Hugo for a layperson?

I was asking around some forums on what software to use for a simple personal “digital garden” kind of website. Hugo was suggested, so I thought I would take a look.

I have some questions.

  1. Is Hugo geared towards programmers and web developers? I see things like ‘front matter’, json, yaml and toml mentioned and I have no idea what those are. I can guess they are some type of programming in the site, but not really sure.

  2. Is it easy to add blog posts and change text, maybe add pictures? I think I need to write a page in HTML or something and upload it somehow to my website, but haven’t gotten that far in my research.

  3. I see there are some themes available and I found a couple that may work, but I’d like to move things around or change colors, etc. How hard would it be to do this if I only know a little HTML.

Sorry if these are newbie questions. I want to make sure this is a correct fit for me as I don’t have a lot of time to mess with the behind-the-scenes stuff; I’d rather be writing instead.

By the way, I have a Mac if that matters.


Opinion: use something else.


I don’t think you’ll be happy with Hugo unless it is through something like

Which costs money. I don’t know what gratis options are available for someone who is not technical for static site generators. For the more traditional ways of doing things, you might want to review articles like:

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Hugo has a (steep) learning curve for beginners. See the link below.


I had the same reaction at first, and it sure wasn’t easy to learn. But now I know a fair amount of css and html and don’t regret it. If you want to learn no code at all, there is wordpress & co. Otherwise, independence has a price: you’ve got to understand a minimum what you do because this time no one will do the work in your stead.

Easy. If you want to change the style of an element in particular, use the developers tools of your browser to see what element it is. then go in the css of your style and find the rules. With some luck the tools should show you directly the css rule exactly as it is written.
But if you refuse to learn any css or html, it’s not for you.
It would be like writing a program without actually coding anything… Ain’t happening man. Sure configuration files usually don’t require learning C or python, but with a website, for the most part the coding IS the configuration :stuck_out_tongue:.

Lastly, GoLang (hugo’s language) is worse than css and html imho, I still can’t write anything complex with asking questions. But I rarely ever need anything complex, and once I have the answer, I can easily tweak it for other needs. And people are very helpful here.

ps: I am not a developer.


I never like to steer anyone away from Hugo, or any other static site generator for that matter, but must concur with the apparent consensus here.

What you’re asking could be likened to someone’s saying, “I’m interested in a super-charged, manual-transmission race car, but I don’t have a lot of time to mess with learning how to shift gears, handle a car that can go 225 mph (362 km/h), negotiate tight turns on a raceway, [etc.]” — to which the logical answer would appear to be: “In that case, opt instead for a standard sedan with automatic transmission, and drive it only at legal speeds on normal roads.”

(BTW, fellow Mac user here; that part doesn’t matter at all. There are versions of Hugo for macOS, Windows, Linux, and a smattering of other desktop OSs.)