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How to Make Social Media Website? A Comprehensive Guide
In the last decade, social media have become an integral part of people’s lives across the globe. Just think about it. The population of our planet is nearly 7.9 billion people. And according to a recent survey, there are 4.6 billion social media users. It means that more than half of the world now uses social networks!
Right, we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and dozens of other popular platforms. However, it doesn’t make the niche too crowded. The skyrocketing success stories of TikTok, Patreon, and Discord prove that launching your own social media is not such a bad idea, after all.
But how to make social media website that will stand out from the competitors and bring in revenue? Drawing on Devox Software’s deep expertise in web app solutions, this post will explain all details.
What Is a Social Media Website?
Social media is a website or application allowing users to communicate, interact, share files, and collaborate online. Such platforms connect people enabling them to engage with each other and keep in touch via chats, audio or video calls, direct messages, comments, and more. On top of that, social media may serve as a powerful marketing channel helping businesses grow and expand their audiences.
Some famous social media examples are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and many more.
Types of Social Media Sites
Social media websites may vary due to their nature, goals, target audience, and features. For example, some focus on personal communication, while others serve educational, business, or corporate needs. So before learning how to create a social media website, consider the most common types of such platforms.
Social Networking Websites
This is the most common and well-known type of social media. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow people to communicate, interact, and share all sorts of content. Such websites also help businesses run effective marketing campaigns and sell their goods or services.
Social media platforms of this type allow users to interact with people they have a lot in common. Such sites unite communities with similar hobbies, interests, and favorite activities. Some of the most popular examples are Pinterest, MeetUp, and Vingle.
Social Media for Professionals
Professional websites let people share their career achievements, skills, and experiences. For instance, LinkedIn opens numerous opportunities for recruiters to hunt for the necessary specialists. Meanwhile, the employees can seek job offers and create professional communities.
If you lack some information or want to learn how to do something, you will probably google your problem. However, the answers are often irrelevant or difficult to find. Informational platforms like Quora and Reddit allow people to seek professional advice on any topic.
Educational Social Networks
Educational platforms allow people to share knowledge and helpful resources. Also, such websites can provide smooth online communication among teachers and students. Some of the most well-known educational network examples are Academia, Coursera, and Brainly.
Social Networks for Dating
According to Statista, the number of people using online dating services is expected to grow to nearly 280 million by 2024, compared to less than 200 million in 2020. Not surprisingly, dating websites like Tinder, OkCupid, and eHarmony are experiencing skyrocketing success.
Many big businesses adopt social networking websites for their corporate needs. Such platforms allow coworkers to interact and share ideas across their internal communities. Some examples of corporate networks used by world-famous enterprises are Microsoft’s Sharepoint, Salesforce’s Chatter, IBM’s Connections, and Oracle’s Social Network.
Social Media Platforms: Statistics and Facts You Need to Know
Today, social media is one of the most popular Internet activities globally. Billions of people spend many hours daily scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Let’s look at the most stunning statistical facts about social media platforms you should know in 2022.
- There are 4.2 billion active social media users worldwide. To compare, 4.9 billion people actively surf the web.
- In 2022, an average global Internet user spends more than two hours on social media websites daily. In 2012, it was only 90 minutes.
- Social media ad spending is expected to reach almost $400 billion by 2027, with an annual growth rate of more than 11%.
- 74% of Americans actively use social media. The other regions with a high interest in social networks are Europe (77%), Central and South America (72%), and South-Eastern Asia (69%).
- 87% of customers admit that social media plays an important role in their shopping decisions. Not surprisingly, most modern eCommerce businesses use at least two social media channels for their marketing campaigns.
- Facebook is the largest social media platform with a market share of more than 75%, followed by Twitter (8%), Instagram (6%), and YouTube (3%). However, the difference isn’t so drastic regarding the number of active monthly users. Facebook also leads with nearly 3 million users, followed by YouTube (2.5 million), WhatsApp (2 million), and Instagram (1.4 million).
The Essential Features of Social Networking Websites
The number and complexity of the required features may vary depending on your social networking website‘s type and nature. However, some functions are essential for almost any social networking platform to make it convenient, user-friendly, and relevant to the users’ expectations.
Signup and Login
A social media website should be accessible and straightforward. This feature will allow people seamlessly register their accounts and log in via a simplified, non-overwhelming form.
User Profile Management
Social media platform users should be able to edit and customize their profiles. Such a page usually consists of the user’s name, photo, contacts, and personal information.
You can allow your users to integrate with other social media. It will let them share their Facebook posts, tweets, or YouTube videos on your platform without the need to leave the website.
