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Starting your own social network is easy

With self hosted CMS systems you can have your own social network where you have complete control to design and build a community on any subject. The biggest advantage of using these systems apart from being free is the CMS (content management system) which allows you to do exactly what other big social networks do everyday-SHARE. By using the power of collaboration, and with the users or members doing the hard work and enjoying it, you can have a very powerful revenue stream.

Share and Monetize

There is no end to how many ways you can monetize this system and if you use the right strategy it can open many new doors. There is one constant theme that you see around the web when you join up to any social network or forum and that is Sharing, not only an exchange of ideas but also an invitation to earn extra revenue. So with this in mind you can offer affiliate programs or services where your members can cash in and hopefully spread the word. It’s also a great place to swap or give away digital products like software, e-Books, images and video. The web is what it says; it links up the Internet, so link up your other online or offline activities to grow your business.

Quality Counts

It’s important to set yourself apart and produce a quality site that the search engines will respond to. Build a site that people want to come back to time and time again. Let the collaboration flow with easy to use communication and commenting structures, allow links to images and video to bring a rich diversity of content.  Give your members profile icons and photos to give them individuality.

One example of a CMS (Content management System) is Pligg which is open source and is available free to download. You can completely re-modify the layout, fonts and colours to suit whatever social network or forum you want to build. There are a variety of formats that you could use Pligg for like Social Bookmarking, Social Networking or Social News. There are plenty of niche areas that you can build up a following too. To find out more about Pligg and to download their CMS zip visit http://www.pligg.com.

It is very easy to configure Pligg and modify it, but if you are unsure then contact your host to help out. There are many Add-ons and themes available for free. You can even design your own theme or develop Add-ons if you are good in php.

Round Up

As always you have plenty of choice on the web from premium to free so have a good look around and check out some of the links below. There is initially a bit of work on your part to set your site up, for instance uploading the zip files and setting permissions but every script has a read me file, if you’re really struggling then check out the many assisted set ups or ask your host. Of course if you’re not bothered about control over your network then the likes of Ning would be ideal.

Ning (simplicity-not hosted by you)

Elgg (self hosted)

Pligg (self hosted)

Mahara (open source for education, self hosted)

People Aggregator (self hosted- specialize in customized semi-private solutions)

Dolphin (Packed with add-ons – self hosted)

KickApps (self host or run on their severs and split the ad revenue)

1NEsite (premium set up)

Wordpress MU

BuddyPress

Social networking is big business with the likes of FaceBook taking on the big G and branching out into every corner of the web and you too can grab a piece of the action.

Do you know about any other social network scripts?

Thanks’ for reading.

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