Evolution of a Google site website part 1: creation

The screenshot below shows the initial design of a Google site I am going to develop. It should evolve into a visual-based learning site for an audience like me, who prefers visual, reflective, and conceptual learning material over verbal, linear, and practical material.

It is a no-frill website (I thought about making it completely black-and-white but wasn’t brave enough) with a large main content area and a sidebar at the right. Because it is a learning site, the audience should not receive visual clutters from the backgrounds and peripherals; the structure is kept simple so that all attentions from the audience go to the upcoming learning material at the center.
Aside from narrowing the main content area, I currently have no idea about how to design this website to make it work more effectively as a learning site. As I modify the visual appearance, I will record the process here in this blog.