Last edited 14 Feb 2021

Main author

Simon Baxter Website

How to write a popular article

Shutterstock 91886417.jpg

Our top tips for creating an article that attracts lots of readers are:

  • Make it original.
  • Make it clear.
  • Make it practical.
  • Stick to the facts.


[edit] Introduction

Designing Buildings Wiki is an open-access platform. You are free to write articles whenever you choose about anything to do with the construction industry, from business planning and design to construction, operation and decommissioning.

You can write about theory, practices, procedures, products, services, projects and even companies. In fact you can write about anything at all to do with the construction industry. All we ask is that your articles are balanced (ie they are not promotional pieces) and they are encyclopaedic in style (ie they are not blog posts).

When articles are written about the right subject, in the right way, they can reach tens of thousands of readers a year.

Our top 40 articles are each read more than 100 times a day - every day. That's more than 35,000 times a year.

This article explains what makes a popular article then tells you how to create your article.

[edit] What makes a popular article?

[edit] It's all about Google

90% of our traffic comes from Google searches, so:

  • Your article needs to be about something people are likely to search for.
  • It needs to be written in a way that means Google can understand what it's about.

Otherwise nobody will read it.

[edit] What do people search for?

People are looking for practical answers to help them in their daily work.

Our most popular articles are about:

  • Procurement.
  • Construction management.
  • Contracts / payment.
  • Appointments.
  • Client procedures.
  • Design.
  • Cost / business planning.
  • Construction techniques.

Our least popular articles are about:

  • Projects and case studies.
  • Publications / reports.
  • Research / innovation.
  • News.
  • Organisations.
  • Education.
  • Case law.
  • History.

To help you understand what sort of things people search for, start typing a range of different phrases to do with your subject into Google and see what it predicts you are typing.

Increasingly, people are asking Google very literal questions, "How do I .......?" and Google is looking for content that it knows has the answers.

How to help Google understand your article

[edit] The title

The most important thing Google considers when trying to understand an article is the title. So make your title a plain language, literal description of the subject the article is about. For example, one of our most popular articles is called 'Types of drawings for building design'.

Don't try to be clever with your title or over-complicated, Google won't understand it.

[edit] The content

You need to think like a Google does.

If you write; 'Frank Lloyd Wright was an architect born in Wisconsin in 1867', Google will understand what you mean and will return those facts in search results.

If you write; 'Frank was really great and helped turn dreams into reality', Google will have no idea what you mean and it will not feature in search results.

To help Google understand your article:

  • Stick to the facts.
  • Use simple, plain language English.
  • Break your article into clear sections.
  • Use plain language headings to give your article clarity and to segment information. For example; 'history', 'definition', 'research findings', 'references' and so on.
  • Break long articles into several shorter articles.
  • Give images plain language, literal titles. If you call them pict2001344.jpg, Google will not understand what they show.
  • Define specialist terms and acronyms.
  • Avoid long, complicated paragraphs.
  • Use bullet points to separate distinct facts or information.
  • Add links from your article to related information.
  • Adding links to your article from related information (such as from your website or social media posts).

[edit] Duplicate content

Whilst we do allow you to post content on Designing Buildings Wiki that already appears elsewhere on the internet (such as articles that appear on your own website) Google may categorise this as duplicate content, and may exclude it from search results. This will significantly reduce the amount of traffic it receives.

You will get much more traffic if you post original articles, or at least variations of existing articles.

[edit] How to create your article

[edit] Click the orange button

Log in or register, then click the orange 'create an article' button.

Create an article.jpg

Type your title into the the search box to see if it already exists:

  • If an article with your title does not already exist, just click the link next to the search results and your article will open in a text editor ready for you to start writing.
  • If it does already exist, add to or improve the existing article, don't start a new one. If you significantly improve an existing article, you can list yourself as the main author, and add your profile at the top.

You can type your article from scratch, or paste it from another application, but keep your formatting as simple as possible; plain text, simple headings, simple bulleted or numbered lists, simple tables, hyperlinks and images. Anything more complicated may cause interoperability problems between our software and the software you are copying and pasting from.

Our software will automatically insert hyperlinks to other relevant articles on Designing Buildings Wiki when you save your text. It will also insert a table of contents if you use more than three headings. You don't have to do anything.

[edit] Add your profile

To make your profile appear at the top of your article, open your article in the text editor, move the cursor to the end of the article, and click the 'insert signature' button.

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Then save your article and your profile will appear at the top, just like mine does at the top of this one.

[edit] Protect your article

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If you are an expert who does not want other people to be able to change your article, you can protect it. Just save your article, then click 'Protect' at the bottom of the page.

[edit] Examples of a high traffic articles

--Simon Baxter 15:48, 25 Sep 2018 (BST)

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