No wiki is bigger and more popular than Wikipedia. Since its inception, Wikipedia has edited over one billion articles to 17.6 million articles from 27 million users. The thought of reaching such a pinnacle by creating your own Wikipedia page may sound daunting, as it should, but that shouldn’t deter you from wanting to carve your own online wiki niche.
Building your own Wikipedia-like website can seem like a daunting task, and honestly it is. Getting on the right track will take a lot of time, foresight, and research.
Once you understand what it takes for a wiki to be successful, you need to know where to start after building your site. This will include how to create pages and add text, images and video to them, differences between page editors, and how to enable site collaboration.
How to create your own wiki page
Before you can create a wiki site, you will need to choose a way to host it. There are many options depending on how much you are willing to invest in it. Free options include Windows SharePoint, MediaWiki, and Wikia, which let you create your own wiki site from scratch.
If you have the capital, paid services such as Same Page have tools and several templates to help you get started. TikiWiki is a great software option for anyone looking to host a private wiki on a corporate or personal server.
You will want to make your choice based on why you need a wiki, how many people will be involved in the project, and how much time you should devote to setting up and maintaining the site. Security is also an issue for anyone with a website, especially if it is self-hosted.
Later in this article, we will use Wikia, also called FANDOM, for our walkthroughs.
Let’s create a Wiki page
FANDOM is usually viewed as a collection of wikis with topics mainly media and entertainment. It’s also incredibly beginner-friendly.
Here you are more likely to find wikis based on popular movies, favorite comic book characters and video games than historical events and things with a political bias. However, a wiki is a wiki, and you should be able to create one that suits your needs.
To get started:
- Scroll down the WIKIS tab and click the START A WIKI button.
- Decide on the wiki name, domain name, and preferred language for your wiki. Click NEXT when finished.
- At this point, you will need to log into your account if you have not already done so. For those who need an account, you have the option to create one through a social media account or fill out a standard registry form.
- Next, you need to add a description for your wiki so readers know what it is about. Before clicking CREATE MY WIKI, select which hub it fits into and what additional categories are needed.
- Here you can quickly select a theme for your wiki. There are several different options, most notably changing the page background color, text boxes and fonts.
- You can change this at any time so that your choice is not set in stone.
- After choosing a theme, click SHOW ME MY WIKI.
- You will be greeted with a small congratulatory window asking if you want to start creating new pages. We’ll skip this for now and focus on the home page.
- Click the “x” in the upper right corner of the window to close it.
I’m on the home page, what now?
At this point, you are either very excited about what you started or you are more confused than ever. Or both. Your wiki’s home page has a menu bar with several tabs that you need to become familiar with before moving on.
The menu bar contains three important sections, which we colorized to make it easier for you.
This part of the menu is less important in the early stages of your wiki development. This will become even more important once something is added, your community will grow as the wiki expands.
- Popular Pages – This tab will show you which pages on your wiki are visited the most.
- Community – Displays discussions taking place in your wiki’s community and the most recent blogs that have been written.
- Explore – you can go to a random page on your wiki, see what’s going on in your wiki, and check all the images and videos that have been posted.
- Home is a quick link that will take you back to the home page.
This menu, more important in all stages of development, provides useful options for further developing your wiki.
- (1) Add a new page. The heart of any wiki is the ability to continually add new pages. Each new page provides your readers with new information on the topic. You will be clicking this icon frequently.
- (2) Wiki Activity – Clicking on this icon will take you to the wiki’s recent activity page. This can be anything: additional information added to an existing page, a newly created page, or community comments.
- (3) Admin Panel – Everything you need to know or have access to when this happens. to your wiki can be found here.
- The General tab provides access to everything from the theme designer and CSS options to a complete list of users with permission to add basic content for editing and more. The “Advanced” tab is similar to the same one, only broken down into smaller, defined links for faster access.
- (4) More Menu – Add new images and videos to the wiki gallery and view any recent changes that have taken place.
You will see a page counter to the left of this section. This will keep track of the number of pages your wiki is currently displaying publicly.
The yellow section contains links pertaining to the page you are currently working on on your Wikipedia site.
- Change – should be obvious enough. This button will allow you to edit the current page. By default, you are provided with a version of the text editor with a visual editor. More on this later.
- Dropdown Menu – This menu has several different links that can be very important in moving forward. From here, you can rename the page, protect the page (and certain sections) from further editing, delete the page, and even edit the visuals to look on mobile devices. There is also the option to use the classic editor, which is the original editor, instead of the default visual editor.
First steps on the home page
The main page should contain content that matches your wiki theme. This includes adding a short paragraph detailing to your readers what your community is up to and what they can expect to find in it.
To start editing, click on the EDIT button located in the yellow section mentioned earlier. Your page should look something like the image below.
We’ll look at the differences between the visual editor and the source editor later. For now, let’s continue working with the visual editor, as it is more convenient for beginners.
Apart from the visual editor menu bar, you will also notice something above the intro title in the upper left section of the page. It reads like
Scroll down and you will see similar text
To see what I mean, by default FANDOM pages are split into two columns – left and right – separated by ? x. Thus, the left column will contain the bulk of the information on the page, while the right side is usually reserved for quick links and statistical information.
Do yourself a favor and keep these tags intact. Removing them can cause problems with the display of the design on all devices and in browsers. Remember, an ugly home page is more likely to result in lower views.
Everything about these tags is fair play. You can change any of the default information and save it so the changes are reflected on the real page for everyone to see. This includes images and videos added by clicking the appropriate icon in the visual editor’s menu bar.
The visual editor versus the source editor
Using the visual editor makes it easy to customize content within the specified editor parameters. This means that you have as much control over how you edit the content as the editor allows. It is minimal, but can be your best friend for a beginner.
To use the source editor, it is recommended that you know wikitext so that you can make good use of everything it offers. Using a source editor will give you much more control over the look of your pages and the content they contain than a visual editor gives you.
This is a key difference when it comes to choosing one of these. Are you willing to play in a limited sandbox or does your wiki’s ambition require more control?
Whatever you choose to start with, a source editor and wiki text is something every wiki editor should strive to learn and understand. Wikitext, also called “markup”, is used not only on FANDOM sites, but on virtually all available wikis.
You can find a complete list of FANDOM markup text formatting in the help subdomain.
Another result that needs to be added to the source editor column is the ability to create and save custom templates. These templates can then be used to ensure consistent pages across the entire wiki without having to rewrite each page from scratch.
To learn more about templates, FANDOM help has provided a detailed step-by-step guide to help you get started.
Adding multiple contributors to your wiki is what it takes for it to grow and flourish. Once you have a team, you can add it to your wiki individually, giving them specific user rights.
To do this:
- Go to your admin panel and click “User Rights” in the “Community” section.
- Enter the name of the user you want to add to the wiki and click Change User Groups.
- The team member you are about to add must pre-register an account before being added.
- Select the checkboxes of the group (s) to which you want to add the user, provide a reason for the change (optional), and then click Save User Groups.