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Creating a beautiful yet functional landing page for your wiki can be one of the toughest challenges one can face while building a wiki.
The landing page for your wiki is often times the first thing a visitor to your site will come into contact with so it is crucial that you make a page that really speaks for your wiki. It needs to look good so that the reader can easily navigate around it without coming down with a case of the 90s web cringe but it also needs to be functional in such a way that your reader can easily find things that interest them.
There are several ways that you can balance these two different criteria so that your landing page comes out as both appealing to the eye and easy to navigate.
The first method that I am going to cover with you today is what I fondly like to call the "navbox method" and, from its name, it shouldn't be too difficult to guess what I mean by this.
One of the easiest ways to help your users find their way around your site from your main page is via the use of navboxes (navigation boxes). Essentially a navbox is a table of links that lead to either pages, categories, portals, or what have you that assist a user in navigating through your wiki.
It is important to keep in mind that when using the navbox method on your landing page that you not make them too long nor complex to navigate. Or, if you must add a lot to navboxes, break them up into several smaller navboxes based on more specific criteria (games, books, movies, songs, albums, etc).
The navbox method is great in that, if utilized properly, it gives the users a multitude of starting points from which they can go on to find the content they need or simply to browse what it is your wiki offers.
Another thing to keep in mind is that search engines tend to not crawl beyond 150 or so links so large navboxes are not recommended. Instead it may be best to have navboxes link to pages that list information more in-depth depending on the subject (categories or portals!).
The featured content method
The next method that I am going to cover is what I like to call the "featured content method".
The featured content method is a way of designing your landing page as to feature the best of your wiki's content by putting it front and center for the reader. This is advantageous in a few ways, the first of which is that it tends to look the best, especially when you utilize Wikia's built in photo galleries and embed tools.
With enough work you can create a stunning landing page that is packed with content for your readers to explore.
The hybrid method
The final method I am going to discuss is a mix between the previous two methods.
By combining both the navbox and the featured content methods you end up with a landing page that is both packed with content for your readers to explore but it also very functional in that there is a multitude of ways in which you can display your content all in one page.
When utilizing this hybrid method I personally greatly suggest that you do create a clear separation between the two methods. By this I mean that you should present your featured content at the top of the page while keeping your navboxes more towards the bottom of the page.
In this blog I have covered three major ways in which you can create a stunning and functional landing page for your readers. Keep in mind that these three methods are just that, three methods out of hundreds of methods you can use.
See a wiki that is a shining example of one of these methods? Leave it in the comments below and I will be sure to feature it here in the blog!