It's estimated that there are over 8,000 online dating sites worldwide, so in such a competitive market it's vital that a good dating site stands out and impresses. Whether you're looking for a fuck buddy or your soulmate, it's important to find the one that best suits your needs so you get the very best experience. I've had my fair share of experiences with a variety of sites, and below I list what I think are the key things to consider when looking for a good dating website.
This is top priority for me. I've joined some great websites that are completely free to use, and some truly awful ones which overcharge to use their mediocre services. I have to admit, I do resent paying to join a dating website. Yes, I know they're offering a service, but if a fantastic website like Okcupid.com can offer free membership, then why can't the others? Not everyone will feel like I do and there are plenty of people who are willing to pay to meet someone who fulfils their needs. That's absolutely fine but if you're going to pay to join a dating website, make sure you've considered the rest of the points in this article to find one the best one for you so you don't end up wasting your time or your money.
Decide what you are looking for first, as many dating websites are aimed more towards a certain type of relationship. For example, those more interested in sex dating would be better off joining a site aimed at this as you're much more likely to find your perfect fuck buddy on one of these. An app like Tinder is great for sex dating, and what's more, it's free. Likewise, if you’re looking for your one true love then you’d be better to stick to websites catering for those who want something more meaningful. Most dating websites do cater for all, giving you the option to choose things like 'hookups' or 'long-term relationship' when stating what you're looking for, but if you're going to use one of these make sure what you want is clear on your profile- even tailor your username to make it obvious if you can (eg. 'Justlookingforsomefun'). That way, there's much less likely to be crossed wires and disappointment further down the road when your potential fuck buddy reveals they are actually looking for their future spouse.
Some dating websites will let you search members before joining up, and even subscription websites will usually offer a 'free' membership (albeit with very limited services) to allow you to have a look at their members before you commit to parting with your cash. Take advantage of this; imagine paying out for a six-month membership, just to find there are only ten other people within a reasonable travelling distance and none of them do it for you. In my experience, free websites have the most members and are therefore the ones where you're likely to find more people in your area.
A dating website should be easy to find your way around and use. It's all very well and good having hundreds of little icons on the screen, but if you don't know what any of them do then you're not going to have a good experience. In my opinion, the best sites lay everything out neatly and everything is clear, from how you search other members to how you check and send messages. If you find yourself on a website clicking aimlessly to try and work out what you're doing, take my advice and click the little cross in the corner. Dating websites are supposed to make life easier, not more complicated.
Although this isn't the most important point, it is significant. Dating services that have spent the time and money to make their website look professional and user friendly are more likely to take care of their users. They are likely to be easier to get hold of if you have a problem and respond faster to any queries you might have. Cluttered or unprofessional looking websites tend to be harder to use, have less users and in some cases, are known for 'conning' their users out of their money with fake profiles and messages from attractive users who don't really exist.
If all else fails and you're still struggling, ask others! As with all professional services, you're most likely to find the best supplier if you use one that's been tried and tested by someone you know. See if anyone you know has used and can recommend a dating website best suited to your needs. If not, look up reviews online and see what other users have to say about the website you're considering, and do your research on how the website matches people.
Overall, have fun and stay safe- whether you're sex dating or searching for 'the one', online dating should be fun and exciting and if you're not getting that experience, you're probably using the wrong site.
© Iculig / Dollar Photo Club and Andrew Magill with a CC BY 2.0 Licence
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