Starting a Community – Software and Considerations
If you ever find yourself thinking about building websites, the chances are you’re usually thinking about blogs, personal sites or maybe the odd e-commerce store here and there. Not many people want to bother with the time and hassle of creating a full on community project. They’re hard to maintain, even harder to get started and if there is one website type that is almost doomed from the get go then you’d have to say it’s communities. But, there are popular communities out there, there are massively popular social networks so these handle of select groups must be doing something right! Today we’re going to look at communities and social networks with the hope of perhaps giving you some ideas should you choose to build one.
Whatever type of site you want to build you’ll find options. Whether you want a traditional text based forum like Xenforo or Vbulletin or whether you want some new fangled social network software such as Oxwall you’ll find something to suit.
Software developers know what sort of sites people want to build first and foremost so you’ll always find solutions out there unless you want to come up with something completely bespoke. If that’s the case you’re probably going to want to hire your own developer.
In truth if if you want to get started with a community or social network you’re probably best off choosing a niche, sector or specific interest. People love to talk about subjects that they’re passionate about rather than just chat in general so if the topic at hand is popular enough there is always going to be a requirement for a forum to discuss it. You’ll also find that getting a forum, community or even social network started in a niche specific sector is a million times easier than trying to build a site to cater for everyone like Facebook.
Lots of companies these days, especially large companies with lots of offices across lots of locations are opting to create their own local, in house community or social network for users to discuss work related subjects or just chill and chat about whatever takes their fancy. All of the big tech firms such as Apple, Google and Facebook have their own internal sites and user groups designed and setup specifically for users of that particular company.
Private groups are also becoming popular, particularly ones for schools, colleges or even just your family. Some people don’t want to put every aspect of their lives on Facebook and rightly so. Privacy is a huge deal for most, especially in 2017 so if all you want to do is share pictures of your pets and latest additions to the family with your close friends and loved ones a private social network or group could be the way to go.
Become The Next Facebook!
OK so maybe that’s going to be a little bit of a challenge but my point is you should set your expectations high. They say to shoot for the moon and if you miss not to worry as you’ll still land amongst the stars. This couldn’t be more true with social networks and communities. Sure you probably want millions of users and if that’s your target then great. But, if you don’t end up with millions and just achieve a small percent of that will it really be that bad? You can have a thriving community or network with just a few hundred active members. Imagine how popular it’d be with a few thousand!
So as you can see it’s not all doom and gloom. Communities and social networks alike do have their place on the Internet, you just have to find a sector/niche rather than going all out and trying to be all things to all men. 9 times out of 10 this approach will not work and you’ll be left holding the can.