I’m thrilled to announce that Ning for Dummies is now available on Amazon and will be at your local bookstore soon. The book was written by Network Creator Manny Hernandez, who created his social networks, Tu Diabetes and Es Tu Diabetes, a few days after we first introduced Your Own Social Network in February 2007. To date, more than 10,000 people have joined Manny’s social networks.
Every social network on Ning comes with an iPhone interface, which is great when you want to keep up with your social network when not at your computer. Using this interface, members with iPhones can access a simplified version of your social network that looks great, matches your social network’s colors and loads quickly, even on a 2G iPhone.
To access the iPhone interface, you simply need to add /m to the URL of your social network. For example, to access Brooklyn Art Project on an iPhone, you would head to #m
As we covered in The Perfect Social Network, your Latest Activity feature shows all the activity happening across your social networks as soon as it happens.
It is the single most important feature you can add for driving recurring usage by your members on your social network, especially as you get bigger. And by bigger, we actually mean everyone should use this feature. It’s how people quickly find the best, brightest and most recent stuff on your social network.
The vast majority of people discover a new social network on Ning via invitations from their friends. This is the “viral distribution” mumbo jumbo you’ve been hearing about. Only it’s not actually mumbo jumbo. Rather, it is an incredibly powerful way for people to spread the word about a new social network they’ve created. If your social network is valuable to your members, they will spread the word too. But I digress…
Choosing a good network name may be one of the best things you can do to help your search engine rankings and increase visits (and hopefully new members) to your network.
A few weeks ago when we dealt with Search Engine Optimization, one of our tips was using relevant keywords in the titles of your posts, photos and other content items. This tip also applies to the selection of a name for your network.
One of the great things about having a network on Ning is that it’s fully self-contained. You have a place to host discussions or share videos and photos, all in one place.
That said, many people have external blogs and have set up a network as a way for readers to get to know each other and interact with the blogger. Here are some tips you can use to integrate your blog — or external Web site — even more smoothly with your network.
Update (7/12/09): We’ve now built a way to verify your Ning Network with Google Webmaster Tools right into your Ning Network. Check out this Help Center FAQ for instructions.
Want to take control of traffic coming from Google searches to your network on Ning? Read on to learn how to harness the power of Google Webmaster Tools to help boost your network’s rank in Google searches.
If you’ve set up Google Analytics or any other kind of traffic analysis tool for your network, chances are you’ve noticed that search engines typically send a lot of visitors your way.
Just like with any website, search engines send out crawlers to your network to discover and analyze it. Once this is done, your network starts appearing on the search results for certain phrases or keywords that visitors type in. Since most people aren’t willing to look beyond the top 10-20 search results, high rankings are extremely important.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been asked the same question by a number of large brands:
“What’s the best way for us to incorporate social networking into our brand strategy?”
I think that there are a few ways to answer this question. First, social networking isn’t for everyone. Knowing what will and won’t work for your brand, your company, and your customers upfront is critical.
Detailed statistics can be one of the most useful tools in a Network Creator’s arsenal. On the “Manage” tab of your network, we offer some very basic network statistics, which include:
- Unique Visitors (Users)
- Pageviews (Views)
- Sites Linking to Your Network
- Page Popularity
These are a good start, but we wanted to take it to the next level. Thanks to great feedback on the Network Creators Forum, we realized that instead of re-inventing the wheel, it’d be a win-win for everyone if we made it dead simple to add Google Analytics code to your network. So we did.
Network Creators love to ask us whether the Ning Platform can scale a social network on Ning to millions of people and page views. It’s a great question.
The short answer is absolutely. That’s why we’re here. Our general approach is to quietly earn your trust on this front by simply being up and, well, awesome. As your network continues to grow and grow and grow, it should just work. You shouldn’t even have to think about it.
The longer answer is that creating a platform that works smoothly and speedily at high volume is a challenge. We love challenges. It’s an area that we have taken seriously from the start and a place where we’ve put our money where our mouth is.
No other element or feature of a social network elicits as much venom or praise as the member profile page. Why? It’s simple:
Profile pages on social networks represent the very heart of freedom, self-expression, and the ability to make something uniquely your own.
A profile page is all mine to do (almost) anything I want with it.
Profile Page Features
So, this is my profile page on Ning’s Network Creators: