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The Best Way to Build Your Own Social Networking Site

The Best Way to Build Your Own Social Networking Site

Social networks have become a popular way for people with a common hobby or interest to communicate. Some are centered around a particular niche, while others like MySpace are more of a generic type. You can easily create a profile on MySpace or Facebook and connect with users who share your interests as well as those that don’t. While this type of social network has its benefits, you can’t change how the site looks, moderate discussions or control user profiles. If these are freedoms you desire, you will need to create your own social network. This article will introduce a few platforms that will help you do just that.

Elgg
Elgg
First developed in 2004, Elgg is a user-friendly open-source platform that allows you to create any kind of social networking community. The software has many nice features including one that is similar to the activity tracking feature on Facebook and LinkedIn. This tool enables an activity stream that allows members to easily keep track of what their contacts are up to. Elgg is highly extensible through a number of themes, widgets and plugins that help both you and your members customize the site. The business-friendly features of this platform make it a great choice for professional communities.

Pligg
Pligg
Pligg is an open-source content management system that caters to the Web 2.0 phenomenon. Designed for larger sites, it uniquely integrates collaborative elements such as news sharing, social bookmarking and blogging. With Pligg, you can create a thriving site where registered users vote and comment on submitted news items. This platform offers numerous features that when used correctly, will virtually enable your community to run itself. As a collaborative CMS, Pligg sites generally grow quickly in terms of popularity and traffic.

XOOPS + Yogurt Extension
XOOPS
The XOOPS platform makes it easy to create dynamic social networking sites that offer numerous features to your community. This software is versatile and can serve as the framework for small, medium or large websites, corporate portals or personal blogs. The major advantage of XOOPs is its nature as a true CMS that can be greatly enhanced through a wide variety of add-on modules like the popular Yogart Extension. With a little PHP skills, you can script your own modules and truly customize your social network.

AroundMe
AroundMe
Developed by BarnRaiser, the AroundMe social networking platform is free and very easy to use. This software is great for building a smaller community where people with like interests gather and share ideas. It offers a nice selection of built-in themes and allows you to create multiple web spaces that can either be set to public or private. AroundMe isn’t a full CMS like the other programs mentioned above, and therefore lacks some functionality. Because extensibility is limited, this software is best for friend and hobbyist orientated communities.

Our Recommendation

The key to building a great social networking site is finding a web host that can provide the platforms you need. Because of their low prices and impressive track record in the business, we highly recommend HostMonster and PowWeb for meeting these demands. These companies offer support for the aforementioned platforms and several other applications that will help you create the ultimate social networking environment.

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