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How to Create a Wikipedia-Style Wiki Site With WordPress? Wikipedia has demonstrated the tremendous power of crowdsourcing knowledge on a large scale. But what most people don’t realize is that you can tap into similar wisdom-of-the-crowd benefits on a smaller level by launching your own Wikipedia-style wiki site.
Whether it’s for a school, business, nonprofit, or personal interest community, a collaboratively-edited wiki powered by WordPress offers a phenomenal platform for collectively building a repository of in-depth information. With the right setup and promotion, you can unleash user-generated content that far exceeds what any single person could write.
This guide will walk you through how to quickly launch and grow your own Wikipedia-esque wiki using WordPress. Let’s dive in!
Benefits of Creating a Collaborative Wiki Site
First, let’s look at the key upsides of starting your own wiki:
- Collective intelligence – Pool knowledge from an entire community.
- Deeper insights – Allow niche experts to contribute specialized information.
- Broader coverage – Address more topics than any individual could.
- Constantly evolving – Wiki content continually grows and improves.
- Lower resource demands – User-generated content reduces staff writing.
- Increased engagement – Active participation boosts user investment and loyalty.
A well-executed wiki can become a beloved community hub while capturing high-quality crowd-sourced information that search engines love.
Choosing the Best WordPress Option
You have two main options for launching a wiki with WordPress:
- The open-source WordPress.org platform
- WordPress.com’s hosted platform
WordPress.org provides more flexibility and customization for creating a tailored wiki experience. But WordPress.com is more beginner-friendly if you want a simplified process.
We’ll focus this guide on WordPress.org since it offers greater capability for serious wikis. However, the general principles will also apply to WordPress.com.
Now let’s go through each step to building your wiki:
1. Install MediaWiki or a Dedicated Wiki Plugin
MediaWiki powers Wikipedia itself, so it’s the most full-featured open source wiki platform available. You can run it on top of WordPress.org.
Alternatively, plugins like WP-Wiki and Wiki Page Generator provide robust wiki functionality specifically designed for WordPress.
These tools all enable features like:
- Collaborative editing
- Version tracking
- Interlinking between pages
- Template consistency
- Discussion integrations
Dedicated wiki plugins integrate seamlessly with WordPress so they’re often the easiest route.
2. Set Up User Accounts and Roles
Allowing site visitors to freely edit pages poses risks. Instead, require user accounts for editing access.
On your WordPress dashboard under Settings > General, make sure membership is required to submit content.
Using plugins like User Role Editor, create an “Editor” role that provides access to edit existing pages but not publish new pages or edit site settings. Assign this to general wiki contributors.
Use Admin user roles sparingly for trusted moderators who can add/remove editors and administer the wiki.
3. Establish Editing Guidelines and Rules
Create clear content policies and editing guidelines for your wiki focused on accuracy, objectivity and citations.
Explain the scope of allowed topics and style guidelines. Also overview the editing process and your content moderation strategy.
This page serves as a resource for editors to ensure quality contributions. Link to it prominently from your wiki homepage.
4. Set Up Dashboard Workflows
Streamline wiki editing via intuitive WordPress dashboards.
Plugins like WP-Wiki include specialized interfaces where users can search existing pages, suggest new topics, edit drafts, track page histories and more.
Dashboards guide users through the entire wiki contribution process from drafts to moderation to publication.
5. Moderate Edits and Consolidate Pages
Don’t allow instant public visibility for user edits. Instead, require moderator approval.
Plugins like Revisionary enable managing and comparing revisions before publishing.
Consolidate similar pages and redirect duplicates to prevent fragmentation. Wikis often benefit from thoughtful curation and organization from moderators.
6. Develop Category Structure and Tagging
Applying consistent categories and tags to pages enables useful organization and discoverability.
Create logical main and subcategories like Products, Services, Company History etc. Make categories mandatory for publishes pages.
Also suggest relevant tags for new pages. This metadata helps structure your wiki content.
7. Set Visual Design and Branding
While wikis focus on text content, you still need clear, pleasing visual design.
Choose an easy-to-read typography scheme. Use colors, logos and icons to weave in branding. Display key site navigation prominently. Implement a responsive mobile-friendly template.
Maintain consistent layouts, headers and footers across all wiki pages. This strengthens site cohesion.
8. Interlink Related Content
Extensive interlinking between related pages powers the exploratory nature of wikis.
Make it easy for editors to discover and link to other topically-connected pages from within new posts using shortcodes or quicklinking plugins.
Suggest contextual interlinks while editing using plugins like Related Posts, to promptly connect content.
9. Layer in Maps, Multimedia and Embeddables
Text forms the foundation of wikis. But tools like custom maps, images, charts, videos and other interactive embeds make pages more engaging.
Enable uploading media into posts. Embed rich infographics and video from platforms like YouTube. Integrate dynamic mapping with plugins like WP Google Maps.
These elements help demonstrate concepts that text alone struggles to convey. Use them judiciously without overpowering the copy.
10. Integrate Forums for Discussion
Traditional wikis support community discussion directly on pages themselves. While WordPress pages don’t allow comments, you can integrate an active discussion forum.
Plugins like bbPress and Advanced Forum integrate full-fledged forums. Use category-specific forums for wiki debate and Q&A on particular topics.
Active forums keep your community connected while improving content accuracy and depth.
11. Promote Wiki Contribution and Growth
You need a promotion plan to spread the word and build initial wiki momentum. Potential channels include:
- Email list outreach
- Social media campaigns
- Partnerships with aligned organizations
- Guest posts on related sites
- Search engine optimization
Promote site signup incentives like contributor badges and recognition. Spotlight quality pages and editors in newsletters. Celebrate editing milestones.
Outreach and promotion will ensure a thriving editor community who actively enhance your wiki.
12. Track Wiki Page Performance
Leverage analytics to identify your most popular and highest quality pages.
- Pageviews and unique visitors per page
- Traffic sources driving page visits
- Time on page and bounce rates
- Keyword rankings in search for top pages
This data informs promoting and expanding your best content while reworking underperforming pages.
Launching a Wikipedia-style wiki may seem daunting. But with WordPress and the proven tips above, you can unleash the collective intelligence of a community.
Dedicated editors will enrich your wiki with specialized knowledge you never could have produced alone. Help them keep improving and expanding quality content.
Soon your wiki will become a beloved go-to resource while driving engaged membership and search visibility. Follow this guide, empower your editors, and your own collaborative wiki success story awaits!