Wikis are community-built projects, and as successful as the community members who are a part of them. One of the most rewarding experiences I have had as an admin on wikis like Star Wars Fanpedia is being able to attract new readers and editors. Being able to successfully promote your wiki is crucial to the success of your project, so this blog will cover some of my tips and tricks for how to best attract new users.
Why should you promote your wiki?
Wikis aren't nearly as fun if you're editing by yourself, so part of your time should focus on bringing in new users. If you're not promoting your wiki, then the odds of people finding it will go way down. To build a community and large amounts of content for it, people need to be able to find your wiki.
How to promote
Before I tell you some of my tips and tricks, I do want to point something out. These aren’t “one-size fits all” options, so not everything will work for your wiki or subject. On the other hand, just doing one of these things isn’t going to work either. Doing anything and everything you can to promote your wiki is generally your best best in being successful. That makes sure that you reach the largest audience you possibly can.
I've broke my ideas into three categories: 1) ways to promote on your wiki; 2) ways to promote on Wikia; and 3) ways to promote using social media.
On your wiki
If you’re going to promote your wiki, you need something to promote. You may think that you need a lot of users in order to have more than just a few pages, but unfortunately, unless you’re starting your wiki with a dedicated group, that’s not a very likely scenario. If you want people to find your wiki, and if you want them to stay once they do, then you need to be building content before you begin your promotion. Not only does this create great pages that readers and new editors can see, but it also begins to set up the basic structure of the wiki so people have a clear idea of how the wiki is set up once they arrive.
Building content is also important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The better and more detailed your content is, and the more links it has to other pages on the wiki, the better your wiki will rank in search engines like Google. Content is seen by web crawlers, and web crawlers can spread those pages into the search engines. That way, if people are searching for a character or a TV episode that goes along with your wiki’s topic, they can find your wiki when they type in the character or episode name.
You also want to make sure the wiki itself has a good name. Wikis that have "-pedia" in their titles may seem cool, since it's like Wikipedia, but it's very hard for a wiki to get off the ground with that kind of name. Make sure you keep "Wiki" in your title, because that tells a search engine exactly what kind of site you have and therefore improves your SEO. Check out a recording of our SEO webinar here.
Once new users do make an edit on your wiki, always remember to be welcoming and encouraging. Be nice and respectful even if they make a mistake, and help them get situated on the wiki. Everyone has it within them to become a great contributor, so why scare people off by taking a hardline against mistakes or showing an indifferent attitude towards their presence on the wiki? Make them feel like you want them there—because, if you’re serious about attracting new blood, then you do want them there.
Off of your wiki, but still on Wikia, there are also a number of ways that you can promote your project.
- You can network with other wikis by creating partnerships and friendships, letting each wiki advertise the other on their home pages as being ones that they endorse.
- The promote tool can feature your wiki on Wikia.com.
- Once you have 200 pages, you can apply for a Wikia Spotlight to advertise your wiki on other wikis in the same hub.
- Once you have 50 pages, you can request help from our Community Development Team, and they can provide assistance with things like SEO and designing your site so it's appealing to new users.
- You can talk about your wiki here on Community Central to let people know about it and to tell them how fun it is to join in on your community.
The ability to promote your wiki doesn’t end with Wikia. Social media is a great way of promoting your project to an incredibly wide audience, because so many people are using social media. Some ideas are:
- Facebook: Facebook has over 1 billion users. With 1/7th of the planet on Facebook, it’s the go-to place to advertise your project to the largest audience you possibly can. Creating a Facebook fan page is a great way to keep your readers, editors, and other fans engaged when they "Like" your page. I also recently created a Facebook ad for Star Wars Fanpedia, which cost me $50. With only around $20 of it spent so far, it’s already gained me nearly 2,000 new fans. It’s well worth the investment if you have a wiki that can attract that many people.
- Twitter: Twitter is another great way of spreading your message to a large audience of 200 million. Readers, editors, and other fans can remain engaged by following your Twitter page, and #hashtags and @tagging let you spread the word beyond just your followers.
- YouTube: Video is one of the fastest-growing types of content on the Internet, with readers responding to visual content in great numbers. Creating an account on YouTube lets you post any videos you have about your wiki and your topic so you can reach out to fans through a visual medium.
- Check out our recent our Social Media Webinar to learn more.
Those aren't the only sites you can use, though. Sites like Tumblr and Imgur can help your content go viral if it's popular enough. You can also consider posting on message boards and other sites about your topic. Remember not to spam them, though, and follow whatever rules they have about advertising other websites.
Ultimately, these are just some of the ways you can promote your wiki. You may know more, like specific websites that work with your topic, and you should use those if you think they can be successful.
What have you done to promote your wiki? Leave your thoughts below!
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