Whether you want to be a successful full-time entrepreneur or start a part-time side hustle, building a social media website is something to consider. That begs the question, why create a social network platform?
For starters, it isn't as difficult as you might think. There are several tools available today that didn’t exist during Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard days that you can take full advantage of.
Also, what’s great about a social network is, unlike being a user on Instagram or TikTok, you get to create a community, bring people together and make a difference.
Besides that, here are some reasons why why creating the next Facebook is a great idea:
- 3.78 billion people use social media, which is about half the world’s population.
- People spend an average of 2.5 hours a day on social media.
- 54% of the world’s customers browse social media to research products.
- Instagram stories have over 500 million daily active users.
With some creative thinking, anyone can create a niche social media network that caters to a percentage of those 3.78 billion people mentioned above. With such a massive available market, even a niche within it will draw a ton of users.
Sounds good? Here's how you can get started.
What to consider before creating a Social Networking Platform
Step one is to do your research.
Start by identifying a group of people with common interests. A common interest can be anything that online or offline communities exist around. Some groups love vintage clothing, others love cooking, running, rock climbing, taking photos, doing street interviews, specific genres of music, and the list goes on and on.
The key is to identify a group and clearly define how your social networking website will benefit them and what features and functions will exist on your platform that cater to this group’s specific needs.
Next, you need to have the right technology and guidance to create this platform. It would help if you found out what tools are available to use and what you should stay away from. Regardless of your coding skills, whether you are a professional programmer or have zero experience in the world of IT, one thing you can be sure of is that creating this with no one to guide you would be a nightmare.
You need to build your platform the right way so that you are starting with a strong foundation. For your first version, it is advisable to use methods and tools that optimize the cost and time of development.
This is where our team at Blur Apps comes in. We consult you with our technology, experience, knowledge, and support to make your vision a reality.
So, how does Blur Apps do it?
We help startups through the most challenging stage of their business – starting the right way. We help minimise the time and costs of your product development process.
We do this by building you an MVP.
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. An MVP is the initial iteration of your product. It is the framework, or the bare bones of your idea that we create so that you can make it available for customers to use. As the name suggests, an MVP is a version of your product that focuses only on the core value proposition and cuts out the rest of the fluff.
The MVP is vital because it helps you get real-time feedback from real-world users, which you can learn from and use to improve your product before its final big launch - we all know how important the product-market fit is for a startup's success. MVPs are also used to raise much-needed capital as it acts as a visual aid for potential investors to see your proof of concept.
Today we show you how we built a Social Media Website MVP for one of our clients in a matter of weeks.
Case Study: Social Networking Web App for Cooking Enthusiasts
We were approached by a solo entrepreneur with a passion for everything culinary.
Our client wanted to create a social network where food enthusiasts could connect and collaborate to share recipes and food-related content with each other. The idea was to create a community of people who loved to cook by digitally sharing recipes and experiences with each other.
The covid lockdowns have been hard on most people. With home-cooking on a rise during this time, this was a clear indicator of it being the right time to take action. By connecting people via their shared passion, enabling this community was a great way to help people combat the negatives of the lockdown as well.
In terms of features, the platform was envisioned to have a digital dashboard for each user to maintain and manage their recipes as well as a feed of new posts and recipes from other users that could be liked, commented on, bookmarked and collaborated with.
Almost every cooking enthusiast has a recipe book. That's why the platform would also offer a digitisation service where it could transfer the user’s handwritten recipes onto the platform for them.
Finally, our client laid down a subscription-based business model to implement on the Web App. This would mean setting up a payment gateway that billed users monthly once they signed up.
Developing the Web App with no-code and Bubble
Having gathered all the requirements, we started working on the MVP.
We have found that using a no-code, cloud-based approach to build MVP Web Apps reduces development time and also allows unlimited storage and scalability when the business needs it.
Bubble has now become our go-to tool to build MVP web applications that require highly customised frontend and server functionalities. All the features we need to implement for the social network platform could easily be created on Bubble - and we also saw the potential for this app to grow on Bubble without any major foreseeable challenges.
Bubble’s versatility is incredible. How you create your application or website is up to you.
Whether you choose to build the pages and screens first and then connect the dynamic data together or design the database first and then create the rest of the app around it, you will end up with a smooth, polished and customised product.
Bubble takes away the need for programming a database with SQL or equivalent and provides a built-in database with a very easy GUI based wrapper to interact with it. Bubble also has a workflow feature that makes it easy to set how elements on the page react to user actions and interact with the database to display the correct information.
If none of that made sense to you, don't worry - there are Bubble experts out there that would love to help you set up your application. Our team at Blur Apps is well-versed with all the intricacies of the Bubble platform and the know-how to manipulate all the available features to produce an application that meets all your requirements.
No-code and the ability to build prototypes quickly and efficiently means that you, as the owner of the product, can field test your MVP sooner to find out what changes you need to make to serve your community of users better. Additionally, it also makes adding and modifying features very convenient and manageable.
Towards the end of our project, the client's market research informed us that the users would not be happy with a subscription pricing model. A fixed freemium model would be more acceptable. With this insight, we went back into dev-mode and switched the entire app over to a freemium model in a matter of days. The API integration with Stripe made this a very smooth transition.
This project reinforced the idea that fully functioning social media networks can take a long time to build - possibly even years. In a world that's changing so fast, it makes sense for entrepreneurs to minimise the development time and launch their ideas before the times make it obsolete!
Bubble’s robustness, scalability, flexibility and reliability are almost unmatched despite having so many competitors in the no-code industry. The team behind Bubble understands what their users are expecting out of their platform, just like we at Blur Apps understand how to use Bubble’s features to the best of its ability.
Creating your MVP will no longer break your bank or take years to bring to life. Shorter build times, no programming worries, and the ability to change your whole design in a manner of days – we can do it all with no-code MVP process.
If you have an idea that you'd like to build out, get in touch with us. Let's bring it to life in a blur!