Search with Filtering Options
For a social network, a powerful search is vital. It helps users seamlessly navigate the website and quickly find what they are looking for, whether it’s a friend, community, or viral video. Advanced filtering option will save people’s time since they can customize search and find the needed content or another user in no time.
Even if you’re not building a messaging platform, a chat is an excellent option for a social media website. It allows people to communicate directly or create channels for multiple users. Here, it’s worth paying extra attention to your platform’s security to ensure people feel safe and private when texting each other.
In addition to sending messages, the users might want to share files, including media content like audio and videos. Such a feature is essential for messaging, entertaining, and business platforms.
This is one of the core social media features and probably the main page of your platform. The newsfeed or activity feed allows people to share their thoughts and various content. There, they can see the latest updates and interact with each other.
Like, Comment, and Share Functions
These are some of the basics of almost every social networking website. Such features allow users to respond to updates and posts. In the era of Instagram and Facebook, likes, comments, and shares aren’t just reactions but powerful business and marketing tools.
Web applications are often vulnerable to cyber threats, including phishing scams, XSS attacks, and sensitive data breaches. Thus, when building a social media website, you should come up with a robust security system that includes reliable data encryption and well-protected hosting.
An admin panel will help you cover numerous needs of the team running a social media website. This application will serve your business goals and automate many internal processes. In particular, admin panels provide better control over workflows, deliver valuable insights, and help monitor the key metrics.
How to Make a Social Media Website: a Step by Step Guide
Social networking website development requires a gradual and consistent approach. Usually, this process consists of several core stages. Let’s discuss each of them in more detail.
1. Project Requirements
Of course, everything starts with an idea. Once you’ve set up an initial project development strategy, it’s time to document your requirements and look for a reliable vendor.
The requirements should stem from your vision of the future website. It’s also worth providing business and market analytics if you’ve conducted them previously. In the future, this document will help the development team track their progress and see if they’re moving in the right direction.
2. Discovery Phase and Planning
At this point, your project is about to take off. The hired development team evaluates your social media website concept and collects all required information, including competitor analysis, user personas, etc. Next, it’s time to create a specification document, which will serve as an initial roadmap for the upcoming development stages.
3. UI/UX Design
First, the designers build wireframes and clickable prototypes to understand whether the concept suits your business requirements. They also verify usability and convenience. Social networking sites should be intuitive and easy to navigate, so it’s worth paying extra attention to the UX solutions.
Next, UI designers work on the layout and make a beautiful interface for your social media website. They select color palettes, create animations, and do their best to convey your brand identity.
4. Frontend Development
During this stage, the developers build your website based on the mockups and prototypes provided by the designers. They implement the chosen features using the technology stack suitable for your project.
Some of the most popular options for social networking websites are React.js, Angular, and Vue.js.
5. Backend Development
The backend is the server-side of your website responsible for invisible for the users yet crucial components. In particular, these are databases, APIs, frameworks, and the overall business logic of your website. Note that a social media platform should be scalable to withstand heavy traffic. Also, it should be completely secure to protect the users’ private data.
The most common backend technologies for social networks are Ruby, Elixir, and Python.
At this phase, quality assurance (QA) specialists test your website to check its functionality and performance. Web apps have multiple vulnerabilities that may go unnoticed and result in critical challenges. Thus, it’s worth starting to validate your website as early as possible. QAs conduct multiple automation and manual tests to detect and fix bugs before moving on to the next development stage.
At this point, you can finally launch your website. It will most likely be an MVP with a basic set of features. However, once the platform enters the market, you will start receiving your first users’ feedback and gradually scaling up your social media platform. Also, you need to run a well-thought-out marketing campaign to expand your audience.
8. Post-release Stage
Even after the launch, your website will need regular support and maintenance. So you will keep working with your tech partners to ensure timely updates, fix occasional issues, and improve performance if necessary.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Social Media Website
Social media website development cost depends on multiple factors, so it’s almost impossible to estimate the exact price. Here are the most common aspects you should consider when planning your budget:
- The project’s scope
- The number and complexity of features
- UI/UX design complexity
- The chosen technologies and integrations
- The type and location of the development team
First, let’s look at approximate timeline and cost of social networking sites based on their complexity. Also, we will consider your team’s location since the average hourly rate of onshore and offshore specialists varies significantly.
Note that these calculations aren’t accurate since every project is unique, so the price majorly depends on your individual website’s specifics, business needs, and requirements.
Devox Software Experience
We at Devox Software have rich experience in complex web development solutions, including social media websites. In particular, we have worked on the Acriveplace project, a wellness social networking platform with content publishing, community interests, and marketplace functionality.
Our main goal was to find the right approach to building a unique solution tailored to the client’s individual requirements. Here are the most significant challenges we had to address:
- Three types of users. Different types of accounts serve various goals. The platform includes common users, community mentors, and business accounts.
