It's a free online encyclopedia, collaboratively edited, and can be updated by anybody at anytime. There are 30 million articles on there so it's no surprise we see it so often but it should always be noted that the information may not consistently be totally accurate due to the fact it can be edited by anyone. Incredibly, a lot of the information is really good and very detailed though.
But enough of the praise for the online encyclopedia, this week I found a parody site that uses the same format but with no factual accuracy and plenty of satirical humour. Uncyclopedia has its own Wikipedia page (of course) and is a fantastic resource when you don't want information but want to be entertained instead.
Some of my favourite finds include this response from Elvis on whether he is dead or alive:
And this suggestion that if you are looking for cheese you may not even realise yet that you'll soon need some crackers too:
Now, you know the way Wikipedia is designed with multiple clickable links to suck you deeper into the site? Well, Uncyclopedia works in the same way so let's see where this page on cheese will take us to.
If we decide we are looking for Goldfish crackers we discover they are "edible crackers designed for little children to bite the heads off of, urinate on, and stomp on vigorously in the middle of the road. The ultimate reason they were created was to stimulate the violence of people and generate their hatred towards the innocent fish."
From this page I found a link to Penguins and that led me to the Category:Things that may be out to get you. There were then lots of sub-categories and a plethora of alphabetical options to choose from; all with links to another page. I chose Exercise and can report that 'Exercise Benefits' are "none". Phew, I'm glad I've got that to back up my own opinion.
Continuing the random clicking I found myself on the Dentist page and that gave me a link back to the Cheese page.
Apart from being fun what can we learn from all this? The key point is that internal linking is important. As much as you want to direct your readers to good information away from your site you also want to make sure they find the other useful pages you have to offer. If you've been found through a Google search that's fantastic and you want to try and keep that new reader for longer by giving them more to see on your site, whether that's related products to buy or further advice on similar issues.
Wikipedia doesn't hold back on the number of internal links it adds but it can make it hard to read as our eyes jump to the highlighted text and miss the rest of the information. Try to add appropriate internal links throughout your text or consider a small section for "Related Articles" at the bottom of each page. These can be auto-generated but the personally curated links usually look better.
And in that spirit…
Here's a list of articles that are not on exactly the same subject but if you liked this you're probably like these too: