Most of us fantasized about creating social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. As we use them daily, it is natural to think of creating one for yourself.
However, it might take years of effort to compete with the existing player to bring it to the level of popularity. But still, we can always dream of it, and every significant product is the outcome of someone’s unimaginable dream. First, let’s understand the basics of a social networking website :
What is a Social Networking Website:
A social networking website is where random people can come together and interact via message, sharing photos/videos, commenting or linking each other’s content, etc. It becomes a virtual city where people try to find and be friends with people they know. Check out some basic features of a social networking site below.
Basic Features Required on a Social Networking Website–
- People can create their accounts by signing up and logging in whenever they wish.
- People can send a friend request or connection request to each other. The other person can accept or reject this friend or connection request.
- People should be able to post text/video/images from their profiles, which may be visible publicly on the activity board.
- People should be able to send personal messages to each other.
- People should be able to like/comment on other posts, be it text/image/video.
- They should also be able to share them with their friends.
- If they don’t like some person, they should be able to block that person.
- Option for creating Groups should be there so people with similar interests can create groups and share their ideas and opinions.
- The Group owner should be able to invite their friend base to the group. Others also should be able to request to join the group.
- For businesses, it should have something similar to the Page on Facebook. Companies can create their profiles and share their content with their users.
- It should be a pseudo-non-controlled environment where people can freely interact.
- Also, it should be secured enough so users’ information is safe and is not accessible to unauthorized users.
- People should have some privacy settings to control how others see their profile or share content.
- Some control options they would like to see on their feed.
So when we know the essential features needed to run a social networking site, we can go ahead with how to start making it. Though you can add any of your USP features also, if you first create the basic one and then upgrade, it would be a better way to go ahead. Creating such a website from scratch is a mountainous task.
If you are well versed, at least with one of the technology stacks, then you can start coding and may be able to make a basic site in 4-6 months with a lot of bugs to identify and resolve in the coming many months.
Instead, you can use an already available module and re-use it. It will save you time and effort. You will get a properly working basic social networking system without investing much of your time and money.
This magic can be done by using a WordPress plugin – BuddyPress. Creating any membership site becomes easy with BuddyPress, which is one significant advantage of WordPress. This plugin brings all essential Social media functions to your website, like profile creation, post status, image sharing, likes, comments, etc. You can also install additional plugins to bring in more functionalities.
Buddy press comes with the following functionalities inbuilt :
- People can create, manage and update their user profiles.
- Users can send friend requests to each other.
- Private messaging can be done among two logged-in users.
- Users will have their activity stream where they can see the activities done by their friends. It can like /share/comment on these activities.
- Users can create groups and also can join existing groups.
- There is also a blogging feature so users can write blog articles here.
- There is also a discussion forum, and users can discuss multiple topics.
Thus with Buddypress, you will get a basic, fully functional social networking system; now, you can upgrade it to any level per your plan and knowledge.
Several free and premium themes are also available to make your social media website look great. Isn’t it exciting to see your social networking site come up with less effort? It may take you a few hours of hard work to bring modules in place to make them easily accessible to visitors.
It is easy to create, but at the same time, it is challenging to protect this site from spammers. Spammers are always looking for websites where they can easily create their profiles without much authentication and start posting their links. What better option can they get than a social networking website where user restrictions are a bare minimum?
To keep your site secure, you must keep a multilayer user authentication system for new users. This process can include Email Authentication and Mobile number authentication via OTP (one-time password). Keep a vigilant eye on the activities happening on your website.
Once you create such social networking site, the biggest challenge is bringing users to your site. Why would someone come to an empty website, and how would they find friends here? So it would be great if you could first inspire your friends and family to join it and do some activities. So when new users come, they won’t find an empty website.