Modern Developer Blog Template (Digital Garden Starter)

An open source blogging (digital gardening) template for developers using Next.js app router, MDX, Contentlayer, Tailwind CSS, @shadcn/ui , Lucide Icons, and more.

If you love this template and/or use it, please give it a star on GitHub. This will help more people discover it, thus help improving the template.


As a developer who creates content, I want to have a blog & digital garden where I can share my thoughts and ideas with the world. Now, there's not really a "perfect solution" for this currently. With included analytics, SEO, email subscriptions, modern tooling, simple design, etc. We either have to build one from scratch, use a design template and code the features, or use a CMS/no-code tool.

So I decided to build a solution that I would use myself. This is the result.

Getting Started

If you want to see how I set up this template for my own digital garden, you can check out this commit with all the changes.

  1. Use the repo as a template
  2. Install dependencies with pnpm install
  3. Edit utils/metadata.ts with your information and general settings
  4. Edit utils/uses-data.ts with software & hardware you use
  5. Edit utils/projects-data.ts with your projects
  6. Edit utils/navigation-links.ts with the links you want in the navigation
  7. Edit content/pages/now with your availability
  8. Edit content/pages/about with your bio
  9. Run the development server with pnpm dev

Open http://localhost:3000 in your browser to see the result.

Writing content

You can write content in Markdown or MDX. The content is located in content/ and is organized in folders. The pages folder contains the pages. The posts folder contains the blogposts. The projects folder contains the projects.

Editing list pages is done in the lib folder.

  • /uses - lib/uses-data.ts
  • /projects - lib/projects-data.ts
  • /social - lib/social-data.ts


Frontmatter is used to define metadata for pages and posts. It's located at the top of the file and is written in YAML. You can define the following fields:

  • title - The title of the page/post
  • description - The description of the page/post
  • publishedDate - The date of the post (not used on pages)
  • lastUpdatedDate - The date of the page/post
  • tags - List of tags for the post. You can add new tags by adding them to the tagOptions list. (not used on pages)
  • series - The series of the post. A series has a title and an order number for a post. (not used on pages)
  • author - The author of the post. An author has a name, and image. (not used on pages)
  • status - Whether the page/post is published or draft


You can deploy the project with Vercel or any other hosting provider. If you want to use Vercel, you can use the button at the top of this README.

  1. Update package.json author information
  2. Publish your repo to GitHub
  3. Create a new project on Vercel and import your repo
  4. Set up the NEXT_PUBLIC_BASE_URL environment variable on Vercel to point to your website's root URL
  5. If you plan to use analytics and/or newsletter providers, set up the respective environment variables on Vercel
  6. Build and deploy 🎉



This project uses Inter as the default font. You can change it on app/layout.tsx using the next/fonts package.


The project uses Tailwind colors and @shadcn/ui config. Customize the colors on globals.css.


There's a signature component to use in the footer. You can edit the signature on components/signature.tsx. I used Figma to write the signature with Caveat font and exported it as SVG. You can do the same and update the SVG in the component.


Images and other media files are located in public/ directory. You can use them in your content by using the /<filename>.<ext> path.

Homepage Avatar

Here's a quick tutorial on how to make a similar avatar in Figma in under 2 minutes.


You can change the metadata and author details in utils/metadata.ts. This will be used around the site for titles, social links, social handles, SEO, etc.

You can edit navigation links in lib/navigation-links.ts.

You can edit social links in lib/social-data.ts. You can also add new social links by adding them to the file and using the platform name as the key and the URL as the value. The SocialButton component will automatically add the icon for the platform if it's supported in simple-icons.



To configure, you need to enable it on Vercel project dashboard by selecting your Project and then click the Analytics tab and click Enable from the dialog.


Umami is a simple, easy to use, web analytics solution with self-hosting option! You can read more about it on Umami website. (Hint: On Railway, you can self-host it low cost or even free).

Set NEXT_PUBLIC_UMAMI_SCRIPT_URL & NEXT_PUBLIC_UMAMI_WEBSITE_ID environment variables on your .env.local file and on Vercel dashboard.


Plausible is a simple, lightweight, open-source alternative to Google Analytics. You can read more about it on Plausible website.

Set NEXT_PUBLIC_PLAUSIBLE_DOMAIN & NEXT_PUBLIC_PLAUSIBLE_SCRIPT_URL environment variables on your .env.local file and on Vercel dashboard. If you're concerned about ad blockers, you can proxy the plausible script through your own domain. You can read more about it here.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic, currently as a platform inside the Google Marketing Platform brand. You can read more about it on Google Analytics website.

Set NEXT_PUBLIC_GOOGLE_ANALYTICS_ID environment variable on your .env.local file and on Vercel dashboard.

