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How to Develop a Social Networking Site like Facebook from Scratch?

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Yuri Musienko
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Featured image for How to Develop a Social Networking Site like Facebook from Scratch?

Social networks are popular portals with a large number of people registered. With their help, users can communicate with each other, listen to music, follow the news, and watch videos. At the same time, the owners of these sites can receive income from this project and provide various types of services.

What needs to be done to create and run a project?

Most popular social networks worldwide

Most popular social networks worldwide. Source.

Like any other idea, such projects require a number of works. You can't make something carelessly and keep your fingers crossed for making a profit from the first days of launch. There is no easy money, even the most popular and advanced projects have been carefully planned and are being improved every day. Project developers constantly plan and draw upstages by which ideas will be implemented.

Also, in the early stages, there may be various lawsuits related to privacy issues, funding issues and much more. This is unpleasant, but the popularity of the project and the high demand for its use significantly shifts all these negative factors into the background.

In this regard, we can conclude that first you need to be patient and be ready to defend your positions. Also, when creating a social network, all actions must be divided into several stages. For your convenience, we have assigned all steps into groups ourselves.

Planning and promoting an idea

Any project, small or large, starts with an idea. It must have value for the user and be in demand. Also, uniqueness plays an important role in this. Customized and unusual solutions have more potential to attract new users. You can copy Facebook completely, but no one will need a copy.

Therefore, you should make sure that the project is interesting and attracts with unusual and new functions. Demand segmentation can help a lot at this stage. You can create portals for movie fans, and provide full access to various video files. Also, projects are created for those who are attracted by music. However, such projects already exist, so it would be best to monitor the market in order to exclude existing ideas, the presence of which can significantly reduce interest in the social network. Your idea should stand out among all the variety. An example is platforms for working with cryptocurrency. All available exchanges are not alike, and users can choose the version that is most convenient for them.

It is also a mistake to suppress the idea. Don't be afraid to share your thoughts with friends. This can significantly get the project off the ground in terms of funding or direct participation in the development. We will also be able to get more support in terms of reviews and advertising initially. This will attract a significant number of visitors in the first days after launch.

Also, investors actively support ideas with a minimum team of 2 people. Projects with one participant do not inspire confidence, since there is an opinion about the minimum amount of costs and the lack of commitment to implementation and promotion.

Preparation for implementation and development

At this stage, there are several small steps that can be divided into groups.
  1. Documentation. Initially, it is necessary to draw up the functionality of the future project. It can fit in a small document. The goals and functions of the social network must be indicated.
  2. Domain name. Before development, it is important to choose the name of the future portal and domain name. Domain prices range from $ 10 to $ 20 annual subscription. I recommend using the same platform for domain registration and hosting.
  3. Hosting. If a social network plans to have large quantities, from 500 thousand to 5 million users per month, then the best solution would be to use powerful VPS servers.
Each of these steps is essential for proper functioning. This is a kind of foundation for starting the construction of the project.

Appearance and interface

Social network design using SocialV as an example
Social network design using SocialV as an example. Source.
The applied design solutions are of great importance for popularization and promotion. Do not write off this, as popularity will depend on it.

The optimal solution for creating a project will be the use of design trends. It is best to choose what will be relevant at the time of release. Particular attention should be paid to such criteria as:

  • color scheme;
  • styling of the menu and active buttons;
  • preparing the main page and placing a colorful call to action on it;
  • logo placement is also an important part of the structure.
The mandatory requirement will be the creation of a minimalistic design. Users don't like overloaded interfaces. Therefore, it is better to take calm colors. If you plan to use images, then the simplest pictures and a small number of objects are used. To implement the idea, it is best to take the help of professionals in this field. Merehead will help with the implementation of a quality design project. We have been working in this area for a large amount of time and prepare only high-quality working portals.

Social network development

Website development always begins with the selection of technologies that will be used for these purposes. They all fall into two main groups: created by CSM and frameworks. They have a significant difference between themselves, which affects the use of.

