What should I look out for on dating sites?
Have you tried online dating before, and it just didn’t seem like a good fit? Maybe you signed up just to see what would happen and decided to quit because of the sheer number of meaningless “hey what’s up” messages that ended up in your inbox.
Believe it or not, there are some nearly foolproof ways to avoid this kind of outcome. It’s all about knowing the kind of result you’re going for – certain dating platforms are set up to focus on a certain result.
Some people wouldn’t mind getting spammed with quick greetings on a dating platform; they might simply be looking for a flirtatious evening at a hip new bar.
Other people want something more serious, and they’d prefer it if the dating site gives them only the most relevant matches.
Fortunately, there’s a dating website or app for pretty much everyone. They all make themselves sound like the end-all, be-all solution to your dating needs, but at the end of the day, you’re the one who gets to decide that.
If you can find a dating platform that meets your criteria for these 6 features, then you’ll know that you’ve made the right choice.
Read also: Latest research about online dating.
What to look out for on dating sites?
1. An algorithm that finds the matches you want
Do you want to be matched according to location, or is a similar personality more of a priority?
Do you want to explore the options with a randomized search, or are you more interested in an algorithm that learns from your previous activity?
All of these approaches and more are offered by various platforms.
Elite Singles and Zoosk are examples of dating websites that build a list of recommendations from your search history and preferences, among other things.
Whenever you use one of these platforms, they use your activity as insight into what you want – the more active you are, the better your recommendations will be.
Just a few simple searches, favourites, likes, or messages could get you well on your way to success.
Read also: How to create a profile for a woman over 50.
2. Profiles that emphasize photos
Photos are one way to verify that a profile is legitimate – no photo means a better chance that something sketchy is going on.
This is why most dating sites will require one photo at a minimum to create an account. If you’re concerned about scams, photo verification (something that Zoosk offers) is a great way to authenticate someone’s profile.
Zoosk does this by having the person in the profile send a video clip or selfie – if it matches the photos in the profile, they get a badge on their account.
There are other dating sites, like Match.com, that monitor user profiles for nudity, illegal acts, minors, violence, or identifying information.
The majority of dating sites prohibit most of the things on this list, with nudity being an exception for some. Adult dating sites sometimes allow nude photos and videos; there are even some niche dating sites specifically for people who prefer going au natural.
3. Safety features, so you decide who can message you
Even without the scammers that are on most dating sites, some people just don’t know how to take a hint. Others might think that an appropriate online dating strategy is messaging 30 people at once to see who responds.
Either way, you’ll probably deal with unwanted messages at several points in your online dating experience. The right dating site will let you block the annoying ones, and additionally report the suspicious ones.
There isn’t much that dating sites can do to proactively reduce the numbers of scammers, but if members can report sketchy behaviour as it happens, they can play a role in making the site a better place for authentic users.
It’s not just about improving the dating platform you’re using, of course. If you know you’re not at the mercy of every scammer, spammer, any knucklehead with a free account, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the experience so much more.
4. Supportive customer service
There’s customer service, and then there’s customer service. Just because a dating site has a “contact us” button doesn’t mean you’ll get your questions answered by a real person.
If you feel like you’ll have everything under control, great. If not, you’ll want a dating site that can be counted on to fix problems, give you a little assurance, or help with whatever else may come up along the way.
5. Premium features that give you the option to step things up
Every dating site will offer decent features for their basic memberships, but some of them also have paid extras.
Mostly used as add-ons to free memberships, these extra features are designed to enhance or accelerate the search for your next date. One commonly offered feature is notifications when someone has read one of your messages; another feature lets you see the people who have favourited or liked your profile.
6. A dating site with plenty of active members
Some niche dating platforms can get extremely specific. How about looking for a match among people who are united by their love for Ayn Rand?
While a niche dating site might be just the ticket for some people, most will do best if they stick with the bigger sites.
You’ll get a much larger pool of possibilities, and the right algorithm will help you find accurate matches out of the thousands of profiles on the site.
Another advantage of choosing a longstanding dating platform is the location of your potential matches – you’ll probably be able to find plenty nearby.
A niche dating site can offer an automatic connection over a shared passion, but you could have a problem finding someone in the same state, let alone the same city, as you.
7. A platform that allows you to express yourself
One of the hardest parts about finding a partner is finding someone with similar chemistry to what you are looking for.
Video chat platforms can be helpful because of the volume of people you are able to connect with, and the face-to-face video chat is similar to what would go down on a first date.
The difference is that you are not actually sitting across from each other, you didn’t have to travel to get there, and you will not have to pay the bill once you leave the table!
Video chat platforms like Camgo can be very helpful in that it allows you to get the best idea of someone’s personality – in a live video chat.
Using random video chat technology, users can easily click the “next” button if they are not digging their chat partner’s personality.
In order to help find link-minded people, Camgo has a “What do you want to chat about?” box where you can enter your hobbies or interests and discover others who have the same passions.
If you start off knowing what you’re looking for in an online dating site, you’re already ahead of the game.
You shouldn’t have to deal with a learning curve when you’re joining a dating site. If you already know what you want before signing up, there’s a much better chance that you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.