Other analytics providers

Supporting other analytics providers are in progress. Feel free to open an issue if you have any suggestions or a PR if you want to implement it yourself.

Newsletter subscription


MailerLite is a simple email marketing tool for all types of businesses. You can read more about it on MailerLite website.

Set EMAIL_API_BASE, EMAIL_API_KEY, and EMAIL_GROUP_ID environment variables on your .env.local file and on Vercel dashboard.

Other newsletter providers

Supporting other newsletter providers are in progress. Feel free to open an issue if you have any suggestions or a PR if you want to implement it yourself.

Hero section

You can choose between 3 different hero variants to use in app/(site)/page.tsx by changing the imported hero component.

  1. HeroSimple - A simple centered hero section with image, title, and subtitle.
  2. HeroVideo - 2 column hero section with Videoask embed on one side and title and subtitle on the other.
  3. HeroImage - 2 column hero section with image on one side and title, and subtitle on the other.
  4. HeroMinimal - small hero section name & job title

Other tips & tricks

Image optimization

I recommend optimizing images fast for free with ImageOptim. Install on your Mac, then open the public folder in Finder. Select all images, right-click, and choose "Open with > ImageOptim". This will optimize all images in the folder.

Note: DO NOT overdo it. You can easily make images look bad with lossy compression algorithms.


Create a PR and add your blog to this list if you're using the template!

Features & Roadmap

  • [x] Basic functionality of reading pages and posts
  • [x] Basic design dark/light mode
  • [x] MDX code highlighting
  • [x]
  • [x] robots.txt & sitemap.xml
  • [x] RSS Feed
  • [x] Reading time estimate
  • [x] LICENSE
  • [x]
  • [x] MDX components (TOC & footnotes)
  • [x] general config & metadata (author, URL, socials, etc.)
  • [x] uses page
  • [x] Link in bio page
  • [x] OG image generation
  • [x] projects page
  • [x] about section on homepage
  • [x] search & command bar
  • [x] Analytics: Vercel, Umami, Plausible, Google Analytics
  • [x] Post series
  • [x] Not found page
  • [x] contributing docs
  • [x] Docs refresh
  • [x] Back to top button
  • [x] Social icons component
  • [x] Social sharing buttons
  • [x] Tags
  • [x] newsletter integration (form, api route, keys, thank you/welcome page, MailerLite provider)
  • [x] more MDX components (katex, math)
  • [x] author content definition
  • [x] SEO improvements
  • [ ] Other newsletter providers (Convertkit, Substack, Buttondown, Mailchimp, etc)
  • [ ] Other analytics providers (fathom, simplelytics, etc)
  • [ ] RTL Support
  • [ ] Post series page
  • [ ] prev/next post links
  • [ ] related/similar posts
  • [ ] Donate component & page
  • [ ] CLI and/or recipes
  • [ ] Newsletter previous issues page
  • [ ] Layouts/templates system
  • [ ] Notion data source
  • [ ] Sanity data source
  • [ ] Design improvements (whitespace, layout, etc.)
  • [ ] lightbox for images
  • [ ] implement content security policies
  • [ ] Code preview component
  • [ ] Code highlight improvements (copy code, theme)
  • [ ] Rich project cards
  • [ ] Landing page/offer page/freebie page
  • [ ] CV template
  • [ ] Authenticated pages and/or hidden content (behind email address)
  • [ ] 100 lighthouse score
  • [ ] Command bar fuzzy search in content
  • [ ] Accessibility audit
  • [ ] more MDX components (oembed)
  • [ ] error, and loading pages
  • [ ] TypeScript fixes
  • [ ] Redesign social page (link in bio)
  • [ ] Redesign uses page
  • [ ] Redesign projects page
  • [ ] general refactor
  • [ ] general cleanup
  • [ ] implement a videoask-like solution for the hero section
  • [ ] RSS feed improvements (image, description, etc.)
  • [ ] custom admin CMS(?)
  • [ ] hero title and subtitle text HTML support(?)
  • [ ] Pagination (?)
  • [ ] multi-author support (?)
  • [ ] Post like counter (?)
  • [ ] Visitor counter (?)
  • [ ] code playground instead of code highlighting (?)
  • [ ] Commenting system (?)
  • [ ] keyboard-based navigation with hotkeys (?)
  • [ ] multilang support (?)



This project is from developers for developers. All contributions are welcome! Please feel free to:

  • Report a bug
  • Discuss the current state and ideas for improvements
  • Submit a fix
  • Propose new features


  1. Fork the repo and create your branch from develop.
  2. Add your code.
  3. Update the documentation.
  4. Make sure your code lints and the app builds.
  5. Open pull request to develop branch.

Any contributions you make will be under the MIT Software License. In short, when you submit code changes, your submissions are understood to be under the same MIT License that covers the project. Code of Conduct can be found here.

Inspiration & Mentions