The first type is a project that has a template design not only in appearance, but also in key functions. You will need to develop a unique design that will be the iconic landmark of the portal. The most popular template portals today are BuddyPress, Dolphin, phpFox, SocialEngine and more.

These systems have a number of problems. First of all, it is the speed of work. They are heavily overloaded, resulting in network operation interruption. They are also difficult to scale when used on various gadgets. Also, the problem of customization can affect the work, as old functions may conflict with new ones.

When using frameworks, social networks can get high speed, security of personal data and excellent adaptability to scaling. Our company offers to use Laravel PHP. On this basis, there are about 5 popular PHP frameworks. For example CakePHP, Codeigniter, Zend, Symfony and a lot more.

Trends of used frameworks

Trends of used frameworks. Source.
The main disadvantage of using this method is development from the beginning. This requires a significant investment of money and time resources. However, excellent performance can become a great springboard for making a profit.

Testing and running directly

After the complete development of the project, you need to check its work. During such test runs, the following errors may be detected:
  • problems with loading the main page;
  • errors during registration;
  • lack of access to some areas of the site;
  • problems in the functioning of key functions.
Each of these problems can significantly affect the promotion of a social network, so it is necessary to eliminate all errors and problems before active operation. Our company Merehead will help in conducting high-quality development of a social network. An excellent example of our activity is the Frevend project, which gained more than 50 thousand users in several months of its existence.

Conducting marketing activities

Without an active advertising campaign, it will be almost impossible to get a sufficient level of users. The aggressive method is suitable for these actions.

An audience that will create the main content and help develop and form social life on the network.

Our experts collected analytic data and came to the conclusion that in the first days it is necessary to attract from 20 to 50 thousand users. To do this, you can use popular sources.

  1. Google Adwords. This platform is suitable for attracting users to expensive sites.For the development of social networks, the cost of services can significantly hit in the pocket.
  2. Placing advertisements on Facebook. Here you can get users at an affordable cost. The price ranges from $ 0.05 to $ 0.1. This is a great source that can provide a wide variety of filters for segmentation. It will take a thousand dollars to attract 10 thousand visitors.
  3. Guest posts. An introductory article is created for this, which will be posted on the portals of popular media. You can also connect bloggers for these purposes. One publication can attract from 10 to 20 thousand users.
Any of these sources will help you to significantly promote your content, which will provide the necessary set of visitors.

By applying the listed steps, the owner of a social network can not only create a high-quality portal for communication and entertainment of people, but also earn money from this. To achieve this, you must follow a number of rules.

What steps need to be taken to implement the process of generating income?

Monetization in a social network involves specific requirements and factors. The users themselves are not used to paying for registration on such services, so all released products, including Facebook, are free. In order for the project to begin to outweigh the production costs, several models can be applied. I have prepared key models that can become an effective business model.


With this model, users will have full access to the basic functions and options of the social network. This will not interfere with their full communication and viewing of entertainment content. However, you can provide additional functions for a small amount to make a profit. For example, the ability to send stickers, listen to a more expanded list of songs, and so on.

In most cases, the cost is not large, since such a similar subscription can be issued by any member of the social network. For example, the conversion is 1 percent from 1 million users. Then the owner will receive 10 thousand transactions per month. If the minimum cost is $ 9.99, then the monthly income is $ 99,900. This amount turns out to be rather big, which can be a good incentive for expanding and promoting the project. The Linkedin platform works according to a similar model.

The use of advertising in the project

This model assumes user access to all possible functions of the social network without restrictions. At the same time, the owner receives cash receipts from the advertisements being placed. The advertiser pays the site owner only for active clicks on his ad. A similar business acquisition model is used by Facebook and Google.

