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    How to Create a Social Network Site from Scratch: Tips and Tricks

    Various social networks have become a real must-have of our daily lives. These resources entertain us, they help us find business partners or make new friends, and so on and so forth. And one more benefit: popular networking platforms are able to bring a huge deal of money to their owners (according to statistics, annual revenue can reach billions of dollars).

    Interested? If so, take your time to read our article! We’re going to explain to you how to create a website like Facebook.

    Main reasons to create a social network

    Let's start with a trivial question: why do you need to develop a social network website at all, what is your benefit? We've already formulated the answer above, but it'll do no harm to repeat it more specifically: by building a social network, you're getting a great way to earn money and a lot.

    The goal seems difficult to achieve, but this is only an appearance. There is a strong demand for new social media networks, which means the supply will also come in handy.

    But if you're still unsure, we're ready to confirm our words with statistics. 

    So, as research and polls say, more than 160 million new users had registered on popular networking platforms in the first half of 2018. The number inspires respect, right?

    And here is more specific data… 

    types of social networking sites

    And if you’d like to see a general picture illustrating why communications networking services are so high in demand, then here you go!

    popular networking platforms

    We hope now you understand why you should start a social network, people definitely need these resources. After all, today popular networking platforms provide users with everything they want, including dating, job hunting, professional communication, online shopping... In addition, we mustn't forget about marketing through social media! 

    Of course, such a site is difficult to create on your own, without assistance… but don’t worry: we can recommend you some useful tips anyway.

    Interested in building a Snapchat clone? Then read our article on the issue!

    Types of social networking sites

    The social media industry is quite promising, isn’t it? If you agree, it's time for us to group popular networking platforms into categories. The problem is more important than it may seem at first glance because you have to understand what you’re going to create. 

    So, main social network ideas (or, rather, main social network types) include:   

    • Social networks. This is the most common, prevalent type of networking services. It offers a friendly format of communication and focuses on helping the user to establish connections with both familiar people and those whom he doesn't know in real life yet. A striking example is the extremely popular Facebook platform.

    • Entertaining websites. These resources unite users in concordance with their hobbies. People enjoy such communities because it's a really great way to find like-minded people.

    • Educational platforms. If the resources of the previous type united users according to their hobbies and interests, then, in this case, the connecting element is the learning process. That is, we’re dealing with an educational web service allowing students and teachers to interact online, gain access to research opportunities, and take advantage of other social network features.

    • Scientific & academic communities. Students and their teachers are not the only ones needing a platform for communication, research scientists also require a special resource in order to share their experience and knowledge.

    • Corporate resources. A corporate social networking website can become a full-fledged tool to improve your sales: goods, services, products. That’s why businessmen striving for commercial success are ready to create a social networking community of some sort. By the by, it’s also a good way to unite your colleagues and help increase loyalty to the company.

    • Professional platforms. The clearest example of such sites is LinkedIn. Of course, we're talking about a platform allowing professionals from various industries to communicate in a more convenient way. They can discuss business matters, arrange for an interview, and even seek or offer a job.

    • Dating resources. These networking platforms are also becoming increasingly popular. They help people find their soulmates, and you, as the owner, get a chance to earn from it. A wonderful win-win situation!

    • Information websites. It's time to recall Quora and Reddit - online platforms for finding answers to your questions. Let's illustrate with an example. Say, you want to build a social networking website and don’t know where to start. You google different queries, but the result doesn't satisfy you. A good solution in such a case is to ask advice from those who have already encountered similar problems. And this is where information sites come in handy: you ask a question and get an expert answer, sometimes even a few ones. Surely, you, too, can answer questions from other users.

    • Media sharing platforms. Users need these resources to exchange media content: images, video, audio... Youtube and Instagram are great instances of such platforms.

    What does a perfect social networking platform imply?

    Even a simple social network has to meet certain criteria. Namely, your online resource must be:

    1. Responsive. From 68% to 98% of users access various types of social networking sites through smartphones, so the responsive UI/UX means a lot. 

    2. Decentralized. Ideally, you should create a social media website, which doesn't depend on the central infrastructure. The best option is a p2p model. 

    3. Non-anonymous. The very essence of these services implies no anonymity. Moreover, to improve the efficiency of social networks, it's necessary to achieve correspondence between the profile and the real person (using a phone number, a scan of documents, etc.).

    4. Protected. Also, your site must be secured from fake accounts and other similar unpleasant situations. So consider the protection factor: encryption/signature keys, blockchain data storage, etc. methods would come in handy.

    Best social network features

    The requirements of nowadays users are very high, and you have to be ready to meet all of these needs. 

    So, in order to build a social networking website of really good quality, one must consider the following features: 

    1. Registration. The main requirements are simplicity (exclude unnecessary steps), reliability (make sure user data is protected), and multi-variance (offer several options to register).

