If you’re thinking about building your social networking site then you are probably considering the advantages and the disadvantages of using custom social network software over using commercial software. To help you make a decision about whether or not to have some custom software built for your company here are the top 5 advantages of using custom software over commercial social software:

1. Branding – If you are using custom software that was designed just for your company then you use your social networking site as a great branding opportunity. The site can be made in your company colors with themes and graphics that reflect your products. Many commercial social networking programs won’t let you use all of your own graphics when you’re building the site.

2. Design and layout – If you are having your own software built just for your company then you can have total control over the layout and the design of the site. That way you can control all the navigation and use the layout of the site to push customers towards certain areas. When you use commercial software you often don’t have total control over the layout and design of the site because you have to work from a pre-programmed template.

3. Features – This is a big one. When you are using custom or personalized software you can have all the features that you want the site to have built into the software but you don’t need to have the ones that you don’t want. When you use commercial software often there are features built into the design that you can’t get rid of. Some of the features will be customizable but not all of them. When you are you using software that’s built just for your site you can decide what features to offer and what features your site doesn’t need.

4. Originality – If you are using commercial software to build your online community site then chances are good your site will end up looking like a bunch of other sites that are all using the same software. When you use software build to your own design specs your site won’t look like any other corporate site which will help with the brand recognition of your product.

5. Compatibility – If you’re building a social networking site as an addition to your regular website then using software that you helped design and that is built just for your company will make it possible to build a social networking site that will fit seamlessly into your existing website and function well with other aspects of your website, like a shopping cart that customers can use to buy products. If you’re using commercial software you might have a hard time getting the social networking site to work properly with your website.