A good entry point to a website or wiki is a page that is understandable and useful to someone coming from outside the site (e.g. from a search engine or external website). In other words, a good entry point does not depend on content that is on other pages on the website for comprehension.
I am taking the idea of a good entry point from the WikiWikiWeb page “Good Entry Point”:
WardsWiki consists of many thousands of pages, each almost equally important. Even the FrontPage isn’t that special. As a result people stumble into this site at some random point, presumably something relevant to a Web search. These visitors don’t initially have the context provided by the page’s neighbors.
Turning this on its head, it becomes a problem for those wishing to create a ValuablePage for a broad section of the reading population.
The often-quoted WardCunningham said on WikiIsNotaDictionary,
[…] Ask yourself: if the page you cite were to be created, would it serve Wiki well as a point of entry in this web of knowledge?
In “The goal of subject wikis”, Vipul Naik writes:
A principle that is important and not obvious is genericity: individual subject wiki pages should largely make sense as independent entry points into the wiki, so that people coming from outside can go straight there. While they should link to other subject wiki entries, they should not be dependent on them in a strong sense. Most important, there should be no forced sequencing of the entries as in a textbook, where future entries depend on earlier ones.
- Doesn’t waste time for the reader, who can just get the information they want without going through many other pages
- No forced sequencing
- Leads to higher quality pages, since one must put more effort into making them comprehensible (?)
- Easier exporting of the site. In other words, in the future I might want to split up the site by e.g. subject, and having roughly independent pages means I don’t have to worry about dependency issues.
- Since a lot of web traffic now comes from social media, it’s important to make pages “share-friendly”, i.e. be useful to people coming in from e.g. Facebook shares, even if they’re not familiar with your site. (This is essentially the same point as in the case of search traffic. In both cases, you should just assume that most people aren’t familiar with your site. One the other hand some sites use this “foreignness” well, as in the case of e.g. everything2 or AutoAdmit, which have a different “feel” to the site than most sites, which (for me) makes them more interesting.)
- Inability to have “sequences” of pages?
- Duplication of content, like introductions?
- Adding metadata to pages can guide new readers.
- The first paragraph of a page can be a Wikipedia-style introduction, with bolded keyword and general introduction to the topic. This allows readers to quickly tell if the page they’re reading is something they want to be reading (sort of like how abstracts function in academic papers).