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Thread: Online Dating Website - Help Needed - Urgent

  1. #1
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    Post Online Dating Website - Help Needed - Urgent

    Dear friends,

    I am planning to launch a subscription based online dating website. I understand that there is a lot of competition already in the market but still I would like to explore this area to find a suitable business opportunity. In order to achieve this, the first look & feel of the website should be mesmerizing with some excellent features/services delivered at a lesser cost than the market. There is a saying that your website should grab the attention of a casual visitor within 4 seconds, or else you risk losing that customer, who may probably go to a competitor’s website.

    The basic features which I am looking for are listed below –

    • Subscription based login
    • Superb search/advance search function, auto find matches
    • Payment gateway linked
    • Inbuilt chat facility
    • Easily self-managed via a user friendly CMS

    Once the site is popular & I start earning, I will invest more money to make it better. But currently I am looking for options in which I can get this site build in the cheap & best manner. My budget is low so please advise accordingly. Thanks a million in advance!

    Regards
    Vipin

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    What do you consider a low budget? I would guess you'll be spending $3000-$5000 for your site? Even more if the graphics are extensive.

    Your site needs to be custom. Using WordPress with a pre-canned theme (or using Joomla, Drupal, etc) would put you in a non-competitive position. If you did use something like WordPress, you could get a site that works, but it would still require tons of custom graphics and scripting. The price would remain in the same range.


  4. #3
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Honestly, you need to think this through in more than just generalities. Almost everything you've just said indicates that you haven't done that.

    A "mesmerizing" look and feel is highly subjective. What I find "mesmerizing" is going to be different than what you do and is probably going to be different than what most of your target market does. This is why I hate phrases like this...they're vague and ambiguous.

    "Superb search"? Okay, what is that? What does a "superb search" do, exactly? If you're going to say "provides the best possible matches"...again, that's subjective.

    What niche within the dating market are you targeting? Is there even a niche that hasn't been milked dry yet? The competition between the Lavalifes and the PoFs and the Ashley Madisons and the jDates and the Marry An Exotic Woman from a South Pacific Island That Hasn't Even Been Discovered Yet is pretty fierce...if you're "on a low budget", you'd either better have a really good idea and a really good niche or you may as well save your money and do something else. You also said you want to deliver features at "less than market value"; that suggests that your idea already does exist and has a market value (whatever that is).

    The only thing I can tell you is what mlseim already did: everything will have to be custom. Graphics, and especially any coding. That's probably going to cost you, and I would say $3000-$5000 is getting off cheap on that end...and that's before you market the thing, which will make the cost of your site look like you spent $10 on an alarm clock at Wal-Mart.
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    Thank you so much mlseim & TheGame1264. I really appreciate your eye opening comments.

    Well I am from India & I am not sure if the website development costs are more or less similar to USA between $3000 to $5000 what you have mentioned. Yes you are right that the idea is not new & I have already accepted that in my post. Online dating in India is very popular in all other countries and slowly picking up pace in India as well where people are more conservative & shy to be open to ask for a date.

    Since this is not a new/innovative idea I can only sell it IF at all I can provide them something better what is already in the market and at a cheaper price. Although I am an IT professional but website development/software programming is not my core competency. Thats why I am looking for an expert advise from senior professionals like you so that I can get to the right direction.

    To be honest I can spend the above mentioned budget also to have my "desired" website built but my only worry is that I should get the real value out of it. The money spent should be worth to attract people in India first and then global.

    I have not decided on any specific niche. I am planning to launch a general dating website for all age groups to find friendship, love, flirting, dating and marriage in India. The idea behind is to be find your perfect date online. I am still in the process of doing research over this topic but wanted to get some ideas from experts like you so that I am driven into the right direction and do not misuse the money.

    Please advise. I am open for suggestions.

  6. #5
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    That's just it...let's say we told you something. Let's say we told you to pattern your search after PoF's search as an example. We tell you that, and you think it's good advice. The hundreds of other people from India who read this thread also think it's good advice, and now "your" idea is diluted by the fact that it's public. That's the nature of the Internet...people steal ideas and recycle them. Sorry...reuse ideas. That's what I meant to say.

    Basically, if you want something better you're going to have to think of it yourself and either build it yourself or have some ironclad NDAs signed by the people who work on it for you. Sounds trite and harsh, but it's the truth.
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    Thanks much TheGame1264 once again for your advice. Nevermind about the harshness of your post because sometimes hard things are used to crack something tough. Well, my idea to post here is not to discuss my idea/concept in detail. After doing some extensive research on this topic, I have already finalized what unique features & things I have to deliver in my services. So I will not be sharing those ideas here. So rest assured that its gonna be patent & unique in nature. As you recommended, I would seal it with a strong NDA.

