There’s an adage about every cloud having a silver lining. 2020 has been a terrible year for many, with the pandemic impacting so many areas of society across the world. Lockdowns have forced people to alter the way they might have worked for years, but it has also sparked new initiatives. Some are realizing online skills and creativity are the perfect criteria for business start-ups. If you’re a budding entrepreneur, perhaps you’ve considered online dating as an option, an industry was worth $3 billion per year in 2018 in the USA alone? This field may be lucrative, but it is also highly competitive. So here are five essential tips for setting up a successful dating site.
1. Choose your niche
Now you have produced that all-important business plan – which is vital if you are going to be contacting financial outlets about financing your operation – you can focus on more practical concerns. The next fundamental question you have to address is the aspect of this already overcrowded market that will be your main focus. You can utilize special review platforms like beyondthecharter for the initial research of the market to get a glimpse of already established competitors that work in this niche. Will you choose to run a generic dating site that will incorporate subheadings, or would your energies be better focused on covering a more specialized area, be that same-sex relationships, polyamorous dating, or some other suitable topic? The problem with generic platforms is that there are already so many that have already cultivated extensive memberships. Perhaps it would be better to choose a particular field you are already familiar with. If you like computer games or graphic novels, how about improving on dating platforms for geeks, etc?
2. Write a business plan
Regardless of the subject matter, every new business idea requires a formal business plan. This is where you take a step back to consider every aspect of the enterprise you are hoping to develop, from a broad overview of the type of business you intend running and your ultimate goals, to how revenue will be generated, and the steps you will take to promote your venture. At this stage, you should also anticipate any issues that might impact your vision, such as rival competitors encroaching on your area of interest.
Because online dating has become such a crowded marketplace it would be worth using your business plan to outline the competition. What will your website do differently? How will you develop your customer base? How will your functionality entice existing site users away from sites they currently interact with regularly?
Amongst the many other considerations of your business plan should be the logistical aspects of setting up any online business. What is the availability of the domain name are you interested in using? How will this tie in with your brand? Will you use a catchy title that is also descriptive, such as ‘together2night’ or ‘naughtydates’? Or will you think of a more arbitrary one like Zoosk, or Bumble?
3. Focus on design and brand
Online dating sites rely on competently-designed, and intuitive, easily-navigatable interfaces. There would be no point in producing the most ambitious and well-costed business plan if the webpages you cobble together look clunky or contain dead links. These and other negative features will dissuade customers from returning. Designing a web platform was traditionally the area that would swallow a sizeable chunk of any new start-up business’s budget. Professional coders can charge considerably. But the good news for entrepreneurs in the modern era is that there is any number of websites out there offering bespoke solutions: downloadable templates that can be customized according to your vision. Amongst the cardinal considerations are your brand, and consistency of format.
Dating sites traditionally use strong colors to attract attention, but you have to view the overall picture. Your interface must be eye-catching, with a legible typeface. Matchmaking platforms tend to be very visual, so think of the quality of images you will be presenting, and how will these integrate into your page designs.
4. Monetize your platform
When launching an online dating business, the next crucial element of your planning should be how to monetize the functions you are offering customers. As has been stated, online dating can be an extremely lucrative market, but you have to decide how your site will generate income. The majority of dating platforms offer free registration to new members as a way of enticing them to check out what is on offer. But at some point you will have to start charging for your services if you are going to make the profits that will sustain your enterprise.
You need to make a basic decision about which aspects of your site customers are going to be charged for using, and how much to charge. The financial transacting software you build into your site must be robust. You will have the potential to attract customers from far and wide, so you might have to consider currency conversation, credit card processing, or latching onto something like PayPal. Your venture will survive or collapse on how streamlined your monetizing aspect is. If there are glitches or issues with managing payments, your customer base will quickly hemorrhage.
5. Massage your customer base
Once your dating site is up and running, you may well feel a sense of satisfaction. But this is certainly far from the end of the process. It would be more realistic to look upon the launch of your site as merely being the start of a long journey. To keep your venture profitable you have to look upon this as an ongoing concern. No matter how well constructed your pages are, every website in the world requires compelling content. You will need to ensure this remains fresh-looking by introducing new pages regularly, and by giving your site a complete makeover every so often.
Another key issue is to think of ways of incentivizing your customers to keep returning to your platform and placing their trust in you over your competitors. Offer subscribed customers certain privileges, such as adding them to mailing lists, or sending them bulletins about up-and-coming features.