- Rich functionality. The platform contains multiple features combining social media, marketplace, and blog specifics. In particular, these are feed, navigation, search, content publishing, community interests, and user achievements.
- Comprehensive research. The client lacked some information, so our team conducted a full-fledged investigation to come up with a unique solution and develop it from scratch.
- Multiple platforms. Our team developed an intuitive, mobile-friendly desktop version of the product and a mobile app for native iOS and Android platforms.
As a result, we managed to design and develop an engaging social networking platform from scratch, available in web and mobile versions.
The Benefits of Building a Social Media Website
When it comes to social media websites, the competition is quite stiff since world-famous brands like Facebook and Twitter take the lion’s share of the market. So is it worth it, and can your project pay off in the long run? Let’s find out! Here are the most significant benefits of building a social media platform.
- Popularity. Over the past year, the number of social media users increased by 227 million, and this rapid expansion is not likely to stop.
- Cost-effectiveness. Building a social media website requires less effort, time, and money than creating an application.
- Convenience. People can access social media sites via laptops and PCs. What’s more, unlike apps, websites don’t use the devices’ storage space.
- Easier maintenance. While updating and improving an app usually takes much time, improving a website is easier and faster. Thus, you can quickly address potential challenges and fix bugs.
- Business prospectives. Many retail brands seek new platforms to sell their goods and expand their audiences. Social networking websites are an excellent way for businesses to run result-driven marketing campaigns and communicate with customers.
How to Generate Income on a Social Media Website?
A consistent monetization strategy is essential if you want to build a social media website. Famous social networks like Facebook and YouTube earn billions every year. How? Let’s look at the most common techniques you may adopt.
This approach to monetization is the most common for social media. The biggest social networks get most of their revenue by placing ads on their websites. Some place banners immediately on the web page, while others use more sophisticated methods of promoting various brands. In particular, targeted advertising shows customers specific ads focused on their interests and preferences.
Some social media websites provide access to certain content or extra features through paid subscription plans. For example, a user with a premium account can watch videos without ads on Youtube, get more information on specific topics on Quora, or read more articles on Medium.
This monetization technique known as affiliate marketing allows eCommerce companies and stores to sell their products on your website. In return, you will generate income on transaction fees. Many users prefer not to leave a social networking website to complete a purchase, so this method is quite convenient for online shoppers.
Helpful Tips on Starting Your Social Media
It might be pretty challenging to build a social media website that stands out from the competitors and satisfies the audience’s expectations. Of course, if you want to create a simple solution without custom features, a common website builder will do. However, a more sophisticated idea will require significant effort at every development stage. Here are several tips and tricks to help you put your project on the right track.
Define Your Target Audience
First of all, do your best to identify your target users. You need to clearly understand whose needs your social media platform should cover and what their main expectations are. It’s a good idea to conduct comprehensive user research that will allow you to evaluate your ideas and understand your audience better.
Study Your Competitors
Competitor research will also help you better understand your market niche and audience’s specifics. You can get valuable insights into your direct and indirect competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. In particular, pay attention to customer feedback. Knowing what people enjoy on social media and what are their pain points will help you make your own website more user-friendly.
Choose the Technology Wisely
The tech stack you choose for your social media website should be reliable, future-proof, and relevant to the required features. Here are several things to consider:
- Scalability. If you expect your product to become truly great, it should be capable of withstanding high traffic.
- Functionality. The core website features will determine the technology choice, so ensure the tech stack suits your website’s functionality.
- Developers’ community. It’s important to pick a technology that modern developers widely use. Otherwise, it will be challenging to find a tech team for your project.
Start with an MVP
When creating a social media website from scratch, it’s worth starting with the basic features. For this reason, many businesses decide to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) first. Such a website will consist of the essential functionality, so you can validate the project’s viability and make changes if necessary. An MVP will help you save your budget and avoid critical mistakes at the latest development stages.
Want to Create a Social Media Website? – Devox Software Can Help You!
It’s quite challenging to build a successful and competitive social media website. People are used to convenient and intuitive platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so they will expect your site to be no worse and offer unique solutions for their communication, business, or entertainment. However, with a viable business plan, reliable tech partners, and a meticulous approach to the development process, you have every chance to make the grade.
Looking for an experienced team to help you create social media website? We at Devox Software are ready to join your ambitious project!
Our company has ample web design and development expertise and a proven track record of successful projects. We can provide you with high-quality web development services, including UI/UX design, frontend and backend development, quality assurance, business intelligence, and more. Get in touch to build an amazing social media platform that will meet your users’ needs and scale up your business.