My running group has been bugging me to set up a website for the last year because I am the ‘social media guy’ and the most technology-savvy runner in the group.
I have experimented off-and-on with various options and hosting solutions, and I finally settled on using Ning last night. In less than 30 minutes, I set up my Ning, invited a couple of runners, and added a couple of blog posts and discussion topics. It was so simple.
According to a blog post from Ning, I was just one of 3,000 social networks set up on Ning yesterday:
We just passed 850,000 social networks on Ning and we couldn’t be more excited. We love checking out the new and interesting social networks popping up – at the rate of over 3,000 each day, and about 100,000 in the past month alone. Wow!
Here’s what I like about Ning:
- it’s free
- it’s easy to set up
- it had the key community features I wanted – blogs, forum, notes, pictures
- I could create a totally private group (off the grid)
- There are other 3rd party apps you can incorporate
Ning also lets you change your community theme – and if you’re adventurous you can even edit the CSS style sheets. The minor downside is that the free version includes Google ads in the right navigation panel.
There are also premium options that you can pay for which include the ability to turn off ads ($24.95 per month) and use your own URL ($4.95 per month).
Ning is not for everyone and I wouldn’t use it for my professional communities, but you should definitely consider it if you need to create a small community or website for a small group or team.