When Did the World of eDating Begin?
Online dating is almost as old as the World Wide Web.
It is started in 1995 when Match.com launched their site, followed closely by Date.com and Spark.com in 1997.
Since then, a host of dating websites have taken the dating world center stage year after year.
The sky is the limit when it comes to choice and what is right for you; however, most dating sites follow a certain structure and provide certain services and support that you should look out for.
Read on to see what these elements are, and most importantly, study the helpful online dating reviews to decide what is best for you and what your cup of tea is.
What is Online Dating – Why Is There a Need for It?
A lot of people attach a certain stigma to, frown upon or screw up their noses when they hear the words "online dating".
They wave their hands and shake their heads in dismissal.
They think it's just a quick fix for a hookup!
These naysayers are pensive about the days when people met face-to-face and really engaged in deep conversations. Well, even small-talk, but at least in person.
Moreover, they might ask themselves if people can still grow old together and establish long and lasting relationships, based on quality over quantity.
What ever happened to fate, they may protest!
Well, here is the good news!
Love, marriage and serious relationships are here to stay.
Best News - Love & marriage are here to stay!
The research relayed in our online dating reviews reveals that the best dating websites promote the idea to really get to know a person, to talk and communicate, and yes, to meet face-to-face, despite the online element.
Some are free, while others are more hookup-orientated websites, but there are also quality sites out there for people looking for a serious relationship.
The best part about these services is that they strive to speed up the process and believe that love doesn’t need to be left entirely up to chance.
If we are living in a technologically advanced world, then why not take advantage of these quality services that make singles' dating lives a little easier and smoother?
We are all very busy people as it is in this rat-race they call life.
The objective behind the innovation of both casual and serious dating sites for marriage is to create a detailed profile.
The dating profiles you create, along with the matching algorithms and personality tests, help with the following:
- Eliminating the people you wouldn’t be compatible with in the first place, even if your grandmother thinks it's meant to be.
- Matching you with people you would agree to go on a first date with.
- When you meet up for the first time you already know a great deal at face value about one another.
- Setting up first dates without having to ask those awkward icebreaker questions because you have already gone through that process.
In sum, it is about getting the RIGHT people, to meet at the RIGHT time, and the RIGHT place.
Who Uses Online Dating?
Well, anyone can use it as long as you are over the age of 18, single and not incarcerated.
Jokes aside, let us explain.
These dating sites aspire to provide quality service, and this means they take security and safety seriously.
Underage users or those with sketchy backgrounds are certainly not welcome.
They like to keep things clean and fresh.
The aim is to help people meet singles online, which means there have to be boundaries and rules.
Married or separated individuals should not use these services!
It is no wonder that millions of people around the world have been converted and have joined the world of internet dating.
Most of the websites claim, with evidence in their success stories section, that they are responsible for marriages and long-term relationships.
The notion of finding love online has become so widespread that dating on-the-go has become popular with mobile dating apps, as well as applications that link users to the main websites.
In other words, unless you are trekking Mount Everest and out of reach, these services are accessible 24/7.
Be careful not to become an anti-social at the family get-together dinner.
Unless your date is sitting by your side, no one is going to appreciate that virtual sweetheart you've been chatting up for the past week!
Most of the websites cater for people of all sexual orientations, ethnicities, religions, and economic backgrounds.
If the dating service targets a more specific audience, it either has companion sites or different domains for particular audiences linked to the main site.
What to Look for When Using Online Dating Services?
So, let's get down to the basics.
How does online dating work?
Here are the elements you will encounter in the reviews, and which you can weigh up against one another from the different sites, if you decide to date online:
How Long Does the Sign Up Process Take?
One of the main concerns of many online daters is how involved the sign up process is and how long it takes.
A longer, more detailed sign up and profile completion process is indicative of quality services, which are built for those looking for serious relationships online.
In order to enhance user-experience, and the matching algorithms & compatibility tools, profiles need to be detailed and set-out carefully with invested time and effort.
Some people really are looking to spill it all out there, and so there are options to add longer essay questions by choice, while some have compulsory personality tests and quizzes.
Let us let you in on a little secret…
We found the complex questions, quizzes and tests fun and helpful, and they taught us a lot of things about ourselves that we didn't even know.
These elements reflect the technologies and efforts that are used to establish these online dating sites.
So if you want to guarantee better matches and save time in the long run, don’t be discouraged by longer sign up procedures.