    Why I am here is to discuss the technical side of it. What should be the language/CMS which is easy to build and managed later, how do I increased my search capabilities (I have heard about Apache Solr and Memcache), how to get my website on the first page of google search by using SEO etc. These are just some examples I shared but there are many. Keeping the cost aside, if you could help me in decide on these things, that would be great.

    If you think it would be a good idea to discuss this in personal space, I can Inbox you such messages or we can talk on gtalk, skype or any other chat software.

    Please advise. Thanks much in advance!

  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Thanks for understanding that I'm not just being harsh for the sake of being harsh!

    What you're asking is way beyond the scope of a forum (not your fault), and most of it stems from the original comment mlseim and I made...there isn't an off-the-shelf CMS that will work for a dating site. That means that you're going custom right off the bat, and there are any number of paths that you can take. Personally, I'd build it using ASP.NET and SQL Server with full text indexing, but if you can find a developer or team that can build it using PHP / MySQL or something else, then you should go that route. It really depends on what resources you have available to you from a design, development, and marketing standpoint, and there isn't a general answer to that question.

    As far as the SEO question is concerned, SEO and design are heavily intertwined...if you take care of a lot of the aspects of good design (clean code, making sure every page only has one URL, optimizing images, etc.), you'll take care of a lot of the SEO issues. If you're talking about marketing (which isn't SEO, contrary to public opinion), that depends on who you want to market to and how you want to reach them.

    That's probably why most people haven't even posted to this thread...a lot of what you're looking for requires customized, tailored advice and a lot of questions. If you'd like me to talk with you about your project on Skype, I'd be willing to do so on a paid consulting basis. PM me for more information.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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    You've received a lot of good advice.

    We manage a pay dating site with almost 100,000 members and over 1 million visits a day. The site is now on managed dedicated servers which are very expensive. Due to the cost of maintaining this site the only reason the site is still alive is because it's owned by a corporation that's using it as a write off.

    There are many dating sites now and you will have some steep competition from these sites: POF which is still free with a paying section. These sites are free: freepersonals.ru, fdating.com, russian-dating.com. datehookup.com. There is another paying site for the men free for the ladies...luckylovers.net.
    These sites are old and well established with a strong competitor match.com.

    We have a developer friend building a free site for women from India only which as far as we know will be the only free English version Indian ladies site in the net and will be hosted in the US.. She has financial backers for the site and I know nothing more about that end of it. I'm sure it will be a major dating site when it opens this Fall.

    There are a lot of risk in a dating site and if you start one. Be sure you and your properties are legally cover and protected in your TOS and Agreement details. The site we manage has a law firm that handled all their legal details before and after they open, and you can get sued so be sure you're legally covered.

    I could write you a book on all of this so I advise you to make sure you have the budget to do this and the legal backing you may or may not need.

    Good Luck on your venture.
    TheGAME1264 likes this.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    Late to the party on this one ( the title of the thread didn't attract me until I got really bored )...

    So, I can't add much more than what the other two guys have provided... but as for marketing the site... well I can tell you, that's gonna be a tough nut to crack without already having thousands of members....

    kinda of a catch22... if you charge a fee for people to use the site, but there's no one on the site to find... or very few options ( I'm assuming your "search" function is going to allow local search )... so how are you going to make money while you're building a "free service" site... yes, I said free service, as that is the only way to attract users to "sign up"... just to build your user base of 10,000 or more members... then you start rolling out "premium services" that people would be willing to pay for... etc...

    and marketing a beast like this ( effectively ), just to build your base to a "credible level of users"... is more than likely gonna cost 2 - 3 times what it cost to build.. the thing is, ( I've not done any research in your market ), but here, I know a person that tried this a few years back and they were spending 2-3K in advertising cost for the first 6 months ( they did offset that with about 1K in ad revenue )... but they were barely paying their hosting cost with their ad revenues, so it's still a big chunk of change for little to no return for the first year ( if your're lucky )... the person I'm familiar with didn't make a dime in profit for almost 18 months... so that puts it about 36 month ROI ( cost of everything to get the site up and running and marketing )...

    this is one of those ( deep pocket ) efforts ( just my opinion ), and most of the newer ones I see startup are only doing so in hopes of being bought out.. not actually building something that will be around for a long time.


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