How to meet people online is a question we get asked all the time! While the sheer number of sites online to meet people is increasing rapidly, so is the competition. It’s easy to join a dating site but that’s not enough anymore. You need to understand how to build a profile that will rise above the competition and get you the notice you deserve. I’ve outlined my top 9 favorite sites that I think have the broadest appeal and are a great place to start. Remember, there is no rule that says that you can’t join more than one site to meet people online! Each site will have a different mix of people with a different agenda, you just need to find the right mix for you. Take a look at my top 9 choices and see what you think!
Today, nearly one in four Americans have gone on a date with someone who they first met on the internet. It is no longer taboo to find the love of your life online. It wasn’t very long ago that looking for love online was seen as scraping the bottom of the barrel. People were in dismay that you would be willing to start a relationship with a total stranger over the internet. If you couldn’t find love in “real life,” then there was something wrong with you.
The past year has brought online dating even further into the mainstream. With social distancing, online dating has become the only type of dating there is for many people! Thankfully, there are over 1,500 dating sites and apps trying to connect you with other people.
Reality Check! What’s the best way to meeting people online?
With over 30 million online dating site users and over 26 million app users in the US alone, you might be surprised that 23 percent of online dating site users have never actually been on a date with anyone from their site or app.
So, why isn’t everyone successful at online dating? What’s the most important thing to consider when choosing your favorite online dating site? Hint: it isn’t the dating site.
No matter which online dating site you use, you will not be successful at meeting new people online without a well-crafted online dating profile. It’s simple, any site you choose will be more effective if you craft a great online dating profile that showcases your strengths and generates interest. I’m sorry to tell you that online dating is a competition, and the best crafted online profile helps you be more successful.
So, what does a well-crafted online dating profile look like? It’s not that hard and with a little effort, you can reap the rewards. You will need a great primary dating picture, some additional photos for your portfolio, including some full-body shots, a well-written profile that showcases your interests and provokes some questions and communication. You will also need to complete whatever site’s basic questionnaire so that their computer algorithm can match you effectively. Don’t waste your time or your money if you are not going to put the effort into your profile. The results will be disappointing.
Many people think that they can avoid adding a photo to their profile, or they take an old photo or a selfie and add it to their profiles and expect it to work. It rarely does. First, if you do not have a dating headshot picture for your profile, many sites won’t bother to display your profile in the search results. If you use an old photo or a selfie then the message you send is that you don’t really care enough or are all that interested. If that’s the message that people are getting from your profile, then why would they bother trying to connect with you?
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If you’re going to review the best places to meet people online, then you must be interested in being successful at meeting new people. If you are, then follow through and create the best dating profile possible or get the help you need to make a stellar dating profile. Dating always has been and always will be a form of competition. The dating sites don’t want you to think about that because you might become intimidated and not want to subscribe to the site and pay the monthly fees.
However, if you look at it for what it is, it is an incredibly effective way to meet lots of new people you would not have had the opportunity to meet. Understand how things work and what you need to stand out from the crowd then just have some fun with it and the right attitude and we know you’ll be successful.
Next Steps to Meeting People Online
The times they are a-changing, and that’s true of dating as much as anything else. Now, over half of Americans think relationships that begin online can be just as successful as relationships that began in the physical world. Similarly, there’s a stereotype that dating sites and apps are almost entirely populated by young people, and in one sense, that’s true. According to Pew Research, nearly half of Americans aged 18-29 have an online dating profile. But according to the same study, 13 percent of seniors are looking for love in the same places!
But if you want to meet people online, you need to know the best places to do it. There are plenty of online platforms from the most legit to the shadiest. But which one should you pick?
Your age range, the kind of relationship you’re looking for, and the amount of time you want to put into the process will all influence which site you should use. There isn’t necessarily one site that’s best for everyone. Different sites will benefit different people depending on their dating goals. In fact, it is a good idea to invest in several paid sites simultaneously to maximize your chances of successful online dating experience, if you want you can throw in a few free dating sites too but beware, with online dating you get what you pay for.
