Consumers use Internet dating services to meet and flirt with potential dates in the hopes of meeting someone special. While there are plenty of successful Internet dating services on the market already, you may still be able to find a niche that enables you to start your own business by focusing on local singles, or people who share something in common, such as recent college graduates, people of a certain faith, newly divorced people or individuals with shared hobbies.
Write a business plan after researching the market. Your plan should explain how your online Internet dating service will differ from existing online dating services, which sometimes feature too-small photos or an unappealing-looking aesthetic. The business plan outlines ways to differentiate your dating service; for example, offering background check services or astrological compatibility tests. You'll also want to include information about the estimated start-up cost. This can range from several thousand dollars to $50,000, depending on the sophistication and complexity of website and marketing campaigns. Match.com got its start with less than a $1,000 initial investment, according to Tech Life Mashup.com.
Purchase online dating templates to build the website yourself, which involves using a dating site script that you'll plug your text and photos into. If this sounds too complicated, save time by hiring a team of website technology experts to do the complicated scriptwriting and site structuring for you. Find low-budget designers by contacting community colleges and offering internship opportunities to web design students. If you go this route, provide contractors with detailed examples of what you want to site to look like, including fonts, colors, interface options and features. Budget a minimum of $1,000 for website design in 2010, according to Info Clear Internet Consulting.
Attract singles to your Internet dating service by offering free lifetime memberships until you accumulate sufficient members -- successful sites have at least 700, while larger sites might have thousands. After reaching this benchmark, require all new members to sign up for memberships. You can still make money by offering for-cost upgrades to existing members, such as photo retouching, dating consultations or advice about improving their account page. You might charge $10 extra for each upgrade in 2010, for example, or boost overall prices. In 2010, online dating websites sometimes charge $650 for six months or $800 for the year. Others charge much less, and some competitor ad-driven websites offer free services.
Counteract criticism with refunds; bitter customers will be less likely to bash your site after a bad date when they're offered a refund. Capitalize on success stories by requesting testimonials from happy lovebirds.