Author: Olena Medynska
How to Start an Online Dating Service: Complete Online Guide
196 million people worldwide are using online dating websites and applications. They generate $1.7 billion in revenues, and the number is expected to reach $2.5 billion by 2024. People are searching for a person that makes them feel happy and looking for services that will help them find a soulmate with similar looks and interests. 54% of Americans believe that relationships started online are as successful as those which began in person. Most likely, you know many real-life examples of couples that first met on Tinder, Bumble, or similar dating applications.
All the above makes the industry rather attractive for starting a business. In this article, we will discuss how to start your own dating site step-by-step and what features a successful product should possess.
Starting a dating service step-by-step
We have brought together this comprehensive guide to explain how to start an online dating service. The steps below will help you to plan a business thoroughly without missing any details.
Research competitors and users
It doesn’t matter whether you are starting a speed dating business or a matchmaking app: it’s necessary to research the market and get familiar with supply and demand. Analyze dating products, test them, and read what users like and dislike to get a clearer picture of what to include in your app.
Make a list of the wins and drawbacks, highlight standard features that users lack, and use them in the future product. The same goes for the design; get familiar with logos and color schemes used by competitors to understand market preferences. However, this doesn’t mean that you should follow the same color and font patterns. Use them as a starting point for your unique product.
Plan your dating service
Any project starts with a plan. It helps to understand what your business should look like, who the target audience is, and which features to include. Here are a few essential questions to think about at the planning stage.
1. Who is my target audience?
Even though the safest way to launch a dating service is unconfined from a particular category, your product will need a customized set of features, designs, and even titles. Most likely, your potential users are between the ages of 21 and 35, have accounts on Instagram and Facebook, and are advanced smartphone users.
When considering the target audience, don’t forget about retention. If you want users to return to the app, it’s essential to define what they worry about and provide them with a solution. For example, some platforms screen newly registered users to minimize harassment. Others invest money in security measures to protect sensitive data.
Some platforms try to make the process of finding a perfect match convenient and straightforward by giving users a chance to send photos and videos through direct messages or select a user nearby. If you make people feel comfortable and calm, they’ll return to your dating service again.
2. How do I want to make money?
Multiple strategies can monetize an app, such as in-app advertisements, customized swaps, gifts, or monthly subscriptions. Your monetization strategy should depend on the functionality of the app and market preferences.
3. How much will I charge customers?
To plan the budget and investments, you should understand how much the subscription or paid services will cost. The majority of dating sites and applications charge users from $20 to $60 per month. When launching the product, you can offer discounts for long-term subscriptions or a loyalty program with several tiers.
4. How can I make the dating service more profitable?
It may be easy to come up with fresh ideas or to build a modern website. However, it’s quite challenging to increase the platform’s profitability and establish long-lasting relationships with users. Here are a few ideas to earn more on a product:
- Build a sister website to reach particular locations or groups.
- Write a blog and start social media accounts so that your service has a soul and can be trusted.
- Expand your monetization strategy (give users a chance to choose from multiple paid services and plans).
- Partner with local jewelry stores, restaurants, and gift shops by adding a purchase feature to the dating service.
5. How will I name the business?
Choosing the right name is extremely important. It depends on competitors, niche, and your interests. Some want the title to indicate what the product is about, others – to target a particular niche. Some names don’t have a specific meaning. For example, the word bumble, used as a title of a dating app, is a verb and means buzzing of insects.
No matter what title you choose, it should be clear, short, and memorable.
Write a business plan
Based on the information obtained from the answers above, you should compose a plan of everything you want the business to include: offerings, structure summary, marketing analysis, promotion plan, and budget. Choose what niche you are going to occupy, which features to include, how much money you can spend, and add these details to a business plan.
Register the company
Now that you have a clear picture of the future product, it’s necessary to know how to start a dating service business from a legal perspective. Depending on the country of your residence, there may be a set of different procedures and requirements. So the best way is to contact the local authorities and find out what steps to take to register the website or application.
US-based enterprises should complete the following steps:
- Establish a legal business entity (for example, Corporation, LLC, or DBA);
- Register for taxes;
- Open a business credit card and bank account;
- Set up accounting;
- Get necessary licenses and permits;
- Get Certificate of Occupancy;
- Obtain insurance.
Develop a website/ app
By this stage, you’ve legally established your business, and you know how the dating service should look and what the target audience is. Use all these features to come up with a specification. It is a text document that contains a detailed description of how the product should work (essential functions, design, and monetization strategy). Don’t forget to indicate what parameters the search menu should include and which elements need to be available on the user’s profile.
Read the following article to learn more about dating app development https://keyua.org/blog/how-to-create-a-dating-app/ or get in touch with experienced specialists. For example, hire a UI/UX designer who will work on the dating service, the logo, website, and advertisements. Find an experienced team of developers to build the app, and don’t forget about a project manager who will ensure that all the requirements are met accurately and on time.
Promote your dating service
Promotion of the future dating service business should include strategies to attract new users to the app/website and make them stay. This strategy may consist of advertising on social media, reaching market experts and celebrities, launching an MVP model on testing platforms, and promoting the app offline (printing brochures and attending networking meetings).
How much do dating services cost
The sum you’ll need to invest in a dating business varies significantly depending on its type and functionality. A basic website without any sophisticated features and absence of marketing and research expenses may cost around $1,000 (this includes purchasing a domain name and hosting it, buying dating software, and designing a logo).
If you want to build a complex and functional application, be ready to pay around $50,000 for an iOS app. This sum includes hiring developers, UI/UX designers, QA specialists, and project managers. In case the budget is lower, you can launch a Minimum Viable Product with a basic set of features to see how the audience will accept it. Don’t forget about ongoing expenses: monthly salaries, hosting charges, and advertising.
How much will I earn
According to Business Insider, Tinder has earned $1.2 billion in 2019 (43% more than 2018), which means that the industry can be extremely profitable. However, it’s impossible to calculate the exact amount of revenues your dating service business will make because everything depends on the number of users and how much they pay.
For example, if you have chosen a $30 monthly subscription as a monetization strategy and have 4,000 users, it will generate $1.4 million every year. However, it may take much time and investments to attract users and make them want to stay.
One in three people is dating online. Enterprises know that and are using technologies to maximum this opportunity, offering users the chance to find love and build friendships on the Internet. And even though industry giants like Tinder (7.86 million users) and Bumble (5.03 million users) occupy a significant share of the market, there’s enough space for newcomers.
With the steps above, it won’t be difficult for you to start a matchmaking business, especially if you decide to hire an experienced team of developers and designers.