There is a lot of different online community software on the market right now. Some of these community software programs are cheap and some aren’t. Just like with anything that you buy for your business it makes sense to spend more money on a better product than to buy a cheap product that doesn’t have the functionality that you need. So how do you know which community building software is worth the money and which isn’t? These tips can help you find out if the community software that you’re considering buying is worth the money or not.

Always look at the screenshots – When you’re looking at the website advertising some business community software more often than not the company will put screenshots of the product in action on the website. It can be tempting to zip right by those photos but take the time to look at the screen shots. If you look closely you’ll be able to see the layout of the program and other design features that will tell you if the design of the program is intuitive and easy to use or if it’s difficult to navigate.

Ask for a free trial. If the company doesn’t offer a free trial of the community building software that they sell you should ask for one. Some companies don’t automatically offer free trials but if you talk to their customer service department they will usually let you try the online community software free for a week, two weeks, or even a month. The only way to really know if a particular community software is going to be easy to use and has the features that you want is to try it out. Most software companies know that and have no problem letting potential customers try the software for free.

Look at other sites that use that brand of community software. The software company should be able to give you the names of other companies that use their software. Look at the websites of those companies to see how that particular online community software operates from a user standpoint and how it functions. You can learn a lot about the software just by seeing how it works in a real setting.

There isn’t one particular brand of community building software that is going to be right for every business but it does pay in the long run to research carefully when choosing the software to create a custom online community. Since building custom social networks and online communities is very popular right now the Web is flooded with social community software. Some of it works very well, and some of it doesn’t. So be sure that you are choosing community software that fits your skill level as well as your budget.