It’s crazy how many wikis are out there. Every fandom seems to have at least one, not to mention major leaguers like Wikipedia and Wikia. Though they all have dedicated communities and hundreds upon thousand of readers, very few of those participants ever take the big step to start their own. No wonder, really. Starting your own wiki is kind of scary! I was a regular reader of quite a few wiki pages and even contributed to a few fairly often, but I never really seriously considered starting my own. After all, so much had already been done!
It wasn’t until I started my own moderately successful blog that I revisited the idea of starting my own wiki. I started thinking about how to really draw interest and users to my wiki page, and scared myself pretty quickly. A wiki is only as good as its contributors, and finding them seemed like pretty hard work! In the end, I decided to take the plunge, and was able to use my blog to drum up a little interest. Here are a few of the things I learned along the way:
Find a Good Host
The biggest piece of advice I can give about the whole process, though, is to be selective about how you choose to host. It’s good to know that most free wiki hosts require a PHP, Apache, and My SQL wiki environment. Look for a host that makes it easy to change your configurations and add databases and tables, and more importantly, make sure that whichever host you choose has all the features you really want. For my wiki page, I really wanted to be able to control the ads, so I looked around for a host that allowed it. Make a list of your non negotiables before shopping around.
Like I said before, a wiki is only as good as its contributors, and you won’t get far without them. When I started building my wiki page, I used my blog to start recruiting users. I looked around for other blogs that might be interested and that I liked and left comments. Not necessarily comments about my wiki, but just friendly comments. Building a rapport first is essential to actually drawing interest. I also gained a few editors just by getting involved in forums on other wiki sites. Once my editors and I had built up a bit of content, I started using social media to share information about my page.
Don’t Be That Guy
Yes, get your name out there. Yes, create a Facebook page. No, don’t be spammy. When I was working to get the word out about my wiki page, I saw a lot of others trying to do the same thing, but in the wrong page. Don’t go to a forum for new mothers and start filling up the boards with posts about your video game wiki. Filling up the whole internet with posts about your wiki is more likely to attract ire than visitors. Instead, confine your posts to communities where users would reasonably be interested.
Starting my wiki page was by no means easy, but it was definitely rewarding. It’s a great experience, and I really did learn a lot about the internet by setting up my page. Do you have any more tips about setting up a wiki? Share in the comments!