What is a Wiki Site? How to Choose the Best Wiki Site For Your Business

DemandZEN Blog - what is a wiki site

Ever wonder where the term “wiki” came from? “Wikiwiki” is Hawaiian for “fast.” Larry Sanger, one of the co-founders of Wikipedia, chose it most likely because of the instantaneous nature of wiki site publication as well as Wikipedia’s fast access to information. Unlike Wikipedia’s short-lived predecessor Nupedia, Wikipedia did not require lengthy approval processes and instead was instantly published and later combed through by editors.

But you’re probably wondering now, what is a wiki site? A wiki site specifically refers to an editable web page that keeps a record of revision history so users can refer back to older iterations. Sometimes these pages are editable by anyone who visits the site, while often users will need a login.

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia with various offshoot sites and projects such as Wikimedia, Wiktionary, and Wikiquote. Wikipedia is not a wiki page, but actually an enormous collection of wiki pages. All articles are editable and subject to review. If you’re an enterprise looking to reaffirm your brand, creating a wiki site can add tremendous value in terms of SEO. But a traditional wiki site (or wiki article) might not be the best choice. This will depend on your industry or the status of your business. Here, we take a look at the two options you have.

Traditional Wikipedia Pages

There is tremendous value in creating a traditional Wikipedia page for your business. These are the pages accessed directly on wikipedia.org. However, the process to create a page for your business can be tricky.

Wikipedia’s guidelines state that for an article to exist about a specific company, that company must be significant or newsworthy in some way. Small startups with no backing most likely won’t have a Wikipedia page. Or they will be rejected if they attempt to create one. While these qualifications to create a Wikipedia page are generally very vague, there are a few steps you can take to increase the likelihood of your page getting accepted.

Your traditional Wikipedia page checklist

  1. Be neutral about your company. Don’t be overly positive or “salesy” as this will result in a speedy deletion.
  2. While you can include your company’s URL in the article, make sure that the information you are sharing can be found elsewhere on the web besides your “About” page.
  3. Use reliable sources with high domain authority. It’s not great to link to blog content. Instead, stick to news sites where there might be press release.
  4. Your company needs to be notable. When Wikipedia says “notability”, they’re referring to coverage by secondary and independent sources (internal documents or blog posts about the history of your company won’t count). The more coverage you receive from reliable sources, the more notable you are. Notability can be difficult to achieve for start-ups, even if they have a big name attached or they are a spin-off of a major company. Wikipedia does not allowed “inherited” notability. An article about a company needs to stand on its own; if a big name is the only interesting aspect of the company, the company would make a better footnote in that person’s wiki entry than its own article. So make sure you do some PR work to publicize your big announcements. While you won’t be able to use a press release as a source, you might be able to secure an article written elsewhere in response to your press release. Network with those in your industry to make this happen.
  5. Do not copy and paste your information. Write a unique article.

Your own wiki farm

A wiki farm, or wiki hosting site, is a server that allows you to create a completely independent wiki for a single subject, including a business. Wiki farms are particularly useful for companies that have a lot of documentation and technical support pages. Here, you can store your how-to guides, product docs, help resources, and new feature information.

Wiki farms are great for software companies that are just starting out. They might not be “notable” yet, but they have a concrete product with necessary documentation. Wiki farms often use variations of the “wiki” extension. Creating a wiki farm over a traditional resources page can increase your search engine rankings since wiki farms often have higher domain authority. For instance, Wikia is a very popular wiki farm that houses wiki communities for popular fiction such as Star Wars and Harry Potter. Having a wiki structure with “wiki” in the URL of your resources section is a great move for increasing reach. Just make sure you link back to your original website wherever relevant.

You might also decide to create a private wiki farm solely for the users of your product. Using the encyclopedia website architecture that your users are already familiar with is a great way to retain customers or convert trial users.

Plan for the long haul

Whether or not your company is newsworthy right now has no affect on your future! Work on PR and networking to get your name out there. Define what aspects make your company unique, and promote it. If your product has a new, innovative feature or a substantial partnership blooming, send a press release. Keep a record of independent news coverage whether it’s newspaper, online magazines, TV, or radio—this will help you later when creating your article. So don’t stress if your article was deleted the first time you tried to create it. Put in the work to find the best sources and submit that article again later.

Now that you have no need to ask “What is a wiki site?” it’s time to get started! DemandZEN is happy to help you out if you still have some questions.