First 50b
I mentioned recently that one of the first things to do on a new wiki is start writing pages. For design help we ask that you have at least 50 pages on the wiki, and that's a good number to aim for. But 50 is a big number! How are you going to get there when all you have is a blank wiki?

The key thing is to get started. Don't let the task overwhelm you, just pick a place to start and get that one thing done, followed by the next one thing, and then the next. It's much easier to write in bite-sized pieces rather than trying to take on too much too soon.

The main page of any wiki is a critical one. It's your doorway into your wiki and making it interesting, attractive, and easy to use is an important early task. Of course, you aren't going to have much to put on the main page at first, but you can write a short introduction to the topic, add some attractive images and write a short list of the articles you intend to write first.

When you are thinking about where to start, think about your visitors. What are they most likely to want to read about? Often it's the main characters of your topic, along with any important places or objects related to them. For example, on Riordan Wiki the top four most popular pages are characters,

Think about the questions visitors are most likely to ask: who is Rachel Berry? Or, what weapons are used in Fallout 4? Pages that answer those questions are ones people are likely to be searching and so ones that you should make it easy to find.

You don't need to write fully formed and lengthy articles to start with, it's more important to get the key facts down and move on to the next article. Of course, by that I don't mean you shouldn't do a good job, but several short, accurate and carefully written "stubs" (short articles) are better than just having a single article with every minute detail in it - that can come later!

Another way to get going on your new wiki is to write lists. After the main page, and "Harry Potter" the most popular article on the Harry Potter wiki is "List of Spells". This gives an impressive list of condensed information about the spells in the stories, with links linking to even more information. Of course, you aren't going to have a list like that at first, but simple lists can be a very useful way of presenting your information in a concise form and then leading, with links, to individual pages that go into more detail.

As you create your 50 pagers, think about your future contributors, as well as your visitors. There are a few ways to encourage people to edit - for example, don't be afraid of links going to empty pages (red-links). They can be a great way of encouraging people to add something to the page - and hopefully come back another day to write more. And going back to lists, they are a good way of helping people to make useful contributions by simply adding another character or weapon, or whatever. So again, you don't have to worry about making your lists 100% complete, just start them off with the key items and add to it (and allow others to add to it) as your wiki develops.

Categories are important too, they help give your wiki a structure and visitors another useful way of exploring your content. So think about how you are going to structure your categories, what are the biggest groups ("characters", 'places", "Items"?) and then split them down it to sub categories as you go.

The most important thing to remember is that search engines like good, original content with clear links between them. So that's a good thing to aim for as you write your first 50 pages. That way your pages are more likely to show up in searches, and you are more likely to find those coveted visitors and contributors.

What advice do you have for new wikis? What has worked for you when you were getting a new wiki started?

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