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Steps to Create and Own a Social Networking Site

by Aji Abraham

There is a great number of competitors within the social marketplace and most are big players.  Is there room for anyone else? And how can anyone dream of competing with massive tycoons like Facebook and Twitter? And what about site development?

One key to starting and maintaining a social networking site is to pay attention to what competitors are NOT doing. Facebook and Twitter keep a great number of things neutral so that they will appeal to a large audience.  Try to single out a niche market and target your site and services to them.  Give yourself more of a brand personality while keeping the interests and culture of your target alive.  Offer what they want and need most.  This many change greatly depending upon the type of market your choose to select. While Facebook and Twitter allow anyone to join for free, you may want to consider altering the requirements and/or fees to fit the expectations of your audience.

It may take some time to seed your network with content and members.  At first, you can create a few fake profiles (who wants to join or participate in an empty network)? Then ask those you know – friends, family etc – to join your site. Ensure that you are spreading word about it’s existence and posting the information.  Create a press release, mention it on forums and run ads if you want.

Study the most up-to-date SEO strategies and make sure your site adheres to the quality standards. Be sure not to do anything spammy.  This could have a high short-term effect, but it will negatively impact your site performance and perception later.

Now for one of the key factors with starting your own social networking site: How much will it cost and how is this created? There are a number of options available to you. Using a hosted solution is okay, but this may be a problem later as the majority (if not all) providers will not allow you to easily move your site. Some will not allow it at all, while others charge hefty fines for doing so. So what is another option? You could get your own domain, hosting plan and server software.  How does this work? Get your domain (www.mysite.com).  Choose your script (like iScripts Socialware).  Find a hosting plan that matches up with your software requirements (compare the iScripts site requirements to that of your hosting plan. If you have any difficulty, you could always contact your hosting provider for assistance during this process.

After these steps, have the software installed on your server and VOILA! – you have your own social networking site. Now all you need to do is gain users.

What will your users do? that is up to you and the script you choose. For instance, iScripts Socialware includes a lot of impressive, built-in features which will allow your users to participate within the online community.  Functionality includes blogs, forums,chat, shopping within the gift shop and using a job portal to name a few.  Other optional modules packed into the software include: album creation, music support, search functionality, a built-in point system plus more.  These features are all included – which can give you a major step ahead when it comes to site development. Create your social site as a standalone application or in addition to an existing website. Key features include: multiple themes and designs, classified ads support, fully editable user profiles, multilevel administration, friends management, powerful search, music support, centralized site management, articles, events, ratings and much more.

What are you waiting for? Building your own social networking site has never been easier!

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