“There are so many dating websites out there. Which dating site is best for me?”
With thousands of dating sites all over the web and more popping up every single day, finding the best dating site for you can be overwhelming. This article will give you some tips on how to test the sites and find the good ones.
Side bar: This article is not about touting certain websites. It is about helping make your search easier by letting you know what to look for, and narrowing the field down to one or two good sites.
There are two common ways to select a dating site. One is to follow the advice of a friend or family member. Not a bad way, but also error-prone. Remember we are talking about the best dating site for you.
The second, and recommended, option is to do some good old fact-finding through research. Don’t panic, this article is about making it easier on you.
What Is the Best Dating Site?
The best dating site is not the biggest, nor the most features-laden. The best dating site is the one that best fits who you are or matches your personality/need(s).
Types of Dating Sites
There are, basically, three types of dating sites:
1. Popular or General
2. Specialty or Niche
3. Community or Special Interest
Now let’s briefly describe each category for a better understanding:
1. Popular or General dating sites: These cater to the general public and all ages. These are the Big Box sites that you see advertised on TV (“Find your Match!”). They use terms like “algorithm” and “chemistry” and “personality test” – but basically it’s a search for the photos that catch your eye. Usually they will have huge databases, often running to the tens of millions of members, so you are bound to find someone who will respond to your query. They are a good venue for finding someone locally for a casual date — especially for casual sex or a sexual relationship. These sites are commonly used by married “singles.” But the success rate of finding a partner who shares your values, interests and passions is low.
2. Specialty or Niche dating sites: These cater to specific interests such as religion, ethnicity, values, body size, age groups, sexual interests, etc. Their members have something in common. The hottest and most popular niche dating sites in 2012 are the Big Beautiful Women dating sites (known as BBW or Plus Size Women websites), Christian relationships, Muslim dating and matrimonial services, Interracial dating, Military dating and International dating such as Russian, Latina and African Bride dating. These are the best for men seeking a romantic relationship, life partner or marriage.
3. Community or Special Interest dating sites: These are similar to specialty or niche sites (#2 above), but cater to even narrower interests. Examples; Catholic (not “Christian”), swingers (not “adult”)… you get the picture. With their community-based matchmaker platforms, these are often the best for casual or local dating, better than the Big Box sites.
So, which way to go? It depends, first of all, on the relationship you are seeking: dating websites go all the way from free adult dating to pure matrimony. The first step towards success in finding the best dating site is to be clear on what you are looking for. You do know yourself, don’t you?
If you have some online dating experience, consider specialty or community sites. But if just starting out, you may want to go with popular/general dating sites. Why?
Because popular dating sites have thousands, even millions, of members and you’ll get some results. This will give you a beginner’s experience as well as a feel of the features. Although the chances of finding the loving partner of your dreams are very low, this helps build your confidence, while also learning online dating “lingo” and sub-culture. In other words, it helps teach you the ropes so you can have positive results in the Niche or Community arena.
What to Look For In a Dating Site
The top ten things to consider when selecting a dating site are:
2. The number of profiles: If you are just looking for casual dating, online dating is a numbers game. The larger the database the better your chance of meeting a suitable date.
3. You should be able to search by age and gender as well as height, hair color, vocation and so on, if this is important to you. The Niche dating sites have already narrowed down your search priorities to the essentials.
4. Privacy: Most high-popularity dating sites provide you with an email address specifically for online dating.
5. Availability of chat rooms and private chat rooms so you may talk with your prospect(s) once a contact has been initiated. Web video would be an additional benefit.
6. Some top-rated dating sites will alert you when someone has responded to your email or expressed interest in contacting you. Not the most important feature but nice to have all the same.
7. Relationship intentions: The site should cater to the kind of relationship you seek.
8. Location: The site should have a sufficient number of members in your geographical area, especially if you are not for long distance relationships. However, men seeking a bride are most successful on the International services.
9. Detailed profiles: If a site allows members to skimp on details about themselves, chances are they are doing it. This makes it a mere photo contest.
10. Cost: Don’t just go for the cheapest or free sites (there’s a price to pay for that — especially Security), but if they are way above average they should provide a very good service for this.
Signing Up for a Free Trial
Having narrowed your search to one or two dating sites using the above guidelines, it’s not time to commit yet. It’s time to sign up for a trial run, which most highly popular dating sites offer. Make sure it is a real trial run and not just a tour. What’s the difference?
A tour is just that, a tour. You get to browse pictures of seemingly (may I add unrealistic) happy couples who have “found” happiness using that particular dating site. Don’t buy into this. It is crap and a complete waste of time.
A trial run lets you enjoy most of the site’s features without paying, for a period of time. But note that the trial is geared towards getting you to become a paid member; therefore you’ll get a teaser here and there. Just stick to the trial till it’s over.
Take full advantage of the trial run. This means initiating as many contacts as you possibly can. And post your photo immediately on sign-up. The point is to find out if the dating site is a good fit for your personality.
When the trial period ends, be ready to sign up for full membership or opt out. If you opt out, take heart that at least you didn’t waste your money or time. And you now have some experience. Find another site and do another test. The best dating site for you is out there waiting to be discovered.
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