Do You Want to Create a Site Like Facebook?
I get tons of emails from people who want to create a site like Facebook or many of the other popular social media/sharing websites. In other words they want to create a community where people can login, chat, create profiles, upload pictures, share videos, etc.
Sounds like a cool idea right? After all, Facebook is extremely popular and probably makes a ton of money just from advertising alone.
Here's the problem, though...
Facebook is a brand... a very well established brand I might add and it was a unique concept at the time. And unless you've got a ton of money to spend on advertising and building a unique brand of your own, then it's going to be very hard to top what Facebook has already done.
I also don't think people realize the amount of money and resources that go into creating a mega site like that. First of all, you need a huge amount of web page space for all the data. So you'll have to invest in a dedicate web host (not a cheap, $3/month host).
You will also need a handful of programmers who really know their stuff. Sure there are probably similar scripts out there you can download and install, but they still require customization, server admins and you'll need some serious marketing to pull it off.
Besides, everybody and their uncle already has a Facebook account now, so what are you going to do that's so different and will attract people to your site. Again, advertising would cost you a pretty penny.
Am I Discouraging You?
Yes, I am. Now generally, I'm all about encouraging and helping people make money and building successful sites online, but you'll have a much easier time building a simple niche site on a passion you love rather trying to re-invent the wheel.
Facebook is immensely popular, took lots of money to produce and there's no reason to try to copy what's already been done unless you have the money and ideas to beat MySpace at their own game.
Let's face it. The average person won't be able to pull that off, so no sense in going broke trying it.
So What Can You Do?
Don't make it so hard on yourself. If your goal is to make money, simply build a niche site on something you love. That's what I've been doing and I didn't have to hire any programmers to help me.
Sure, I don't make nearly what Mark Zuckerberg makes, but I make enough to live comfortably and not have to go to a boring 9 to 5 anymore.
What are your interests? Golf? Dancing? Singing? Fitness? Food? Build a "how-to" site on a topic of interest that helps people in some way. Then make money by referring them to companies that sell products related to the theme of your site.
Once you have your niche site established, then you can create a mini/targeted social networking site that is targeted to your niche audience. That's a better way to go about it then trying to build a generic social media site targeted to everyone.
Save Your Money
Building a Facebook-like site would not only be complicated, but you'd go broke hiring the people to do all the programming that you need to make it work.
If you build a simple content, "how-to" site you can get a domain name and web host for cheap at WebsitePalace.com. Or at the most, use a product like Site Build It! (which includes your domain and host).
That's what I used to build my flat stomach site. It was nice because it includes the brainstorming tool so you can research which topics are the most "profitable" and it helps you come up with the right domain name for maximum search engine traffic.
To Sum It Up...
Rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, just keep it simple and build an informative site on something you love. You can still make a ton of money and without all the programming headaches it would take to build a site like Facebook.
Create a site on your passion and carve out your own area of interest. Don't waste your time and money competing with the monster sites. Carve out your own niche and build your brand of one like these people did.
Leave the complicated stuff to the programmers.. ;-)
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