The Internet has had a tremendous impact on the development of our society. Almost every business now has a web-site, and it’s getting hard to find a household that has no Internet access. When you spend a considerable amount of time surfing the web, you need to understand how websites differ in terms of their size, purpose and content. Today we will discuss some differences between a blog and a wiki.
A blog is a website that is maintained by one or a team of contributors, which consists of a collection of pages (articles) that are usually grouped around some specific topic. Blogs are generally small, more informal and represent the opinion of the author. There are many exceptions, however: some blogs can contain hundreds of thousands of pages and have huge teams of contributors. Blog articles are arranged in chronological order, where the most recent ones are displayed on the top of the website. A good example of a blog would be a website that you are currently reading.
A wiki is another widespread type of website. To put it simply, it’s a number of web-pages that are cross-linked to each other and allow collaborative editing. This collaborative editing is actually a key difference that separates wikis from other website types and it means that everyone can edit content on a wiki-based website. Other differences will be discussed later in this article.
A great example of a wiki is Wikipedia.org, although there are tons of small niche wiki websites. The Wiki platform is popular in the corporate world to create internal knowledge databases. If you are a company executive, consider using a wiki intranet portal instead of a bunch of MS Word and pdf documents.
|Editorial text modification.||Collaborative text modification.|
|Best used for opinion sharing.||Best used as a knowledge base.|
|Navigation mainly with the help of categories and tags.||Navigation mainly through search and in-text hyperlinks.|
|Most popular engine is WordPress.||Most popular engine is Media Wiki.|
|Contributors may need to know HTML. Easy visual editors are present.||Contributors may need to know wiki syntax. Easy visual editors are present too.|
|Good choice for individual projects.||Choose wikis for group projects where collaboration is planned.|
Let’s compare them in terms of purpose, content, and structure.
- The key distinction is who is able to edit the content. In a wiki virtually everyone can edit every page of the site, unless it is protected. This is what made Wikipedia the biggest knowledge base in the world. In the case of a blog only a team of contributors can edit articles. Readers are only allowed to comment on them.
- As mentioned above, it’s best to use wiki as a knowledge base. Blogs, on the other hand, are intended for sharing opinions, either those of an individual blogger, or a team of authors.
- Navigation in wikis is realized mainly through search and in-text hyperlinks, which means that sometimes you can click on the term and get to the page that explains its meaning (see a picture below). Navigation in blogs mainly occurs with the help of tags and categories, though in-text links are often present too.
- For education purposes blogs are the right choice in the case of individual projects, and wikis are indispensable if student collaboration is required.
- The world’s most popular blogging platform is WordPress, while wikis are based mainly on Media Wiki engine from Wikimedia. WordPress has a lot of design templates and plugins; it’s highly customizable. Wiki platforms don’t offer such a variety of designs and technical modifications. That’s why there is an abundance of blog designs, while most wiki-based websites look alike.
- To add new articles to blogs you need to know the basics of HTML, whereas wikis need you to know wiki syntax, which is a bit simpler than HTML. However, modern platforms of both types are nowadays equipped with easy-to-use visual editors.
The video below explains the difference between blogs and wikis in more detail.