Yes, Wikipedia is a great resource to have when trying to grow your online presence. However, not everyone qualifies for a page on Wikipedia and it’s also not the holy grail. So, before you go off and start creating your Wikipedia page, let’s discuss the process.
Knowing that you must qualify as notable under Wikipedia guidelines, I always recommend having one if you qualify, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t.
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to creating a Wikipedia page. Regardless of if you are trying to create a Wikipedia biography or a page on your company, there are hundreds of pages of guidelines that come into play.
So, what is the step-by-step process of creating a Wikipedia page? Well, here is a basic overview of the page creation process.
What is a Wikipedia Page and Why Should You Have One?
Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, which is widely used as a source of information by millions of people around the world. Having a Wikipedia page for your business or organization can be an invaluable asset as it can help you build credibility and trust with potential customers.
It also allows you to provide detailed information about your company, products or services that may not be available on other websites. While I do not recommend getting too detailed with products or services, listing out what you are known for can be a valuable branding tool.
Simply having a Wikipedia page can help people verify that you are reputable. While Wikipedia is not the most trusted source for information, having a page in Wikipedia gives people the same feeling as seeing you having a verified social media account.
Wikipedia is also almost always necessary in the creation of a Google Knowledge Graph. Although Google generally relies on Wikipedia’s sister project Wikidata, the information for Wikidata is normally created once someone has a Wikipedia page.
And yes, Wikipedia can help with search engine rankings.
Steps to Create a Wikipedia Page
There are many steps to creating a Wikipedia page.
If you just want to know the process, this article provides a brief overview. If you want to learn how to do it yourself, I teach an in-depth course at LM Marketing Academy which provides hands-on examples of everything from start to finish.
1. Does the Page Already Exist?
The first thing you need to do is determine if the page already exists. Also, if it doesn’t exist, determine if there is already a draft that has been submitted for review.
The simple way to do this is to use the search box function in Wikipedia as seen below in the video.
I searched for a fictitious name, but you can see that there is no such page listed in Wikipedia. I used the prefix “Draft:” before the name which would give me the draft page of the person if one existed.
Why is it important to know if the page exists?
Well, if one already exists then you can simply update the page. If you attempt to create a duplicate page or submit a draft where one already exists, it would be deleted and you will likely be blocked from editing.
Note – If a draft already exists, you are able to edit that as well. Just because it was created by another editor doesn’t mean that they are the only one who can update it prior to submitting to Wikipedia (more on submitting to Wikipedia later in this article).
2. Determine Notability
Notability is the first hurdle to having a Wikipedia page. If a topic isn’t notable, it doesn’t matter if you write the perfect article…it simply will NOT be approved by Wikipedia.
Basically, you cannot make something notable just by writing about it in Wikipedia. Wikipedia requires that the topic is already talked about in-depth in the media in order to quality for Wikipedia.
So, what does it take to be notable for Wikipedia?
This question can be complicated but let me go over the general notability guidelines.
Wikipedia requires that a topic have significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the topic. Sounds easy but not so fast.
Significant coverage means that the topic is covered by multiple sources and those sources talk about it in-depth. Brief mentions about the topic will not suffice. I tell my clients that you need to have “featured” articles in order to qualify.
Reliable sources are not just sources you see on Google News. Wikipedia has a list of sources they consider reliable. Editors are very strict with what constitutes a reliable source, and you would be surprised when you see some they allow and others they do not allow.
Independent coverage means there can be no connection between the subject of the article and reference itself. Press releases are not independent as the subject is the one releasing the statement.
I have two guides that will help you more with notability. The first is a general guide to notability and the other is a guide to creating biographies. These may help you determine if the topic you want to write about is notable.
3. Start a New Draft Wikipedia Article
To start a new draft, simply go to Wikipedia’s “articles for creation” project here. When you get to the main page, you will see a button to “start a new article” as seen in the following image:
Once you click on the starting button, you will be prompted to ask several questions such as if you are connected to the topic of the page. I would suggest that you disclose any conflict of interest you may have with the subject.
While I used to take a stance you should not disclose, Wikipedia has done a better job lately of weeding out toxic editors who simply want to crucify people simply because they have a conflict.
Once you have a new draft, you will be able to add content until you are ready to submit it for review.
Make sure that the draft does not contain copyright material, reliable sources, and is not advertorial in any way. If so, it will be quickly deleted.
4. Submit Draft for Review
Once you complete the draft, its time to submit.
The process is easy. Simply click on the “submit for review” button in the notification box at the top of the draft. If the draft has been previously declined, the box will read “resubmit draft” but it’s the same process.
Once you submit the draft, it is a waiting game.
Wait, how long is the approval process?
