If you are thinking about developing a website for a startup in online dating, analyzing required investments and commercial benefits may help you make the right decision. Find these aspects explained in detail and get familiar with the dating website development process step-by-step.
Why Building An Online Dating Website?
It’s no longer a question of whether an online business needs a mobile app. The pandemic facilitated many companies moving to digital business models for providing their services. According to the latest research, approximately 88% of mobile time is spent on applications. Online dating services are also mainly available via mobile apps.
However, each well-known dating service also has a website, and not without reason. Many internet users still prefer the web to mobile. A Statista report from April 2021 shows that 54.18% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices, excluding tablets. It means that about 46% of traffic is generated from desktop and tablet users.
Andrey Onopriyenko, KeyUA Chief Technology Officer, points at the importance of website development for a dating service: “There are many use cases when a website and the ability to use a desktop are still preferable options. That is why to satisfy all potential user categories, consider creating a dating website together with a mobile app.
Indeed, many people working from the desktop would rather use a website to swipe for new matches or check the updates in their dating profiles. Older users often feel uncomfortable using small mobile screens for texting and viewing photos when trying to find a couple.
You may need the same back-end for both. It won't require massive investment resources, as you may only need to design a different UI/UX layout and develop a responsive front-end part. The decision to set up a dating website has multiple commercial and promotional benefits for such a business:
- Make a dating service convenient for customers who prefer web services
- Get an additional platform to get your service monetized
- Extend promotional possibilities for your business
- Get a powerful tool to communicate your brand to the audience
Today’s popular dating services started with building a dating website and later released mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms. Check a detailed guide on how to create a dating app if you are planning to launch your own app. While mobile apps bring more users than websites, developing a site to announce a new brand in the industry still makes sense.
Must-Have Pages To Create a Dating Website
A dating site is a kind of social media platform that primarily focuses on connecting people who want to date and providing them with various tools for communication. The first thing to consider on how to build a dating website is deciding what pages it should have. Besides the core dating functionalities, a future site should also contain additional pages with information about your dating service. Also, it may have promotional sections, depending on how you will communicate your brand with visitors. The main pages for such a website include:
- Homepage: a welcome screen with sign-up-login buttons, links to app stores, and a menu button.
- Sign up / log in: a registration/log-in form offering different options to enter the dating service.
- Profile: a user profile page with editable fields to fill in different personal information, change subscription plan, contact support team, etc.
- Matches: a page for swiping profiles of potential partners to choose whom a user would like to get acquainted with.
- Inbox: a section with inner conversations, usually text messages. Sometimes there can be a video call interface as well if a service provides such capabilities.
- Subscriptions: a page that contains information about all available subscription plans and allows you to pay for any.
- About: a page containing your service history or any other information about the company you’d like to share with visitors.
- Support: a list of available options to contact the service support. It can be an email form, online chat section, a call-back form, etc.
- Blog: it can be a great place to share the latest service updates, post various specials and other information to engage your existing and potential users. Some dating platforms also share their marketing reports and other statistics useful for investors and various potential partners.
The list can be different based upon your service specificity. For example, if you do not use matching technology, there can be a profile review section with various filtering options. Outline the list of pages to start your own dating website based on the example above. It will help understand how long the development may take and what technologies it may require.
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How to Create a Dating Website Step by Step
The process of dating website development, from outlining an idea to a public release, includes eleven stages. If you are not a developer yourself, make sure to get qualified specialists on board from the very beginning. Translating an abstract idea into a technical language will help to optimize efforts from the start. To launch an eye-catching and smoothly functioning web dating service, follow these steps:
Step 1. Conduct Marketing Research
Before defining the project scope, investigate the current situation on the market and the niche you’d like to occupy with the new website. Research should include the following steps:
- Competitors analysis: define your main competitors, test their websites as a user to outline their weaknesses and strong sides. It gives a solid basis for building your own website functionality and user interface to meet customer expectations.
- Target audience research: learn what your target customer categories are and what types of users you are creating the website for. Get a detailed portrait of your target customers’ behavior, needs, and requirements to create a website that solves their problems the best way.
- Learn industry trends: to make a website profitable in the long run, you should adopt the latest trends in the dating industry. It is vital to utilize the most-wanted features and offer up-to-date mechanics that will be interesting and comfortable to use.
