Your friends have done it. You’ve read about the success rates online. If that’s not enough, you just learned that your ex just got engaged to someone he met on eHarmony. Which is why you’ve decided to take the plunge: you’re finally signing up for a dating site. Now the question is, which one?
The success of online dating has created an explosion of dating sites, making it somewhat confusing to start. So here are a few tips in navigating the online dating jungle:

Do your due diligence. Check for reviews of the site, and success rates. A lot of these sites have phantom profiles, and one way of verifying a dating site’s legitimacy is to ask the people who have used the service. Start with your friends and colleagues. With the success of online dating, one of them is bound to have a subscription. Even then, try a google search. If a particular site really works, it’s bound to have recommendations.

Sign up for free and try out the interface. A good site should get you at least 80% in the door without having to make a purchase. Meaning, you get access to most of the sites services, short of being able to communicate to prospects. A lof of sites offer only 40% access, which isn’t nearly enough to make a good evaluation.

Check the quality of the profiles. Again, this goes within the 80% rule. If it’s a good site, it should be able to let you see ALL of the profile, not just some. A good site banks on the quality of it’s members, so if they’ve got nothing to hide, they are willing to show everything.

Troll the forums. A majority of the sites won’t allow you to participate with a free trial, but a good site will let you read through them. A good dating site is a lot like a good community, in that a lot of it’s strengths come from it’s people. Reading through the forums will give you a better idea of what the members are like, and how active the site is.

Be clear of your expectations. Part of the success in using dating sites is honesty-from yourself, and the people whom you hope to meet. More than posting an accurate picture, choosing to sign up for a dating site means knowing what you want as well. Are you looking for someone that belongs to a specific religion? Are you willing to move, or even consider a long distance relationship? How fast do you want to move things, should you two hit it off?

Finding love on the internet can be just as rewarding as bumping into the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with in the street. All it takes is a lot of patience, and a good internet connection!