What Will you Need to Start Up a Social Networking Site
As you are most likely already aware of, social networking sites are the hottest
buzz on the internet lately. Social networking site is a rather loosely defined
term though. What is a social site? Well it is basically a site that
revolves around its users. Social networking websites make up five of the top ten
sites ranked by traffic on alexa.com.
TOP 10 sites:
You Tube (1)
MSN (Microsoft Network)
That tells us that the top five ranked social networking sites are:
You Tube (established Feb 2005)
Facebook (established Mar 1997)
Myspace (established Feb 1996)
Wikipedia (established Jan 2001)
Blogger (established Jul 2000)
You tube is a video sharing site. Face book is a site where users upload
their profiles and are encouraged to share gossip, links and videos.
Myspace is a social networking site where users go to meet other users
and they too are encouraged to upload video, links and gossip. Myspace
also has an impressive collection of nearly 50,000 music videos in a
cornucopia of local and national talent. Wikipedia is a user contributed
encyclopedia. It contains all user written articles on any variety of
subjects you can imagine. Users go there to share their knowledge. They
can write original articles or even edit existing ones. Blogger.com is a
site users go to and create their own personal blog. There is a wide
variety of subjects on Blogger.com. With your own blog, you can share
any opinion or thought you desire with the entire world. Of course the
more popular the subject matter, the more hits(traffic) you will get on
In the above paragraph, where I wrote a couple of sentences about each
of the top five social networking websites, you may have noticed that the one word
I inevitably used to describe each and every social site was: "SHARE".
User's desire to share their hobbies, interests, videos, music,
knowledge and thoughts with others is huge. It makes sense that these
types of social networking sites would be some of the most successful
sites on the internet after so many ecommerce sites have failed
throughout the years. The internet is driven by what its users want. The
fact of the matter is, users want free stuff! Hardly anyone goes to the
internet thinking, "how much money can I spend today?" Mostly, they are
thinking, "what can I get for free off the internet today?" or "Where
can I download free music or movies?" So, the millions of users have
spoken and driven online sales for social networking websites up into the billions
indicating that not all users are only seek free services and items from
the internet. Although a large portion of social networking revenues are
from advertising dollars, the end result is that users are spending more
money online overall.
According to a report on Techcrunch.com, Myspace alone took in revenues
of $755 million in the last year as of June, 2008. Techcrunch.com also
predicts that Facebook will take in about $255 million this year. So, as
you can see, the market size for social networks is huge and promising.
How can you get in on the action?
The basic functionality of a social networking site is:
1) Users must be able to register and log in.
2) They have to be able to create a profile, preferably with photos.
3) They have to be able to share something or many things with other
4) Ultimately a social site should facilitate communication via the
internet and via the site itself. Chat, forums and message boards are
the best examples.
5) There must be some way for the site to earn profits to at least
support itself. Commonly this is done through advertising on the
network. Other ideas are paid membership and site related merchandising.
If you can achieve those five aspects in a social network site, you are
getting off to a good start. Then the biggest asset you can have to make
the site a success is, in my opinion, flexibility, or the ability to
change and be innovative. Innovation is the key word you will hear in
every entrepreneurship seminar throughout the world. Innovation is
particularly important in social networking sites. Since the sites have
only been popular over the past ten years, there is not a huge amount of
data to go on and all of the great ideas are taken, so to be successful
in the online social networking market, you are going to have to come up
with an original idea.
We have covered what functionality your social site will have to have to
work, now all you need to know is: What physical components will you
need to start a social networking site? Of course, you will need either
a web server or a web host. I would lean towards the need to have an
actual web server for making a social networking site due to the
unlimited potential for growth and the number of users that you will
need to be a success. You would be much better off having your own web
server. The fact of the matter is, you can probably put up a web server
for a lot cheaper than what it is going to cost you to pay for a
dedicated server for several years. It is true you may want to start out
with a web host and see how it goes before launching your own web
server, but if you have confidence in what you are doing, you might as
well start off on the right foot.
Once you have a server or a host, you will only have to worry about the
website design. I can only wish you luck from here. The fact of the
matter is that you will have to come up with your own unique idea for a
new social networking site, I have published this article with hopes
of bringing the social networking market potential to your attention.
The size of the market is huge. How you get your slice of the pie is up
to you. I hope some of the information in this article has helped you to
get off on the right foot.