Go on, make yourself a cup of coffee, learn, and have fun!
Following on from this idea is how detailed a profile needs to be.
The more complex it is, the better, because it will feel like you have already gone on a first date with your potential match.
Some of the things to look out for that make up a quality profile are:
- Usernames (Don't reveal your last name just yet; you need some kind of conversation-starter for the first date.)
- Relationship History (There is no shame in being divorced!)
- Age (Age is just a number right? As long as it's above 18, we're happy)
- Hair, eye, body type, height and overall appearance
- Photos (Please, not the same shots in different poses or Instagram filters!)
- Ethnicity and religion
- Smoking and drinking habits (Deal breakers or not?!)
- Skills and hobbies
- Favorite things and preferences
- Detailed descriptions (Yes, we all want to know as much as we can about you so don’t shy away!)
- Any personality quiz results
- Long essay-like questions (For those who want to give that X-factor!)
It all depends on the website, but the best online dating sites offer the opportunity to showcase your personality in style, while some make this compulsory as it is crucial for the overall experience.
Matching & Compatibility Systems – "Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me a Match"
Some of these questions may arise when you consider signing up to such a service:
- Are dating sites a recipe for disaster of will you find the love of your life?!
- Is this platform about throwing caution to the wind and letting fate take its chance!?
- I have already let Lady Luck and fate take the reins, so what is the point in signing up?!
- Are these matches even accurate, or am I wasting my precious time?!
Well, here is the fantastic news!
The top online dating sites operate with scientific matchmaking algorithms, personality tests – basic and detailed, and introductory systems.
They act as a screening pool to sort matches into specific categories in order to connect similar people and to block those unwanted ones.
They also raise an age-old debate, much like the nature versus nurture argument, on whether opposites attract or if you should stick to your kind….
We'll leave that up to you to deliberate over, but here are some teasers!
Spark.com is known for its extensive color code personality quiz, while eHarmony.com boasts a sophisticated matching and compatibility system.
These technological advances in the online dating world speed up the process of finding love online, and establish a strong springboard from which to establish serious relationships.
It's as if you have a mobile matchmaker on call, sorting and selecting suitable matches for you from the countless options.
On the other side of the coin, some sites are not as advanced when it comes to matching, such as Date.com.
Some dating sites rely on your optional essay questions and profile for you to make the decision as to who you want to message and communicate with.
With a website like eHarmony, you don’t have much control of who you can talk to; however, you rely on the fact that your matches tick most of the boxes that you stipulate in your preferences.
On Date.com you have more control of whom you can search for and talk to. If you find someone you can talk to them even if they are not necessarily the perfect match.
When push comes to shove, which is the best option??
Are you just going to land up singing Fiddler on the Roof tunes on matchmaking, or is this serious business?!
This is for you to decide, but all the best online dating sites do a lot of the work for you so that you meet up with desirable partners.
There will always be some rebels out there who don’t fill out the questionnaires or take all the tests, but for the most part, these systems are reliable.
Communication - Guided and Non-Guided
Isn't this one of the most important aspects to keep a relationship alive?!
We often hear marriage counselors and relationship coaches emphasizing the fact that love isn't the only thing that makes the world go around.
The answer is an emphatic YES!
Communication is key and that’s why it makes up a huge part of any online dating site.
As we said before, it is not about creating virtual relationships, but for singles to communicate effectively so that they can meet the right people at the right place, face-to-face.
Every service adds its own touch as to which types of communication are available, but here are some of the ways you can expect to communicate with singles:
- Who has viewed your profile
- Smiles, icebreakers, winks & flirts
- Text, voice and audio messages (Instant Messaging)
- Live Chat
- Message Boards
- Secret Admirer Messages
- Free Communication Weekends
The list is pretty much endless!
The catch about communication is that most of the time free subscribers cannot enjoy all the benefits unless they pay for a membership plan.
However, you can always do a test drive by signing up for free and decide what to do once you receive messages, emails and flirts.
For those shy singles, the dating services offer structured guided communication selections with the option to send private messages at any time if you would like to take control.
For example, some online dating sites invest in the idea of guided communication with lots of fun options to choose from, such as multiple choice questions, lists of 'Makes or Breaks' in relationships, and deep personality questions.
Through innovative and exciting ways, you can reach out to that special someone to talk and flirt.
Communication doesn’t come second best just because these are online dating sites; in fact, it comes first!
