Building Your Very First Social Networking Site Using NING
NING is an online application that you can use to create your own, personalized social networking site. The NING platform offers easy social networking solution for individuals and local groups who want to build and start online communities.
With a user-friendly interface and 50 pre-built templates, building your first NING site will be quick and easy. You can go to the “Appearance” section of the site, choose a theme and then customize your site using available options.
NING provides you a dashboard, with all the options for site building, so that you can manage your site easily. Customization is also made easy though the use of check boxes, radio buttons, form fields and drop down selections. There are also sections where you can use drag-n-drop controls.
The Set up
After you have verified your account, you can then start building your very first NING social network. Here’s how:
1. Choose a unique name for your network (you can name it anything you want).
2. Choose a unique web address. The address should not contain any spaces. Click on “Create my Network” button.
3. Define your social network by filling up the required fields.
·   Network Name
·   Privacy option – can be set to public or private.
·   Tagline – a short description for your site. This will appear right below your site tittle, like a slogan.
·   Description – you can describe your site in 4-5 sentences
·   Keywords – a collection of words that best describe your social network (books, book lovers, book cover designs, e-book cover designing)
This section is necessary so that people can find your site when searching. Click the “NEXT” button when done.
4. Modify the layout. You will be presented with a drag-n-drop interface, so you can just use your mouse to drag elements around. Click “NEXT”.
5. Modify the site’s color scheme. You can edit the site’s color by using CSS, or you can take the easy route by using the built-in color chooser. Once you’re satisfied with the color, click “NEXT”.
6. Setup your site’s custom profile. These are the questions that will be asked of new members of your site and will be displayed under their profile. You can set whether answer to each question is required or not. Click “NEXT” after you’re done with the setup wizard.
NING allows your social network to have basic features like video embedding, blogging, forum, RSS feed, and other add-on applications of your choice. Other advance features like facebook and twitter integration, online chatting, groups, analytics and CSS customization can be made available depending on the plan that you’re using. The number of add-on application you can add will also be determined by your plan.
Although NING does not offer highly advanced features like DRUPAL, it is still a popular, easy-to-use social networking kit which still provide you with basic features and essential functions that every social network has.
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