Now before we get too far down the road in finding the right online dating site for you, we want to be clear that even the best online dating site on the planet will do you no good unless you work to create the perfect online profile. It’s simple: everything is driven off of your profile to get you the matches you want. This includes your profile photo, your written profile and that overly frustrating survey that most dating sites have you fill out. In truth, the surveys do help the computer algorithm match you more appropriately but it’s still a huge pain to fill out an extended Myers Briggs personality test just to be able to search for people near you.
One last little statistic you might find interesting, on average people spend about $243 on their online dating accounts per year. That sounds like a lot… until you consider that the average person spends $168 on in-person dating every single month. Dating is an investment in your future. If you like being lonely or leaving your love life up to chance, then good for you. We usually find that being proactive and determined is a better approach. Just don’t forget to have fun along the way; it is dating, after all!
So here you go, below find a sweet little list of the best online dating sites out there today. Take the different attributes of each site into consideration when you decide which one to make a profile on.
Meet People Online With These 9 Best Dating Sites
These are my top 9 choices for the best places to meet people online. Don’t just listen to the ads and jump on the first one you see. You need to do a little research because depending on where you live different dating sites have more members. For instance on the West Coast eHarmony dominates. On the East Coast MAtch.com dominates. Free sites do particularly well in the midwest. Now there are exceptions to the rule so you just need to talk to people and find out what sites they’ve had success with. You can always spend a little bit more money to test several sites with the same profile in order to get an idea of which sites is strongest in your area. It’s better than focusing on a single site for a year only to find out that you wasted all that money because they only have a few active members in your area.
1. Meet People Online With eHarmony.com
You’ve probably seen the commercials with the old white dude guaranteeing success on eHarmony.com.
Despite the fact that the man has the voice of your most boring professor, his website, eHarmony.com is one of the biggest successes in online dating.
With over 15.5 million active users, you’re bound to find someone you like.
Here are some stats to see if it’s a good fit for you:
69 percent of men and 71 percent of women meet their spouse within a year
According to eHarmony’s “Married Couples by the Numbers Facts” report, almost three-fourths of men and women have met their spouse within a year of joining the site. That could be you.
eHarmony creates over 15 million matches every single day
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, eHarmony creates 15 million matches every day. The best part is they do the matching for you (i.e., no heavy lifting).
4% of new US married couples met on eHarmony
Four percent of marriages in the U.S. have happened because of eHarmony, even more proof that a unique matching system works. In total, an estimated 542 people are married every single day thanks to eHarmony.
700,000+ eHarmony couples have gotten married
Nearly three-quarters of a million people and counting who met on eHarmony and became a couple has tied the knot. They’ll even give you a free gift if you’re one of them.
The eHarmony divorce rate is less than 10% of the US average
According to an interview with Bloomberg, the divorce rate of married couples who met on eHarmony is just 3.86%, while the national U.S. average is 50%, according to the American Psychological Association. This means you’re 92% more likely to divorce if you and your spouse didn’t meet on eHarmony.
15,000 new members sign up every day
About 15,000 men and women a day fill out eHarmony’s questionnaire for its compatibility matching system, which consists of about 100 questions like “Do you crave company or prefer to be alone?” and “Do you find humor to be your favorite coping strategy when dealing with the world?”
eHarmony has a large user base with over 15 million in the US and millions more from around the world! It also offers an easy sign-up process, clean layout, and a free trial that lets you test it out before you commit, which all contribute to it being one of the leading dating sites out there.
2. Meet people on Match.com
Match.com is possibly THE largest online dating company in the world, with over 21 million users and growing. Match.com users skew older than other sites, with the largest number,
- 27%, in the 35 to 44 age range.
- 22% of users are between age 25 and 34, and
- an additional 16% are between 18 and 24.
- 14% of users are over age 54, right in line with the share of older users in the general online dating market.
