Should your wiki and blog be separate sites?

Even today, most web content can fairly be called either bloggy or wikish.


Tweets, Facebook posts, Reddit news items, discussion forums, and (gasp) even traditional news sites qualify as bloggy:  Each piece is timely and static; there is one clear date of publication, and you only edit to correct egregious errors.


On the opposite end of the data-shelf-life spectrum is a timeless (no single publication date), dynamic wiki page.  Obvious wikish sites include pretty much anything whose name contains "iki", "pedia", or both.  Less obvious: the vast majority of company websites are in this camp, whether they use wiki software or not.  The content is intended to be authoritative and evolving, part of the great pedia that is the web.


Savvy web users know these two worlds are generally kept separate.  Software websites refer folks to "their wiki" for documentation.  Corporate sites refer users to "their blog" for the latest news.  They may be under the domain, but the blog and wiki are clearly different neighborhoods.  Is this segregation wise?


There are several reasons for the split, some old, some new, some complex, some confused.  Some folks think "wiki" always means "anyone can edit".  Some think blogs are just for opinion pieces.  Many more fall into segregation by habitually approaching their web challenges piecemeal: we need a blog; what's the best tool for blogs?


More thoughtful web creators will point out real challenges to blending the two.  To mix individual and collective creations, you need elegant management.  To mix one-off announcements and thoughtful edits you need elegant interface.  To organize timely and timeless data, you need elegant organization.


All true, but suppose we meet those challenges.  What would the payoff be?


Well for starters, a unified site means a single signin account; separate signins are a nuisance, a barrier to entry, and a source of data confusion.  It also means a single search, so you don't have to look multiple places any time you can't remember where a bit of information was entered.  It means a better user experience for visitors, who don't feel like they have to learn their way around multiple realms.  It means simpler, easier-to-manage references from blog to wiki and vice versa.  It means simple data reuse – duplication is the bane of data managers everywhere.  


The payoff, in sum, is integration.  Better integration means better visitor experience, better creator/maintainer experience, and, ultimately, better data.


Ethan McCutchen is a creator of Wagn, a tool for team-driven websites.  Learn more at



bloggy or wikish

--Anonymous (Not signed in).....2013-07-15 10:22:09 +0000