Online dating is becoming more popular as people have less time to go out and meet someone face to face. And with a global pandemic and in-person meetups being squelched anyway, online dating is starting to appeal to an even greater audience. Which is good news for singles who are looking toward the web to find love, friendship, and companionship.
But a quick Google search will confirm that finding a site is easier said than done. The sheer number of options is enough to overwhelm any but the most valiant of heart. Fortunately, the industry has a code built into the system; you just have to know how to read it. We’ve got your back. Here are a few handy pointers to help you figure out how to choose an online dating site or app that’s right for you.
Before you can even begin narrowing down the selection, you need to clarify your goals for signing up in the first place. Ask yourself why you’re on the dating site. Are you looking for a committed relationship? Is marriage in the cards for you, or are you more of a free-spirited partner? Are you seeking companionship without the strings of a relationship attached? Or maybe you’re just looking for some fun.
Whatever your reasons, concretize them so that you don’t end up wasting your (or other people’s) time on a dating app that isn’t geared towards what you’re looking for. Don’t worry. Whatever your motivation, there are plenty of dating apps out there for that particular need.
Next, it’s a good idea to figure out how much you want to spend on this endeavor. Many dating sites have freemium and premium paid account options. But as a general rule of thumb, free dating app profiles won’t get you much traction. You might be able to create a profile and search through the database, but that’s where most of the sites and services stop. In fact, the majority won’t even let you see a member’s full profile without a paid-for account. So, if you’re serious about dating, then a premium option is the only real option.
Within this tier, though, there is still a lot of variety. Some dating apps charge a few bucks a month, while others will cost you as much as $50 or more. There is a saying that you get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean you have to overpay. There are plenty of quality dating sites that charge reasonably for their services. OKCupid, for example, is one of the best dating sites out there. You can get a paid account for just $5 a month. Most sites will fall within the $15-$20 a month range.
There is something else to be said about paying for an account. Some services use the membership fee as a sort of filter for scammers and the insincere. The logic is sound. Someone who is willing to pay for a subscription is more serious about their dating life versus those joining a free site that’ll let anyone toss up a profile and see where it lands. EliteSingles is an exclusive dating site for educated, career-oriented singles and it charges $32 a month for its 12-month plan. Just some food for thought.
The other thing to consider when weighing your budget for this project is in-app purchases. Some dating sites charge a monthly membership fee that includes everything. But there are other apps that require you to pay for actions like messaging, video chatting, and sending virtual gifts. In my experience, the more legitimate dating sites don’t charge per action, choosing to include everything in the membership fee. But if you like the idea and feel of in-app purchases, by all means. Just be careful to keep an eye on your spending as these little charges can accumulate fast.
There is a constant debate among dating app enthusiasts. Is it better to go niche or stick with the general dating sites? General dating apps give you a much wider dating pool to swim in. The more options you have, the more potential dates, right? On the other hand, sometimes less is more. After all, having 5 million members, 3.5 million of which are totally irrelevant to you, doesn’t impress me much.
Are you the run-of-the-mill type of dater? If you’re an easygoing kinda guy who pretty much gets along with everyone they meet and isn’t looking for anything particular, big names like Match.com, eHarmony, and POF.
Do you have a specific niche desire, personality, or interest? In that case, you’re better off with a niche dating site. There are tens of thousands of niche dating apps out there for just about every predilection. From LGBQT+ (with a different site for each letter of the alphabet) to Christian singles to American guys who get turned on by Asian women, there’s a niche dating app with your name on it.
When weighing niches, consider things like age (which I’ll talk more about in a minute), lifestyle, sexual preference or identities, interests, and personality. This will help you hone in on the right type of site for you.
Dating apps are amazing because they bring awkward dating into the 21st century (yes, eliminating most of that uncomfortable awkwardness - thankyousoverymuch!). One of the best parts of taking your dating life digital is the massive array of features available. Some sites have more than others, and there is definitely a qualitative difference. So if you’re the type who appreciates the latest and greatest features, go for the more modern-looking, fresher apps, or the more established dating apps that spend the time and money to constantly update their offerings. Zoosk, EliteSingles, Match.com, SilverSingles, OurTime, and the like all have excellent features that keep you in the playing field with modern tweaks.
Some of the most important to look at are the communication features. Different people communicate best via different methods. Whether it’s texting, video chatting, phone chatting, smoke signals, whatever, find a dating app that has the type of communications you are comfortable with using. Filters, search functionality, and matchmaking algorithms are other features that are also at the very top of the list.
Finally, consider your age. Some dating sites are better-suited for people straight out of college, while others are specifically geared to senior singles. Finding the app that caters to your specific age group will not only make it easier for you to use the site and enjoy your experience, but it will also surround you with potential matches in the right age group for you. Someone in their late 60’s isn’t going to want to waste their time with a wide-eyed idealist who just finished their senior year and wants to go to the rain forest to save indigenous wildlife. For ease of use and compatibility’s sake, stick with your age group. A quick Google search will help you see which sites are the most successful for which age groups.
There are thousands of online dating sites available (and don’t discount social meetup sites either), and a lot of them are great. Many singles find it worthwhile to sign up for a few and try their luck at multiple profiles. But if you don’t have the budget for it, or that sounds downright exhausting to you, then just stick with the one that works best for you. Use these tips to narrow down your options, and then sign up for the best candidate. Read user reviews and play around using the freemium account option to get a feel for the general experience.