Encyclopedias have been written for over two thousand years, and they were often written by scientists and experts. Encyclopedias were huge in size, and relatively expensive.
The concept of free online encyclopedias appeared in the 1990s, with several small online encyclopedia sites: Open-Site and Everything2. Then Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger launched Wikipedia in January 2001, and this platform proved to be the most successful due its simple design and flexible, evolving platform.
In total, there are more than 38 million articles and 2.4 million pictures on Wikipedia, available in 250 languages. The website has nearly 60 million users, which is more than the population of Spain or South Africa. The English Wikipedia is the most extensive, with more than five million articles and 26 million users. Every day, 800 new articles are added to the English Wikipedia alone.
Thousands of nonprofits worldwide have pages on Wikipedia such as Save the Children, Amnesty International and Oxfam. Many nonprofits in the United States as well have Wikipedia pages such as Everytown for Gun Safety, Sierra Club, and ONE Campaign (these are also Fission clients). Every organization can and should have its own Wikipedia page to represent the organization to the best degree possible. If your organization doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, or doesn’t take care of its existing page, here are three reasons you should consider creating or updating one:
1. Wikipedia is the most visited online source of information
Wikipedia is the highest ranking source of information online. According to Alexa, a website-ranking platform, Wikipedia ranks 7th in the world and the 6th in United States (as of January 2016). It ranks higher than any news website or any other online encyclopedia. To put this in context, CNN ranks 22nd and Encyclopedia Britannica ranks 1,575th in the United States. Wikipedia ranks among the top 100 websites in most countries. It ranks 7th in Germany, 8th in India, and 11th in Japan (source: Alexa, January 2016). This makes Wikipedia the single most important source of information online. It should not be underestimated!
2. Wikipedia is always at the top of Google search results
When you search for Barack Obama on Google, Wikipedia will appear as the second search result after his personal website. Wikipedia appears on Google before his page on the White House website, his Twitter profile, his Facebook page or any other website. This is true not only for Barack Obama, but also for most individuals and organizations.
Print-screen showing the first search results on Google for Barack Obama.
Research shows that one third of traffic coming from search goes to the first search result on Google, and 18% of the search traffic goes to the second search result. This means that there are more people who are going to learn about your organization from Wikipedia than any other website. You might have great reviews about your organization in the most famous newspapers or academic magazines, but in the end, your Wikipedia page will appear in the search results before these wonderful reviews, and it might get more traffic than all of them combined.
3. If you didn’t make your Wikipedia entry, someone will for you
There are thousands of bloggers online who are spending long hours on Wikipedia to document information which interests them. One of them might decide to start a page about your organization. You cannot stop someone from starting a page on Wikipedia about your organization, nor can you dictate what they are going to mention in this page. It’s in your best interest that your Wikipedia page reflect your work accurately, with no misinformation or biases. You also don’t want any rumors or wrong information to be presented on Wikipedia as facts. That’s why you should be the one taking the initiative and making sure that your Wikipedia page represents your organization in the best possible way.
In the past, being mentioned in an encyclopedia was an honor which only the most successful could aspire to. Nowadays, being mentioned on Wikipedia is a necessary recognition of the credibility and work of your organization.
If you need some help starting or editing your Wikipedia page, feel free to contact Fission to discuss it! We are always happy to help!