|Posted on December 17, 2009 at 4:34 PM|
Choosing the right dating site can be daunting. For one, there are thousands of dating and matchmaking sites on the web. Two, each including popular dating sites, is tailored to meet specific needs or objectives. Three, what's good for one person is not necessarily good (or right) for another.
So, how do you find the best dating site for you? Here are some pointers to help narrow the field and make it easier for you to make the right choice.
1. Know what you are looking for. Are you seeking a serious or casual relationship? If seeking a serious relationship, go to a site that caters to that. If seeking encounters or casual relationships, you'll be wasting time if you sign up with serious relationship sites.
2. Know yourself. This is related to point No. 1 above. What things are meaningful to you? What are your passions or hobbies? Know these could help in deciding the type of site best suited for your particular needs (see point No. 5).
3. Ask a friend who has done it: This option may not be the best simply because a friend will likely recommend what is right for her/him, which may not be necessarily so for you. But a friend may tell about good or bad experiences with certain website(s).
Caution: if the friend had a bad personal online dating experience or for any reason never succeeded she/he might take the chance to vent, and tell you just how it won't work. Personal experiences are exactly that, personal.
4. Do some good old research: Do a search on your favorite search engine using keywords such as "dating sites", "internet dating sites", "dating site reviews", "online dating websites", "online personals" etc. Not the best way if you are short of time as you may have to weed through hundreds of sites one by one. Reading objective reviews about various dating sites will help farther narrow the field.
5. Which is best, specialty (aka niche) or popular dating site? One more reason you should know what you want. Is religion important to you? Or is ethnicity? What about age? Do you have kids or do you want someone with kids? What about your hobbies/passions? There are specialty and community-based dating sites to cater for almost every need, interest, values or passion (examples: single parents, Asian, catholic, bicycle lovers, military etc).
6. How long has the site been existent? Obviously, a new site will not have that many enough members, or most members will be on trial. Conversely, an older site will have established a large database. Also, that a site has been around for a couple of years or more means it probably is doing something right.
7. Features: Look for sites which offer onsite instant messaging, anonymous email, photo profiles, chat/video chat and other handy features. How do you tell what features are offered without first becoming a paid member? See No.10 below.
8. Sign up with more than one site. The very first site you sign up with may not be best suited for you. Therefore it is important to sign up with three or more to get a feel (see No.10 below on how to do this without first having to pay).
9. Establish a budget. Decide how much you are willing to spend, but be realistic. Free or cheap websites may not provide you with quality service or features. Some websites charge a recurring fee, others a one-time fee, while still others charge by services used.
10. Sign up for free trials: Almost all the popular dating sites offer a free trial period. A free trial allows you to test-drive the site without committing. Never sign up with a site that has no free trial. Free trials differ from site to site. Some sites offer full-featured free trials for a limited time, others offer limited features for a longer or indefinite period and others something in-between.