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Mary Florence has been a freelance writer for over five years and she enjoys writing articles on general topics.


We are rapidly becoming a nation of single people. The well-documented rise in cases of separation and divorce is lining the pockets of lawyers, and is also providing a growing market for the online dating site. According to a reports, the majority of people in the UK are single and the online dating industry is turning over thousands.

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Finding love or friendship online is becoming increasingly popular for a generation of people too busy to find partners on their own. This adds up to a very satisfying and viable business opportunity which, as an added advantage, can be set up on a shoestring from your home — with just a computer for company. The modern dating site is, essentially, the successor to old-fashioned dating agencies, which matched up members using interviews, profiling and special networking events.

Whereas the old agencies often did a lot of the searching for their members, meeting new clients before hand-picking their potential matches, the modern site allows users to do all the work, searching a database of other members and arranging meetings themselves. In addition to the established market leaders, match. Julian Keenaghan is the founder of one such niche site, Tastebudswhich matches up users according to their music tastes.

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He believes there is still plenty of potential in the market. It's a very exciting place to be, and we're still far from reaching saturation point. The cornerstone of an online dating site is the search facility, whereby users key in a range of search criteria — including age, income, physical characteristics and geographical location — and the site brings up a list of people based on those preferences.

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Once the user has gone through the search and identified potential love interests, most sites allow them to send an to their prospective matches, or talk to them with instant messaging; they will almost certainly have to pay for this service. If you wish to set up a prototype dating site, you can probably get by without strong IT and web development skills — resources such as DIY Dating allow interested parties to set up a basic website quickly and cheaply, and you can also engage the services of a specialist web developer.

7 steps to starting a successful online dating site

However, as time goes on, you're going to need to update the site on a regular basis, and potential investors aren't going to be impressed if you don't understand the software on which your product is built. So, in the long term, an online dating business definitely favours people who are experienced in IT and web building. You'll also need to be the kind of person who understands what members will want. You need to be able to put yourself in the user's shoes; what will they be looking for from your dating site?

What sort of search options will they require? And, if they're slightly self-conscious, what sort of functions will ensure they feel comfortable chatting to complete strangers online? As the owner of the site, it's unlikely you'll be talking to members directly; however you still need to be able to empathise with them, and maintain a subtle, tactful tone.

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Some members may have been hurt in the past; others may lack confidence. You must be capable of creating a welcoming environment, which doesn't pre-judge and allows users to express themselves. We have to be conscious of the people who are going to be using it from the other end, the sort of concerns they have, that they want to portray themselves in a good way.

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You're not totally removed from the end user. There are few physical requirements for setting up a dating website — all you really need is a computer. However, as mentioned, construction of the website will probably require support from an experienced web builder, and you may also need to outsource core functions such as e-commerce, instant messaging, moderation and spam detection.

Then, when the site goes live, you'll need a web hosting company to manage it for you. You'll also need to do a lot of market research before you launch the site. You might think you've found the perfect niche, but a Google search might find that someone else has got there before you.

It's also worth going out and speaking to people to ask if your site would interest them — singles nights, and even word-on-the-street vox pops could provide great forums. To promote the venture, you may wish to put adverts on Yell.

How to properly start a dating website and make it successful

If you'd prefer print-based advertising, local papers could be a great place to start — especially if your site is based around a particular geographical area. If budgets are tight and you want some cost-effective publicity, try hosting a launch night for single people — or sending out a press release. Simply issuing a release on Response Source or PR Wire could bring coverage in lots of different places, free of charge.

Contact the local papers if you're focused on the local area.

How to start a dating service

Additionally, social media is also a free and easy way to promote awareness. It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation, because no-one will want to use the site if there aren't people on there. It's worth offering a free trial over quite a long period, perhaps six months, for the first few users. Anyone can run a dating site — Running an online dating site would be quite possible to start one up tomorrow. You don't need a licence, you aren't obliged to meet or vet your clients, and once you have set up your agency there are no statutory checks on how it is run — although many of the biggest names in the dating sphere, such as match.

Having said that, you can get support and advice from the association and membership will give your clients confidence. To be a member of the ABIA you need to adhere to a strict code of practice, which you can then show to any prospective clients before entering into an arrangement. The code details what is expected of both client and agency in terms of data handling, advertising and complaints so everyone is fully informed at the start. A hosted website will probably have a one-off set up cost, as well as credit card processing fees on each transaction, and a monthly rental fee.

Check the details of your web hosting site carefully; many will charge more for the monthly rental fee the more members you have. In addition to the hosting cost, you've also got to think about de fees. However we've been lucky, in that we've had a lot of friends who've helped us out. There are two main revenue streams for online dating sites: subscriptions from members, and advertising.

Dating website builder

In both cases, the money you earn will be dependent on the of clients you up, and it may pay to offer free trials to the first few users who express an interest. A of the UK's biggest dating agencies have chosen to roll out limited-time offers and discounts to grow their membership base; for example, members of match. Ways to charge vary; many sites maintain a sliding scale of payments, rewarding members who commit to a long subscription period.

Usually dating sites offer the one-month package at a more costly price than the month plan so there's a clear incentive for visitors to up to a long-term subscription.

How to run a successful online dating site

Most sites will offer visitors the chance to make a one-off payment for their entire membership term, or break it down into monthly direct debits. However this may not sit well with all your customers, and ultimately their wishes are what counts. The amount you can charge for your dating service will depend on the demographic you are targeting. As a general rule, if you are providing and executive service for professional people only, you will be able to charge a substantial amount; conversely a site such as Tastebuds, which is based on music, may attract a younger audience, so a lower fee scale may be necessary.

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You may also find the business is subject to seasonal fluctuations. The last week in December through to the third week of February is typically the biggest for online dating, so you may see a flurry of activity during this period — followed by a pronounced lull afterwards.

5 tips for launching a successful online dating site

Ultimately, the amount of money you make from a dating site depends on your ambitions. Certainly, if you start to think about expansion then you will have to move out of the home office and into premises. Most importantly, though, is your attitude to your clients. A high standard of customer care, providing constant contact and genuine empathy, will be your best route to success.

So if you sense love in the air and you've the heart to go for it, a dating site could be the business for you. Home Start-up guides.

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The Startups Team. May 17, 7 min read. Our experts Startups was founded over 20 years ago by a serial entrepreneur. Today, our expert team of writers, researchers, and editors work to provide our 4 million readers with useful tips and information, as well as running award-winning campaigns. Our site is governed by the Startups editorial manifesto.

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This article was authored by:. What is a dating website? Is running an online dating company right for you? The rules and regulations of running a dating site Anyone can run a dating site — it would be quite possible to start one up tomorrow. How much will setting up an online dating business cost?

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How much can I earn from running a dating website? Seasons and sectors The amount you can charge for your dating service will depend on the demographic you are targeting. Overall Ultimately, the amount of money you make from a dating site depends on your ambitions. Share this post facebook twitter linkedin. Related Articles. Start-up guides How to start a business. Start-up guides How to start a day nursery. Start-up guides How to start a call centre. Ecommerce How to start an ecommerce business.

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