How to Write a Wikipedia Article

What you need to know about writing for Wikipedia

An image of the Wikipedia home page on a computer screen.

Photo © zmee / Getty Images

Wikipedia is one of the largest and most popular websites in the world to visit for getting accurate and up-to-date information on almost any topic imaginable. It often ranks on the first page of Google for all sorts of different search queries.

Perhaps the most amazing part about Wikipedia is that all of its information is crowdsourced. Anyone can contribute information to Wikipedia, including you.

The Evolution of the Encyclopedia

Back before the web and Wikipedia were such mainstream resources, it would take regular encyclopedias a year or longer to generate updated entries and come out with new editions. These days, however, Wikipedia will feature updated information or a brand new entry as soon as someone takes the time to write one. And with anything that catches the public's eye, that's usually pretty quick.

How to Write a New Wikipedia Article

If you have the knowledge to share about a particular topic but notice there's no Wikipedia article for it yet, you could be the one to start it. Here's how to do it.

  1. Go to Wikipedia.org, click on your language and sign into your account. If you don't have a Wikipedia account yet, just click Create an account in the top right corner of the article to enter some details and get your account set up.
  2. Make sure you've done a good deal of research for the article you want to write. A Wikipedia article without a ton of references is barely a Wikipedia page at all. Of course, if you haven't checked if it exists in Wikipedia first, you should definitely do that before you waste time creating a new one on the same topic, which will certainly only result in it being removed.
  3. Do a thorough read over Wikipedia's resources on contributing to Wikipedia and writing your first article. Go through each section provided in the table of contents to make sure you're familiar with all of Wikipedia's publishing guidelines. This is important to ensure that your Wikipedia has no major issues and doesn't get removed after you've done so much hard work to publish it.
  4. Use Wikipedia's Article Wizard and sandbox for writing and submitting your first article. The Article Wizard will take you through all the steps you need to do to comply with Wikipedia's guidelines while taking all the guesswork out of getting published. The sandbox tool offers you a space to experiment with your first article by writing it out and previewing it. Click on the Sandbox link in the menu at the top of the screen when signed into your account to access your personal sandbox.
  1. After editing your article and previewing it in the Article Wizard or in your sandbox, click the blue Publish page button where it will be sent to a team of volunteers for review.

Building Upon Your Wikipedia Article and Keeping It Updated

Once you've followed all the steps given by the Article Wizard, you should have your first article set up, but it will be far from being done. In fact, Wikipedia articles are really never done since they all require several edits before they even come close to appearing entirely complete.

As you continue to expand your research on your topic and collect more sources of information, you can add more updates to your article. A regular updating schedule will ensure that your article does well, and other users will appreciate your contribution.

Wikipedia recommends checking out its resource on writing better articles to help you make improvements to it. You should also take a look at Wikipedia's introduction to uploading images if you want to incorporate them into your article.

For more Wikipedia resources, you should definitely bookmark Wikipedia's Help page. There, you'll find links to all sorts of user-related topics that may be of use to you.

Article updated by: Elise Moreau