I was just curious to see what other people were doing with their networks to get some tips for mine. Is there a way to see a list or is that up to each creator to decide whether to share? My site is ShowMyReptile, if anyone cares to see what I've done. Feel free to leave suggestions or comments.
There is no list of Ning networks these days, though you might want to peruse JenSocial (formerly the Ning Directory). If you want tips, you can try any of the following groups here:
You can click here for more groups you may find useful. There are a number of discussions that can be found in the "Add A Tip For Other Network Creators" category in the Forum, where those of us who are veterans offer tips for newbies. The newly revamped Ning Help Center also contains lots of help articles and tips to get you started. The aforementioned JenSocial also has great tips for Ning network creators, some would say the best tips..
Well put Patrick, and thanks.
Hi Justin, I took a look at your site and found it quite interesting. Owning reptiles and showing them off are a strong niche to base a Ning network on. It looks like you've managed to do fairly well with the idea so far. Congrats on that.
On personal experience, and many friends houses I have visitted, having reptiles is a popular topic of discussion. I can see on your network that you've done a good job of translating that interest into social media.
I wonder- What is it you want to accomplish with your network? What aspects are you interested in improving?
Design Sense: Overall a creative tie in with your appearance and theme. It appears fun and simply developed- both of which will have merits. On the other hand, a more professional approach to the site and better quality production could help you take it to the next level.
Web Usability: Overall the basic use of Ning modules is fairly intuitive. I didn't see much off hand that spells out to people how to make use of the site. Again, there are advantages to not defining too much, but I think you are missing some opportunities to influence the direction.
Optimizing End-User Experience: Seems like a generally happy community. I like some of what I saw you doing to facilitate engagement, and looks like people are going to find what they are looking for by exploring & participating on your site. I actually expected to see more. You might feature more of the media components such as photos and videos. Showcasing more prominant social media seems consistent with the idea of showmyreptile.com, and in itself could drive more traffic to you if you compare to the kinds of hits dog and cat media get online.
I generally don't recommend ads. However, with a popular content niche like that, you are poised to get a lot of traffic. I would look into adserving options that relate more directly to reptile products and services. What you have there with breeders and products is the tip of the iceberg. A more business-like approach, and you could be in a good position to partner with related companies that want better market intimacy with that consumer base.
Thanks for taking a look, you have some really good advice. I'm very limited in my developing capabilities but I would like to eventually make the site more professional looking. I'd really like to make it the go to reptile site for everything. I'm working on getting breeders and other reptile business owners to the site and putting links to their sites on there.
I had actually been thinking about having a forum of "Things to do on the site" and highlighting everything.
Thats a great idea about featuring different components. Definitely something I will start doing right away. That's not really a feature I have used much.
I've got advertising through adsense right now, im pretty happy with it so far. There have been numerous times ive been on and there was a reptile related ad at the top. I'm hoping that as the site grows it will be lucrative for companies to advertise on the site and I'll be able to make a little money.
Thanks again for the tips, I really appreciate it.
I guess it depends on how serious you are about the project. If it's more of a recreational hobby type thing, then it looks like you're right on track. Keep doing what you are doing. Looking at other Nings, you can find the inspiration and help you need to tune up your site a little better. Now Patrick is one of my favorite network creators- although the concept is different, you can look into his site as an example of someone who is really good at what he does. I also agree that Jen is awesome, so I'm sure you'll find lot's of Ning networks and tips to help you out on Jen Social.
I'm a little more pre-disposed to viewing Ning's as businesses, and with a concept like yours I think you could make money...even help a lot of people save over a $1000 on car insurance ;). It's just a matter of thinking outside the box, in my opinion. So, let me offer you an insight outside of Ning that I think is relevant to where I think you can go. Like corduroy?
http://www.betabrand.com/ is a company I was looking into yesterday. My niche is Northern California and I am constantly studying my market- especially technological and online advancement coming out of Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area- like Ning for example.
So what you see there is an instant media splash. It's a rather innovative approach to online retail. You've got this "crowd sourcing" of customers sending in pics either with a shot of the brand logo or wearing the clothing. There's incentivization for doing this...kind of like what you were doing giving away free t-shirts in your contests...people get discounts, they get to be "instant superstars", and the company gets social media for building brand equity & going viral. I think there's also an interactive element where people can be involved in product design, so there's the element of live real-time type action that people might want to check out as it's always going to be fresh, but most importantly is probably that edgy sense of humor people are having fun with. What really impresses me is the tie in to sales of product...in general I don't think people like being pushed or manipulated toward sales of anything...but in this case the social concept is such a value in itself that I think people actually simply to do not care. The products are edgy and it's fun. The products and the social media work together to help people position themselves how they want to be in their online social identities.
So think about that in terms of sharemyreptile.com- you've got the same essential kind of hot niche, people are inclined to enjoy showing off their reptiles in a fun way, you've got what you need to do basically the same thing and more with your Ning, and if you take it serious like a business I don't see why you can't make some good money for it.
Thanks for the links I will definitely check these out.
Good question, I have been looking around members, as I would really like to get in contact with similar networks to mine.
Would be very useful! If you find anything, please let me know! :)
You mean my response isn't "useful"?
Sorry Patrick, didn't mean to imply that.
Your response was great (currently looking on the networks you reccomended) but being able to search through creator networks as a whole by filters like location or network type would be invaluable!
yeah we were really Networking back in the day... of course we got alot of spammers why most wont visit .ning sites. How i got started made lots of new friends on those old deleted sites !
I will definitely let you know laura if I see something somewhere.
well cool, you definitely should. Whats your site? I'll check it out.
I threw the idea around of doing a PRIVATE group here for people to post to, as most NC's are wanting to "white label" and therefore don't want to be publically associated with Ning... I'll go ahead and do that now.