    2. Profile. Creating a user account is the next logical step after registration. The profile includes information about the user and also offers access to his photo albums, personal information, and more.

    3. Posts. Of course, the main emphasis is on the ability to publish posts. That is, the user should be able to share news, interesting information, and other things with his friends.

    4. Full-featured Search for groups, brands, people. Any social network website should help people in finding each other. 

    5. Friendship. A user must be able to send a friend request or just follow the account he likes in order to see its news in his news feed.

    6. News Feed. The news feed we've already mentioned allows the user to see what is happening in the lives of his friends and people he is following.

    7. The Wall. Now it's about the news of the user himself. On the wall, he can place links to favorite articles, write posts, create photo and video galleries. 

    8. Chat. If you intend to create a social media website, don't forget the instant messaging system: users should have a chance to chat both in a private mode and in groups.

    9. File Transfer. Sometimes when communicating a user needs to share a file with his conversational partner. Social network features have to include the ability to transfer files as simple as possible, just in the process of online conversation.

    10. Deferred Reading. Facebook provides a user with the possibility to save articles and posts “for later,” so that he can find the material he liked without any trouble.

    11. Notifications, another essential feature of almost any application.

    12. User Status. Some users don’t mind clarifying their status in order to notify others about certain changes in their lives. This may relate to personal life (married, divorced, in love, etc.), work (let's say, you've started to work in a new place), and similar things.

    13. Analytics. Such a feature is extremely necessary for both users and you, as the owner of the resource. Users will especially need analytical tools if they want to promote their products or services through your site.

    14. Admin Access. The feature is aimed at those who will manage the site, block unreliable users, and perform other administrative functions.

    how to create a website like Facebook

    As you can see, social network web development requires special skills and expert approach. However, the result is worth the effort!

    And now it's time to take a closer look at how to create a website like Facebook, step by step!

    Build sites with the help of our experts. Our Agilie company employs the best web developers.

    Steps to create a social networking site

    How to build a social network website from scratch? Let's figure it out!

    #1. The idea

    First of all, it’s necessary to find the original idea and think over the website concept. Namely, answer a few questions, and answer carefully:

    • What would you offer to attract more users? We're talking about unique features, promotion actions, pleasant bonuses, loyalty programs, and so on. You must somehow fascinate your visitors, lure them to your site, figuratively speaking.

    • What kind of social network are you planning to create? We've already discussed different types of social networking sites, now it’s time to choose a specific niche.

    • What's the name of your site? Also, don’t forget that you need to come up with a catchy name, easily memorized and characterizing your resource.

    It' not enough to start a social network, your website should make a good and strong impression on your potential users!

    #2. Research

    After deciding on the basic concept, we need to conduct a competent study, which includes:

    • Market research in general. That is, you must find out what the current market situation is.

    • Competitive analysis. Who are your competitors? What do they offer users? How can you surpass them?

    • Portrait of the target audience. It’s also useful to find out what the average representative of your target audience is and what he or she wants.

    #3. The target audience

    After analyzing the market situation, you can use the data obtained to start the next important stage of social network web development, namely - drawing a portrait of your future user.

    You already have all the necessary information, you just have to sort it properly. We recommend the following items:

    • age group;

    • type of work (students, freelancers, office workers, etc.);

    • preferences and tastes;

    • hobby;

    • approximate numerical strength.

    For example, if you plan to make a social media website focused on businessmen (like Linkndm), then students and housewives are unlikely to get into your target audience. And if we're talking about a site like YouTube, that's another matter. We hope you get the idea.

    The above analysis will help you develop the appropriate functionality and, in addition, choose the best marketing strategy.

    #4. Your key requirements

    Now, when you’ve figured out what and whom you are going to offer, it's time to compile a more detailed list of requirements. So, if you want to create a social media website of high competitiveness, think carefully about such issues as:

    • design (colors, fonts, the design of the main page, etc);

    • functional potential (dialogues, avatars, virtual albums);

    • the ability to search and store audience data (confidentiality);

    • principles of using networking services and punitive measures for non-compliance with your rules.

    #5. The choice of networking services technology

    It’s a very delicate point in the development process. You have two main options:

    • a template solution. You can select a tool to build a social networking website, a kind of template; however, your resource won't be unique. On the other hand, such an approach is cheaper and easier to implement.

    • a social network website from scratch. If you want to achieve maximum results, you should allocate a larger budget and create a social networking platform from the ground up. You’ll receive a web resource that fully meets your needs. Therefore, this solution would be the best choice in the long run. If you agree with us, take a close look at the below items. Otherwise, go directly to the item on social media marketing strategy.

