Tips and Tricks: Starting a new wiki

A wiki is an organic creation: it grows and changes over time as you and your community work on it. But, like with any organic process, you’ll get the best results in the long run if you start out with a solid foundation.

This month, we’re going to walk you through a few of the most important things to do as you start a new wiki. If you’re new to Wikispaces, this will give you a head start. But even if you’re an old hand at wikis, you might find some new and valuable tips.

Step 1: Master the basics
It all starts with the Edit button. Type in some text. Take a look at the editor toolbar, and experiment with all the buttons on it. Play around — you won’t break anything. And don’t be afraid to use the Preview and Save buttons as much as you want.

Once you’ve figured out what you can with random poking, use the link at the top of the actions menu to create a New Page and run through this checklist of things to try:

Step 2: Whip your wiki into shape
You can do a lot of great things with a wiki page, but that’s just the beginning. Now that you’ve mastered the pages themselves, it’s time to take a look at the whole wiki. Go to Manage Wiki and explore.

Our users tell us that they get the most immediate satisfaction (and long-term results) from two things:

  1. Adjusting the wiki’s look and feel.
    • From Manage Wiki, go to Look and Feel under Settings.
    • Click Themes and Colors to apply one of our premade themes, set your custom wiki colors, or (if you’re comfortable with HTML and CSS) set up your custom wiki theme.
    • If you have a Plus, Super, or Education plan wiki, and you’re comfortable with CSS, you can customize your Wiki Stylesheet.
    • If you have an image file ready and formatted to size (we recommend 140X48 pixels), you can upload a custom Logo.
  2. Setting up your wiki navigation.

Step 3: Manage your members
A “member” is any Wikispaces user (or site user, if your organization uses Wikispaces Private Label) who is a listed participant in your wiki. While you could work on your wiki all by yourself, getting other members involved will help you get a lot more out of it.

Add users to an Education wiki:

  1. Go to Manage Wiki.
  2. Under People, click User Creator.
  3. Follow the prompts in the tool to create accounts (with or without email addresses) or add existing users to your wiki.

Add users to other wikis:

  1. Go to Manage Wiki.
  2. Under People, click Invite People.
  3. Enter up to 100 usernames or email addresses, separated by commas or line breaks.
  4. Customize the invitation message for your new members.
  5. Click Send.

Promote another organizer so you can go on vacation:

  1. Navigate to your wiki.
  2. Go to Manage Wiki.
  3. Under People, select Members.
  4. Find the person (or people) you want to promote and check the box next to their name(s).
  5. Click Make Organizer.

Additional resources
That was just a quick rundown of some of your first steps. If you’re looking for additional help, we have a lot of resources for you:

This entry was posted in Tips and Tricks. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

5 Comments

  1. Posted August 9, 2011 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    I am 55 I need a lot more help in setting this site up.

  2. Posted August 9, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Hi Mary,

    If you need more help, check out our video tours and help wiki, or send us an email at help@wikispaces.com.

  3. Mario
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I’d add: whatever else, keep tight control over the navigation panel and don’t be afraid to go into other people’s pages to make sure everything links up properly. It’s the only way you’re going to be sure things are, and stay, organized, with the navigation panel visible on one screen. The alternative is a sprawling mass of uncoordinated pages with many that can only be found through the search function — assuming you remember the right key words to search on. A bit of pre-planning in this regard does no harm.

  4. Kyle
    Posted August 25, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    A ‘floating’ edit button would be SO helpful – does this feature exist by chance? My group has all voiced the frustration with scrolling down a page (often long pages), finding something that needs to be edited, but then having to scroll all the way back up to click Edit… which inevitably causes one to lose their place.

  5. Posted August 25, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Kyle — we don’t have a floating edit button yet, but it’s a great suggestion and one that we’re considering for the future. Thanks!

  • Wikispaces Private Label

    Our flexible, scalable wiki environments deliver unlimited wikis, simple editing tools, and powerful central administration for organizations of all sizes.
    Find out more.
    Start your free, 30-day trial.

  • About Us

    Welcome to our blog! This is where we share updates about events and new releases, tips and tricks for using wikis, profiles of a few of our favorite wikis, and more. We're proud to serve a large community of educators, as well as individuals, groups, and organizations of all stripes and sizes.

    Contact us.
    Call us: 415-863-8919
    Site status · We're hiring!

  • Join Us for a Webinar

    Our monthly webinars are a great way to check out examples, learn from experts, and get real-time answers to your questions. Our webinars are always fun, and always free.
    Sign up today.

  • Wikispaces for Educators

    If your wiki is used exclusively for education, you might be eligible for a free upgrade to one of our K–12 plan or Higher Education plan wikis.
    Learn more about our K–12 plan.
    Learn more about our Higher Education plan.