According to Statista.com, every fifth man and every tenth woman in the United States found a romantic partner through online dating. Even more people are registered on such services, but have not yet found a couple or are using them to search for friends or short dates.
It would be foolish not to try to make money in this market while there are still no well-established leaders there (there are giants, but their positions are not firm). And if you like this idea and you want to understand how much you need to spend to start your website for dating, this article is for you.
We will estimate the cost based on the average hourly rate of the programmer - $ 30 per hour, as well as the average labor costs for a specific element of the site. Think of these numbers as indicative, not numbers for your project’s budget.
The cost of developing the basic functionality of a dating site
It is best to start building your site with an MVP (minimum viable product) with a set of key features. So you can check the concept for minimal money and test the software before launching it on the market. When this stage is over, you can freely improve your MVP and add new features to it.
Key features of the online dating site:
- User registration and profile creation.
- Search and match of users.
- Messaging (chat, video chat).
- Security features.
- Monetization mechanism.
- Administration functions.
- Mobile application.
User registration and profile setting
So that users spend less time, you can create a mechanism for registration and authentication through social networks. Thus, the service will be able to transfer part of the user information from the social network to your website (photo, city, age, friends). And so you can check the users - make sure that they are real people.
What should be added to the profile functionality:
- Tools to create and configure a profile. The ability to register an account, specify the name, gender (your and potential partner), age, city, height, marital status, attitude to religion, alcohol, cigarettes, animals, etc.
- Authentication via social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). The LoginRadius service will help you understand what data you can extract from social networks to import to your site.
- User essay. The field in which the user can tell about themselves, their life plans, hobbies and search purposes. Usually there is enough field with the ability to insert 2000 characters.
- Questionnaire for compatibility. A set of 20 or more multiple choice questions. They will help determine user compatibility. These could be questions like: “How often do you play sports?”, “When do you wake up?”, “Do you like to travel?”, Etc.
User search and mapping
As for the survey, it helps to find matches between users, and sites such as Zoosk and Match.com attach great importance to this. Since the survey can help find among all the available options "people that you may like".
Thus, the cost of this element of a dating site includes the development of the following functions:
- Search by filters: gender, age range, distance to the user (or place of residence), height, religion, purpose of dating, etc.
- Recommendations based on questionnaires and personality tests. Now for the analysis of such data it is customary to use deep neural networks.
Messaging (chat, video chat)
What features need to be created to communicate users:
- instant messaging;
- adding participants to the list of friends;
- the possibility of expressing emotions (smiles, emoji);
- tools for minimal text formatting.
Safety features that you can use:
- Confirmation via phone, social networks or recommendations of verified users.
- The creation of "blacklists", finding that blocking the ability to communicate and view the profile.
- Complaints about incorrect data in the profile, fake profiles and other people's photos.
In addition, what can say a high rating on a dating site? That a user has met many people, has a lot of conversations, or has received a maximum of invitations for dating within a certain period of time is not the best advertisement for dating.
- Paid membership. Users pay a small amount, $ 5–20, once a month for the ability to search and communicate. Sometimes it's not a subscription, but a one-time payment.
- Premium accounts and services. Monetization of access to certain functions or their advanced features. For example, at Tinder, you can expand the search distance for money. Other services sell places in the top search lists, the ability to view an unlimited number of profiles, digital gifts, etc.
- Advertising. Usually we are talking about advertising goods and services. Sometimes the service also allows users to pay a subscription "without advertising".
The basic tools of the administrative functions include:
- User base management, profiles, roles.
- Analytics and reporting.
You can create an application yourself, which gives more control over the process, or you can with the help of an outsourced development company. The latter option is preferable, since it will require less effort, will cost less and you will be able to get quality guarantees.
Cost of developing additional features for a dating site
The basis of most dating sites is the same: lists of users, several filters and means for communication (basic functions). While they differ in additional features that may be unique or differently implemented.
Improved Mobile Experience
Increasing the popularity of mobile applications is a trend that is hard to ignore. And it concerns not only services for online dating, but also the entire Internet as a whole. Therefore, companies, whatever they do, try to release their own application and make it more convenient and pleasant to use than the competition.
Mobile Experience Improvement Tools:
- Progressive Web Application (PWA). It works in full screen mode, uses alerts, integrates with other applications and services, has a standalone (offline) mode and so on. In short, this is an application that uses the capabilities of the smartphone and the platform to the maximum.
- Cross platform. In a simple version, this is an application that can work on Android, iOS and other platforms. In the complex - this is a service that can be accessed from any platform, like access to a Google or Apple account.
- Targeting a narrow niche. The Zoosk dating site has the Burrit-OH app (it’s not the main one), which helps to find a couple based on people's love for the burrito. This is a great example of how you can stand out by targeting a narrow niche.
Advanced search and selection
Here's how it works on Zoosk:
- The system generates a pool of possible candidates based on your search patterns (Who You Like) and other people's patterns (Who Likes You).
- The first match list, created on the basis of the matching of search patterns, is made using a special technology (it is usually patented), and these results are already shown to users.
- Modern matching technologies work on the basis of past user actions (likes, conversations, friend requests, etc.), searching for “digital doubles” and deep neural networks. The more the user uses the site and the matching system, the greater the efficiency of the technology (in theory).
Cost of promotion dating siteIndividual logo design professional: from $ 300. You can try to create yourself, but it is better to entrust this to professionals who know which design will receive the maximum response from the target audience. You can also use special services that generate a logo based on keywords.
Google Adwords: from $ 250 per month. It is necessary to attract new users - to increase the base of “looking for a couple” on your site. First you need to spend a rather large amount to get the first 10 thousand users (less if you are focused on a particular city).
Facebook ads: from $ 100 per month. Also needed to increase user base. It will be a big plus if you hire a specialist to set up targeted advertising. This will increase the effectiveness of promoting your site.
Paid banner advertising: from $ 150 per month. Placement of banners on sites that your target audience likes. These can be forums, eCommerce – sites, travel sites, etc.
Content on the site: from $ 500 per month. Relevant content on your site will help generate traffic from search engines. To create such content, you can hire an individual specialist, or you can use the services of freelance exchanges.
Marketing influence: from $ 100 a month. Ordering posts from media personalities costs $ 20–100 per post on pages with a relatively small number of subscribers (2–10 thousand) and $ 1000 or more on million-plus pages.
- Use accounts with an average number of subscribers (more conversion) if you want to increase the number of users.
- And accounts with a large number of subscribers, if you need hype and mentions in the media.