Match.com also skews towards an educated user base: 91% have either attended or graduated from college. In addition, as you might expect from a site with many middle-aged users, 44% are single parents.
But just because you’re less educated or don’t want kids doesn’t mean you can’t find a match. The search criteria that members indicate as important but end up breaking most often? Income and “Want Kids” parameters.
No matter your age range, you will be able to find others like you. Though you don’t have to date someone the same age as you, it may help you find people who are at the same place in life and people who want similar things. If you’re looking for someone older/younger than you, hey, you can find them here too, I’m not judging.
The diversity of Match.com certainly makes it appealing to a larger audience. Some people are hesitant to use dating sites because they think it’s all young people or desperate people. These statistics from Match show you that that is not true. In addition, Match Group, the parent company of Match, owns many of the online dating sites you see frequently today including Tinder and SilverSingels to name a few.
Match is free up to a point. But they have a paywall. If you actually want to contact your matches, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee. The one-month cost is $35.99, with a discounted $19.99-per-month rate for three-month memberships, or $17.99 per month for a six-month plan.
We’re all quite used to free services on the internet. Free social media, free tv, etc. But when it comes to something like online dating, free doesn’t always mean the best.
3. Try Your Luck with Free Dating Sites
Free dating sites are typically filled with scammers and cat-fishers. These people go to the free sites because they probably have a dozen or so profiles set up on each one in an attempt to trick more people. They don’t want to have to pay for that many profiles.
While there are definitely some real people looking for love on those sites, they may be a lot harder to find. Scammers will be trying to convince you that they are legit. So, you have to be extra cautious and a little bit suspicious of everyone who reaches out to you on a free site.
Paywalls weed out the lookie-loos of the internet. This filters your choices down to people who are actually looking for love (hopefully). This helps the service gear toward more serious people who aren’t just looking to hook up but might be looking to go on a few dates or even be life-partners at some point.
If you have the means, and you want to get serious about your online dating experience, you may just be better off paying.
1. Spark up Some Tinder in Your Love Life
On the complete opposite side, we have Tinder.
Tinder became a social phenom a few years ago when the term “swipe right” broke out of its contextual bounds and jumped on into the mainstream.
“Swipe right” essentially denotes approval of something. And in the Tinder mobile app, to approve of someone you like, you swipe right on your screen.
When you swipe right, you add the person to your “like” list. If someone you “like” likes you, then you are able to talk to them.
Tinder is owned by the Match Group, the same folks who brought us Match.com. It lives up to its parent company’s name, with over 20 billion total matches and more than a million new dates each week. This is the place to go if you’re looking for a quick, low-maintenance online dating option.
This is speed dating for the tech age. It’s not full-on matchmaking, and it’s usually all about appearances, which can be kind of dangerous. But isn’t that how you choose to introduce yourself to in the real world anyway?
“Swipe right” essentially denotes approval of something. And in the Tinder mobile app, to approve of someone you like, you swipe right on your screen.
Tinder has become very popular with younger people who are more interested in the casual dating scene. This isn’t necessarily the app that you want to use to find a potential spouse (though I’m sure some casual relationships have evolved into long-term ones).
Tinder shows you other people in your area that have the app. It keeps you as close to home as you want to be. It’s meant to be used for establishing contact so that you can schedule dates in the “real world.”
The only real downside to using Tinder is that you have to have a Facebook profile. The site relies heavily on your Facebook information and the site won’t let you play until you log-in with your Facebook.
While it may feel uncomfortable to give that much information, you at least have the reassurance that the people you are matching with went through the same verification process. It’s important that you are still cautious when you talk to the people that you match with, but you probably encounter fewer scammers because of this requirement.
If you don’t mind giving over your Facebook information to Tinder, then this is a bloat-free app that will get you to meet people online with a quick swipe of your finger. So, we totally swipe right on Tinder.
2. Meet Up With People on Meetup
While not exactly a dating site, Meetup is still a great place to meet people online who have the same interests as you.
