Starting a social network

I’m thinking of starting a social network for a certain type of partner dancing.

It’s a niche I know is not currently being served, and I know there is demand for a comminuty site from consumers, and probably suppliers looking to contact those consumers.

I’ve made websites, but am new to making social networks.
This would be a hobby, that I wouldn’t have to much time to spend on.
I was hopeing to buy a domain name, spend say 20 hours setting up a site, seeding it with some starting entries, then just tell the consumers, and hope it very slowly grow of it’s own accord - there’s no hurry from my point of view.
Is this nieve? bearing in mind the known demand.

I’m currently considering a pre-built solution like or a hosting the network myself using something like Elgg.
Anyone have any comments as to the pros/cons of these 2 paths?
Any better solution providers?

Thanks, Avanti

Hye dear , hav patience . it will work…!!

Very time consuming especially social media network, my suggestion is to plan what exactly what your goals are and then from there plan out how long it would take to get there.

It is nice that you want to build a social site for your specific niche, but with anything you build, you want to have goals, whether it is a community of at least x members, with 5 adsense ads, x amount of traffic per month, and you want to generate income by offering front page ads for certain advertisers or members who want to promote.

You have a very good chance of making a good social site, but PLAN and make goals of your overall use of the site…Do not just make a site, which you barely have a time to work, and then build list that you won’t really be involved with…You are better to figure out how you could make this a part time job or part time income or full time on both.

There are many people who start very small, and then they realize the potential and that is what I am conveying with you. And so they make plans for growth. I think you should build the plan before you even build the site. and know why you want to start a community.

I think you need to pay for Ning :slight_smile:

I’m also thinking about starting a social networking site and I’m 100% sure that I’ll never use any hosted solutions. I just want to be responsible for a tragical loss of all data if this happens to me. Just imagine:
You spent two years on promoting your site and now have a successful network with 15000 members. One morning you open your site and see nothing there. Simply nothing. You contact your support and ask them:

  • Hey, guys. What’s happening? Where’s my site?
  • We’re really sorry but all our servers were destroyed in a fire in our building last night.
  • OMG! And are there any byte of data that was back up?
  • No, sir. Not a single bit. It’s all gone.
    You’ll have to say “Farewell” to all your successful business. I can’t afford that so I definitely will go with a stand alone solution so that I might have an option to backup everything on my site to my local folder, burn it every week on a DVD-RW (twice!) and store backup in a safe deposit.
    If you go serious with your decision, be serious from the very beginning.

Good luck with you social network, OP. Share links when you go live.

Hey moulder

Thanks for the comments.
I’m actually going to argue the opposite there.
I come from a Computer Support background, and while in theory you trust yourself to back stuff up, more than someone elses automated system, in practice I’ve always seen customers who say they’ll do it manually, forget/don’t backup often enough.
Those with automated systems have less probmes than ‘fallible human backup plans’ in my experience.
By all means put me straight.
Maybe the best way is somone elses automated system, with occsaional mannual backups from the site owner.

It’s a good idea of starting a networking site, but it needs time and patience. Have patience and work smartly, you will reap the fruit quickly.

All good advice. Thank you.

My current big challenge will be designing a business model that will give away enough for free that it will attract consumers\users, while persuading the businesses in the industry they want to pay me for the premium offering…brain is melting…

that’s right, you need to have a subscription or something…monthly quarterly and yearly…

Thanks guys, wow this stuff is time-consuming :frowning:

How is it now? can you share the link? Good to know that you are getting what you expected.

Have you considered ning? i personally have not used it however I know of a few social networks that are doing well with them, however if you plan on monetizing your traffic you will have to check to see if you have to split the revenue with ning.


You are absolutely right and the point you stated here are important and yet beneficial in terms of getting better approach. Social networking, needs proper and useful interaction which will be fruitful to the business and thus help in getting more and more business.

If you don’t have time to spend on it, it’s better if you find an all in one solution that includes everything you need like software, template, hosting, support, etc etc. But still you have to spend time on driving traffic, and managing it.

starting a social network needs patience. One needs to build credibility, branding and network that interacts. I usually suggest that in the infant period of a social network, one should take all the necessary precautions so as not to jeopardize the account. Adhere with the policies, and avoid getting into the marketing strategy directly. Patience in building the list of your social network is part of the strategy.

Is it a local thing? I might try setting up a group on and facebook if it is.

Maybe you can use BuddyPress which is based on Wordpress MU. Looks like it suits your demands.


Snecz: Good call snecz, I’d never heard of it, but knowing what to search for gave me some good leads. E.g.
What is the “MU” bit you mention?
Only thing is, knowing WordPress reasonably well, I consider a great Blog platform, but a poor website platform. I wonder if anything runs on Joomla?

Anyone have any comments regarding ‘Host your own’ vs ‘Use someone elses network?’.

Force Flow: I’m not all that local to

MU stands for Multi User which means you can have many blogs on one installation of Wordpress.
WordPress is blogging platform but also one of the best free CMS.
I’ve installed BuddyPress once and it really is social network platform.
You can also look for another platform - there’re many or install at least a forum.
I would go with own hosting and domain.
Good luck!

I think buddypress is good for you