According to the 6th edition of Marketdata study conducted by the website marketresearch in the field of dating services, in 2012, the market was worth USD 2.1 billion in the U.S. Out of this, online dating services comprised 53% of the market’s value.
As we can clearly see, online dating is big business, and hosting or creating a dating website can be a fairly lucrative and interesting way to earn money. However, there are certain things that you should be completely aware of before starting a dating website.
Firstly, you will have to complete all the necessary formalities, and acquire the required business licenses and permits. You will need to handle tax formalities, and appoint a CPA and legal adviser for your business. You will also need a thorough business plan in place to ensure a successful launch. Here are few essential tips to understand how to start a dating website.
Select a Niche
» There are various niches in the online dating business. In fact, people are exploring new niches all the while. Apart from the regular categories, there can be specific sites for same-sex singles, geeks, nerds, gadget-freaks, trekkers, pet owners, book lovers, sci-fi fans, etc.
» You name it, and there will be an existing dating website catering to that niche. You will have to conduct a thorough market study before you zero in on a niche. Remember, the more specific your niche, the lesser will be the number of users.
» However, when you begin, try to find a niche that does not have too many players, in order to thwart competition and establish yourself as a leading dating website in that niche.
Design a User-friendly Website
» Create an attractive, website that has a user-friendly interface. If not on your own, you can hire professionals for this purpose. You can buy dating website templates, scripts, software, etc. available online. It is always better to go for paid dating scripts, as this will enable you to utilize many of its features. You can visit DateMill and WordPress for free dating scripts.
» Remember to be consistent in your theme and design. For example, if you are trying to create a dating website for trekkers, then the design should show romantic couples trekking. The theme of your business and website should complement each other. Also, lend a pleasing and appealing look to the site, which might trigger thoughts about companionship and finding love.
» Use brand identity, iconography, graphics etc., that will pep up the appeal of the website. Remember to ensure that your site is visible on computers, mobiles, and tablets. Ensure that the website is search engine optimized and all the right keywords have been tagged.
» Remember, today, a majority of online users have smartphones, hence, making an app for the same is imperative.
» You will have to create apps for your websites on different platforms, and make them available on the website.
» This will include apps for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android, and Windows7 phones. This will enable people to access the website from their smartphones.
Charge for Your Services
» It is always better to get a paid website as it gives an impression that you are reliable service provider. There are various ways in which you can charge money for your dating services.
» One way is keeping the membership absolutely free, and allowing Google Adsense to generate income for you. Some online dating websites have free access, but ask you to enroll as a member to chat or communicate with other members on the site.
» Some offer free basic membership, and ask you to pay for an upgraded version that has enhanced features. While other websites allow ads for affiliate offers from other brands. You can visit Commission Junction to find out more about affiliates. When people click on the ads, you get paid for it.
» There are many websites which offer a chemistry test and suggest people with whom you may be most compatible. Some sites ask you to fill a questionnaire, and based on the information you provide, their algorithm finds a suitable match for you. Some even offer the convenience of a video chat. However, incorporating all these features can be expensive. Once your site gets the desired traffic, you can invest in them.
» Many existing websites have also realized the value of capitalizing on steady couples, and have started websites for them. These websites plan activities or experiences for such couples to spend time together. There are websites that offer exciting personality tests and interesting statistics to retain members.
» Many websites also contain articles and blogs on relationships and love which further draws more traffic to the website. You can also add testimonials of people who have found their partners through your website, this will lend credibility to your site.
Promote Your Website
» Get enlisted on all the free directories. Start pages for your website on all the social networking platforms, and get as many followers as possible.
» You can also use the MyAds feature of Myspace and get paid ads on Facebook. Apart from this, you should also pay for online banners, and invest in affiliate programs.
» These measures can drive traffic to your website. Also, employ traditional means of advertising and marketing to enable single people to know about your website.
Ensure Security and Safety
» Recently, a woman sued the website match.com because the person she met through the website tried to kill her. Due to the increased number of crimes involved in online dating, it becomes imperative that you site contains certain filters before accepting a user’s profile.
» Apart from this, many states follow the Internet Dating Safety Act, which requires the dating website to declare whether they carry out background checks on their members. Any violation of the act may invite a heavy fine.
» You must also have a code of conduct for your members banning nudity, racism, plagiarism, pornography, terrorism, spam, etc. You should make them aware about the pitfalls of online dating. You must also encourage your members to report any incident which involves the things mentioned above.
Know the Challenge
» Remember that user interest is fairly short-lived. Once a user creates an account on the website and finds a partner, who he thinks is his soul-mate, will practically abandon the website only to emerge after a breakup or a long gap.
» He may even prefer to join some other website. Hence, it is very challenging to keep expanding your user base.
» Hence, you must keep the members interested by regularly adding innovative features.
Hope these essential tips for starting a successful dating website will help you take your venture to new heights. You will have to create a unique user-friendly website which will click with the users. This will ensure that your members keep increasing steadily. The more members you get, the more investors will be ready to invest in your site. You can expand your business by starting dating websites for various niches. Initially, the numbers may rise slowly, but do not let this affect your morale. Once the website gains popularity, there will be no looking back.