Finding suitable sites for online dating is an integral part of your dating journey. Choosing the perfect site (or app) for your needs will help you find who you are looking for sooner and make the experience more enjoyable.
If you're on the wrong sites for online dating, you could have negative experiences which leave you feeling dejected and put you off dating altogether. We all have a friend who is 'completely over' online dating. Could they be on the wrong app?
Dating is an important part of life. We all deserve a special someone in our world, whether it be a committed relationship or to fulfil our need for sex and intimacy. Taking the time to research where to find like-minded souls is the first step.
In this article, I use my experiences with online dating to get you started on the right foot (and the right sites), so your quest is both positive and productive.
Take advice from friends
It is very likely that your own friends have experiences and insights regarding online dating.
Aside from sharing hilarious online dating anecdotes, your friends can also advise you about which online dating sites are easy or fun to use. Ask them which apps or sites will works best for your demographic.
Your friends can also help you identify red flags that you should watch out for when talking to someone online, and tips on how to optimise your dating profile. Let's be real here, your friends will not hold back from telling you which hot photos showcase your features best or helping you out if your dating bio is written poorly.
Reviews are a great resource to consider, especially if you are not yet comfortable talking about your online dating endeavour with your friends.
Check if other women - especially those who are your age - feel safe and at ease on the sites that you are looking at. Reviews also reveal if the members or subscribers' user experience is smooth, if the customer support is responsive, and if the premium plans are actually worth paying for.
Consider the target audience
Choosing an online dating site is not that different from choosing a nightclub or bar to go to.
Just like there are bars that are targeted towards the Gen Z kids, online sites tend to cater to a specific demographic, whether they intend to or not.
When choosing, consider the sites' target audience so that you will be able to find the right 'bar' to meet new people based on your age group, interests, and location. For example, eharmony is know for creating meaningful relationships and Tinder is more reputed with hookups.
You don't want to be wasting your time on a dating site where you are surrounded by dating options who are mostly either way younger or older than your preference.
Look at prices and free options
The best things in life are free. And for you, that can include finding love. With that being said, you can also find better online dating plans, for an additional fee.
Compare inclusions and advantages between different sites' paid and free packages. It is possible to create free accounts on various sites' and enjoy features that meet most, if not all, of your needs. There are also sites that offer paid online dating packages that offer considerable and tempting features like unlimited messaging or worldwide location access.
Depending on your online dating needs, the right type of account is out there for you to discover. And while we hope that you won't have to pay a single cent to be able to find Mr. Right, it's also fine to invest in your online dating experience. If it makes it safer, fast and more fun, it is money well spent!
Further reading: Online dating apps: Paid vs. free.
Research the features
This sounds very basic but I believe it's important to emphasise how much features impact your experience in online dating. Features also directly affect the effectiveness of a dating platform to provide you an environment where you can easily find your potential matches.
Does the site restrict your access to potential matches in other cities or countries? Does it have acceptable conditions when it comes to who can message you? Does it have any special features that protect women from potential predatory behaviour and harassment?
Question what these sites are offering and picture how each of their features can benefit you.
Read the privacy policies
You know what they say: READ the fine print!
Understand what you are about to sign up for before you create an account with your chosen dating site. We are all guilty of it ... scrolling down to the end of the user agreement clause or information privacy policies in a hurry to find the 'I agree' checkbox, without really reading any of these clauses. And then we express our surprise and suspicions when our browser start marketing things that we muttered under our breath minutes ago.
Avoid getting Black Mirror-ed and read the privacy policies so you can ensure the safety of your information. Select a dating site that respects its members' privacy and does not include sneaky clauses in their policies that are difficult to agree with. Remember, your agreement or signature legitimises whatever they eventually do with the information you share on their platform.
Reputation of the app
No matter how well-developed an app or platform is, their reputation among users and reviewers matter a lot.
As I have previously mentioned, you should look at other people's impression of the sites that you are looking at. You can also read up on articles written by unpaid creators and former users of the sites. Are they singing praises for this platform? Do the mention of platform errors or bad customer service come up too often? Does everyone think this particular app is tacky?
There's a lot of truth and wisdom in other people's experiences to consider and learn from. You can then apply this in your own dating journey.
For me, among all the things to consider when choosing the right online dating site or app, location is one of the biggest factors.
Again, I'll use the bar analogy. You can't have a lot of picking options if you go to a bar where there are barely any patrons in it. If you are looking to meet new people, you want to go where all the cool guys are going.
Ask around or search on Google which is the most downloaded or used online dating sites in your area. I mean, what does it matter if a site offers incredible features but they have not marketed their brand well to attract enough members for you to choose from?
Take advantage of free trials
Free trials are a fantastic way for you to have a first-hand feel of how to use and navigate paid online dating sites.
Aside from checking if their user interface is comfortable for you, you can also see for yourself if their platform design and features correspond to your needs. You also get to judge if the social atmosphere and the type of people that comprise the membership of the platform are satisfactory for you.
Enjoying these free trials will help you a lot in determining which site, whether free or paid, is right for you.
Go with your gut
Listen to your own judgment and assessment of things- and have fun!
I understand that you may take this selection process seriously, as you should. But don't stress yourself out. Trust your instinct and choose the site that does not only offer you the best value and features, but also make you feel safe, excited, and comfortable to explore.