1. Do your Homework Before Joining a Dating Site
This is one of the critical factors to an incredible online dating journey; and one so often overlooked, perhaps because it seems so obvious!
We review hundreds of dating apps and choosing one that is as specific as possible to your relationship aspirations can be make or break.
Read reviews, check out Trust Pilot ratings, take the time to see the testimonials on the Google Play Store or Apple Store - you are far from alone in looking for romance. By spending just a little time understanding the experiences of people who have been there before, you can save yourself a lot of heartache (and subscription pennies!).
Here is a tiny taste of the millions of options out there to consider:
- Senior dating sites - best for over 50's in most cases.
- Local apps - ideal to find someone nearby.
- Hookup dating - if you're looking for casual dates rather than long-term love.
- LGBTQ+ apps - perfect for non-CIS or non-binary singles that find mainstream dating isn't for them.
- Divorced dating websites - aimed at men and women who are getting back on the roundabout again!
- Professional date sites - for busy career-focused people who want to meet like-minded singles.
- Single parent apps - great for Mums and Dads who need a date who gets it when they've got to rearrange due to childcare crises.
- Flirting sites - mainly younger singles that aren't necessarily looking to date, but want a little excitement and social interaction.
- BBW apps - designed for plus size singles that are proud to be themselves.
This list is a drop in the ocean!
Think about what you are looking for, and then research the right apps for your needs - if you sign up to the most prominent dating platform or the first one you come across, it might be the wrong place for you.
2. Take the Time to Build Up a Decent Profile Page
Ok, so dating site profiles can be a minefield - but they really shouldn't be. Your profile doesn't need to speak to every nuance in your personality. It doesn't have to be a comprehensive resume of all your best achievements.
Don't post anything out of character to stand out from the crowd. There's a much easier way to get noticed!
- Update your profile, say monthly. Post one new photo, add one new status update and change your interests if you've tried something new.
- Keep it real. We're not all mountaineers, jet-setting travellers or career influencers. The vast majority of people are looking for authentic people they can see themselves chilling out with and having a good time.
- Choose your profile photo wisely. We say this so often, but most dating sites, even those focused on long-term compatibility work on a first impressions basis. Take a fresh photo; make it clear, in focus, and of your face - without kids, dogs, parachutes or shot glasses to detract from showcasing your personality.
It's worth remembering that most contemporary dating sites work on algorithms and recommend matches based on mutual likes or preferences.
Therefore, the more info you put in your profile, the more members you are likely to be seen as compatible with, and the more users will get your lovely face popping into their inbox!
3. Avoid Being a Cliché
We know we are all unique, and stereotypes don't tend to relate to real life. However, we have to go there, because all too often great people rely on an idea they have in their head about what they should be posting - and miss out on great date opportunities.
How many times have you read these statements on a profile?
- Single guy, with a great sense of humour.
- I love long, romantic walks on the beach.
- My passion is travelling and exploring new places.
Do you really know whether you have a good sense of humour? Are you a stand-up comedian?
If not, putting that you have a GSOH is lazy - say what you love to do, and upload videos and photos that show whether you're a fun-loving person!
4. Make It Specific!
When you are browsing other profiles, think about what stands out to you. It's probably a great smile, a funny tag line, some exciting videos, and someone that feels like they might gel with your lifestyle.
Filling in profile information under pressure is never a good idea - because it's too easy to put something trite and obvious. Each text box, photo gallery and video is your way to reach new people, so if you're serious about finding a relationship, use your space wisely.
Let's take a couple of examples.
- Guy One: Looking for a woman to hang out with, and who is into sports.
- Guy Two: Looking for a relationship with a woman who enjoys spending time at home, but is also interested in watching football, cycling, walking dogs and going to the gym with me!
See the difference? We all like chilling, hanging out, spending time doing stuff, but those sentences communicate zero about what it is you actually want from a partner, and what you have to offer them.
You don't need to go into fine detail about what colour socks you wear, but you do need to think about the content you upload and make sure it says something worth knowing about who you are.
5. Focus on Positives
It's pretty evident that almost everybody on a dating site will have been in a relationship before and well, that it didn't work out!
Bitter exes, failed relationships and divorces are not the stuff of steamy passion and racing heart rates.
Always look on the bright side, and think about what you could bring to a relationship in the future, not where you have failed in the past.
Many divorced dating sites or single parent apps are aimed at men and women who have done the rounds before, but just because you have a failed marriage in common doesn't make that a conversation starter as you get to know somebody new.
Likewise, fishing for compliments, or finding it difficult to accept a compliment can be a massive turn off.
