo is really powerful. Be cautious with power.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the more effort you make in a complicated theme, the more difficult it is to switch to other themes in the future, because you may have customized a lot of things that are not straightforward to port to another theme. So please ask yourself seriously, “Do I like this fancy theme so much that I will definitely not change it in the next couple of years?”

If you choose to dig a rather deep hole, someday you will have no choice but keep on digging, even with tears.

— Liyun Chen13


  1. Translated from her Chinese Weibo: http://weibo.com/1406511850/Dhrb4toHc (you cannot view this page unless you have logged in).↩