Most of us are fantasied by creating a Social Networking website like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc. As we use them every day, it is quite natural to think of creating one for yourself. Though it might take years of effort to bring it to the level of popularity to compete with the existing player. But still we can always dream of it, every great 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 with each other via message, sharing photos/videos, commenting or linking each others content etc. It becomes a virtual city where people try to find people they know and try to be friend with them. Check out some basic features of a social networking site below.
Basic Features Required on a Social Networking Website –
- People can create their account by signing up and then can log in whenever they wish to.
- People can send a friend request or connection request to each other. The other person will be able to 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 post be it to 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.
- Group owner should be able to invite his/her 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. Businesses can create their profiles and share their content with its 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 setting so they can control how others can see their profile or content they share.
- Some control options on they would like to see on their feed.
So when we know what are the basic features needed to run a social networking site we can go ahead on how to start making it. Though you can add any or your USP features also, if you first create the basic one and then upgrade, 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 stack 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 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 type of membership site becomes very easy with BuddyPress and it is one big advantage of WordPress . This plugin brings in all basic Social media functions to your website like profile creation, post status, image sharing, like, comment 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
- User will have its own activity stream where it can see the activities done by its friends. It can like /share/comment on these activities.
- User can create groups and also can join existing groups.
- There is also a blogging feature in it so users can write blog articles here.
- There is also a discussion forum in it, 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 as per your plan and knowledge.
There are several free and premium themes also available to make your social media website look great. Isn’t it exciting to see your own social networking site coming up with so less effort? If may take you few hours of hard work to bring modules in place to make them easily accessible to the visitors.
It is easy to create but at the same time, it is really difficult to protect this site from spammers. Spammers are always looking for such websites where they can easily create their profiles without much authentication and start posting their links. What better option they can 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 as well as Mobile number authentication via OTP (one-time password). Keep a vigilant eye on the activities happening on your website.
Once you create such kind of social networking site, the biggest challenge is to bring 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 can first inspire your friends and family to join it and do some activities. So when new users comes, they wont fond an empty website.