How to choose a dating site
There's one question I get asked A LOT by the women I speak to who are thinking about dating, and it's 'Which dating sites do you recommend?'
Now, before diving into this topic, it's important to acknowledge where this question is coming from. I get it - it's natural to want to know if there's a dating site where you're more likely to find love - instead of scammers, fake profiles and creeps!
To add to the confusion, there's a plethora of dating sites come in all shapes and sizes and that can seem overwhelming. For ease, most of them can be categorized into these groups: Paid vs Free and Niche vs General.
Most sites are free to join and browse and give some limited features to you before needing to pay to use the full service. Whilst all sites have premium upgrade features, some sites have all the functionality you need to communicate with matches for free, e.g. Zoosk, OKCupid, POF, FB dating. These sites will typically have a larger pool of subscribers (and consequently a higher number of undesirables) than the paid sites, so you'll need to factor that into your search.
For around $40 per month, you can unlock the full functionality of sites such as Match, Elite and Eharmony. The fact that you need to pay to use the sites fully, tends to attract more users who are looking for something more serious - however, you need to be aware that the unsavory types might be present here too. The truth is, there's no one dating site that's immune to scammers. Also, be aware that dating sites exist to make money and that it's not unknown for them to employ underhand tactics (like using bots to send you a message) to encourage you to sign up for their services.
Niche dating sites are those which cater to different interests, tastes and demographics, such as Christian Mingle, JDate, Silver Singles, Spiritual Singles. The advantage of joining a niche site is that it might be easier to find a match who shares more compatibility with you. The downside, however, as these sites tend to be smaller, is that you might find it tricky to find many matches in your area.
Finding the right site for you is a personal choice and it all depends on two things: what you're looking for and where you live (your options are going to be better if you live in a highly populated area). It's not unusual that the same dating site will have varying reputations, depending on the area of the country you're based in, the season, who knows what!! Where I live, 6 years ago when I met my husband on POF, it was a great site with plenty of potential matches, whereas Tinder was a plain hook-up site. Recently some of my clients found the opposite to be true, based on where they were living.
Whichever site you choose, ask yourself the following questions before you commit to a dating site
- Can you navigate it easily?
- Can you make a judgement on the number of potential matches (active profiles) on the site?
- Do you feel comfortable with how people are behaving and communicating with you on the site?
- Does the site correspond with what you're looking for (fun? friendship? something serious?)
To sum up, you can find matches on ANY dating site (free or paid, niche or general) as long as
a) you can judge if the site is appropriate for your needs
b) you know how to present yourself on the site and
c) you know how to 'work' the site to find that unicorn!!