The online dating scene used to be a lot simpler than it is now. Choosing which online dating service you should use was a piece of cake back in 1995 when Match.com was the only one around.
Now there are 2,500 online dating services in the US alone, and close to 8,000 available worldwide.
Choosing the site you should use can be confusing and even daunting. Though the stigma that comes with online dating has pretty much disappeared, the countless options make modern courtship far more complicated than it used to be when Match and eHarmony ruled the internet. From free sites like PlentyOfFish.com, to paid membership communities like eHarmony, each online dating service offers unique features that promise to find your perfect match. If you don’t first find a good match with an online dating site, their services may not deliver the results you had hoped for.
Determining which site you should register with could arguably be the most important factor in your online dating success. With that being said, here are some things to consider before signing up with an online dating site or app.
The first thing you should think about when choosing your online dating platform is your end goal. What kind of relationship(s) do you want to come out of it? Are you looking for a mature, long-term relationship that results in marriage? Maybe you’re looking for something more casual without those high expectations. Either way, there are appropriate dating sites for you.
It’s important to choose accordingly to save you and other singles from frustration. Try imagining the partner you’d like to find through your online dating experience. Then ask yourself if that person would be using the site you want to register with.
Best Sites for Marriage: eHarmony, Match (can be used casually as well)
Best Sites for Casual Dating: Tinder, Plenty of Fish, okCupid
How much time and money you want to invest into online dating directly relates to the kind of relationship you are looking for. Seeking a long-term relationship can mean putting in the time to answer a few hundred survey questions and thoroughly fill out your profile. It can also mean spending some money on a membership for the site. Think of it this way, if you are looking for someone who also wants to put in the effort required for a long term relationship, shouldn’t they put effort into their profile? Of course there are exceptions to the rule, and maybe you’ll meet your spouse on Tinder if you’re one of the app’s 26 million daily matches.
Memberships typically range from $9.99 a month to $60 a month depending on the length of subscription and the type of membership. Not sure how serious you want your online dating relationships to be? Try a free dating site first to test the waters. Low investment sites like okCupid are still great places to meet more people than you might offline.
High Investment Sites: eHarmony, Match.com
Low Investment Sites: Tinder, Plenty of Fish, okCupid, Zoosk
Don’t let history repeat itself. If you have tried online dating before and weren’t satisfied with the results, learn from past mistakes. There is a good chance you were on the wrong site. Maybe you spent a lot of time filling out a profile and taking a great picture on a free dating platform and ended up going on countless unsuccessful dates.
Are you looking for a site that focuses less on physical appearance and more on chemistry? Instead of Tinder or Plenty of Fish, try eHarmony or Chemistry. Perhaps you found the majority of the members on the site were not looking for anything serious while you were. If that sounds similar to your past experience, don’t go back to that same website unless your end goal has changed.
Your age can play a huge role in your online dating success. Don’t get me wrong, no matter your age, you can find what you’re looking for as long as you’re using the correct platform.
For example, singles over 30 generally don’t get the desired results on sites such as Coffee Meets Bagel as they would on Match.com. Men and women over 50 have online dating options that cater specifically to their age group as well.
Online Dating in Your Twenties: Tinder, Zoosk, okCupid, Plenty of Fish
Online Dating Over 30: eHarmony.com, Match.com
Online Dating Over 50: Our Time
There is a long list of dating sites that are for specific lifestyles. Farmers Only, for example, focuses on (you guessed it) single farmers and Christian Mingle provides an online community for Christians seeking other Christians. Other lifestyle specific sites include Fitness-Singles, Catholic Match, and Millionaire Match.
I would go as far to say that Tinder is a lifestyle specific dating app since busy millennials make up 79% of its 50 million users. This is where you might need to stop and imagine the kind of partner you’re looking for. Do you want someone who is so busy they can’t fill out a profile all the way? Do you want someone who aligns with your religious beliefs? Would you prefer someone who is settling down, or still at the club every Friday night?
A Final Word
The key to choosing a dating site that best suits you is determining what you want out of the experience. A fun night out a few times a month or a lifetime commitment? It is important to figure out what it is you value in a partner and to choose a dating site accordingly. If you want someone who is looking for something serious, I suggest choosing something other than Tinder and Plenty of Fish. Maybe you are in search of someone who, much like yourself, is over 50, or someone who is willing to take the time to fill out a 400 question survey on eHarmony. Don’t be afraid to try something new. If one site doesn’t work for you, don’t settle. Move on to something that fits your lifestyle and meets your standards. Aim to find a dating site that is as compatible with you as you want your next special someone to be.