Starting a social network site like myspace and facebook can be a tedious and daunting task. Before you jump into the world of social networking you should consider these five tips:
1. Research your niche.
2. Research the right script
3. Know your limitations
4. Develop a timeline
5. Know exactly what you want.
Research your niche
Your website will absolutely fail if you do not research a niche that demands a need for a social network.
If you haven’t a niche in mind, then step away from your computer, pick up a pad of paper and a pencil and head on down to the local book store. Browse the book store for keywords and ideas.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and observe the active hot spots in the bookstore. What topics are creating a buzz? For example, how does the cookbook section look, is it a ghost town or loaded with people? How about the finance section? What magazines are people reading?
Jot this stuff down; observe people and the books they are reading. Also, make note of keywords found in book titles that jump out and grab you. Get Creative. These are all potential untapped niches dying for a social network.
Next, get back to your computer and begin seeking out the competition. Use your keywords, followed by “social network” or “community” in google. Identify competition, if any, and sign up on each site.
Spend a minimum of two weeks on your competitions social network site. I say two weeks because it teaches you a little about self control. Your social network is an investment, a potential income for your lifestyle and you must have patience in your research. Two hours is not enough.
Now back to your competitions website. You must determine what sucks and what’s cool. You must determine whether or not they are driving traffic to their site or if the site is a ghost town.
Again, have a pad and pencil nearby and jot down everything you dislike about your competitions site. Perhaps the signup is rigorous or maybe you find it too difficult to post images ect…Anything you dislike will be a goal to improve upon on your site. Remember to be thorough and take no short cuts.
You will find that members are rarely proactive and with short attention spans. You have to make everything as simple and intuitive as possible. You must remove all fluff and confusion.
Assume your members are all 40-50 something year old house wives and design ease and operation around them. If a 45 year old house wife can navigate your site you’ll be successful. Not to say that 45 year old house wives are some how not up to snuff with the computer age, I just know from experience on my site that most issues that arise come from users in this demographic.
The key point to starting a social network is proper planning, tons of research and patience. Take your time; Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The more information you have on your competition, the better chance of outperforming them.
Stay Tuned for next weeks installment, “Researching the right script”