The first step to starting a social networking site is to come up with a focus. Next, come up with a list of features, find a host, find capital and formulate a flexible business plan.
- Find a focus
Think about the general purpose of the social networking community. You face stiff competition from social networking giants such as Facebook, so find a niche by creating the site around a specific activity or hobby.
- Make a list of features
Make a list of features that best suit your theme. Include messaging services and member profile pages, and then build or purchase these features. Be careful not to include so many features that the site looks cluttered and messy.
- Find a Web host
Find a host for your site. You need a host that can provide enough bandwidth and storage to meet your needs as the site grows.
- Find funding
Most social networking sites are funded by venture capitalists. Also consider alternative sources of funding such as a loan or donations from friends and family. Analyze the risks associated with each source of funding, and ensure that you can cover the costs while the site picks up.
- Have a business plan
Come up with a flexible business plan, and make adjustments as you go. Consider ways to generate revenue such as Web advertising or charging Web developers to incorporate their applications into your site.