With thousands of dating sites available online, most offering enticing “free to join!” offers, it’s hard to know which one is right for your specific dating needs. Whether you’re a single parent, a college student, or simply love guys with mustaches, there’s a dating site out there to fit you perfectly. Here are 21 ways to weed out the excess and hone in on the dating site that’s most likely to find you love:
21. Determine Your Budget: Decide how much you’re willing to spend per month for online dating services and disqualify any site that charges more right off the bat. Some sites like Mingle2.com are totally free while others like MeetingMillionaires.com (profile) have higher-than-average monthly fees.
20. Read Online Reviews: There are hundreds of sites and blogs online offering first-hand dating site reviews. Read as many as you can and take the advice to heart.
19. Ask Around: Seems simple, but asking friends who’ve tried online dating is a good way to start a short list of sites to scope out.
17. Hit Up Chat Rooms: Engage with other dating site users in online forums – ask about their experiences and listen to the advice they give.
16. Trial Your Heart Out: Take advantage of all those free trials! Sign up and sign on with a few sites at a time.
15. Enlist Some Help: Ask a few tech-savvy friends or family members to do some digging. They may find a dating site you haven’t heard of yet and they should know what will work for you.
13. Make a List: Decide on a handful of sites you’re interested in and make a pros and cons list. Example: Pro: lots of members. Con: too many pop-up ads.
11. Read the Testimonials: Visit the testimonial sections of the sites you’re considering. Do the matches from the site sound like stories you’d like to tell? If everyone’s meeting for casual hookups and you’re looking for marriage you may need to try again.
10. Discover Your Weaknesses: Figure out your dating pitfalls and choose a site that negates them. For example, if you typically choose goofballs, get on a dating site that specializes in academic types like Alikewise.com (profile).
9. Think About Your Needs: Pare down your options by determining how much hand-holding you need. Different dating sites offer different levels of service and varying extra features.
8. Take the Tests: Choose a few sites with personality tests like Match.com and complete the profiles. If they do a good job pegging your personality they’ll likely do well finding you some suitable matches.
7. Explore the Data: The biggest, most reputable dating sites offer tons of user data such as number of members, attrition rates, and even marriages. If you’re into numbers, consider the raw data.
6. Try Something New: Get outside your comfort zone to meet people you typically wouldn’t encounter. Live in the city? Get on FarmersOnly.com (profile). Usually only date inside your own race? Try InterracialPeopleMeet.com.
5. Forget the Stereotypes: Lose the notion that bigger is better. Niche dating sites sometimes pack more punch than the big-box sites and certainly offer more specialization.
4. Give I.R.L. a Chance: Don’t judge a site by its online interface. If you think you may like a dating site meet a match or two offline to see how close you really are to picking correctly. After all, real life dates are the ultimate goal.
3. Be Superficial: If you’re having trouble deciding between just a few contenders, get online and choose by which site has the most attractive members online right this minute. Don’t overthink it!
2. Stay Consistent: Visit a site at the same time each day for a week to see if you’re missing anything. The members online Friday night may not be the same as Tuesday’s crop.
1.Get Specific: Decide exactly who you’re looking for (Men in uniform? Foreign-born ladies?) and look into dating sites that cater to your specific ‘type.’ From Veggie Date to BeautifulPeople.com there’s no shortage of niche dating sites available.