Successful web sites consist of people with similar interests forming a community which may be large or small. Community portals combine the key top level topics and activities into a single site with a view to saving users time with accessing numerous specialist sites and this offers numerous advantages to finding new friends.
What is similar with the individual sites that can be combined into a portal site?
1. All social networking sites need new visitors, these are attracted by advertising or more critically by referrals by existing members who tell their friends.
2. Members interests vary from films, music, sports and more. An endless range of interests for leisure, business or education, so this means a vast number of potential web sites for each interest.
3. Sites need plenty of visitors and postings or content to make the site interesting. Many sites fail - visitors expect them to be full of members and content and are reluctant to start off a new site, and for most webmasters this is an almost impossible task unless they have a new angle to the well established successful sites.
4. Content of each individual site or part of the larger portal must have sufficient content in terms of listings, postings, articles or general pages of knowledge and information on the main topic. The individual members add the content in the main, although some base information may be provided by the site.
So where does the social networking web portal score?
A web portal is a “one stop shop" offering chat, forums, clubs, friendship, advertising, uploading of photos, music and video, groups, and potentially many more features. All sections can be created by the members, personalised and contributed to or viewed by other members of the portal. Membership, in the form of a simple and free registration is normally compulsory to access most if not all of the main features.
The portals income normally is from paid advertising, and/or a paid membership (option) which allows greater features or access to parts of the portal which normal (free) members are barred.
A single membership allows total access, thus making the portal a simple “one stop" site for all normal social, personal and business relationships, a big plus over having to remember potentially dozens of logins for separate sites and possibly pay a subscription or access fee for each too.
Where the portal scores big is when a member refers the site to his pals who drop into the site for a look. Chances are they do NOT share any or all of the interests of the friend who referred them, BUT they do stand a good chance of finding something on the site that does interest them since there is so much CHOICE on the portal.
Members making referrals are more likely to do so since they know the web portal has so much CHOICE for their pal, so that something is almost bound to interest them.
Social Networking Portals have in theory at least the potential to be huge based on the “sum of the parts" rule. See a portal as a sort of cross roads, or bus terminal, you arrive and see signs to various destinations and from there take the necessary path.
Research shows that online social networking is a big growth area, whether this will be via individual topic or themed sites or the growing number of social networking portals only time will tell.
Maurice Clarke is founding owner of the online social networking portal http://www.melikeyou.net the place on the web to find friends, to share interests, and to swap ideas. Post photos, videos and music and chat, even buy and sell stuff all in one place.