When we first began offering full-featured Ning Networks in 2007, MySpace was the clear leader in social networking, Facebook was 1/10th the size it is today and Twitter was celebrating its first birthday. Ning was the place for early social innovators to create online communities of people with similar interests or passions.
Today, social media has become an essential part of the world. A Facebook Page is required for anyone with anything to say or sell. Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram have exploded in growth, and people and organizations have accessed the broad reach of these social channels to quickly attract fans and followers in ways never imagined.
And yet, the proliferation and adoption of these social channels has fragmented instead of fostering the best parts of online communities. The bands, authors, artists, experts, advocates, non-profits, brands and others who’ve built strong and active social presences on Facebook, Twitter and other channels—people we call “social leaders”—now increasingly find those same platforms limiting how they can cultivate, contact and empower their online communities.
We’ve learned from the more than 2 million communities that have launched on Ning in the last 6 years, listened deeply to our customers and today we’re thrilled to unveil a top-to-bottom redesign of Ning to specifically address the needs of social leaders: Ning 3.0.
On Ning 3.0, today’s social leader can create a place where they own and control everything, a place to communicate and engage with their most loyal fans or customers when they want and how they want—on the largest, most scalable, and most integrated social platform of its kind.
This is Ning reimagined. Reflecting our heritage, this redesign combines publishing & community in a way never before seen, featuring design customization and tools that are a step-change in site flexibility and functionality.
Publishing + Community
With Ning 3.0, you can create multiple instances of social features such as blogs and forums, each with a distinct audience, contributors, commenting system and privacy. This flexibility and control gives social leaders the ability to clearly distinguish their “official” content from user-generated content, and to integrate both in unique ways. For example, a band might create an official blog and photos page where non-members can comment using Disqus and only band members can contribute. Their fans could join the community to upload their own photos and post discussions on a public fan photos page and forum. And the band could invite their superfans to join their street team and gain access to a private forum to interact directly with band members. All of these social features would be integrated into one Ning Network.
We’ve also completely rewritten and redesigned our publishing tools in Ning 3.0 to meet the expectations of social leaders today. Blogs are elegantly presented, with lead photos, excerpts, categorization and custom URL. Photos look sharp, clean and professionally arranged. We’ve added a new Social Channel feature to integrate videos from YouTube or Vimeo channel. And if you want to give non-members the ability to interact with your published content, you can choose Disqus or Facebook for commenting on that feature.
Beautiful design made easy
It’s always been easy for a non-technical person to set up a Ning Network with a simple design. But to create a stand-out, stunning design, you’ve needed extensive CSS skills. With Ning 3.0, truly anyone will be able to create a unique, beautifully designed home for his or her online community. Our Design Studio now includes new themes, more than 1,400 background images, balanced color palettes and cool translucent options. Header customization can now be done by simply dragging and dropping navigation, logo and other images.
We made a more fundamental change with Ning 3.0 to make the platform much friendlier for expert designers as well. We completely redesigned the HTML of all user-facing pages using an updated, responsive 960 pixel 16 column grid that is familiar for any designer who has spent time working with Bootstrap. Designers will find it easy to design 1, 2, 3, 4 or even 6 column designs. Column padding and other detailed customization is now straightforward and flexible.
Responsive design: mobile app not required
Tablets and mobile phones are rapidly overtaking and sprinting past the desktop browser in terms of usage. Ning 3.0 was built using responsive design and HTML5, resulting in beautiful design and fan experiences on any device – smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Get started today for free
We invite you to experience the new Ning by going to www.Ning.com and starting a free trial right away to experience the increased flexibility, beautiful design and improved publishing capabilities. Current Ning customers should also visit our Ning 3.0 FAQs to learn when and how they can upgrade to Ning 3.0.
We’re incredibly excited about what it means for social leaders looking to take the next step in cultivating their online communities. We hope you are just as excited about the possibilities Ning 3.0 holds for your community of fans, members, customers, followers, supporters or readers.