Much of the content on this blog involves information on marketing your site through social media and social networking sites. However, maybe you want to create your own networking site to fill an existing void or rather than using some of those that already exist. If you are interested in building a networking site, you could of course have the site built from scratch, or you could use some type of existing platform to handle the back end of the site.
In this post we’ll look at 9 options for creating your own social network. Some are free options, and others are paid options that may be more appealing depending on your situation.
With Ning you can create your own social network very quickly for free. If you’re serious about building the site into something significant you can upgrade to a paid version with more features.
For WordPress users, BuddyPress may be an attractive option. With BuddyPress you can turn a WordPress MU installation into a social networking site.
Pligg is a common choice (open source) for social news sites, such as Sphinn and Design Float. Pligg gets criticized frequently for the poor security at Design Float, but the site doesn’t show any signs of being actively managed, so it’s hard to blame Pligg for that.
KickApps is a paid option that will allow you to build a social network with a lot of features. Pricing starts at $39.95 per month for the smallest plan.
CrowdVine allows you to create a simple networking site for your group or organization. There are both free and paid options available.
CollectiveX will allow you to create a social site for your group, organization or association. There are several different packages available including a free plan. Paid plans start at $9 per month and there are several premium features that you can add on for an additional fee.
Drupal is a popular open source content management system that can be used to create social networking and social media sites. Design Bump, a social news site for the design community, is built on Drupal. There are a number of modules that can be used for building a social networking site with Drupal, here is a list.
Elgg is an open source option that was created specifically to power social networking sites.
Dolphin is another free, open source option. It includes features like photo sharing and video sharing, among others.
What’s Your Experience?
If you have any experience working with any of these options, please share by leaving a comment.