The 3 basic steps to conduct marketing research
Step 2. Goal and Scope Definition
Any website is a product for a business that needs to generate profit for its owners. Therefore, it is essential to align the development with commercial goals.
First, identify your business goals and determine the website functionalities to reach them. Next, outline the future website’s structure and every feature it should provide. Your development partner will estimate the timeline and budget and choose the appropriate tech stack for implementation based on the defined project scope.
Defining the goals and scope of work for creating a dating website
Step 3. Choosing the Domain Name and Web Hosting
The domain name for a dating website needs to reflect your unique brand name and engage users. But, first, ensure there are suitable domain name options available. Then, choose and buy a domain name. It is also essential to find a hosting provider with all necessary website administration and maintenance features. Here are a few criteria to take into account:
- Decide whether you need a managed or unmanaged hosting service based on the project complexity. Managed services get better control on potential security issues, backups, system configurations, and workloads. However, it is available at significantly higher pricing.
- Estimate the expected amount of traffic to choose a suitable plan.
- Define the preferable type of server (shared, dedicated, VPS, cloud servers).
This step requires technical expertise in website administration and server management. KeyUA system engineers will assist in choosing the right hosting service based on your project requirements.
Tips on how to choose a domain name & web hosting for the dating website
Step 4. UI/UX Design
After preparations are done, developers begin working on your website interface. First, they perform user research that results in the following deliverables:
- Personas: outlining the main types of website users by their background, needs, and behavior.
- Storyboards: they help to visualize the user actions and the environment they need to perform them.
- Journey Map: a diagram that displays steps a user takes to achieve his specific goal on your website. It helps understand user needs deeper and plan all features and interactions with the interface to provide users with exactly what they need.
Based on user research, designers create the sitemap and wireframes for each page type, allocate all UI elements, and define how users interact with them.
Tasks for UI/UX designer to create a dating website
Step 5. Visual Design
Based on wireframes, graphic designers create all visual elements for the website pages. The result meets all standards and the brand's identity, including style, fonts, colors, and graphic symbols.
If there are no brand identity elements already designed, designers also work on this. Logo, brand colors, font types, and other style elements are defined for all digital and printed sources.
Visual design tasks for the dating website
Step 6. Front-end Development
Often, front-end developers create a prototype to present to the client for evaluation. It is an early version that demonstrates all UI/UX elements and interactions. Based on the client’s feedback, the developers modify the prototype until it gets approval. Then work on the actual website interface coding starts. This approach is excellent for large-scale websites with complex logic and multiple page types.
Front-end Development Tasks for a Dating Site
Step 7. Back-end Development
Back-end development is focused on how a website works. Developers create the site functionality and connect the server-side and database to the front-end. The back-end code processes all actions performed by a user on the front end to deliver the correct result.
Usually, it is done in parallel with the front-end development. So, while back-end developers build how the website works, front-end specialists are responsible for how it looks for a user.
Back-end Development Tasks for a Dating Website
Step 8. Content Creation
Each website page should be filled with appropriate text and graphic content, keeping SEO (search engine optimization) in mind. It should be high-quality, informative content that is valuable and interesting for website visitors.
Usually, it begins with creating a content plan that defines what content needs to be made with all tasks adequately prioritized. As a rule, it is not limited to a website only. For example, your online dating service is likely to have social network profiles that should be regularly updated with fresh posts. Your team should also prepare press releases, guest posts, various advertisements, and other content for promotional needs. As a rule, a content plan is created together with digital marketing and SEO specialists.
Content Creation Steps for the Dating Website
Step 9. Testing and QA
QA engineers properly test each feature and UI element developed in previous steps to ensure no bugs before the launch. There are multiple types of tests, usually used in different combinations based on the project requirements.
Features and appearance are checked for all possible bugs to ensure optimal website performance. Both automated and manual testing is applied during and after development. Sometimes, beta-testing is also used to get feedback from real users before launching it to the public.
As a result, the development team delivers a bug-free, fully functioning dating website, ready for release.
How to Conduct a testing and QA process for a Dating Website
Step 10. Launch
When everything is in place and works fine, you can make the dating website public and available for visitors. The public release is usually supported by a marketing campaign to make it known and talked about so that future users get interested in trying your dating website.
