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How to Start and Create Your Own Social Network Site Like Facebook from Scratch and Make Money

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Ian Melnik
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You look at Facebook and wonder how this guy (Mark) makes a lot of money from the air. I think you have a logical question, can I repeat his success? Let's look at how to create a social networking site like Facebook, Youtube and earn good money.

Easy money doesn't happen, of course, if you don't play the lottery) Although there to earn money, you need to have good luck. Facebook, like other companies, has no exceptions. Legal claims, problems with financing (at the first stage), problems with confidentiality, etc. This is certainly not pleasant, but when your product enjoys popularity, these all go into the background. So the first rule is to have patience and be ready to fight. Everything starts with small.

How to Make a Social Networking Website Like Facebook and Make Money

Source: Statista

So, you want to create your own social network that will have similar functions like Facebook. It's not as difficult as it seems, but not as easy as we would like. Let's divide this process into several stages.

1. Development of ideas

Big projects start from an idea. It must have value and be unique. Of course, you can copy the idea of Facebook, but who needs Facebook #2. Take care that your social network is interesting for users. Segmentation will help you in this. You can build a social network for lovers of movies, books or music. But…. this already exists. Anyway, the idea should stand out you among other similar projects. Like the crypto currency exchange platforms, which are gaining popularity in the world.

Very often people have an idea, but they are afraid to tell it to their friends. They think that someone will steal it and earn a million. This is a big mistake. First, to make a project, you need money and effort. A lot of effort. Secondly, no one gives a guarantee that a good idea will have great success. So, only you can create what's in your head. Moreover, the more you share your thoughts, the more feedback you get. Maybe you will find like-minded (co-founders), who will help in the development of the social media website.

You knew that investors do not want to deal with the alone founder. The minimum team should consist of 2 people, but better of 3. This is due to the fact that all ideas are amenable to the collective discussion but only the best ones are being implemented.

2. Preparing for the development of a social network

Short documentation
First of all, you need to make a list of the functions of the future project. This can be a small document, which briefly describes the goal of the social network and its functions.

Domain Name
Before the phases of the development, you must select the name of the social network and the domain name. The cost of the domain will be $10-20 per year. I recommend using one platform for domain registration and hosting.

If you plan to start a large social network site that will have 500,000 - 5,000,000 users per month, I highly recommend using powerful servers, for example, VPS. It will enable you to cope with high loads.

3. Social network design

Design plays a big value. It should not be flashy or dull. It is best to use modern web design trends. It will allow you to promote your network more actively. In addition, the first page should have a call-to-action, so you can get more signed up users. Trust only professionals.

How to Make a Social Networking Website Like Facebook and Make Money

4. Development of a social network

The development of a social network site begins with the choice of technology to be used. They can be divided into two types: ready-made CMS and frameworks. Let's see what is the difference between them and what is better to use.

Social networks CMS
These are already ready social network with a template design and main functions. You will only need efforts to develop a new design and customize the project to your requirements. The most popular CMS for social networks: BuddyPress, Dolphin, phpFox, SocialEngine, etc. Although, such systems have a whole set of problems.

-The first problem with the speed of work. They cause high load and bring failure. Two clients addressed to our company Merehead, in 2018. They had similar problems. We could not help them because the projects had to be completely rebuilt.

-The second problem is poor scaling. If you need to add new features, it will require a lot of effort, time and money.

-The third problem is the project customize. It can take a very long time. Since the CMS does not provide a global customization. New functions may conflict with the old ones. It will be a movement in a circle.

As you can see, the popularity of CMS is falling. BuddyPress leader among them.

How to Make a Social Networking Website Like Facebook and Make Money

Frameworks are used to develop different web applications. In fact, they are universal and designed specifically to improve the quality of the code and speed up the coding process. Projects based on frameworks have high speed, high security and scalability. In our company, we prefer to use Laravel PHP-based framework. It should be noted that there are about 10 popular PHP-based frameworks (CakePHP, Codeigniter, Zend, Symfony etc). You can see the dynamics of popularity below and check the web development trends.

How to Make a Social Networking Website Like Facebook and Make Money

The main disadvantage of using frameworks is that the project needs to develop from scratch. This will take time and resources, but in this case, you can be sure that the website will work stably and bring profit. In fact, this is your investment in the future.