Well, this question actually makes me upset. I see a few digital marketing agencies who offer this service without the competency required to do so. They advertise that it can take three to six months for approval.
This is absolutely false!!
If the topic is notable and written within guidelines (not advertorial, proper references, etc.), it should be approved rather quickly. In fact, it will likely be approved within a week or two.
If an agency tells you it can take up to six months (which it can if not done correctly), it is clear they have no idea what they are doing.
5. Fix Any Errors Pointed Out by Reviewers
One of the great things about using the articles for creation process is that editors will either approve the draft or decline it with a reason.
If approved, great.
If not, you know what you need to fix.
There are several reasons why a draft may be declined. If the topic is notable, then you will likely be declined based on something reading like an advertisement or not having the proper references.
Regardless of the reason, there will be a link in the decline box that you can follow for the proper guideline on what you did wrong. Once you fix the issue, feel free to resubmit.
Note – Some of the decline reasons on Wikipedia are subjective. As such, you may need to reach out to the individual editor who declined the draft in order to understand their reasoning. Something that may not read advertorial to you may be advertorial to them. While it sucks, you will still need to fix the issue as they see fit since they will be the gatekeeper to approval.
Tips & Tricks for Writing a Successful Wikipedia Entry
Writing a successful Wikipedia entry can be a daunting task. It requires a deep knowledge of the topic and an understanding of the Wikipedia guidelines.
In fact, despite over a decade of experience editing Wikipedia, I am still learning since guidelines are always changing.
So, what are some of tips and tricks to help you be successful at creating your Wikipedia page? Some of these I have already discussed above, but here is another rundown.
- No copyright material
- Use only reliable sources
- Short and sweet
- Nothing advertorial
- Remove awards – no one cares
No Copyright Material
Wikipedia is very strict when it comes to copyright information. If you submit anything with copyright material, it will be declined and deleted. You may also be blocked without notice.
Here is a link to a list of sources Wikipedia sees as reliable. If you are in doubt whether a source can be used in your draft, feel free to pose the question at the reliable sources noticeboard.
Short and Sweet
Yes, the shorter the better. Stop trying to create a glowing resume on Wikipedia. Just put up the basic information. Then, feel free to create your own website where you can tout yourself and your accomplishments.
When it comes to advertising, Wikipedia will come down hard. And, Wikipedia sees a lot of content as advertorial, even though you may not. Steer clear of using descriptive words that make it seem like the topic of the page is better than everyone else in the same field.
I said it and I will say it again. No one really cares about your awards. You may, but Wikipedia does not. Leave them out.
Common Mistakes When Creating a Wikipedia Page
Unfortunately, many people make mistakes when creating a Wikipedia page which can lead to their entry being rejected or removed. Common mistakes include failing to provide reliable sources, using promotional language, and not following the guidelines for formatting.
While these are some of the tips and tricks I shared previously, I want to go a little further into some editing conduct that will absolutely get your draft rejected.
- Failure to correct issues
- Having a toxic attitude
- Not disclosing your conflict
- Not asking questions
Failure to Correct Issues
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not correcting the issues outlined in a rejection. If you resubmit the draft with little or no corrections, I guarantee it will get rejected.
Having a Toxic Attitude
Sad to say, but you need to basically bow down to toxic editors. Wikipedia has a hostile editing environment and if you attempt to give people attitude, they will decline your draft for just about anything. They will become picky and your chances of getting approved become slim to none. Their house, their rules unfortunately.
Not Disclosing Your Conflict
Again, I used to advocate not disclosing. However, even with the toxic editing environment, disclosing your conflict in the articles for creation process is highly recommended over not.
Not Asking Questions
This goes back to failing to correct issues. If you are unsure if you are doing something correctly, ask a question of the declining editor or at the help desk created specifically for the articles for creation process.
Making Sure That Your Article is Up-To-Date & Accurate
Keeping your articles up-to-date and accurate is essential for your brand. It’s important to ensure that the information you are presenting to readers is current, accurate, and relevant.
However, it’s not so simple when it comes to Wikipedia.
You see, Wikipedia does not care about truth. They only care about verifiability.
Yes, I said it. And it makes sense when you think about it. Wikipedia is not the publisher of original content. It is not a news organization and doesn’t employ fact checkers. So, what they do is publish a summary of information already available from reliable sources.
This eases the burden of having to determine accuracy. Basically, the information as reported by a reliable source is what gets listed in Wikipedia (with some exceptions).
So, if there is something inaccurate with your Wikipedia page, you need to make sure you have a reliable source that has the correct information. You can then update the page or request that it be updated.
I also recommend monitoring your Wikipedia page so that you can get notified anytime there is a change that could affect your brand.