Marketing Campaign Tips for a Dating Site
Step 11. Post-release Support and Maintenance
The website doesn’t function entirely automatically after getting launched. Instead, it requires administration, technical supervision to ensure it copes with the growing traffic loads, various improvements, and updates.
It would be best to build a dating website monetization strategy, as it may require additional features on the front-end and admin panel. There are numerous ways to monetize a dating site and attract new customers to your service, similar to those used in dating apps.
What you need for the dating site maintenance process
Please find a detailed review in our How to Monetize a Dating App post.
Ways to Build Your Own Dating Website
Besides outlining the project scope, you’ll also need to decide the development approach. There are two main options to create a dating website:
- Using a ready-made platform for dating website development
- Custom development
The available platforms are mostly content management systems like WordPress, website builders like Wix, or specialized dating website platforms like SkaDate. They provide an interface for codeless website creation based on ready-made design templates, features, and blocks that can be configured based on the project requirements. The most significant advantage is their price. They are suitable for projects without complex functionality or advanced security and fault-tolerance requirements. However, using such solutions have a few serious drawbacks:
- Limited functionality that cannot be fully adjusted for the needs of a big dating service.
- A new player in the online dating market requires a unique brand identity and UI design, which is impossible when using ready-made themes. Some platforms allow using custom themes, but designing one is rather costly.
- If developing a dating app for mobile to go with the website, you won't be able to use the same back-end.
To implement a custom profile matching algorithm, provide top-level security for personal information and dating activities, and integrate gamification, AI-based user experience, or facial recognition functionality, you may need to build a dating website from scratch. Custom website development provides substantial advantages:
- Full compliance with all project requirements
- Ability to develop the back-end for both a website and mobile apps
- Unlimited capabilities for your dating service administration
- Unique UI/UX design
- Excellent project scalability for future growth and improvements
Most often, clients who choose to use WordPress or another platform end up with endless customizations that can take even more time and money than a custom development from scratch. The fact is that none of the current market leaders has been developed with the use of ready-made solutions.
If you’re creating a new dating product vision and want to test your business idea in the real market, consider making a dating website MVP first. Focus on the core features to demonstrate the service’s value to customers, spending less time and money than designing the full version. It will also help identify the right strategy for further product development based on real user experience and feedback.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Dating Website?
Custom development requires proper budget planning to evaluate the needed investments. The cost of building a dating website depends on a few criteria:
- The website design complexity
- The number and complexity of the chosen features
- The development approach
- Location and rates of the software development partner
Suppose you plan to deliver a fully-featured dating website and would like to launch it as soon as possible. In that case, it makes sense to divide the development into a few website versions. Start with the most important features and leave all additional functionalities and lower-priority website sections for later versions.
Depending on the location, average hourly rates for dating website developers vary from $20 to $150 per hour. The cheapest service is provided in South Asian countries. At the same time, the most expensive development providers and freelancers are located in North America and Western Europe. Eastern Europe developers provide the best cost/quality ratio. Here an average hourly rate for web developers is $30 - $50 per hour. The following table shows the time and cost of starting a dating website based on the project complexity:
|Basic version (minimum set of features, simple design)||Full version (more features, more complex custom design)||Advanced version (complete set of features, complex design, development, and support)|
|UI/UX design, h||120||200||320|
|Front-end development, h||320||520||800|
|Back-end development, h||480||800||1120|
|Quality Assurance, h||160||260||380|
|Project Management, h||240||400||560|
|Total project time, h||1470||2460||3620|
|Total project cost, $||$58,800||$98,400||$144,800|
We’ve taken an average Ukrainian rate for web development service of $40/h to figure out the approximate development cost for dating website creation depending on complexity. The actual cost varies based on the individual requirements and the project scope. Also, this estimate breakdown doesn’t include marketing research and business analysis that may also be required. Such research helps define the trending features, get ideas for unique competitive advantages, and identify more precise marketing goals.
A dating website serves as an appropriate starting point for developing a new dating business online. The developed website functionality significantly simplifies the creation of mobile dating apps that can be the second step in your business growth.
KeyUA experts are ready to consult on how to start a dating site based on your commercial goals and technical requirements. We have experienced web developers, designers, project managers, SEO, and marketing specialists. We are ready to deliver a robust dating website that will be compatible and successful in today's market.
Would you like to start your own dating website within an optimized timeline and budget? Hire KeyUA as your web development partner.Contact Us
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