Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter etc.
We all know what a social networking site is now.
You probably ended up on this page because you have an idea for a social networking site.
I want to point out a few relevant things before I go into the details.
1. I am a senior level freelance developer with over 18 years of experience in web development and internet marketing.
2. I have created many social networking site….some with mobile apps.
3. My prices are the best in the market.
I have done social networking sites and apps for customers who were quoted prices ranking from $10,000 to $60,000. I did their sites for prices ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.
Let’s look into what makes a site a social networking site.
If you want a site where visitors can become members on your site and interact with each other through forums, chat, internal messaging (like Facebook email), then you are looking for a social networking site.
The main theme of the site will obviously be different for different site.
Perhaps the site is catered towards people who like to discuss playing soccer.
Perhaps the theme is centered around job postings for hospitality industry like hotels, restaurants and cruise ships.
Perhaps it is a site that revolves around classified ads on real estate.
Or it could be a site focused on Black businesses or people in entertainment business in New York or Chinese living in Canada or a site to find tutors or a site to find pet sitters or a community of Christians or an party event driven site. I am sure you got the point.
So what are the various elements you can add to a social networking sites?
1. Memberships (Mandatory)
A visitor to your site should be able to browse around a little, but he/she will need to be restricted from visiting certain pages that is only for members and from interacting with other members.
The visitor will then register and become a member.
Once he/she is a member the person should be able to interact at various levels within the site.
You might also want various levels of access for various types of members. Perhaps you will have members who pay a fee and members who join for free. For instance, some members should be allowed to add classified ads or interact with other members. Some member should only be able to comment on postings and read some articles.
There are a lot of other things to think about that I won’t go into details here.
For example, allowing members to log in directly through their Facebook account or allowing members to invite their friends easily.
2. Internal Messaging
People send internal emails to their friends within Facebook. Your members should be able to contact other members through an internal messaging system without knowing their emails.
Your members should be able to chat with other members who are online.
Most sites will have a need to list events that are relevant to the theme of the site.
Some sites might be totally event driven. However, even in a social networking site for ….let’s say gays and lesbians… there might be events happening that are useful or the group.
An event could be as simple as a birthday get together where a member can invite some of his/her friends. It could also be a major conference happening in Las Vegas with thousands of people from all over the world coming over.
Here is a party event centric social networking site that I created.
The site is not complete yet.
5. Business Directory
Most community site is catered towards some category. It could be an ethnic group or people from a certain location or people interested in certain things.
Regardless, they will all be interested in some common element. There are always businesses catering to the needs of this community. Hence, a business listing or a business directory.
For instance, a social network site could be for pet lovers. Dogster.com is a good example. Dogster raised $1 million years ago from venture capital and has run profitably since. Everyone on this site has interests in dogs. Most likely they are pet owners. What do dog owners do? They purchase dog food and go to dog vets among many other things.
So what should a dog lover social network do. They should have a list of businesses who sell dog related products.
You as the owner of the community could easily charge businesses to list their businesses on your site.
6. Classified Ads
A community of people will always have things they want to sell. Many times these items are useful for the general community.
Check out a brand new site I did with classified ads or classifieds. This site is not complete yet. However, you can get some idea by viewing it.
If you then click the ad you see more details of that ad with ability to contact the seller and rate the ad and various other actions.
Members can post classified ads on anything (like on Craigslist). It could be a person who wants to sell his motorycycle or a car salesman who wants to list used cars on a regular basis. The ads on this site are even more advanced than the ones on Craigslist or any other classifed posting sites. You can put images, videos, comments and you can see other ads posted by the member. You can also contact the seller directly from within the site.
7. Theme Centered Extension (Mandatory)
This basically could be anything and will depend on the theme of the site. For instance, I have a client who has a website dedicated to helping college students with student things. :)
Obviously, the site requires a section called "Schools". Like a business directory this section will schools. However, it goes a step further. All members can subscribe to their own schools within the site. Schools can update forums posts, events, photos, videos etc. Members who are part of the school get updates on the schools activities.
I built the whole network on mobile phone as apps as well - both iPhone and Android app.
If you don't use forums or have never used a forum then you might now see a value to it. However, if you use forums on a regular basis you know the value of it. Forums are literally the best way for group communications. It also helps you immensely in ranking your site high on search engines. For all serious sites with social networking functionality, forums are a must. BTW, Facebook has group forums too.
Check out the forum in this martial arts social networking site that I did.
This might not be always useful but it can be. In my personal opinion, the groups get substituted by theme centered modules.
Blogs are very useful but are not for most social networks. Blogs are great if you have a team of writers or your audience are good writers themselves. I would suggest having a forum first and then adding blogs later if necessary.
11. Video Section
Most of the sites I create have video section. Members can upload videos or embed videos from Youtube.
Videos are a great way to keep users engaged in your site.
Checkout this site for the Video section.
I did this site a while ago.
12. Photo Section
Photos are the most highly viewed element on social networks. There are sites like Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest that are totally based on images.
Allowing members to upload photos that their connections can view, rate, comment on etc is a must unless the site is catered towards professionals discussing professional stuff (eg, LinkedIn). Even then it might be worthwhile to have a photo section anyway.
13. Sound Section
This might be useful for music related sites. For instance, for a social netowork of DJ's this might make total sense.
14. Admin Section
The site is not complete without an admin section. An admin sould be able to delete bad comments, posts. Admin should be able to block bad users. Admin should be able to give different access rights to different users.
15. Mobile App
Anyone who is serious about a social networking site that he/she plans to make big should consider mobile apps for it.
Currently, I can do social networking sites that can be connected to smart phone apps.
So essentially I can do a social networking site + iPhone app + Android app.
Members can sign up, login, comment, post, chat, message each other etc from their computer, iPhone, iPad, Android phone or Android tablet.
They can sign up from their Android phone and then login from their desktop computer to post on a forum and then login from their iPad to add comments.
Here is a mobile app I did for a school related social network.
This is a brand new feaure I have added to three social networking sites. Members are able to request webinar service. After payment, a webinar is setup for live video, audio and screenshare meetings.
There are a ton of other things that can be added. I am going to stop here.
Finally, the big question.
How much do I charge to create a social networking site?
Answer: It depends on what functionalities you need and whether or not you need it to be mobile friendly and whether or not you need the mobile apps as well.
Here is some very general price but not exact.
Simple social network : $3000
Simple social network (mobile friendly - not app) : $3500
Social network with adavanced modules and mobile friendly : $4500
Social network + iPhone app + Android app : $8000 or more.
By the way, talk to a couple of developers who can give you a social networking site with an app for iPhone and Android phone for around $8000.
Don't be surprised if they hang up the phone on you. Most companies will charge you a minimum of $20,0000.
These same web development companies hire me sometimes to do your work.
I have a heavy experience in social networking sites.
Call me and I will explain things you might not have even thought about.
My name is VJ and my cell number is 201-899-0314.
Or you can fill out a form in our contact us page.
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