Having programming skills comparable to Mark Zuckerberg’s is admirable. Yet, you don’t need to be a programming mastermind in order to create your own social network. What you do need is great software to get your network started. There are lots of social networking software options available. All you have to do is find the right one for your skill set.
Ning -- $9 to $40+ Based On Subscription
Ning is (at the time of this writing) the go-to social network building site of choice. From start to finish, you’ll find everything you need on Ning’s site. Select from three distinct packages that include a number of different network features. Some packages allow you to post videos and create complex forums while other packages provide social network basics. The one drawback to Ning is that networks are ad-supported, which means that your site will include some (hopefully pertinent) advertisements. Otherwise, Ning includes a clean interface, simple instructions, and complete social networking start-up kits.
GoingOn -- $0 to $20 Depending on Monthly Plan
GoingOn is rather new on the social network site building block. This site software was originally built to knock Ning out of the water. While putting up a good fight, GoingOn hasn’t been able to get rid of Ning completely. In fact, GoingOn hasn’t really come close to closing in on Ning. Still, GoingOn is worth a look, since you can set up a basic site for free with this program. GoingOn does have many features that Ning doesn’t, though some of these features aren’t (at the time of this writing) glitch-free. GoingOn does have a clean interface, plenty of stuff to play around with, and the free package will give you a good taste of what this program is all about.
KickApps – Fees Based on Page Views
Great name choice aside, KickApps is the place to go if you yearn for customization. KickApps’ claim to fame is blog or site integration. That is, integrating your KickApps networking site directly into your blog or website. This feature does work very well, though you’ll have to play around with KickApps templates before you create one that looks unique. If you have any design or developer skills at all, KickApps will provide a fun playground for you to explore. If fashioning customized sites and getting your hands dirty with code is not your think, stick with a site like Ning.
Me.com – Pricing Varies
Me.com is really all about offering you a simple way to create a social networking site. Complete packages come with everything you need to get your site up and running quickly. While templates are lacking and some site designs are garish, Me.com does provide an easy way for anyone to start a network. Me.com boasts about its chat applet, which does deliver a nice way to integrate chat into any network site.