If you get a comment from someone saying you have a beautiful smile, or they love your photo, saying, 'Oh thanks, but I wish I had straighter teeth', or 'Thanks but this isn't my best picture' is like a slap in the face when another single person wanted to say something good about you.
Say thank you - that's it!
6. Take Advantage of the Technology on Offer
Another seemingly obvious point, but again, we hear all the time from people who painstakingly create a winning dating profile, subscribe to the premium membership, and then sit back and wait for romance to ring the doorbell.
It doesn't work like that, of course.
Dating apps have thousands of features and functions. Every one is designed to help you find a dating match, so USE THEM!!
Here are a few examples of popular features:
- Like roulettes - yep, it's a little materialistic and usually based solely on profile photos. However, the algorithm has spotted something in your profiles that makes it think you might make a good pair, so take a look, you have nothing to lose!
- Suggested matches - again, read them, reply to them; see who is out there. It might be that the matches are people in your local area, who work in the same industry, or who are also obsessed with French Bulldogs. You'll never know unless you check them out.
- Video chats or uploads - you can tell people so much about yourself with a quick video, and even just talking about what you love and what you're looking for can be much more personal in your voice, and with your inflexion, that in text.
- Winks and hearts - most sites have some kind of icebreaker option. This is a perfect way to express an interest in someone, even if you're not quite sure if there is something there worth pursuing. The worst thing that will happen is they won't reply, so start winking away and see where it takes you!
- Searches are one of the best ways to find matches, and after all, even the most advanced algorithm doesn't know what secret sauce will spark an interest. Enter parameters, be flexible with your search criteria and spend some time browsing.
7. Don't Stress Out Over the Details
Keep it simple, always. While it's essential to make full use of your profile space, filling in excruciating detail probably won't make much difference than a summary.
If you love rugby, captained your local team for ten years, have a wall of trophies at home, watch the Six Nations religiously and want an equally passionate partner, that's fab! You can upload a photo or two; list the sport as one of your passions, and leave it be.
Matches are always based on aesthetics, initially, and you can't convey your full personality in a few photos and paragraphs of writing. Think about your dating profile in terms of SEO.
You want the headlines to stand out.
It needs to be easy to read and browse.
Members aren't going to read 1,000-word essays.
Include the stuff that matters, and leave it at that - short and sweet is way easier to digest than ramblings that nobody is likely to read.
8. Spell Check Everything
Proofreading your profile makes more difference than you might think!
Sloppy spelling, terrible grammar and lazy abbreviations come across as lacklustre and make it seem like you probably don't care much either way if you get any responses.
You don't have to be word perfect, and you're not going to be marked on your spelling accuracy, but taking a bit of time to re-read what you've written, and think about how it comes across to a stranger is time well spent.
9. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
It's normal to feel shy. Many people on dating sites find it challenging to come out of their shell, and there is nothing wrong with joining the chat room and just browsing to listen to what other people have to say.
You do not have to be the life and soul of the party, and shouldn’t fake it to make yourself stand out more!
However, if you want to have a successful online dating experience, you must communicate.
That doesn't have to be a sexy one-liner that is guaranteed to bag you a date, and it doesn't always matter so much how you reply, as it does that you respond!
Keeping the conversation going, finding things in common, and replying promptly helps build the rapport you need to establish something more long-term.
Always be honest, open and respectful, and unless you're on a hookup site, don’t get too sexual too quickly - it comes across as pushy and definitely isn't the foundation of a happy relationship!
If you get a message, always take the time to reply, even if you're not convinced they are your cup of tea. People online are still people behind the screen, and you might be pleasantly surprised that someone who didn't tick all your boxes right away turns out to be the perfect partner you never know existed.
10. Look After Yourself First
Finally - your needs matter.
A lot of people report feeling nervous about using online dating as they have the perception that it's filled with spammers and fake profiles - which couldn't be further from the truth.
There are some dodgy dating apps out there, but if you follow rule one and do your homework, you can steer well clear of these sites.
If you get a strange message or start getting explicit pics from a guy you have no interest in, don't let that shake you from your goal. Report and block them, and move your focus onto people who are genuinely looking for a partner.
Never feel swept up in a conversation that you aren't comfortable with, and always be true to yourself when it comes to the kind of person you wish to meet, and what you are looking from in the long-term.
We hope these guidelines help you make the absolute most out of your online dating experience and equip you with the knowledge to go out there with confidence!
For help and advice on finding the best dating sites out there, check out the Best10 reviews for our picks of the bunch.