Even if you know your subject inside and out, you may still want to look for your fellow Wikians for advice on how to develop a successful wiki. Below are some useful wiki development tips that will help you...
- Save time (in the short or long term)
- See what should be done next
- Attract helpers
- Build a better wiki
Develop your Main Page
- See Help:Main page
New wikis come with a basic main page which allows you to quickly fill in information. Of course you don't need to use this default - you can also design your own original main page, or copy and customize a design from another Wikia. Be sure to add descriptive text, great images, and links to your most important articles.
Here are some good examples.
Post your mission statement
Consider creating an "About" page for your new wiki, and adding a mission statement.
This is your vision of what the wiki will be, and should explain to people what they can expect to find on the wiki. You should list the aims and goals of the wiki on this page, and explain who your target audience is. Also take a moment to explain to people how they can become part of the wiki.
You will need to start the content creation on your wiki by "seed posting" -- adding stub pages and starter content to help flesh out the organization of the wiki, which others can add to. Be prepared to devote a lot of time to this in the early days before a community develops on your wiki; you may create a hundred or more articles yourself before you begin to attract other editors.
You may copy or import material from other wikis who share our CC-BY-SA copyright license, such as Wikipedia, Wikiquote, and more. Please be sure to properly credit the source of the material.
Strive to stay on topic to your wiki. Every page should relate to your wiki's focus.
Change the wordmark
You can add a custom "wordmark" logo to your wiki simply by creating an image no larger than 250 x 65 pixels (preferably a PNG) and asking an admin to upload it via the Theme designer tool to File:Wiki-wordmark.png.
To prevent vandalism, logos are automatically protected so that only sysops can upload a new version.
Adjust your theme
- See Help:Theme designer for more details
Admins can use the Theme designer to choose from a variety of preset "themes" which combine background colors and images with complementary link and text colors. It also provides tools for specific theme changes including an overall background color and image, button color changes, link color changes, text color changes, header color changes and page body content color changes. Lastly, it provides a way to make a quick text "wordmark" logo or a way to upload a custom image version.
Consider other interface changes
- Change the favicon
- A favicon or favorites icon, can be uploaded to Wikia to give a personalized icon associated with your Wikia. These will be shown in the browser's address bar, next to the site's name in lists of bookmarks, and, in tabbed browsers, next to the page's title. You can find the favicon upload tool in Theme Designer.
- Change the style sheet
- The overall look of the site can be changed by admins, who can edit the color scheme via the wiki-wide style sheet (MediaWiki:Wikia.css). This allows very specific changes, but requires knowledge of Cascading Style Sheets (aka CSS). Changes can be tested by adding CSS to Special:MyPage/wikia.css, where changes will only be applied for the logged in user.
Promote your wiki
If you want to develop a community, you will need to tell people about your wiki. Explain to people who may be interested in the topic area that the wiki is a common effort. Be welcoming to visitors and encourage them to become part of the wiki.
You may want to advertise for new users on relevant mailing lists, and through your own contacts. However, be careful that your messages do not come across as spam.
For wikis about local areas, you can make a press release, or send a notice about the wiki, to your local newspapers and residents groups.
There is more information on this topic at the Help:Attracting contributors page.
Develop your community
One of the first steps in developing your community is to encourage new visitors to the wiki to get involved. The following suggestions may help:
- Create a recent visitors page or guestbook so new people can participate even before they have content to add.
- Encourage new users to add some content to their user page.
- Give a personal greeting to newcomers. (templates are useful, but a written one is better)
- Add to the pages created by newcomers, either with content, links or category tags.
- Create a page which explains how new users can contribute to the wiki.
- Link to unfinished or requested pages from your wiki's home page so people can easily see what needs working on.
- Point people to the IRC channel, mailing list or community page, such as your Project:Community Portal to help build a community. You can link to these in the MediaWiki:Community-corner which appears at the bottom right of the Special:WikiActivity page of every user.
- Organize and participate in events like a logo contest. You can also advertise these outside of the wiki to bring in new users.
At some point, you will need rules for your wiki. Keep these simple at first, and expand as you need them. For example, there is little point trying to create rules against edit wars before anyone gets into an edit war. The rules should grow with the wiki, and be developed by the community over time. Applying too many policies is a common mistake.
Your mission statement should make it clear what the limitations are.
Some boundaries are set by the central Wikia community, but others will be specific to individual wikis See Wikia policies for the global boundaries.
Administer your wiki
Every founder of a Wikia has administrator and bureaucrat rights on the wiki they founded. Other users may also be granted this access, by the founder, or by another bureaucrat. Get to know your Admin Dashboard, and visit Founder & Admin Central for advice and resources on how to be an effective admin.
- Logo Creation wiki for help with wordmarks, favicons, and theme background images.