Help with jQuery Mods and Hacks for your Ning Network!
Every time I look at the number of Ning websites out there struggling day and night to survive, one thing comes to mind. What if these tens of thousands of Ning websites were merged into a few hundred solid, popular, professional, reliable and successful websites?! Perhaps they would be so prominent and dominant that each and every Internet user would be obliged to use at least 1 Ning website in one niche or the other. This is probably just my imaginary inevitable Ning world. However, it is not an impossible thing to achieve. It’s a thing that could start slowly and from very basic partnerships at very simple levels: Ning network creators collaborating with fellow Ning network creators in various aspects that are briefly examined in this blog. One major thing missing on the Ning platform is a directory in which Ning networks are listed in categories or niches. Without trying to understand why such a directory doesn’t exist, I’d say it is a huge loophole that hopefully will be filled up in the future so that network creators can have an organized platform where they can look up other Ning websites doing similar or related things. Knowing what other Ning websites out there are doing would be the solid foundation for the various aspects of NC – NC Partnership discussed in this blog.
1. Making your network a group within a bigger network: Many website owners have a kind of powerful personal ego that controls them in a way that makes them feel terrible at the thought of giving up “MY WEBSITE” to become part of someone’s website. So in this state of mind, they prefer to maintain a shallow website of maybe 100 members rather than making it a powerful group within a similar, bigger and more successful Ning website. It’s all a matter of decision making. Many Ning networks I know could simply be groups within other networks. How many Ning networks do you know that offer the same thing you do on your network. Do a little search. You will be surprised. You can partner with others, learn from others, make your site a group within another site, or invite them to become a group on your network. It’s all your call. This is a very easy way to save cost, save yourself the headache of network management and offer your members more.
2. Trading Ning Badges: Ning offers us that small rectangular badge introducing our networks and even showing how many members we have on our networks. This is a small but powerful small tool NCs can trade. Join a fellow NCs network and place your network badge on your personal page profile section. Many NCs only look at this negatively: “Oh he is stealing my members.” I don’t really look at it that way. I look at the positive side of it: My members get to connect more. We offer this kind of partnership on our network MyEE Online. If you are an NC, you can join, and place your Ning Badge on your personal page. In return one of our admins or me will join your network too and place our badge on a similar spot. Here is our network badge below.
3. Trading Blogs: This is another nice way NCs can promote each other. If we all had blogs about out networks on several Ning websites while those website owners also had blogs about their websites on our websites, what and incredible amount of content, activity and membership growth we would all have on our networks?! Again, because of that personal ego we have, most of us have long lists of rules disallowing this simple partnership on our networks. I have a network of students struggling to improve on their English language skills. I don’t see any harm in promoting the network on a network of English teachers looking for jobs. As NCs we should be more tolerant and welcoming to members of our websites that own websites offering something useful to our members. Owning a website or a blog has become a very common thing nowadays and will soon become as common as an email address. Let’s respect that by allowing members to at least mention urls if they want to on their profile pages.
4. Video Embedding: Think of how many videos we have all embedded from video sharing websites like You Tube, Vimeo, Videojug, etc in order to enrich our networks with content. Then think of how mean it is to others when you disallow members to your network to embed videos from their networks just because you are worried about the small link below the video that reads: “find more videos like this at xxxxx.com.” Seriously, this is a powerful promotional tool Ning has given us and we should make good use of it. As long as the videos are decent and relevant to my network I always welcome video sharing.
5. Recommended links: Every NC has a good grip on network members. Members tend to follow to some extent what you say. So make good use of this. Place a text box somewhere on the homepage in which you have a shortlist of links you recommend to your members. These are of course links that offer very useful stuff related to your niche. This is one of those things that really make members see the value of staying as a member of your network. So, if you have a Useful Links section on your network, I’d like to check it out to see whether your site connects with my site in some way and I’d like to get in touch for a possible partnership in recommended links exchange.
These possibilities of NC – NC partnership are endless and can be explored and exploited in many more dimensions depending on what the partners agree on. The only obstacle I see blocking this win-win trade as mentioned earlier in this blog is the lack of a good directory of Ning websites by category, location, niche, etc. Good tip may be for someone out there thinking about a good idea for a new Ning website.
Thanks for reading.
Shanghai, February 3rd 2012.
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