The disadvantage of this version is that you need to think over and develop a separate platform for placing ad units and managing them, which will lead to additional costs. It can also lead to the loss of users. Not all people are ready to put up with the fact that an advertisement pops up with every action. Also, some of them will be able to leave your social network by clicking on the transition to another portal that you will advertise.

This profit-making model can be used for large projects. They must be well promoted and have a consistent and stable audience.

Receiving investment

As a project grows, it begins to draw the attention of investors. All owners of such services, who are just beginning their formation are waiting for this moment. To attract investors, you need to work on your project and develop it:
  1. It is necessary to create a cool and original project. Its work should be stable and without the appearance of frequent malfunctions and errors. No investor wants to invest in an unstable structure.
  2. Having business models in early stages. The owner needs to clearly understand how the processes of earnings and development will take place. It is better to take up this question before starting the project. So you will have the opportunity to avoid big improvements for the implementation of the earnings functionality. An investor will not fund a half-baked idea. For such people, you need a full-fledged business with a good prospect for making real profits. Ephemeral cloud castles are not attractive to this market area.
  3. It is impossible to remain complacent. Projects, like any other idea for profit, must constantly evolve and grow. The owner is obliged to move forward, set new goals and achieve them. Success and profit growth depends only on the hard work and inflexibility of the owner.
As a startup, social networking is one of the more exciting destinations. At the moment, Facebook is not losing ground, but it is also going through not the best days. Due to the duration of work and activity of use, users of the service are ready for novelties and can move from the portal, which has been proven over the years, to a newer and more interesting project. The main thing is to create a unique version, which can attract and hook people for a significant period of time from the first days of activation. Instagram or TikTok is a good example of such a social network.

What are the most frequently asked questions of startup owners in the field of social networking?

Developing social networks and promoting them in the market is a big job that requires knowledge and understanding of the area of this process. In order for the owners to have a more adequate understanding of this process, I have selected the most popular questions and answers to them.

How much will it cost to develop a social network?

The price is formed depending on the set of project functions, as well as the technologies used for the development of a social network. The minimum cost can start from 5 thousand dollars. At such a minimal cost, a solution is applied in which the source code remains open.

If you plan to host a platform with a wide range of functions and options, as well as with full bandwidth, then the cost will be much higher. The capital for the development of such a structure should start from 20 thousand dollars. For this amount, you can get a custom platform that will have a flexible payment system.

Highly loaded social networks with variable customization options, as well as the ability to fully scale for various gadgets, will cost from 35 to 60 thousand dollars.

How long does it take to build a project?

The construction of a simple social network, which has the most common functions and options, is created within one month. In most cases, most of the time is spent on designing and optimizing a project for an open source system.

If more complex and flexible portals are planned, then their development will take from two to three months. The duration is influenced by the appearance of the project, its bandwidth, the quality of work and the fullness of functionality.

Is it worth creating your own social network?

This question does not have an exact solution, since everything depends on the decision of the future owner himself, as well as on the idea itself. If there is an exclusive project with new solutions and a set of functions, it can become the reason for the emergence of popularity. At the same time, development will have the fastest possible pace, which will lead to the receipt of a large amount of profit and investment.

If the idea is more like another version of Facebook, then you should not rush to invest in the development of the project. It is better to continue working on the idea and add new and interesting options to it.


The development of any startup is always associated with risk. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out full preparation before starting work. The success of the project will depend on having a clear and thoughtful plan. To get the most positive factors, you need to do good planning. It consists of the following stages:
  • development of a unique idea;
  • thinking through all functions and options;
  • hiring a good company to develop and promote the project;
  • creating a great appearance with the help of specialists in the field of web design;
  • thinking through promotions to promote and expand the user base;
  • continuous improvement and development of the project, depending on current trends and user needs.
Our company will help you on your way to becoming and will provide high-quality social network design development. We use only the latest and most popular technologies and solutions to implement your ideas.

Merehead does professional development of develop site like facebook. If you have questions, contact us for a free consultation.

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