This past month Wikipedia celebrated its 10th birthday. Since its founding in Jan of 2001 it has certainly grown by leaps and bounds. Currently there are more than 17 million Wikipedia articles, in more than 250 different languages, and it is consistently ranked as one of the most popular sites on the Web.
Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project recently did a study that revealed some interesting data regarding exactly who is using Wikipedia. The study called Wikipedia, Past and Present showed that in just the last 2 years there has been a 17 percent increase of adult Americans who are using the site to do research online. Fifty-three percent of Americans reported looking up information on Wikipedia. More men report using the site than women, but still 50 percent of women in the study said they used it regularly. Approximately 62 percent of those users are adults under 30.
Additionally, the majority of Wikipedia users are educated: 69 percent are college grads, 41 are not. Two-thirds of respondents earn $50,000 or more per year. If this sounds like your demographic, then how can you get a Wikipedia article for you business? Consider the following:
First, prepare your sign making business for public exposure. Are you ready to stand up under the editing and commenting of other readers? Since Wikipedia is a collaborative site, anyone with an account can contribute. Just because your article is written by a third party doesn’t mean people won’t be quick to add their thoughts about your sign business.
Before you jump into getting yourself a Wikipedia entry read these 5 do’s and don’ts.
- Do set up a Wikipedia account and edit other entries. This will serve as your education on all things Wikipedia. Having your own account masks your IP address, let’s you create a list of article that interest you, let’s you create new articles and entities, and helps build your credibility with other Wikipedia editors.
- Don’t forget to remain neutral. You have to be objective, even about your own business. The purpose of Wikipedia isn’t to advertise, it’s to educate. Promoting your business shows a conflict of interest and wages a red flag with the Wikipedia authorities. (This is a hard point to grasp for most entrepreneurs.)
- Do learn about Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines. Using Wikipedia isn’t a free for all. The site has clear guidelines, principles, and best-known practices. You have to follow them.
- Don’t write your own entry. The majority of content on Wikipedia is written by objective third parties, so make sure your article is done the same way. Find someone else who can right the article without promoting your business directly, otherwise you run the risk of getting your article flagged and removed from the site.
- Do watch the articles you edit. It takes about 15 minutes for edits and submissions to post, so check back to make sure it shows up.
Having a Wikipedia entry can be a good point of reference for your sign making business, as it can be easily brought up in conversation, and used to provide objective information about your business.