This post is a supplemental update to a video I created in February 2017 entitled “How To Start A Dating Site From Scratch – Make Money Working From Home”. You’ll find that video at the foot of this post.
Since uploading that video I’ve received numerous questions and requests for additional advice from people considering this business. In this post I have I’ve re-written the original script, made some alterations, and additional information.
So if you’re thinking of starting a dating site for a particular niche, read this post to the end before you make any decisions.
Your first site could be a part time job that brings in a little extra income each month but it could expand into a full time occupation consisting of one large site or a portfolio of several sites.
My Dating Site Webmaster Experience
I started my first online dating site in 2004. The following year I started several more. I sold one of the more successful ones and have kept most of the others going since.
So how can you be part of this industry? What options and opportunities are there for a newcomer?
Even though online dating has been around for a long time now there are still opportunities for anyone with the dedication to succeed.
It’s not a path to instant riches but if you invest your time and money wisely you stand a good chance of generating a healthy return.
You should not underestimate the effort involved. Like any business it takes time, persistence, and a certain amount of risk to succeed.
Building an online dating business is like creating a vineyard. You’ll have to nurture it carefully for a while before you can pick the grapes and enjoy the wine.
Three Main Types of Dating Site
But first, let’s begin by looking at the three main types of dating site:
- The stand-alone, independent dating site.
- The white label dating site.
- The affiliate dating site.
Below this post you’ll find some links to companies that provide the resources you need for each of these types.
The Independent Dating Site
The independent site means that you, the owner, retain full control over the site. This means you have full autonomy and can change it in way you like at any time. You retain all the income that the site generates.
Obviously, when the site is new, you’ll probably be spending more on marketing and development than you receive in income but if the site succeeds then you keep all the profits.
The disadvantage is that you’re also responsible for all the day to day administration. This means you have to check all the profiles, answer all emails, and deal with all other aspects of administering an online dating site.
You can outsource these tasks to a contractor or delegate it to an employee if your company is large enough but either way you will have to pay for someone else to do the administrative tasks.
The foundation for your successful independent dating website is the software. Get that right and it makes the whole job so much easier for you and for your members.
Skadate have been developing their software since 2004 and it’s packed with features – all the functions you’ll want as an administrator and all the features your members would expect of a modern dating site.
The White Label Site
A white label dating site is one that brings you into partnership with an existing online dating company.
They provide the platform, access to an existing database of members, and all the technical and administrative support.
You can make your white label site as small or large as you like. You can develop it into a multi page site and add a blog or even a shop if you think it’s a sound business idea but remember your prime purpose is to convert visitors into new members and existing members into subscribers.
The partnership with a white label company will involve sharing the site’s revenue. What percentage you receive each month depends on the agreement and how well your site performs.
You may find that there are variations created by any temporary promotions or deals but you should be able to collect at least 35% of the site’s revenue each month.
Your role in the partnership is to start the site, develop the design, and market it to the target audience or niche (more on the niche sites later).
The advantages are that all the the back-end tasks (technical and administrative) are taken care of for you. All you have to do with the site is to market it month after month.
Another advantage is that the white label company could be a leading brand in the online dating world, so your site might be able to display links to Customer Charters and other reassuring evidence of high level of integrity.
The disadvantage as you’ve probably already guessed is that you have to give up a large proportion of the site’s income.
Here’s an example of a white label dating site: www.lovegenerations.com
The Affiliate Site
An affiliate site is similar to the white label site but it’s generally a simpler process to set up. The revenue share is usually a fixed rate which may be a choice between a small sum for new members and and a larger sum for new subscribers.
The advantage of this type of site is that it’s quick and easy to set up and most affiliate companies have niche networks ready for you. All you have to do is to choose the niche you want to develop a site around.
The disadvantage is that it can take a little while to make changes to your site if you want to amend or improve it in any way.
Here’s an example of an affiliate dating site: www.horseandcountrylovers.com
Here’s an example of an affiliate scheme you can join to promote online dating for the over 50s.
Choosing Your Target Market
General or vanilla dating sites are those that try to match -make straight single men and women.
A niche (or niche as our American friends say) dating site is one that targets as specific section of the community.
This could be anything from a group based on religion, sexual orientation, hobbies, age, profession, ethnicity, and many other factors.
You may be able to think of a new niche that hasn’t been targeted yet. Alternatively, you could create a site for people who belong to an existing tried and tested niche that still has plenty of scope for growth.
You will need to do some market and keyword research in order to determine the size of the niche. Take into account the demographics of the people and any seasonal trends.
It’s an advantage to choose a niche that interests you. The reason being that you can save money by writing new content for your site yourself if it’s a subject with which you are familiar.
If you can draw on personal experiences then your writing will be of interest to your target audience and you can provide this content at no cost to you other than the time it takes to write it.
Marketing And Promoting A Dating Site
Once you’ve chosen your niche and set up the site you’ll be ready to start the next phase.
Before you begin your marketing and promoting, make sure you’ve thoroughly tested the site and all its features and functions.
Sort out any bugs and fix anything that doesn’t work.
Obviously, you’ll want to use the free social media; Twitter, a Facebook page, and perhaps a blog or a YouTube channel, or all of them.
It all depends on how many resources and skills you have in your team.
Social media is an important tool but again, it takes time to build a brand and to develop the trust that will persuade people to follow your links.
You’ll also have to make use of paid advertising in the form of things like Google Adwords and perhaps print advertising in magazines that are for people in your niche.
Adwords takes some getting used to but there is plenty of free instruction online. It can be particularly useful if you develop a YouTube channel and then promote your best videos as video adverts.
I hope you this post helpful. If you have any questions please post a comment below.
Note: Since writing this post I have created an online course on this subject which takes you through the entire process in much more detail. He is an introduction to my online dating course.