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Making the Most of your Main Page

Xean February 23, 2011 User blog:Xean
Map

Your wiki’s main page is the gateway to your community and the main navigation hub for your users. Think of the main page as one of those shiny “You are Here” maps -- you want it to be streamlined, easy to understand and well organized so that new visitors can find their way around the wiki.

So take a good, hard look at your main page. Is it in need of a face lift? If so, use these helpful tips to improve it.


Add ColumnsEdit

Create left and right columns for your main page to organize your content and allow everyone, regardless of their ad settings, to see the best version of your main page. The Green Hornet Wiki has implemented columns on their main page with great results.


Optimize for Search EnginesEdit

If you are working to grow your wiki community, it’s important to consider how your wiki will be viewed by search bots. If you are linking to things like help, policies, admin lists, rules, etc. on your main page, you won’t show up in searches that relate to your topic. Linking to popular keywords like characters, chapters, weapons, etc. at the top of your main page will bump your wiki higher in the search results for those terms so fans can easily find you. Bulletstorm Wiki has done a great job of including popular keywords on their main page.


Streamline your NavigationEdit

Another important part of making a welcoming wiki is the navigation. Think about the map analogy -- you want people to be able to quickly find the topics that interest them. It’s best to use broad categories such as Books, Movies, Characters, Weapons, etc. in your wiki’s top nav bar. If you add "#" after a category in the navigation, the secondary drop-down list will automatically generate the most popular pages in that category. For example, Category:Episodes#|Popular Episodes will populate with a drop-down list of the most visited Episode pages. The Coffee Wiki has done a great job of this, creating a clean, streamlined navigation system.


These are just some tips to get you started, but I’m sure some of our expert editors have more. What has worked for you on your wikis? Which wikis have main pages that inspire you?


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