Monday, April 28, 2008

Questions to consider in selecting a wiki hosting service

So I've convinced you that a wiki hosting service is the solution for you, but you are looking for the right direction you should take? Well, you can easily have a wiki created in just a very few moments using several wiki hosting services. However, before you take that plunge, take a few minutes to think about what you want from your wiki hosting service.

Here are just a few questions to ask yourself:
1) Are you looking for a free or free-based hosting service?
2) Will you be creating a single site or do you think you might create multiple wikis, if all goes well?
3) Do you want to learn wiki markup (or wiki syntax or wikitext)? Or, do you want to use a hosting service that does not require you to learn and to use tags?
4) Do you have a problem with ads being placed on your wiki by the hosting service?
5) Do you need a private wiki that only those you invite should be able to view?
6) Are you hoping that other users of the wiki hosting service might see your site and join your community too?
7) Do you want to be notified when updates are made to the site content?
8) About how many people do you think will be using your wiki?
9) About how many pages do you think will be created?
10) Do you want to use multimedia (e.g., images, videos) on your site?
11) Are you interested in community features (e.g., member profiles, member messaging, discussion forums) on your site?
12) Do you want to place other applications or widgets on your site (e.g., to conduct a survey, to conduct a poll, online chat, guestbook, music player)?
These are just a few questions to help you start thinking about what you want on your wiki and what features you expect from a wiki hosting service.
Post a comment if you have other general questions that you think should be considered when selecting a wiki hosting service.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Free website hosting on wiki farms - what's the catch?

Wiki farms are sites which offer wiki hosting services. Some offer free hosting and others offer fee-based hosting. Yes, I said free hosting. You may ask, what's the catch? Like me, you've likely observed that there aren't many things in life that are free. As the sign in the posted photo shows, to get free stuff you usually must buy other stuff. And, often you sometimes don't need or even want the other stuff that you had to buy, to get the free stuff!

However, I've got great news for you. I've used three free wiki hosting services and am delighted to report that all indeed have been totally free. I've not been hit 90 days later with an offer to extend my website hosting for a small monthly fee, with my content held hostage until I posted a payment by credit card or PayPal. I've also not been bombarded with pop-up ads or other annoying offers flooding my in-box. You can believe it, there is really such a thing after all as hosting services offering free wikis.

If there's no actual cost, you may be wondering about how the wiki hosting services can afford to be so generous. Well, the free wiki hosting services will depend on the proceeds from the ads that they place on your wiki pages. Many wiki services offer a fee-based service where no ads are posted on the wiki pages. Some fee-based wiki services allow the wiki creator to arrange for ads to be placed on the wiki with revenue going to the wiki organizer instead of the wiki hosting service. If you're planning to create a wiki site for an education institution, but can't host a website which displays advertisements, don't worry. Many wiki hosting services offer ad-free wikis to educators after completing a brief application process.

If you're interested in creating a website, but you aren't a geek and you don't want to sink any cash during the process, a wiki may be your solution. It's a win-win too if you want to work with a group or a community in creating your website.

Stay tuned to this blog for more information on features of wiki hosting services and how to select a wiki hosting service. If you just can't wait, visit Everything Wiki, a wiki site with everything you'd probably want to know about using wikis.

Image credit:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Benefits of wiki hosting services

If you've been wondering since my last post what "Wetpaint" and "PBWiki" are, then today the mystery will be solved. Both Wetpaint and PBWiki are examples of wiki hosting services. They are also often called wiki farms, that is, sites which offer wiki hosting. Wiki farms or wiki hosting services often vary significantly. Some offer free hosting and others offer fee-based hosting. Some require you to use wikitext, a simple text markup language. However, many now offer a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (or WYSIWYG) editor where no markup language, or tags, are required.

What’s the benefit of creating a wiki on a hosted service? Not having to deal with installing and maintaining complex programs to support the wiki functions. If you're not a programmer or if you don't own your own server, then a wiki farm or wiki hosting service is your best choice. Here's a short video from the Wetpaint crew that describes the benefits of hosted wiki services.

As posted on YouTube by wpseattle
Image credit:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wetpaint vs. PBwiki

We all know that wikis are hot and the competition is often fierce in the Web 2.0 world. However, in a valiant attempt to demonstrate how social Wetpaint has become, today the Wetpaint crew sent to the PBwiki
team two cans of paint and a set of new brushes to celebrate PBwiki's fresh coat or updated UI in the PBwiki 2.0 version in beta. PBwiki kindly responded by sending twenty peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the Wetpaint crew.

Gotcha! April Fools! All in the spirit of fun in this Web 2.0 world. :)