A Commercial Social Networking Site is a business, and like any business setting it up involves a lot of thought, and a lot of effort. The technical issues are not difficult, surprisingly simple in fact, but technical issues will not determine the success or otherwise of your site as a business venture.
That will depend on the quality of thought and planning that goes into your set afloat.
The first stage – we shall call it Off-Page Planning doesn’t include the internet at all; they are the self-same processes that should take place before any business set afloat.
- Defining your USP – Your rare Selling Proposition – it will define your business objectives.
- Create a Business Plan and Budgets
- Resolve your funding issues – short, medium and long term.
With those issues resolved you can move on to your Internet Planning Phase.
- Choose an Internet great number.
- acquire a URL; the name and identity of your hypothesizedv site
- Select the Open Source Content Management System (CMS) for your site.
Then you can start The Site Planning Phase. Most sites have a ‘tree’ layout, with the ‘landing page’ the page on which a new visitor arrives, forming the trunk of the tree and the main headings – departments, products etc forming the main branches. The site planning phase requires you to:
- efine the branches – and incidentally the menu structure of the site
- Define a ‘look’ and ‘feel’ for your site, ie your visitor’s experience
- Define the keywords – the Mission Statement’
It is only at this stage that we have to start work on the site itself. Here the stages seem difficult but in practice are quite straight forward:
- Review the two main Open Source CMS packages, Drupal and Joomla and make our choice – a choice possibly dictated by the suitability of obtainable open source ‘Themes’.
- Use the facilities offered by our Internet great number or manually download the open source software to our home computer and then use our FTP client to upload it to our files on our great number account
- Link up to the background data bases
- Start to set up the site proper.
As we build up the material on the site we can start to bring it to the notice of our target audience using standard Search Engine Optimisation techniques.
- Using keywords and the ‘Long Tail’ approach
- Cleaning up our site – removing spelling mistakes, broken links and other SEO no-nos
- Encouraging inward links.
the time of action is long, but then the time of action of setting up any business is complicate.