You are here: Home When Choosing Social Networking Scripts

Social networking software is hot.  More and more companies and website owners are realizing that their sites need to be socially interactive in order to be successful. New websites which create buzz nowadays always have multiple features that allow visitors to interact with each other, or with the website owner. The demand for socially interactive websites and the technology to make it all possible has never been higher. The offer of social networking, knowledge sharing, media sharing, or micro-blogging scripts has never been as large as today.

This provides the website owner interested in this technology with quite a dilemma: what is the best social networking software?

The decision is not easy to take. On the one hand, there is the option of buying a complete software solution out of the box. These social software packages are usually open source, so you'll be able to customize them afterwards as you see fit. On the other hand, you could hire a programmer (or attempt to do it yourself) to design the components you require in a CMS system like Joomla or Drupal, which are free and open source.  There is also a third option, which is to use a social networking software provider who offers you use of their existing platform as a service. We won’t go into detail into that option in this article, as this kind of software platform rarely allows you to customize the site to your needs. All three options come with a price tag.

Option 1 : hiring a programmer to develop the site for you, based on your needs

In terms of freedom in designing what you need exactly as you need it, this is without a doubt the solution that is the most flexible. You won't be bound to limitations of existing software and you can draw up all your needs yourself.

If only it were that simple. There are a number of things to bear in mind when selecting this option.  First of all, you'll need to select the right programmer. For this type of project, you need to be sure that the programmer can deliver. The best way to figure this out is by checking out their references and customer testimonials. The good ones will probably be very expensive as they usually charge by the hour. Having an experienced programmer will mean that you'll have a less difficult time in explaining your needs.

The most difficult part of the process will be communicating your needs to have the solution you want. If you do not have any knowledge of software design, this can be tough.  You'll need to sit down and clearly map out your needs, which will require quite a bit of time. The less experience your programmer has, the more difficult it tends to be for them to grasp your needs. There will always be a risk of misunderstanding, which could result in your site not meeting up to expectations. Your programmer will really need to be flexible enough to provide you with regular updates, screenshots, and testing versions so you can see what they are doing and correct them if neccesary.

The cheapest programmers nowadays are located in countries such as India. If you are going to work with them, you'll need to invest time and effort in ensuring the needs are clearly understood. It is definitely worth acquiring some knowledge on IT project management to understand their manner of working and what is expected from you. Even if selecting a cheap programmer, it goes without saying that this is the most expensive option.

Option 2 : buy an existing social networking software package which meets your needs

For every type of existing successful social website, there are software packages which are ready made. These scripts can be acquired online and usually require little work. Sites like youtube, facebook, twitter, wikipedia - everything can be acquired. You'll need to make sure the script has what you need. If it is a large script, it should come with a back-end that allows you to remove and add features of the package in an easy manner.

For this option also, there are a few things to bear in mind. First of all, the offer is huge. Never go for the cheapest option and always try find user reviews of the software you are acquiring. Make sure you check out the demo version before you make a purchase, and go for the offers that come with a trial period if possible. If they don't have a demo version, you'll need to request one.

Secondly, it is advisable that it is an open source social networking script. This will allow you to make changes to the code if needed, or allow someone else to easily make the change for you. Making such changes yourself can appear daunting, but with a bit of practice it becomes quite easy. The types of changes you'll be looking will be minor, usually related to the layout and design. Getting the provider to help you out, or getting a programmer to this for you will not be very expensive.  The creators of the software are usually more than happy to help out.

Purchasing a software package like this is definitely the cheapest solution. The average price will be around 250$.

Inside the socal networking scripts section on this site, you’ll find plenty of scripts that meet your needs.


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