Search Tools - Time to Pull Some Sherlock Holmes Moves
Naa, we're kidding…
Well, technically you can undertake some detective work; some of the sites have special features to perform a check on someone who has caught your eye, or should we say, heart.
For the most part; however, search tools are there for you to feel active in your search for love.
The tools provide the opportunity to see what's out there, read others' profiles, and to see who has viewed your profile too.
These tools operate in several manners:
- Filter by age, location, gender, last active/online, etc.
- Who is searching for you and listen you as a Favorite
- Who is in your Favorites List
- Search by photos, lists or profiles
- Search by criteria & keywords
You can perform basic and advanced searches depending on the facilities of the website.
Some online dating sites only allow you to search within the matches they provide for you, whereas the other websites allow you to filter and search as much as you want.
So get out your magnifying glass and start the search for love!
Easy Site Navigation, Design & Interface
It is already difficult to find a life partner, so the website’s interface and design should be a breeze, shouldn’t they?!
Well, most of the time it is, and finding love isn’t like searching for a needle in haystack.
The most vital aspects of these online dating sites are to be able to see who viewed you, who has communicated with you, and to have easily accessible search tools.
Dating is fun and therefore online dating shouldn’t be any different.
While some sites are bit stuck in the 90s, others are advanced and yet simple to use.
Go for whatever floats your boat, just as long as your find that special someone you are looking for and you're having fun!
Pricing – What Is the Cost of Finding Love Online?
You may be wondering why you should pay for love.
Aren't the best things in life supposed to be for free?!
Dating is expensive as it is, right? Especially when you have a few scheduled every other night of the week.
Well, sometimes the result is worth the pay, and if you are looking for a serious relationship, these services are definitely worth it.
Our online dating site reviews specify the different membership options and subscription fees you can choose from.
Most sites have several choices and allow installment plans, mainly 1, 3, 6 and 12-month plans.
Most, if not all the websites we review offer a paid subscription; however, they all have the option for FREE accounts or trials to allow singles to experience the basics of the site and to get a feel for it.
It is important to read the Terms and Conditions, the refund and cancellation policies and FAQs before you commit to any membership plan.
A lot of dating sites work on an auto-renewal system, so in order not to fall in any unwanted legal bindings, its best to ask Customer Care anything you want to know and for you to do you research.
The good news is, is that all the research has already been done for you!
All you have to really do is read our online dating site reviews and it's all in there!
Some websites are pricier than others; you just need to evaluate what suits your needs best.
As we said before, you can actually experience a lot the services have to offer for free, but usually when it comes to communication options, special features, or photo viewing, you will be limited.
Help & Support – You Are Not Alone in This Crazy Thing Called Love
All online dating sites should offer top-notch help and support services, and these are the things you should consider:
- Customer Care & Support
- Relationship Advice & Tips
- Safety Tips & Concerns
- Help/FAQ Sections
- Articles & Blogs
- Forums & Chat Groups
Our dating reviews include services that offer both telephonic and email Customer Care, which is a bonus. Some even have toll-free numbers.
Others just opt for the traditional email method; however, it was important for us to test response time and quality assistance.
A lot of the time there are extremely detailed and helpful FAQ sections that you will not even have to contact Customer Care right away.
It is vital to look for easy and accessible Help sections to feel secure during the whole process.
Safety and security are a huge concern for most users and this is something that isn’t taken lightly with block and report features, as well as online dating safety tips and advice.
All online dating sites should offer top-notch dating tips and advice on how to meet singles online, how to act on first dates, and what to look out for as red flags.
It is even better when there are whole sections dedicated to relationship advice and support, as well as blogs and forums to discuss these things.
If your pick-up lines are a bit lame, don’t despair!
There are wonderful icebreakers on the sites waiting to be used.
The amount of options and quality vary between the sites, but all of them offer a place to go to for a helping hand.
Success Stories – Putting Love to The Test
Well, what would a dating site be without a success stories column?!
It gives credibility to the service, especially when if it claims to be responsible for countless marriages and long-term relationships.
This is definitely something to look out for and give a bit of a browsing to.
It is always fun to hear about others' success at finding love online and puts faith in your chances of doing the same.
Which Online Dating Site Is Best?
We can't make that decision for you, but we are confident our best online dating site reviews can help you make the right choice so you are one step closer to finding the love of your life.
Not sure where to start?
How about our number 1 choice?
READ EHARMONY REVIEW