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Best Platform to Build a Social Network website

Main features of social networks Before we compare platforms to build a social network website, let's point out the core features of such websites: – Member profiles store users’ data, display social network activity, let users share content, and make them discoverable. – The activity feed is crucial to inform participants about what is happening on the site. Users can interact with content (comment, follow, subscribe, share, mark like/dislike, etc.) on an interest basis. – Groups help to classify content and strengthen the connection between users with a common interest. They act as one of the key channels for attracting new members. – Social networks should allow members to create appropriate types of content. – A powerful search engine makes it easy for users to find the content they want, as well as friends and other users. – Social network spam and fraud protection ensures that users feel safe. Feedback mechanisms are required in case of complaints about other users or sending

How to Create a Social Media Platform?

    Everyone knows the story of Facebook creation that greatly impacted human relations and the economy. What does make Facebook unique? They opened the doors to many variations of social media platforms that have existed to this day. And these doors will never be closed for anyone.

How to Create a Social Media Platform
    Mark Zuckerberg got one brilliant idea that inspired many others to use good opportunity at the right time. His followers Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger (Instagram) did not miss a chance… But Facebook itself is no longer just a social network. The recent Meta transformation has highlighted once again that the company is the platform on which it builds its Metaverse.
    Nowadays, creating a social network can be done pretty quick by following certain unwritten rules and regulations. Facebook did all of the hard work and now building a social network website from scratch is a lot easier process than before. In general, the tools for creating social networks have hardly changed, and the approaches to formalizing the process have been studied well enough to avoid blunders.
    How to build a social media platform from scratch and what does this mean from business and development point of view? Here are some tips to avoid blunders: 

1. Targeted audience

    Of course, you can try to catch a black cat in a dark room. But most likely you will waste a lot of time and have financial losses. It is better to find out in advance and decide for whom you are building a social media platform. Naturally, you plan to meet certain needs of people. Identifying preferences and dislikes of your community will help you in better understanding the factors that affect them as users and what you can do to get their attention. It is important that the need you are going to use should be unmet on the market. In some cases, it is possible to find an already existing needs that are not fully satisfied. Twitter and Instagram did not try to copy their predecessor Facebook and chose exactly that way. 
    There is no universal fishing method. Therefore, you need to select the fish (needs) in advance and then select the tackle just for it. The process of identification needs may be painful and long, but defined demographics parameter, namely age and gender, and socio-economic status of the users and your own flair will give you the power to elicit and create that need.

2. Features and functions    

    The definition of the features and functions is tightly related to the quality of the identification of your targeted audience. Their needs and expectations will define the features of developing a social media network. What do you wish your users to do? How will they interact with each other? Will they be satisfied from visiting your social network for long time?
    The overall vision of your website is crucial. It is necessary to define and decompose all the functions of your social network into categories, for example, related to interaction with users, moderators and administrators.
    Modern social networks are primarily a means of storing and distributing content - photo, video, audio and others. It is necessary from the very beginning to decide what kind of data will be processed, how users will download it, what kind of internal automation is required to present it.

3. Right technology

    Identifying the features and functions of your social media network is not enough to choose a right platform. The problem is a huge offer on the market of services for creating social networks. It was much easier for Mark Zuckerberg, since there were no offers at all in his time. Let’s figure out various issues and opportunities for your social media network.
    How is it possible to choose between dozens of free CMS like Drupal or Joomla, inexpensive online services like Ning, and paid proprietary solutions like QSNE? Why do you need to pay if you may get it for free? Doubts about what method will be effective and efficient for your social media network is the biggest issue at this stage.
    You can do is analyze existent social networking platforms and what building technologies they have used. But unlikely you find out something particular. All programmers use well-known tools, but the tasks they solve are very differed. Here's useful tips when choosing what technology is right for you.
    Free CMS are developing as multi-purpose platforms and suits all types web projects. And this is their weak side. Trying to satisfy the needs of all segments at once, they cannot provide deep integration in any area. It is therefore well suited for simple projects that look like a social network only externally. If you want to implement something special, then inevitably seek help from experienced programmers. You will have to pay for their work, but this is not the main question. The main problem is that all free CMS are supported by the community of programmers, the level of their skills is very different. Bugs and vulnerabilities are discovered too often, which leads to very frequent updates of the web engine. Nobody promises you in advance whether your mods will be compatible with future engine updates. And then you will notice that instead of developing your social network, you are spending resources on adjusting your mods to the updated engine.
    Online services for creating social networks looks more attractive in our context. Indeed, they immediately hit many goals - they offer hosting, solving problems with updates and programming, choosing a design theme, and even “serious” tools like monetization. And all this wealth for a very modest price. What's the catch? In fact, everything is fair. Today you get exactly what you paid for - limited functions that the service provider has predetermined for you, the inability to customize internal processes, the inability to monetize at your discretion (although it may not matter to you, because your own social network is Just for fun). But the best part (not for you) is, as your social network grows, your service provider always grows faster than you! If you expect to become the second Facebook at some point, then remember you will always remain the Third! At best, you will always be limited in the resources provided, and at worst, your social network will become hostage to the management of the service provider.
    We still have one more option for creating a social network to consider. At first glance, the use of specialized solutions like Qwerty Social Network Engine seems too expensive and redundant in terms of functionality. However, close examination reveals interesting details. Such platforms are inherently full-featured social networks “ready to deploy”. This means having all the functions and capabilities of the largest social networks. First of all, it is necessary to mention scalability and high load capacity. As your network grows, hackers will try to capitalize on your success. They will be disappointed as the defenses against attacks and intrusions are part of the platform. Such a solution removes all restrictions on the implementation of your idea, even if it is transformed in the process of implementation. Why aren't such platforms provided as turnkey solutions? It's all about the uniqueness of each social network. You can assemble a simple constructor yourself, but a modern social network is a complex mechanism that can only be configured by an experienced team. Of course, the work of such a team is not free, but you pay for decades of experience, implemented in your project.
    We didn't say anything about the riskiest approach. Nothing prevents you from leading a team of programmers and creating your own platform from scratch. It sounds ambitious, and in reality, it is difficult to implement. There is not only one problem, you must immediately accept several risks - possible incompetence in managing a team of programmers, unacceptable delay in release, possible obsolescence of your idea in the process of creating a platform, running out of budget.
    Probably hiring a consultant to help you take a right decision will save you money and time. But keep in mind, any adviser has subjective view that may not met your own vision of the project. So, you should explore the issue as deeply as possible.

