Building your online dating business: new ideas, how-tos, and more This start-up guide will help you organize the scattered information about starting an online business that you have learnt from various sources. We are going to give you step-by-step advice on what you need to do to get your site up and running, promote it, attract new visitors and make them come back to your site. The idea of a future website is only a small part of the ordeal. It is a long journey from starting a dating website to making it popular. We hope that this manual will make the process way easier for you. This start-up guide has been compiled by a number of experts on both dating sites and marketing, for which we are very grateful.
HOW TO CREATE A DATING WEBSITE Preparing to launch If you are reading this article, you have probably decided to start your own dating business. Where to begin? We suggest that you check out the information below.
1. Get your business plan straight. Decide what kind of audience you are going to target: where they live, where they work, what they enjoy doing in their free time and how they date. Adjust your dating site suggestions accordingly. Specify the niche your dating site may fill in, be it dating for trekkies, cat lovers or people who want children.
2. Choose a name for your business and find a matching domain name. You can browse domains provided by GoDaddy.com or other domain name registrars. The shorter the domain name, the better, mostly because they are easier to memorize and faster to type. Popular top-level domains include .com, .net and country-specific domains such as .uk, .ca, .au, .de and the like. In the dating industry, it is important that you have a site name that â€˜makes sense,â€™ conveys your message and helps connect with your dating audience. Good examples of names include Dating.com or Christiansingles.com.
The next thing that you need to do is to get a hosting account. It is fine to go with shared hosting for the first few months while you are working to pull in new members. You can always upgrade your plan or move to a dedicated server at a later time.
3. Now it’s time to decide on the website software. Our advice: rather than develop customized software from scratch, save yourself the time and money and go for an off-the-shelf solution that you only need to install and set up to get it going. The thing with customized software is that you need to have a very clear understanding of what you want to achieve, both design- and functionality-wise, to not overpay and miss the deadline. Many people prefer to use “from-the-box” solutions. Consider using ready-made scripts, of which there are quite a few, until you become a weathered veteran of web fights. If you plan to start a serious dating service, think about PG Dating Pro software platform for a faster launch. It has all the necessary features that people require on a dating site: searches, profiles, matches, messages, and so on. The key factor is simplicity. Dating Pro has a fully functional administration panel where you can manage users, payments, site design, and site texts. No special programming or designer knowledge is needed for the software. You will also get free support and installation services which will help a lot while you learn how the software works. Also, they offer a lot of additional services, like hosting, webmaster services, SEO audit and promotion, and so on.
Now that you have a dating site installed on your server, what’s next?
Branding After your site is fully operational and before it is ready to go live, make sure that your website looks original and offers interesting content to the visitors - brand your site. Have your own logo created: apply it to your site using a color scheme that matches the logotype. Create inspiring texts that will relate to your members (see point 1). Copyright your site. Make sure you cover the advantages and unique feel of your dating site.
Dating Pro solution offers several branding tools, such as: - Dynamic elements on the landing page - WISYWIG editor to post articles and other text info - Logotype editor - Banners - Background image & main page slider/banner editor - Color scheme editor Apply the changes to help your site stand out from the crowd and take a stand in the selected niche. Pilot Groupâ€™s own customization team offers a wide range of services: - modifying existing functionality of all Pilot Group software products - developing additional functionality - integrating ready design templates - creating and implementing new design themes - integrating third-party solutions with the product - adding new payment gateways to the system - anything else you wish to implement
Making sure your site is SEO-compliant PG Dating Pro offers a special SEO module that will help you set up metatags for every user page that a search engine crawler may be interested in. Metatags and page URLs can be edited directly from the administration panel. Before you start, do some research to find out more about your competitors, what keywords they are using on their websites (in Google AdWords) and the like. Compile a list of the most popular keywords and use them in your site texts and add them to your metatags: titles, descriptions and keywords. Consider some rules that will help you keep within limits: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2012/10/03/keyword-content-marketing-faq ; http://www.mequoda.com/articles/keyword-strategy-articles/the-best-seo-keyword-strategyhow-to-pick-seo-keyword-fights-you-can-win/ Some other things to consider when doing the Search Engine Optimization for your site: 1. Set up unique metatags for the site pages. 2. Enable mod_rewrite option (Apache web server module) to be able to edit URLs. For example, you will be able to make a news page available through the following link:
http://www.yourdomain.name/news/news-title.html. Search engines will “understand” the content of an appropriate page and rate it higher in search results. 3. Ready search results by site member’s location. 4. Site analytics code: put Google Analytics code into your site (or code by another provider) so it is easier to track relevant criteria in user behavior. We also recommend that you sign up in Google Webmaster Tools (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home) to keep track of your site details. If you want search engines to stop indexing certain site pages (such as archives, duplicated pages), add links to these pages into a robots.txt file. More instructions here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/156449?hl=en
Google offers a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide that we find very useful: http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/www.google.com/en// webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf
Other things to consider This is a list of things that are essential for the correct site work, and it is important that you set them all up before you start to accept new members. The reason is that after your site begins to attract lots of new visitors, in-between changes may result in users losing some of their data so they will either have to re-edit their profile details, or they will be moved to the wrong membership group, and so on. More on that below: 1. First of all, edit the administrator name and email as they will be used in site notifications as FROM information. 2. Select active site currency (e.g. USD). 3. Activate payment gateways that you will use to accept payments. Make sure that you have signed up as merchant. Dating Pro script offers the following integrated options: PayPal, Authorize.net, 2CO, Robokassa, Google Wallet, Webmoney, Skrill, offline payments (wire transfer). 4. Edit prices and commission for paid services. 5. Install countries and edit location info where necessary (for example cities names).