Meetup is essentially a forum meant to connect people with similar interests nearby and help them Meetup to do fun or interesting things in real life.
Once you join Meetup, you can join in groups that interest you. These groups may go to different events in town or host smaller events in their homes or public spaces like libraries. These can be based on whatever your interest is: books, sporting events, exercise, whatever! You can use these groups to build relationships in a more organic way.
If you can’t find a group that you are interested in joining, you can always start your own. You can even start a group for local singles who want to socialize and meet new people. That way, the people attending the event will be people who are also interested in finding a relationship.
Some of the best dating relationships actually happen around things you like to do together. Look at all the movie stars who hook-up and get married on set! Well…only a few of them might actually be a wholesome example.
Meetup currently hosts over 35 million active members. These members have formed over 225,000 groups focusing on various interests. There are tens of thousands of events in any given week. With Meetup, you can meet new people who share your interests and build a relationship with them in a more traditional way.
Some of the best dating relationships actually happen around things you like to do together.
It’s important to keep in mind that dating is not the main focus of meetup. The other people in the groups may be in a relationship or may not be interested in a relationship, especially if the group is focused around another interest, like doing yoga in the park. So, be respectful of other peoples’ boundaries and keep realistic expectations.
Meetup is free. And, despite the fact it’s not primarily a dating site, a lot of singles groups have cropped up on there. This is a great option if you’re feeling nervous about meeting strangers through the internet.
These groups often meet in public places. There’s a lot of people, so if you’re not vibing well with one person, there are other people to talk to! You will have the security of being in a group and being in a place where you feel safe for your first meeting (or first few meetings).
Now you don’t have to join a church to find good looking singles groups. Just get on Meetup!
3. Plenty of Fish in the Sea
When you broke up with your first love, did your mom ever tell you that there are “plenty of fish in the sea”?
Well, someone took that phrase to heart and created an easy to use dating site built around the concept.
Plenty of Fish is a comprehensive dating site with the simplicity of Tinder and the robust brains of Match.
This dating site isn’t just interested in helping you find a new partner, but also in helping you create more healthy relationships. There are quizzes to help you meet the right person, to discover why your past relationships didn’t work, and to give you advice on how to make your future relationships more successful.
If you rush through the process, you’ll waste a lot of time later on sifting through suitors that you aren’t interested in.
Plenty of Fish is a great option for establishing long-term healthy relationships.
There are over 150 million Plenty of Fish users worldwide, with roughly 4 million active on any given day. With over 50,000 new members per day, the options are truly endless!
Just like Tinder, you “like” people. But the people you see will become more accurately matched to you if you put more into your profile. The more work you put into your profile and quizzes, the better chance you will have of finding someone for you.
If you rush through the process, you’ll waste a lot of time later on sifting through suitors that you aren’t interested in. If you take the time to create a great profile upfront, you will be able to just focus on the good ones.
You have two options for fishing: speed or accuracy. You can’t have both. What do you think this is? Elder Scrolls?
On the other side of the spectrum, you can use the MeetMe feature and quickly find singles in your area that match your interests. Or you can filter by interest or by people who live nearby. If you’re looking for something more casual, this is the feature you want.
If you put a lot of effort into your profile, the MeetMe feature will be fairly accurate and you should find someone to date pretty quickly.
It’s all free and you can download it to your phone.
4. OK… Cupid?
Despite the fact the title of this site gives you uncomfortable images of weird baby angels shooting you with arrows, it’s a free online dating site with an interesting twist.
You get to go through a personality test. The test allows OKCupid to match you up with people who are compatible. If you feel like you’d do well on a personality test, you might meet people online through OkCupid.
It’s a bit of work to get thoroughly tested. But once you finish, you’ll feel accomplished and hopeful. Not only that but, just like Plenty of Fish, the more work and time you put into it in the beginning, the less work you will have to do later. You will get the best results if you just persevere.