4. Reliable infrastructure

    No one knows what social networking project will be successful. But every creator must count on success and be ready for it. In addition to the very general tasks of web design, the growth environment needs to be prepared. Sometimes it is simply impossible to replace a social media platform with a more suitable one without losing audience loyalty. Therefore, the choice of technology should solve three main questions of the success and profitability of your social network.
     Scalability - Mark Zuckerberg transformed the student network into Facebook and could not imagine such a stunning success. Nevertheless, even then, the network was ready to embrace everyone. The situation has not changed, all well-known social networks have huge potential, and this is definitely not an obstacle to their growth. Your project may not become popular very quickly, but you also need to build potential for growth right from the start.
     Security - you probably don't desire to be fined for 5 billion like Facebook right now or sometime in the future. Then immediately become concerned about the safety of your users. Give them confidence that your platform is protected from personal data leakage, from loss of confidentiality. This will strength users' confidence in your social network and increase their activity.
     Technical support - until your social network becomes so popular that you will buys data centers itself, you need a partnership with a hosting company. But to be honest, today most of the largest companies in the world prefer to use third-party data centers. They are the ones who handle the technical issues and any other issues related to your platform.

5. Social features

    Nowadays, activity streams form the backbone of every social media website, capturing the attention of users for hours. Basically, this is the main way to monetize - selling users' time to advertisers. It was Facebook that became the trendsetter, the concept became popular and affected everyone. People want to know what other people are doing and thinking, what their friends and relatives are feeling at this moment. A low-quality stream of activity can alienate a potential audience from your social network. It is a central function and driving force behind the success of a social network launch. Let users to be aware of the comments, likes and reposts that are displayed in a news feed.
    You can even connect your network to Facebook, Twitter, or add an RSS feed. This will add movement to the activity stream during your social network begins to grow. And yet you need to provide the user with the ability to flexibly customize the display and inclusion of posts, likes, reposts, comments. These features let your users highly customize their own social space.
    Status update features are critical. Every social media user wants to express their mood at any time. You should offer the perfect tools to make your status update enjoyable and easy. While Facebook popularized the flow of activity, it was Twitter that made status updates a new feature of social media. People immediately got carried away by this opportunity, because you do not need to write a longread or change an avatar. Everything is done quickly and easily. If it gets too difficult on your social media platform, people will immediately abandon your social media platform.
    Archival data is an important factor in increasing website engagement and click-through rates on the site. In addition to the stream of activity that reflects the picture at the moment, people like to return to their memories and pleasant experiences in the past. Over time, each user collects a whole life story that evokes warm nostalgic feelings. You have to make it more pleasant and easier than sorting through photos without neither date nor place, nor expression of people's feelings. Timeline features should provide users with access to historical data in one click. For example, it can be stories for the past day, week, month, year, as well as upcoming events.

6.  Attracting right users

    The next step is to attract the right users. Spreading rumor is the oldest form of advertising. Do not neglect it, but you cannot rely only that way. The fact is that people in the modern information environment are already overloaded with information, so it is no longer easy to surprise them. Use digital marketing tools to raise awareness of future users.
    E-mail marketing is a pretty old but still working method. If you already have a database, or can collect it, use it. However, be tactful, too aggressive mails will cause rejection of recipients, they can unsubscribe from your news, and the address of your mail server can get into spammers' databases.
    Targeted advertising is a very effective way when you have already identified your target audience. Modern social networks live and develop through the sale of targeted advertising, which is formed on the basis of anonymized personal data of millions and millions of their users. Most likely your future users are already using Facebook, so you can definitely find them on major social networks.
    Contextual advertising - sometimes the target audience of a new social network is so narrow or professionally oriented that it is not possible to find it using targeting tools. Despite the huge audience, there are still a billion users outside of Facebook. And these people go to the Internet almost every day and use Google Search. Google Ads offers you the tools to display ads on a search page that are relevant to a visitor's queries.
    Blogging is a slow, but free and effective way. Create your own blog where you will discuss your new social media platform. People love to read new and useful information, especially if it is written in unobtrusive manner. Give it to them, focus on what they like, and give them names they interested in. Known influencer and marketer Neil Patel has also leveraged the power of influential bloggers. Be persistent and try to attract influencers to writing articles on your blog and getting you mentioned in their blogs. This isn't cheap but can be extremely effective at making a loud statement about yourself.
    Interact with people when your project is mentioned somewhere. Don't waste time and start a dialogue immediately, because no one but you can tell all the details in the best way. Plus, people enjoy getting very specific answers in new topics. The more intense the discussion, the longer it will stay in trends and attract more new users.

Conclusion

    Decades of technology advancement provide truly unique opportunities for social networking today. The race for server power remained in the 20th century, in the 21st century the winner is the one who was the first to implement the idea. Focus on the essentials - finding and formalizing your social media platform idea. But do not overlook the technological component as well.
    Nobody will offer you really worthwhile tools out of the box, each complex project is unique. Therefore, you need a platform that will benefit your idea the most. And then maybe your new idea will change social media forever, once again.

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