If building a loyal following, monetizing your content or establishing a strong social network are featured on your list of priorities, a website builder is without question the key to achieving these goals.
In today’s mega-connected world that we live in, businesses and brands realize that it is no longer enough to have a pretty website for their users to visit.
These brands and businesses know that, in order to maintain their edge, their site needs to act as a virtual gathering place. They need to create a hub for their customers, followers, and partners to connect, collaborate, and engage at a meaningful level.
And so, they turn to NING.
In case you haven’t yet heard of NING, here’s what you need to know about this SaaS platform.
It was developed in 2004 as a freeform platform for the hosting and development of open-source social applications. They enjoyed six years of being a free platform before evolving into a paid website builder renowned for its extensive social networking features.
These days, the company has over 21,000 customers and a whopping 44 million registered social profiles—spread across 180 countries all over the world.
Now the question is, why is this website builder so popular?
The biggest reason owing to the popularity of NING are the features that it offers above and beyond simple website building.
In this section, we’ll be focusing on some of the key features of the platform that elevate it far beyond the usual expectations of a standard website builder.
Advanced Content Management
- Blogs and articles: Create meaningful content and share your story, your knowledge, and your experiences with the world.
- Forums: Engage your audience by starting discussions.
- Groups: Create multiple member groups to manage your community efficiently.
- Polls: Need feedback from your members? Why not set up polls and surveys to get the insights you’re after.
- Events: Strengthen your community by organizing engaging events.
- Audio: Connect with your community on another level by sharing podcasts or your favorite music tracks.
- Video: Upload your videos and seamlessly integrate with platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.
- Photos: Get to know your community better through the sharing of photos and images.
- E-Commerce Platform: Who wouldn’t want to monetize their website and earn money from their content?
- Analytics: Track your visitors, their activities, and conversations on your website.
- MailChimp Email Automation: Easily engage with your community by launching email campaigns and effortlessly manage automated email lists.
- Broadcast and Private Messages: Need to keep your members updated? Send individual messages to members or broadcast to entire groups—the choice is yours.
- Social Sharing: Both yourself and your members can easily share your posts on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Social Log in: Spare visitors the hassle of logging in directly to your website by allowing them to log in through their existing social networking accounts.
- Follow Option: Thanks to the following option, your members can opt to receive notifications on your latest posts and any recent activity on your website.
- 24/7 Customer Support: a friendly and professional support team is always ready to solve any problems you’ve encountered or to answer any questions you may have.
- Help Center: Access the help center to find all the guides and manuals you need.
- Creators Network: Reach out to a thriving network of creators or the NING team through the creator’s network portal.
- Live Chat: If you need a question answered immediately, there is a Live Chat too.
What are the Pros and Cons of Using NING?
After reading through the impressive list of the platform’s key features, it’s clear to see what sets them apart from the pack.
Just like with any other product or service, for all the upsides that come with their offerings, there are also a couple of downsides.
Here’s our list of the pros and cons associated with using this platform:
- Advanced community-building features like forums, polls, and events allow you to connect with your audience on a deeper level.
- A wealth of social networking features to keep your community alive all the time.
- The top-class blog feature provides you with all the tools you need to create awesome content.
- Innovative content and community management tools like activity tracking and analytics allow you to have full control of your site’s happenings.
- SEO features like automatic sitemaps, meta tag editing, and integration with Google Analytics.
- CSS/HTML editing means that experienced users get almost endless customization options (besides those found within the NING Design Studio).
- Numerous integrations make for seamless sharing through other platforms like Facebook or YouTube.
- Opportunity to monetize content through paid access, paid membership, and donations.
- Flexible privacy and security settings ensure that you are in full control of your website.
- No drag and drop editor means that website building can be a little more complicated when compared to other site builders.
- Template customization may seem limited and slightly rigid.
- The interface can be difficult for beginners to navigate.
- The platform is not suited towards the creation of online stores as of yet. Currently, the eCommerce functionality is only applicable to content.
- Templates, while responsive, are slightly outdated design-wise.
- Lack of a free plan option. As we mentioned earlier, NING officially did away with its free subscription in 2010. However, you can have hands-on experience with this website builder by taking a 14-day free trial.
- Due to the advanced functionality, the service is more expensive compared to competitors. With the basic plan which includes 10GB storage and a capacity of 1,000 members costing $25 per month, other website builders are considerably cheaper to use.
How is NING Different to its competitors?
When your competitors are industry big boys like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and Jimdo—you need to create an offering that makes your product or service stand out from the rest.
And that’s exactly what NING has done.
What makes people notice this online platform in a sea of competitors is that its focus expands beyond just building websites. It allows users to create social websites with the purpose of building effective engagement and fostering relationships with the audience.
NING brings people together and seamlessly connects content creators with their audience in ways that are truly unique.