Online dating works. It’s as simple as that. In fact, nearly 40% of couples in the U.S. met after using an online dating app.
The key to success with online dating, however, is choosing the right app. If you choose an app that doesn’t meet your needs, it can be a colossal waste of both your time and money.
Here are a few considerations you’ll want to keep in mind before tapping the download button:
Priorities and research
Before doing anything else, it’s important to have a firm idea of what you’re looking for. Do you want a relationship or a fling? What age range are you interested in? Do you have specific requirements in a partner? Are you willing to pay or are you interested only in free dating apps?
Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to do a little research. In this case, Google is your best friend. If, for instance, you’re looking for your future spouse, you can search for “best dating apps to find husband/wife.” If you’re a man looking for older women, you can ask Google to find you that.
Once you have a list of the apps that suit your needs, it’s time to delve a little more deeply into which will work best for you.
Research begins with reviews
Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to start reading some reviews.
A helpful review will be well researched, detailing the writer’s personal experience with the app. The more general the review, the less accurate it’s likely to be, so try to stick with those written by people citing their personal experiences.
Another good source of information is a comprehensive review of popular dating apps listing the most popular dating apps with a description of each. Not all listicles are created equal, however. Some are extremely detailed and helpful while others are scant and poorly written. The key is to choose listicles from high-quality, authoritative sites.
Weighing the pros and cons
As you’re reading reviews and articles, why not make a list of each app’s pros and cons. Once you’ve completed your research, you’ll have a fool-proof way to narrow down your choices.
List in hand, match the apps on it to your needs and wants. Which app will maximize your chances of finding compatible matches? What is the success rate of each app?
Keep your personal preferences in mind when you do this. For example, you might find a site with a lot of users. However, if you specifically want to meet Christians on online dating apps, a huge userbase might not be a pro.
Considering the success rate and cost
Have you ever heard that old saying: “You get what you pay for?” That can be true when it comes to dating apps. Receiving a free service is great, but if it doesn’t give you the access you need to meet other singles, then what’s the point?
In most cases, paid apps offer better matches as well as more features. Even free apps offer premium models with advanced functions and better access to service. And if you ask around you’ll soon find that it pays to pay—if you want a relationship, that is.
Men who shell out for the upgraded version of Coffee Meets Bagel, for instance, have “a 43 percent higher number of connections (mutual likes) than non-payers,” co-founder Dawoon Kang told Vice. She added that the average conversation length increases by 12 percent for those using the paid version.
While some say those looking to hookup shouldn’t bother paying for an app, others disagree. As Vox points out, paying for an app can still be worth it, whether it’s to expand the radius for potential matches or to ensure privacy.
Check out the membership numbers
Although established dating sites usually have a large membership base, newer dating apps and niche dating sites rarely do. Lower membership rates can make it rather difficult to find matches, especially if you’re not living in a large urban area. So, if you’re considering signing up with a lesser-known app, hold off until you’ve done a bit of an investigation. If the app doesn’t reveal its membership numbers, that should be a major red flag.
If a niche dating site, such as those dedicated to the 50+ crowd, is growing in success and membership, it will be transparent about its numbers, even if the tally isn’t huge.
Unless you’re signing up with a large, well-established site with huge numbers and great stats, you should avoid apps that don’t offer a free trial.
There’s no better way to decide between your top app choices than to sign up for the free trials. A free trial gives you the chance to see the quality of potential matches and how many singles are in your general area.
Once the trial period is over, you should have a handle on which app offers the best value for the money, enabling you to make a smart investment.
Social integration and security
One of the best things about choosing an app that allows you to login with Facebook — aside from making sign in easier — is it verifies users’ identities. By linking with social profiles, the app can access users’ social data to verify they’re real.
That doesn’t mean you have to sign in with Facebook or Instagram, but you have that option. Apps that offer this integration are usually further ahead when it comes to security.
When it comes to security, it’s wise to pick an app that permits you to control the visibility of your profile as well as block or report obnoxious users.
Another security measure to keep in mind is the signup process. The easier it is, the more likely you are to run into scammers. More involved signup processes often discourage those with less honorable intentions from signing up.
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of what to look for in a dating app, it’s time to get started. Download the app that’s best for you and enjoy your newly enhanced social life.