Becoming a Digital Publishing Master with in5

Images from apps and sites created with in5.

This course will teach you how to use InDesign and in5 to create beautiful and accessible sites and mobile apps. Learn to become a master of digital publishing from the ground up by using familiar design tools.

For full course details, visit the main course page.

Lesson 14: Publishing to the Web

Posting your content to the web is the fastest way to reach an audience. It also happens to be the lowest cost publishing platform. In this lesson, we'll look at how to publish your in5 content to the web.

Expert Contributors to this lesson

Justin Putney

Justin Putney

Creator of in5

Today's Course Outline

  1. Advantages of Web Publishing
  2. Transferring Files to a Web Server
  3. Hosting Content Inside of Wordpress

Estimated time for lesson

Today’s lesson should take approximately 15 minutes with the video.

Advantages of Web Publishing

Web publishing is sometimes overlooked because there's so much press about apps. Let's take a look at why you might want to publish to the web.

Immediacy and Control

When you have your own web server, you can post files immediately for others to view. There's no 3rd-party approval process that you have to wait for.

You can simply post your files and share the URL.

Changes are immediate as well. Everyone who visits the site gets the most up-to-date version.

Search Engine Discoverability

If your files are posted to a public website, they'll be indexed by a search engine, which means that total strangers can "discover" your publication.

Viewable on Any Device

Unlike an app that is limited to a single platform, a web page can be viewed on any mobile device or computer. So you have the potential to reach a larger audience.

Transferring Files to a Web Server

Publishing to the web is essentially a 1-step process: upload your files to a web server.

Server is just another name for a computer that is networked to other computers. So you're just transferring files from your "local" computer to a "remote" (i.e., physically located somewhere else) computer.

This transfer is generally done with a File Transfer Protocal (FTP) application. FileZilla is one free FTP application for Mac and Windows.

A typical FTP application displays your computer on one side and the remote computer on the other.

FTP display

You can drag files back and forth to copy them between computers. The remote computer typically has a folder structure that corresponds will the URL.

For example,

Remote computer file path: /public_html/myfolder/mysubfolder/

Corresponding URL: http://example.com/myfolder/mysubfolder/

Once the files are uploaded, the URL can be displayed in a web browser.

Choosing a Hosting Service

The ability to upload to a remote server requires having access to one.

You can get access to your own web server, along with a custom URL (e.g., http://yournamehere.com) by purchasing web hosting.

There are thousands of web hosting providers (e.g., Bluehost, Arvixe, GoDaddy, Dreamhost). The entry-level of web hosting is inexpensive ($3 to $5 US/month) and you generally get a domain name for free with hosting.

I didn't realize publishing content to my own site could be so easy & affordable

If you have your own business or your are a freelancer, or you simply want a place to host your work, this type of hosting is a no-brainer.

This entry-level hosting is called shared hosting, because you're sharing one big computer with serveral other customers.

If you ever find that you need more (security, speed, control) out of your hosting, you can upgrade to Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting. This is more like having your own computer without having to share so much, but it's still fairly inexpensive ($20 - $100 US/month).

Some hosting providers offer "shared business" plans for a bit more money than "personal" plans, but it just means that you're sharing with fewer people.

When looking for an entry-level host, I recommend finding one that also has a good VPS plan so that it's easy to upgrade if things go really well with your business.

Dropbox as a Web Server

There are other ways to get your files on the web, including using Dropbox as a Web Server.

You may also be able to find other free hosting options.

However, if you want a custom domain (e.g., http://yournamehere.com), you will need to pay for it (with or without hosting).

Password Protection

Once you have your own web server, it's actually quite easy to add password protection if you want to make your content private.

Here's a sample screen from cPanel, a web-based management tool that is offered with most hosting plans.

password protection screen This is the password prompt that you'll see when the directory is accessed from the web. password-protect directoryOnly people with both the username and password will be able to access the directory (or any subdirectories inside).

Hosting Content Inside of Wordpress

Wordpress is a Content Management System (CMS), which means that you focus on content and the system manages the layout of the pages.

in5's main purpose is to replicate your InDesign layout in a universal format. in5 content is not intended to affect the design of a Wordpress site because Wordpress is handling the layout.

However, you can host in5 content inside of a Wordpress page using an the free in5 embed plugin for Wordpress.

The video below will show you how to add an iframe to a Wordpress page or post.

Alternatively, if you want to host your content in a location separate from Wordpress, you can use an iframe, which lets you host a webpage inside of another webpage.

Take Aways

  • Web hosting is fast and simple.
  • Web hosting gives you the most control.
  • The WordPress plugin makes publishing to your blog easy.
  • Your content can be easy to find or completely private. It's up to you.

Action step: If you don't already have web hosting with your own domain, set it up this week. You'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.