Wikipedia is the most widely used encyclopedia on planet earth. With its open model, anyone can create or edit articles in Wikipedia. However, because articles are often written by volunteers who are not professionals in a specific field, it is important that one looks at their references and credibility of content before using them as a primary source.
Wikipedia have developed an efficient and easy to follow format which you can use to write engaging Wikipedia pages:
1. Write the article’s name as the title. Names create an instant impression even before we read any further so make sure your title clearly reflects the topic of your page.
2. Use search engine optimization (SEO) keywords such as ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘how’, etc. to direct readers towards your page. Putting keywords in the title of your article will make it easier for search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to categories your page under specific headings relevant to your topic. These are also important for readers who are not certain about the topic of an article but want to find out more about it on Wikipedia before reading further.
3. Use ‘mentions’, i.e., bold text that directs users’ attention where they can find more information on a particular subject. This is particularly helpful if you have written on more than one aspect of a person’s life or used different references since people can jump straight to what interests them most without having to read through the article again. For example, in the page dedicated to actor Tom Hiddleston, bold mentions in the introduction direct readers to specific points about his role as Loki in The Avengers (2012).
4. Use internal links. These are links within an article that lead directly to another page on Wikipedia or even another article. For example, you can link different characters from a play with one another when writing about them. This will help your reader connect important points they may not have read otherwise and make it easier for them to understand what you are trying to convey. A newspaper uses these extensively for articles online.
5. Make sure there is enough information on your page so that once someone reads it all of their questions have been sufficiently answered. If people feel that more information is needed, they will go look for it elsewhere. So, make sure you give them all the information they may need by writing as much as possible and shortening wherever you can.
6. Avoid using first person or ‘I’ when writing your page. This is because Wikipedia articles are meant to be an academic source of information and thus should not contain personal opinion (i.e., “I think” etc.) unless it is specifically required to balance arguments on a topic. Instead, use third person or ‘he’/’she’.
7. Be concise and avoid unnecessary jargon. Make sure your article does not ramble off into numerous tangents that do not serve the purpose of explaining the topic at hand. Use straightforward language wherever possible and provide links to where you can find more information.
8. Make sure your page is not only comprehensive but that it is also informative and unbiased. Always look for references to back up what you are saying and ensure you do not write in a biased or dismissive way about points which readers may perceive as controversial (e.g., political issues) unless you have a clear reason to do so. Remember, Wikipedia is meant for everyone and thus should be written in such a way that people from all backgrounds can understand it easily.
9. Format the page using headings, bold text, etc. This helps keep things neat and tidy and provides easy access to appropriate information when needed quickly. It also makes articles easier to read and follow.
10. Edit using wiki markup. Wiki markup is a type of format that can be used to improve the appearance of your page as well as make it more dynamic and interactive. It involves typing in simple codes within your article which tell Wikipedia how you want certain things to look like.
11. Proofread your work for any errors before submitting. Take a second or even a third look over what you have written and make sure there are no spelling mistakes, grammar problems, etc.
Creating an engaging Wikipedia page is no easy feat. It takes time, effort and consistency to create a well-structured article that meets the guidelines of this online encyclopedia. The 11 steps above should give you some pointers on how to do just that for your next Wikipedia entry! Have any more suggestions? Let us know in the comments below or by getting in touch with our team! We’d love to hear from you.