Dating site promotion Your main purpose at this stage is to let your potential customers know about your dating website. One of the ways to achieve this goal is to collect backlinks to your website. The process is very labor-consuming. However, you cannot do without it. We advise taking the following steps:
1. Get links from trusted catalogues: general ones like DMOZ, Yahoo or Best of the Web (BOTW), or local ones like Yelp, Google places, and local.com. You will also need to sign up for catalogues of dating websites. Request a review from http://www.datingsitesreviews.com/ and
similar sites. 2. Exchange links. When you are looking for link exchange resources, select the websites that are relevant to your niche. This means that you should only post information on your website that has the potential of being interesting or useful to your site visitors. 3. Join dating banner ad networks. Check online advertisers like WebMedia or Romancenet. What you need to do is simply add their banner to your dating site and they will rotate your banner on other dating websites in return. Everyone profits by gaining public attention. 4. Publish unique articles on your topic. This can be as simple as a piece of advice on how to act on a first date, How to Create a Healthy Relationship, Cheap Date Ideas and more. You can post such articles directly on your website or on E-zine resources. It is very important that the authorâ€™s copyrights are confirmed. In order to have your content linked to yourself, file an article in your Google Plus account and add rel="author" attribute into your article. You will find more detailed instructions here: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-authorship-markup-a-great-platform-for-uniqueidentification/60580/.
5. Make use of social media. Create a group or page on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, post and pin images on Pinterest, promote your website in your local social networks. Talk to your users. To strengthen your presence in social networks, you can use social media management tools like HootSuite.com or FriendsPlus.me. They allow posting to several social networks and WordPress blogs from one place. Just make sure to make each message unique. Otherwise your messages may be considered spam.
6. You may also need to use contextual ads. Contextual advertising is selective and is only displayed to website visitors who are potentially interested in the advertised product or goods. Thus, only your target audience gets to see your ad which increases the chances of them responding to the ad. Contextual advertising lets you set up your ads to display them in a certain region, at a certain time period, to introduce age limits, and more. The most popular contextual advertising service providers are Google AdWords, Yahoo! Bing Network Contextual Ads, and Microsoft adCenter. The operating principles are very similar. Depending upon the format, there are text, banner, or video ads.
7. Create as much content about your website as possible. By simply communicating on forums you can reach at least two goals: learning more on dating site promotion and adding a link to your website. One of the ways to do this is to add your site’s domain name into the user’s signature. Leave comments to blog posts. By leaving comments to posts and articles, site owners may make themselves known, as almost any comment in a blog or forum lets publish links to the reviewer’s own web resources. Even classified ads websites, such as Craigslist, can be of help.
8. Use offline advertising: local newspapers and magazines, auto stickers, T-shirt prints, promotional gifts, etc. If your website is targeted at a local audience, offline ads may be one of the most effective means to promote it.
Do not forget the unfading favorite, the good old Yellow Pages – printed or online.
10. Post success stories of your site members who met each other thanks to you. By talking to your site users, you will receive a lot of feedback on the site. Of course, when someone gets married or starts dating someone they met online, the happy couple will be glad to write you a thank you letter. You can hardly find better information to share with your site visitors.
11. Recruit Affiliates. Affiliate module of your dating script (if available) will allow you to manage your affiliates and draw traffic to your website. Your affiliates register on the site to get links and banners that they can post on any other websites to attract attention. 12. Publish videos. A video may include all kinds of information that you wish to share. It can be your site promotion, dating tips and advice, how-tos, stories of personal experience, and so on. Video is a nice way to bring your message across as it is entertaining and easy to tune in.
13. Use coupons and promo codes. For a dating website that offers paid services, coupons and promo codes may become another effective means of promotion. There are hundreds of web resources out there that will let you post your coupons. Try local resources that are popular in your region, or you can go for the better-known services such as The Coupon Clippers or Coupons.com. Please note:
When you post information about your dating website on the Internet, be honest and do not use black-hat SEO tools, because it will only get your site banned. Algorithms used by search engines are constantly evolving and becoming more and more efficient in working out devious methods. Keep promoting the site. If people are not talking about your dating site, it is not getting that much traffic. The more coverage, the more traffic you will get.
Be patient and careful and you will see a stable flow of site visitors. We wish you the best of luck on your way to success!