One of the questions that I am most often asked is “which dating site should I use?”

With so many options, it’s understandable to not be sure what to do.

I recently wrote a post about online dating statistics. I found some great info on the current statistical analysis of online dating. In doing so, it occurred to me that as someone who writes hundreds of profiles on a regular basis, I have some insight on which online dating platforms people are using.

When I’m asked this question, which dating site should I use, the first response I have is: Go where your gut tells you to go. My theory is, if you are looking for likeminded people then they are probably going to the same place.

My second answer to this question is: Go where the people are.

As with many things in life, dating is also about one goal at a time. The goal of your online dating profile is to get conversation started. The goal of choosing a platform(s) is to create a pool of people. People you are willing to go out with and get to know better.

One of the old school ways of meeting someone is the bar scene, right? Similar thoughts apply: Which bar you like to go to? Do you want to go bar hopping? And, you likely wouldn’t meet anyone if you walked into an empty bar.

Same rules apply to dating sites. Popularity matters.

Reputation also matters – to some degree.

For instance, Tinder is generally known to be a “hookup” app and eHarmony is believed to be the place go for a serious relationship. There seems to be a collective agreement about these conclusions. True or not true, what I believe is every platform is what you make of it. It’s what the people make of it. If you want to make Tinder the new “long term relationship” platform, go for it. Be a trailblazer!

Logically, it seems unlikely that all of the almost 8 million people using Tinder are only look for cheap sex. The reverse can be said for eHarmony.

Back to my insight on which dating site/apps are used the most.

These are the platforms I typically write for. I’ve broken them down into three tiers:

Top Tier: Match.com, eHarmony, Tinder, Bumble, Hinge

Mid-Tier: Coffee Meets Bagel, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, OurTime

Low Tier: Christian Mingle, J-date, DilMil

Let me better clarify Low Tier. Mostly, these are the sites that are niche specific geared toward various cultural groups. They are not general population platforms. So, they may not be popular in a big picture sort of way, but they might be among folks who feel they fit into that niche.

In some cases, if you’d like to choose a niche platform you might have to be willing to consider something long(er) distance. This will depend on where you live, population wise and culture wise.

A few years ago I used to write more often for Zoosk and Elite Singles. I venture to guess these sites aren’t too popular. I sometimes write for Facebook dating, but not too often.

Now that if you have an idea of what’s out there and where you might like to go. The next question is, how many sites should you use? From what I gather in my client base, most people average about three, but some use 5 or more.

In general, I don’t think you need to use more than 3 different platforms, but in some cases it depends. Here are some things to consider, again with a goal of creating a pool of people.

The size of your city/town. If you live in a hugely populated city, it might be helpful to venture across a few platforms. If you live in a smaller town, 5 platforms might be overkill, you’re likely to run into the same people. Not a terrible thing! Just not necessary.

The other thing to put thought into: How much time do you have? Online dating is a time investment. Searching, messaging, date planning, and going out on dates all take time. If you’re on multiple platforms you might have trouble keeping up, especially if it’s a fast-paced app like Bumble. You could have numerous conversations going on at the same time. And, to my knowledge, most people want to get to the date part sooner rather than later, long drawn-out texting conversations are not ideal. If you over do it, there will be people who fall by the wayside.

In an ironic way, you may actually miss out on opportunity because you were trying to do too much all at once.

All things considered, in order to create a decent pool of people, a combo of three will probably work. For instance, two short form (Bumble/Tinder) and one long form (Match/eHarmony). OR the reverse, two long, one short.

If you’re interested in a platform that is culture specific, Christian Mingle, DilMil, J-date, then add one or more to your mix. Again, it depends on the kind of pool you are trying to create.

For me personally, I appreciate the “quick and easy” approach of Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, but I really like platforms, like Match.com, that offer more opportunity for depth when creating an online dating profile. 300 characters for Bumble is not much. It’s doable! And, Bumble is fun. But, Match.com offers you an opportunity to say more about yourself, and share a more comprehensive summary of who you are and what you’re looking for.

It’s something to think about when considering what you feel is best for you.

I have one more thought, kind of off topic, but relatable.

It’s not in my nature to give advice or tell people what to do, but one thing I implore you to try is, be open-minded. Most of us have a “type” or a certain idea in mind as to what we are looking for. I’m not suggesting you should lower your standards, or settle for something less, or try to fit with someone that doesn’t make your feathers fluff. I’m saying that sometimes you never know.

This type of open-mindedness does relate to picking online dating sites. If you want to be open-minded about who you choose to talk to and go out with, then be open-minded about which sites you’d like to use. Again, Tinder doesn’t have to be a hookup site.

In a simple way, we can usually break down our search into three categories: Yes, maybe, and no. There are going to be people who spark your interest instantly. There are also going to be people who you will definitely not consider. Then there are the people who make you go, hmmmmm. It might be worth your while to give some of your maybes a chance.

So, if there are sites that are “maybes,” then it might be worth your while to give them a chance as well.

In conclusion, as I said in the beginning, go with your gut. If you trust your gut, it won’t steer you wrong.

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