Online dating for beginners

Online dating can provide you with a whole world of potential mates. But such is the success of internet dating that the sheer quantity of sites and options can be bewildering to newcomers.

online dating for beginners
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So which site will suit you and is it really possible to find the love of your life? We take a look at the options available and offer a few tips for successful online dating.

As we mentioned, there are thousands of dating sites but it's worth trying some of the bigger names. After all, they are successful for a reason.

eHarmony, for instance, has had phenomenal success in the US. The site uses a compatibility system which matches singles on a variety of attitudes and wants, so you'll need to fill out the questionnaire fully to get the most out of it., on the other hand, is worth a look because it matches people based on location. It's a great way to meet singles in your area but consequently, you should be extra careful about giving out personal details.

The success of will not have escaped your attention. But the site has branched out to include The difference here is that the in-depth questionnaire helps to narrow down your options and there are articles written by psychologists to help you prepare and even phone coaching for nervous first-daters.

Be2, meanwhile, is aimed at over-35s specifically and is an international site boasting 20 million members. They claim 40 per cent of all paying members begin lasting relationships - and since the first month's membership costs just £5, that's definitely worth a try!

To pay or not to pay?
The majority of online dating sites require paid membership if you're to get the most out of them but there are those that are free. However, if you're unsure about investing your hard-earned cash in a monthly membership, most dating sites offer free trials of a month, or sometimes more, so it's worth trying these as you should get a good idea of whether they will suit your requirements. If they do, then take the plunge.

Profile success
Your dating profile is of the utmost importance if you are to meet the man or woman of your dreams. To attract attention, you'll need to be creative (without blatantly lying!) to stand out from the many thousands of searching singles. Above all though, be honest - answer the profile questions openly and you're more likely to attract someone who is like-minded.

Research has shown that those with photographs get the most responses - for the perfect profile pic, you'll need to be on your own (no group shots or holiday snaps from a relationship past!) and try to avoid very distant or blurry images.

Taking things further
Should you find someone of interest, begin by keeping things light. Be friendly and humorous and stick to email to start with. If things are progressing well, you could always move on to Instant Messaging but try to avoid giving out any personal details. Avoid specifics, such as the company you work for, your last name or address.

Be aware of any inconsistencies in your potential date's conversation. Trust your instinct - If anything feels odd or you feel uncomfortable at any time, move on to the next person. When you are ready to meet, always make sure it is in a public place - a coffee shop is a good idea rather than dinner, that way you don't have to spend hours making small talk if there's no attraction.

We're sure you are aware of the safety issues surrounding online dating but it's worth repeating anyway... always tell somebody when and where you are going.