Have you ever wanted to create a social network that looks like Facebook, acts like Facebook but is all yours? Your community. Your topic. Your management.
Facebook is great, but it has its limits. Its privacy policies are questionable. Its usability is a mess and it doesn’t let anyone focus on just one topic.
All the reason you need to create your own social network
There are a million reasons to build your own social network. Maybe you don’t want to send your hard-won visitors to Facebook or Twitter.
Perhaps you have a niche or a hobby and want to bring everybody together in one dedicated space.
Maybe you want your network to be completely private.
And maybe you just don’t like Facebook. Lots of people don’t.
Whatever your reason, there has never been an easier time to get a social network like Facebook up and running on your own site in a matter of minutes.
Build Your Own Social Network With An Open Source Content Management System
Using an Open Source CMS to create a social network like Facebook brings a whole bunch of benefits:
- You get all the advantages of the CMS itself, from easy blogging to ecommerce.
- Content management systems have strong communities that offer support and video tutorials.
- A CMS lets you simply plug the social network application into your existing site.
- Your social network will usually be a part of your site and not the only thing on it.
- Complete integration: your social network will look like an integral part of your site.
- Your visitors stay on your site instead of leaving for a stand-alone solution elsewhere.
- The code is open and can be changed if needed.
In this blog post, we will focus on the two most popular content management systems: WordPress and Joomla!
Social Networking Applications For WordPress
WordPress is the most popular way to create websites today, and it comes with a few good options for creating a social network:
- BuddyPress – A bit old, clunky and outdated but wildly popular due to a lack of competition, at least until recently. BuddyPress is free and has limited options. All the other features like photos or videos are provided by 3rd party developers who either charge a lot for their plugins and / or they aren’t even compatible with each other. It’s a gamble and can get very messy.
- PeepSo – A lightweight social network plugin for WordPress. PeepSo has steady development and within 2 years it’s portfolio has grown from just 7 plugins to 24 and more are planned to come out at a steady pace. It’s slick and beautiful design appeals to users. PeepSo core is free and offers 3 additional free plugins.
Stand Alone Social Networking Applications
If you decide not to go with WordPress or Joomla, you can find a few solutions that don’t require any CMS. A CMS will always be better, but you can also play with these:
- JomSocial.me – With just a few clicks, you get a full-fledged community along with advertising (inside the stream or outside it), eLearning, SEO and blogging. JomSocial.me was discontinued and doesn’t even exist any longer.
- Ning.com – Within minutes you can create a reasonable social network, hosted on Ning’s servers. The pricing starts at $25/month for only 1,000 members and rises to $99/month for 100,000 users. A 14-day free trial can get you started. The design is a bit dull and outdated. Also, the code is not open and you won’t be able to make changes or enhancements. You can view Ning’s live community here. Not to mention Ning went bankrupt few months ago and was taken over by another company. I’d not trust it quite entirely to be honest.
- others – There are a few others which to be honest aren’t worth even mentioning.
What To Pay Attention To?
It all comes down to simple questions and you need to be sure about the answers.
- Is it open source?
- Can you host it yourself to retain full control over Your Community?
- How often are releases made?
- How responsive is the support?
- How much does it cost?
Lots of options to choose from! Most of these solutions have a free version (provided they’re still around), PeepSo included! Try PeepSo FREE today!
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