3 Content platforms

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you will be able to:

  • Describe the features, advantages, and disadvantages of using a web site for your project
  • Describe the features, advantages, and disadvantages of using eBooks for your project

Perhaps the most common way to deliver multimedia content is through a website. This can be achieved through a specialized set of programmed web pages or built upon a content management system such as WordPress.

Web sites

Why use a web site?

  • It is the most common way multimedia is access today
  • Even if you choose to use an eBook format for your project, you will still need your own space on the Internet to distribute your content.

Why not use a website?

  • Requires that the learner be online
  • Can more technically challenging to implement

Web hosting

Regardless of whether you choose to use static web pages or a content management system, such as WordPress, you will still need to find a website hosting provider and to register for a domain name. Personally, I use Reclaim Hosting as my web hosting provider. I have no financial stake in this company. I recommend them because they are academic focused and they have excellent customer service. I usually get a response to tickets within hours, and they will back-out anything I break – so if I install a bad WordPress plugin that breaks my site, they can go in and fix it for me.

Choosing a domain name

A creative domain name is always fun, but not always feasible. It can also be a challenge if your site speaks to different aspects of yourself. Personally, after using a subdomain of my travel blog, I finally moved my portfolio over to a blog with the .name high level domain. Now, you will find me online at http://rjhogue.name.

Google has a good page that talks about how to come up with a good domain name: https://domains.google/learn/how-to-come-up-with-a-good-domain-name/#/

I like the domains.google article in part because it talks about not stressing over the name too much. The name doesn’t play a direct role in your searchability. You’ll soon learn that most people just bookmark it or put it into something like Diigo or Feedly or subscribe to updates on things like Facebook or emails via WordPress.

You can change your domain name later for a small cost, but know that any work that you do to build yourself in one domain becomes an issue when you change – and you lose all your analytics (e.g. site visit history). I recently moved from rjh.goingeast.ca to rjhogue.name. The new site looks more like an ePortfolio than the old one does. The original was a place to blog and that was its purpose. I’ve now moved, but had to be careful to put a forwarder in place so that people who knew my old blog can find my new one.

The first step in the ePortfolio is to determine your domain name. You may want to have a couple of options as you cannot use a name that is already taken. Also, you may want to try googling common misspellings of your domain name, as that may happen – although really, most people find you via search or links you share on other social media profiles (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook).


You can use a tool like Dreamweaver to create a website that is coded directly with HTML/CSS. This approach works well when you want a complex design that isn’t easily created using a WordPress theme. It does require that you know how to do some coding directly in HTML and CSS.

W3School.com provide free HTML and CSS tutorials. I highly recommend that you learn enough HTML and CSS to be able to read existing code and make small edits, such as fixing a list or changing a font color.


WordPress isn’t just for blogging. WordPress can be considered a “content management system” as it has a database and provides tools to manage webpages in addition to blog posts. WordPress provides a way for those with less technical skills to create web pages that look great.

WordPress that is hosted on your own domain is not the same as WordPress that is hosted on WordPress.com. WordPress.com provides free and fremium (that is, you pay for extra functionality) hosting, however, you are very limited in what you are able to do. It does not take long for the cost of “features” on WordPress.com to become more expensive than hosting WordPress on your own domain.

Note that since WordPress is the most common website content management system out there, there are alot of free themes and plugins that extend the functionality of WordPress. It is also constantly under attack from hackers. Fortunately, if your WordPress site is hosted at Reclaim Hosting, you can allow them to manage the update of your site to ensure that you always have the latest secure release.


eBooks are a special kind of media that typically can be read both online or offline. With advances in eBook technology and protocols, it is becoming more common to create educational multimedia eBooks like this one.

Why use an eBook?

  • eBooks can typically be access while offline
  • The book format is a familiar way to deliver educational content

Why not use an eBook?

  • You need a complicated navigation structure that doesn’t lend itself well to the more typically linear model of a book
  • Can be technically difficult if they need to work on multiple platforms
  • You need a way to publish/distribute your eBook, which can get complicated

eBook authoring tools

There are a variety of tools that can be used to make eBooks – some more flexible than others. For example:

  • PressBooks. Pressbooks is a WordPress multi-site based content authoring platform. This version of this book was created in a self-hosted instance of Pressbooks on WordPress.
  • Scalar. Scalar is a multimedia eBook platform that does not have a paper-based equivalent. It is intended for content that is born digital.
  • iBooks Author. iBooks Author is free eBook authoring software that requires a Mac. It creates nicely formatted eBooks that can be published for the iBooks app. Alternatively, eBooks can be published as PDF files.
  • Sigil. Sigil is an free tool that allows you to create eBooks in a variety of platforms such as ePub and Kindle.

In addition to the freely available tools, Adobe InDesign (which is part of Adobe Creative Cloud) and Literature & Latte’s Scrivener are two professional publishing products that can be used to create eBooks for multiple platforms.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Creating educational multimedia projects by Rebecca J. Hogue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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