    #6. Planning and social network design

    At the next stage, you may need professional help. The following work must be performed:

    • Information architecture, a preliminary stage, implying an initial distribution of information among the main blocks. The goal is to understand the approximate structure of your site.

    • Prototyping, a more itemized drawing of the website layout. Prototypes are of various types, both paper and digital ones, of different levels of complexity and detail. Choose the one that is best for your goals.

    • Technical project. The technical project should be drawn up with the help of specialists who will advise you on what tools to select to make a social media website. Also, you'll have a chance to discuss all your deadlines. And it's very important to carefully document each step: in the future, it'll help you avoid disputes with the chosen development team.

    • Interface and design concept. Now your approved prototype turns into a full-fledged design concept, which can even be made interactive if desired. So you’ll have a clear idea of how your site will look after launch.

    #7. Social network web development

    We've reached a crux point - site development itself, which usually includes 3 key sub-steps:

    • frontend development or creation of the client part of your site; 

    • backend development related to scripting for the server.

    And again, you may consider the necessity to hire a professional team with huge experience to develop a social network website and write a clear code to implement your idea as accurately as possible. 

    #8. Stabilization

    The project is ready, and now it's time to stabilize it. In other words, you have to make sure everything works as it should: there are no bugs in the code, failures when the resource is running, etc. We're talking about testing, which the stabilization stage is dedicated to.

    During the stabilization phase, the following happens:

    • thorough testing of the project. As we wrote above, the goal is to ensure the proper site operation;

    • compiling a list of required improvements. This will be needed if resource failures (or code errors) were found.

    • beta testing. We’re talking about launching a preliminary (beta) version of the product designed to test in practice whether your platform meets the expectations of the end-user.

    • Finalizing the project based on beta testing results.

    And this is a much more complicated procedure than it seems at first glance, so we strongly recommend you to hire an expert QA team able to conduct all the necessary types of testing in a proper manner. Thanks to their efforts, your website will work correctly, without unpleasant surprises in the future.

    #9. Commissioning

    Now your project has to be put into operation. The commissioning phase includes:

    • Configuring the Hosting Platform. There are different hosting platforms with different capacities, and the choice of a particular one depends on the specifics of your project. However, even if you have a simple social network planned, consider the possibility of its future scaling.

    • Loading and configuring the project. The project is being launched, but first of all, it should be properly configured.

    • Configuring Analytics Tools. These tools come in handy to monitor the performance of your site.

    • Final testing. Yes, testing isn’t finished yet. In fact, it should accompany the development of the project from start to finish.

    #10. Project support

    It’s not enough to know how to make a social networking site like Facebook. You need to know how to support its effective work in the future! And, of course, productive operation of the system is impossible without constant service. Therefore, the staff issue should be resolved in advance. At the initial stage, you’ll need a few employees:

    • A content expert. His functions will include checking user pages for banned advertisements, unknown links to other platforms, and so on;

    • Head of the communication platform. His main function is to ensure the optimal performance of the networking community.

    #11. Social media marketing strategy

    In order to gradually increase the number of visitors, it’s necessary to consider possible ways of expanding the target audience. So, you need to think about the promotion of your resource. 

    Your social media marketing strategy should be original and well-thought-out. Among others, it's very convenient and profitable to place advertisements and banners on other resources, besides you may hold several presentations and lectures to announce your platform.

    #12. Monetization

    If you’re considering options to develop a social network website, you’re definitely planning to make money on your platform. And although the networking community is a free web resource, it can and should bring you financial benefits. So you must take into account possible ways of making a profit:

    • advertising. The implementation of such a method of monetization is possible in two ways: context advertisement or banners;

    • paid features. Say, you can provide special features and unique statuses (and take a fee).

    Social network web development in our performance

    Now, when you have an idea of how to build a social network website from scratch, you should progress to the next step and find a team of developers. We’re happy to offer our expert assistance!

    We provide a full range of mobile and web development services and use advanced IT technologies, avoiding routine cut-and-dried solutions. Our main task is to implement your project in full accordance with its original concept.

    We offer:

    • Individual commercial solution and 100% uniqueness. You get an original structure, author's social network design and, if necessary, specially developed software.

    • Detailed prototyping. You’ll be able to take a view of your website long before the completion of works and make the necessary adjustments.

    • Planning and compliance with deadlines. You always get feedback and reports on the progress of our work.

    • Flexible payment schedule. We’ll find the right solution for every budget.

    • Efficient social media marketing strategy. We’ll help you create a social media marketing plan aimed to make your resources bring you maximum profits. 

    Websites like Facebook are projects constantly evolving and requiring the attention of qualified professionals throughout their existence. And Agilie experts are skilled enough to develop a social network website of this level from square one.

    Ready to start? Let’s communicate!

     

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