How to make a successful wiki on


A user recently asked me what makes a successful wiki. Taking a quick look through the list of most active wikis can show you some traits that are useful:

Traits for success

  1. Focused subject matter. A wiki needs to be about something to be successful. It needs to appeal to a niche that isn't entirely satisfied elsewhere.
  2. Though it needs to be a niche, there must be 15+ people interested in it at any given time unless you have some really dedicated people working on this wiki.
  3. The people must have a strong interest in the subject matter. This is important because wikis need editors to give them life, and no one is going to edit something they don't care about. This is why wikis related to role play games and software development projects do the best. They have passionate readers that have something to contribute. Note: these aren't the only two successful subjects, but they are the most frequently successful.

Starting tips

  1. When starting a wiki, it is important to focus on structure rather than content. I have seen many wiki owners put in tons of content, and it is wasted due to lack of interest. Put in an excellent structure, throw in some content (incomplete is good). People like to fill in the blanks, and an incomplete but well designed structure sucks people in to create the content.
  2. Post links (with a description of why someone would be interested) on forums and blogs after you have some starting structure. This is where most of the traffic comes from followed by email referrals. Be sure to focus on forums and blogs that are related to your subject matter otherwise you will get labeled as a spammer, and users that see the link won't care about your wiki either since it won't be related to their interests. For example, if I had a wiki about why pirates are great, I would try using this search to find where to post up my link.

Where to go from here

  • Create a wiki
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