You know that some of the most popular sites on the web – MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr – are all built on the concept of social networking. So, if you want a slice of the social networking pie, you might consider using Ning as a tool.
Building a social networking business is especially useful if:
1. You have a passion for building web communities.
2. You support an interest/hobby that may interest several people who wish to get together.
3. You have a few monetisation ideas in place.
So, if you don’t have to money to hire a developer, designer, etc. that you will need in order to build a social networking site, you can use Ning as a “straight out of the box” solution. All you need to do is sign up (it’s free), create your own network, start inviting people to become a member, load your site with some content, and find ways to monetise your network.
Some of Ning’s features include:
1. Integration with Flickr (a photo sharing site) – and a few other websites/services.
2. Ability to upload photos, videos, music
3. It has a forum function and RSS.
4. Members can create their own profiles and network with each other.
5. Use domain mapping/Use your own domain name (extra fee)
6. Customised templates
7. Premium features (with fees applicable)
Top 5 Ways to Make Money Online with Ning*
1. Run your own ads (Adsense, etc). However, in order to do this, you need to pay a premium service of $19.95/month
2. Charge membership fees. If you have a highly specialised topic in mind, and you have several useful content and services that you can offer via your social networking site, then you might be able to charge membership fees.
3. Affiliate links. If you have products that you wish to promote to your highly targeted network, then adding content with affiliate links might be useful.
4. Selling your own products/services. Again, like affiliate linking, selling your own products/services might be acceptable to your members if you have something good to offer.
5. Selling direct advertising. If you have the all-clear to sell direct advertising, then this can be another source of income for your social network.
*Please note that some of these suggestions may not be according to terms and conditions, depending on your level of service/partnership with Ning. You are advised to check beforehand.