OkCupid has over 50 million active users, with more than 50,000 new dates per week. These aren’t just flings, either! OkCupid is mentioned in the New York Times wedding announcements section more frequently than any other app.
If you’re hesitant to leave your meat locker too hastily, then OkCupid might be for you. You can use their Quickmatch to quickly rate and connect with matches. You can even get notifications on mutual interest as you go.
If you want advice on how to become an expert on OkCupid, check out the OkCupid subReddit.
5. Zoosk Your Way to Dating Success
Zoosk is a free dating app that started as a Facebook dating app. It still maintains part of that spirit, with the ability to import your personal data directly from Facebook. You can also import information from Google or start from scratch with a totally blank page.
The free version of Zoosk is ad-supported, so you have to watch an ad to do just about anything. Want to send someone a message, or find out who hit “like” on your profile? Prepare to watch an ad, possibly an ad for another dating service.
That said, the paid membership for Zoosk is quite reasonable, at only $12.39 per month for a six-month subscription If you only want to buy a single month, the cost will be $29.95.
Zoosk offers two modes: a more traditional model where you browse user profiles, and a Tinder-style “carousel” mode where you swipe left or right.
Unfortunately, Zoosk’s virtual dating options are limited to a simple video call feature. In the era of Covid, that’s a steep limitation.
6. Open the Door to Romance with Hinge
Hinge is a newer dating app that’s quickly reached the top 10 in terms of possibility. Their pitch is simple: they’re designed to be deleted!
No, this isn’t some crazy James Bond-style app that deletes itself or blows up your phone. It’s just designed more with an eye towards romance than towards casual hookups.
In terms of functionality, it looks and feels like a more traditional dating site. You answer a series of questions, build a profile, and find other users you can pair with.
Memberships are very reasonably priced. A single month is only $19.99, with discounted rates for ordering shorter memberships. Three months costs $20,97, while a six-month membership is an insanely cheap $29.99.
Conclusion: So Many to Choose From
Our advice? Peruse our list and just pick one.
Any of these sites could be instrumental in helping you meet people online. Once you meet people, you’ll find out what you like and don’t like about the services. Maybe you like the quick and low-maintenance format of something like Tinder, or maybe you need the in-depth support of a site like Match.
The only way that you can figure out what you need or what you want is to see what’s out there!
There’s really no downside to creating an online dating profile just to see how it goes. If you don’t like the features or you aren’t finding the right profile for you, ditch it! Try a new one. Ultimately, online dating (or any kind of dating, really) is a trial-and-error process. You just need to dive into the deep end and figure it out.
Just like dating in the “real world,” you have to put in the time and effort to find and maintain a good relationship. But the best thing that you can do is just be yourself. Be honest about who you are and what you want from a partner, whether that’s a long-term romance or some short-term companionship. If you’re upfront about everything, it’ll be easier to find what you’re looking for.
What are your favorite dating sites online? Let us know in the comments below. And, as always, make those profiles count!
About the Author
Claire Bahn has over 15 years of working as a personal branding expert helping clients build authority and influence through their online profiles and social media accounts.
Her background includes branding, public relations, Social Media, and marketing, as well as, entrepreneurship. She has a passion to help executives, entrepreneurs, and influencers strategize and create their best personal brand.
She is currently the CEO and Co-founder of Online Profile Pros and Stratus Branding. Ms. Bahn recognizes that first impressions are made online and the fastest way to achieving your goals is by taking command of your personal brand through your online profiles and social media. She started Online Profile Pros and Stratus Branding to help individuals create, maintain and protect their personal brands so that they achieve the authority, influence, and trust they need to succeed at online dating or their job search.
She’s been featured in numerous publications and news outlets including Forbes and Entrepreneur magazines, as well as, many other publications and podcasts.
Ms. Bahn is a former model and actress, appearing in national ad campaigns for major retailers. An avid fashion/lifestyle blogger she’s a recognized influencer. Ms. Bahn holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, CA with her 2 red miniature pinchers, Beau and Trixie.