5. Testing and launching a social network

After the completion of the development, it is necessary to check the social network. As you understand the bugs in the sign up/login or in the main functions will very badly affect the promotion of the social network. Users should enjoy your website. Our company has experience in developing social networks. For example, our project Frevend got 50,000 users in few months.

6. Marketing

After creating your own social network like Facebook, it is very important to conduct an active advertising campaign. You need to use an aggressive approach. It is very important to get an audience that will create content and feel in the life of a social network. According to our estimates, it is necessary to attract 20,000 - 50,000 visitors within a few days. So, let's see what the most popular sources of traffic you can use:

- Google Adwords. I don't recommend using it to attract users to the social network. The cost of clicking is very high. Google Adwords (Google Ads) is well suited for expensive services.

- Facebook Ads. You can get visitors at a cost of $0.05-0.1. This is a good source with a huge set of filters for segmentation. Thus, attracting 10,000 users will cost $1000.

- Guest posts. Write interesting articles about the project. Send them to popular media and bloggers. You will be surprised how many people are willing to publish interesting material for free. For example, one publication in TechCrunch can give 10,000 - 20,000 users a day!

7. How to make a money by own social media website

Monetization of the social network has its own features. Users are not used to paying, which is why most networks, including Facebook, are completely free. I believe that two types of business model are suitable for such projects.

-Freemium. Users have free access to most functions. But additional features will require a small fee. Typically, the cost is small, since it refers to all participants in the social network. Having a conversion of 1% from 1,000,000 users, you will receive 10,000 transactions per month. With a minimum cost of $9.99, your monthly income will be $99,900. Agree, a good future! This business model uses LinkedIn.

-Advertising. Users have access to all the functions and features of the social network for free. Money is collected from advertising space. Thus, the advertiser pays for clicks on his site. This business model uses Google and Facebook. Its disadvantage is that it is necessary to develop a separate platform/module for managing advertisements. In addition, you will lose users, as they will move to other sites by click. This business model is well suited for large projects that have a stable audience.

8. Preparation for investment

When the project grows, it attracts the attention of investors. This is the moment that many beginning startups are waiting for. I have several recommendations to become more attractive in the eyes of the investor

- Make a really cool project. It should work like a clock, without crashes, without bugs. It will be very unpleasant when the investor wants to invest $500,000, and at that time your website fell.

- Take care of business models in the early stage. You must understand how you will make money before the development of the social network. Investors don't invest money in ideas, they invest money in business. Their goal is to earn. If they do not feel profit, you can forget about investments. Yes, it's tough, but they think like that.

- Don't ever stop. Go forward, crush the mountains and achieve goals. The way to success is always difficult.

Social networks are the most interesting direction among startups. Facebook is going through hard times and people are ready to try something new. The most important thing is that your social network has a unique feature, something that can hook people. In this case, you can get explosive growth like TikTok.


❯ How much does it cost to build a social network?

The cost of building a social network depends on the set of functions and technologies stack that will be used in the development. The minimum cost can start from $5,000. Typically, in such cases, an open-source solution is used. Platforms with a large set of features and high bandwidth starting from $20,000. In this case, you can get a custom platform with a flexible payment system. Highly loaded social networks, with flexible settings and scalability, will cost about $35,000 - $60,000.

❯ How long does it take to build a social network?

It will take about 1 month of development to build a simple social network with a standard set of functions. As a rule, part of the time is spent on design and code optimization based on open-source solutions. More complex and flexible systems require about 2-3 months of development.

❯ What determines the cost of a social network?

The cost of development depends on tech solutions. Open source has a minimal cost. The disadvantage of such systems is a limited set of functions, complex scaling, and poor code optimization. It is a good solution for MVP. The individual development from scratch will cost more. In this case, the social network will have clear code and the ability to easily implement new features. It is a good solution if you want to stand out among competitors and actively promote the business.

❯ Is making a social network worth it?

Yes and no. If you have an idea that makes you unique, you have a good chance of becoming popular in your niche. The number of active users on Facebook is decreasing. People are looking for alternative solutions and are ready to try new platforms.

Merehead does professional development of Social Network. If you have questions, contact us for a free consultation.

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