5 Reasons Every Site Should Have a Wiki
by, May 7, 2012 at 11:20 PM (3555 Views)
It is pretty much undisputed that the best web site of all time is Wikipedia. Well, I guess your teachers would probably disagree, but when have they ever been right about anything? There's just nothing like it—an easy-to-access and easy-to-edit repository of all human knowledge. Personally, everything I know I learned from Wikipedia.
But I wanted more than to learn. I wanted my web site to have its own wiki, because the wiki format was just that enticing. And so, in November 2006, I downloaded MediaWiki to use it on my Free United Club of Kids site, and I named my wiki "FUCKipedia."
alex.jpg I really don't see why anyone would want that on their web site. My web site is pretty good as it is, and a wiki just seems unnecessary for my purposes.
That's exactly what I thought you would say, Pretentious Site Admin. And I'm glad you did, because I'm about to blow your pretentions out of the water.
Every site should have a wiki, and that includes yours, PSA. Here's why:
5. Your site needs content
If you want to bring people to your web site, you need to put something there, amirite? People don't come to a web site to stare at a blank page.
So they need something to read. And that's where the wiki comes in. You see, the building blocks of a wiki are called articles.
With a wiki, you can get right to the heart of what you want to do: you can just write articles, without having to worry about the pesky details of making a web site. Let's face it, your web site is up there to share information, right?
alex.jpg Actually, my web site is a business. I just want people to click on my ads and maybe buy a mug with my logo on it. I don't give a shit if people learn anything.
Well, Pretentious Site Admin, I think your being a little deceptive about your intentions. (Such a great salesman.) But the fact is you do want them to learn. If your customers were stupid, they wouldn't know what to buy, would they?
alex.jpg They don't have to know anything. They just have to click on stuff.
Exactly. Don't you see how you're really a great teacher, guiding these lost souls to the salvation of whatever shit you're selling them?
alex.jpg Not really, I just want to make money. I don't care if they get anything out of it.
And that's why your wiki will still need articles. People aren't going to come to your web site just because they want to click on the ads. You need content on your web site for people to find you in searches. This is what drives your traffic. You need traffic in order to monetize, because if there's no one looking at your site, no one will click on any ads or buy your lame mugs.
If you can't think of anything to put on your web site, why not just write a bunch of articles about yourself and your life? I can see you're very pretentious, so that would be right up your alley. It would give the people something to read in between clicking on those ads.
alex.jpg I still don't think you need a wiki to do that. Even if you're just providing information. My web site does just fine with HTML pages.
Oh really? HTML? You want to write long lines of indecipherable code? HTML is so '90s. Because with a wiki...
4. You don't have to learn any programming!
That's right! You don't have to worry about pesky things like "code" and "commands" or whatever programmers are using these days. With a wiki, you can just write. The software takes care of the hard stuff for you, so you can focus on providing quality content.
alex.jpg What are you talking about? I don't need to know programming either. I just use my pirated copy of Frontpage 98, lol.
Well I've seen your web site, and it really shows.
alex.jpg And I'm pretty sure you do use code in wikis. Like, what the hell is this shit?
All right, so maybe I was exaggerating a little for effect.
alex.jpg A little? That stuff was gibberish!
All right, come on, you don't have to do anything complicated with your code when you're first writing pages. And VaultWiki makes it even easier by giving you icons in the article editor that do most of the things you need anyway.
Yeah, you don't need to learn any programming at all, really. And it gets even better. Because...
3. You don't need to organize anything!
In your own web site, it can get annoying keeping track of all those pages you've made. You have to create a menu with links to all of them. You may even need to give your pages filenames you won't remember and put them in folders that they don't belong in. Hell, you probably won't be able to remember where everything is without making one of these:
But with a wiki, you won't have to become a paranoid schizophrenic. Again, you can just write articles, and the wiki software's built-in category system will allow you to easily group your articles and find them later.
You just start by making an article about whatever you want. Then you can tag it in a category, and voila! Organization. If you already have an article, it's even easier to make a new one. You can link to an article that doesn't exist, click the link, and immediately start writing it. Now that previously broken link works, and you didn't even have to upload a new page and then copy and paste its filename into a link in the menu like you would with a normie website.
In a wiki, you can just write pages as you feel inspired to. You don't have to have your entire web site planned out ahead of time so that it will fit into your pre-existing structure, because the structure will organically arise as you keep adding pages, links, and categories. So a wiki really has a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach.
alex.jpg That has to be the worst idea for how to make a web site I've ever heard. If you don't plan out what you're gonna write, you might miss something important.
But that's not to say that there's no top-down organization at all in VaultWiki. In fact, you have to create at least a very basic outline using the Area Manager (formerly known as the Namespace Manager). So VaultWiki really combines top-down and bottom-up.
alex.jpg Also that system of linking and categorizing sounds pretty disorganized to me. Sounds like stuff could get lost or hard to find if you don't link to it, and you could accidentally create pages that are really similar because you didn't realize you made one before.
Well, Pretentious Site Admin, you're acting as though connecting your articles to one another is a really ambitious and difficult endeavor. When, really, it's not, because...
2. It's easy to connect!
When editing a wiki, linking to other articles is easy as cake.
One of the things that makes Wikipedia so compelling is how many links each article contains. One could spend hours following links and learning about all sorts of different topics. Or, if you're focused and want to find Jesus, it's been shown that you can usually do so within five clicks. Finding Hitler is even easier.
Adding a link is really easy. In MediaWiki, you can do it by surrounding a word or phrase with double brackets. In VaultWiki, it's even easier, because the software can automatically turn all appropriate words into links. Or, if you prefer a more DIY approach, you can highlight the word or phrase and click the golden link icon to surround it with wiki tags.
alex.jpg Links are real easy, man. I don't see what the big deal is.
Come on, Pretentious Site Admin, you know what I'm talking about. In today's increasingly technological and fast-paced world, staying connected is more important than ever. Or some shit like that.
All right, fine, if that doesn't tickle your fancy, or wherever you like being tickled, maybe you'll like this:
1. You don't even have to write anything!
That's right, all that "content" I was talking about you writing? Well, it turns out, you don't even have to be the one to write it! Isn't it great? Webmasters can finally get lazy. Because in this world of Web 2.0, the users themselves are the real content generators. You just provide the platform. They can take care of the rest for you. Being lazy finally pays off! Now that you no longer have to do the hard stuff, you can spend your time doing easy things, like, uh...exercising.
alex.jpg But I don't want my users writing my web site. They're all idiots. They would just fuck shit up!
Not to worry, Pretentious Site Admin. In VaultWiki, you have the option of restricting editing permissions to only certain users or groups of users, so you don't have to worry about your pages constantly being vandalized.
alex.jpg Wait, really? I thought the whole thing about a wiki is that anyone can edit it. So you mean I can still have the ease of content creation and organization that a wiki provides, and I also get to protect myself from Internet douchebags?
That's right, PSA. With a wiki, you have everything you could possibly want for creating a quality web site. You can write content if you're ambitious or pretentious, or you can let other people do it for you if you're lazy. It's easy to link your articles together, and you don't even have to learn any code or draw complicated diagrams. Unless you don't care about any of those things. But I know you do.