Tech & Trends01 Apr 2024
13 min read

How to Create a Dating Website From Scratch

While online dating isn’t a new approach for meeting new people and building relations, it is on the special rise in 2024. Mobile dating apps and websites continue to evolve to satisfy the growing users’ preferences for convenience, safety, and effectiveness of dating online. In our recent posts, we have dwelled on the ways to build a mobile app like Tinder or Bumble, and in this article, let’s discuss how to make an online dating website.

What Features Should a Dating Website Have

If you want to build a dating site from scratch, the first step along this way is to understand what features make online dating an effective and preferable option for 40% of adult Americans already. Below are the core features necessary to create a dating website and make it work. 

  • Log-in/sign up. This is the getting-started feature with the help of which the users can access the website and start interacting with the platform and each other. 
  • Personal profile. A personal profile is one of the most important features of a dating website. This is the first and the only opportunity for the users to introduce themselves, share the necessary information on their goals, preferences, and expectations, and become visible in search. In 2024, a personal profile should be awesome and detailed at once. A new generation of daters (mainly those who went through the divorce during the Covid pandemic) began to value honesty and transparency so it is worth giving the users such an opportunity. 
  • Instant chat. This is the feature that makes user interaction possible. Creating it, there is no need to reinvent the wheel  – just allow the users to communicate in the way instant messengers allow them to. As for more engaging ideas, you can add video call features, audio and video messages, GIFs, emoticons, and so on. 
  • Search system. And here is the main difference between a mobile app and a dating website. The solutions of the first type usually come with a swiping feature which is mobile-typical. As for a dating website, it makes more sense to focus on the search system and develop various filters (be age, goal, geolocation, preferences, hobbies, and so on), so that the users can find potentially suitable matches on their own with the high level of accuracy. 
  • Gamification. How to build an online dating website and make it engaging for the users? The answer is simple – just add several gamification features. For example, it can be a “roulette-like” game to start a conversation with a random user (or the one chosen from the pool according to certain parameters), or it can be a personality quiz that matches the respondent with the users who have the same results. Indeed, the list of ideas the dating site developers can realize goes unlimited. 
  • Notifications. A successful online dating website should keep the users engaging until they reach their goal. Sending them push notifications on their profile popularity, new messages, views, invitations, and so on is the most intuitive way to make them dwell on the website. 

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How to Start a Dating Website Step by Step

How to start your own dating site? Here is our life-proven strategy you can take advantage of.

1. Come up with an idea and validate it

Indeed, coming up with a potentially winning idea is the most difficult task if you want to create a successful dating website. There are a lot of competing solutions on the market, so you have to invent something new to stand out. If you have no initial idea but have a strong intent to create a dating website, get started with market research.

Analyze the most popular websites, and pay special attention to those web platforms that are pretty successful even without a mobile app, for example, Elite Singles and Adult Friend Finder. 

Little hint! They are successful since they help the users with a specific need and/or a specific preference, unlike Tinder and Bumble for example, where users may have many goals they like.

2. Shortlist the features for MVP development

Indeed, the list of the features we have shared above is pretty enough to come up with the first version of a Minimum Viable Product. But don’t forget to add something unique to find out the users’ feedback on their overall impression and the way you intend to solve their specific problem.

3. Think of branding and design

As for the branding and design, the first shouldn’t necessarily be about love, and the second doesn’t have to be pink. Your branding and design is an opportunity to stand out so develop such a brand identity that perfectly matches your project’s goal, your users’ values and will be easily recognizable.

4. Create the first UI/UX prototype

Your first UI prototype shouldn’t be too complex or detailed. Instead, it should clearly show the location of all the necessary design and UI elements, and reflect the color scheme (or several ones to finally choose the best option). Create a prototype for the main page and several essential pages (user profile and instant chat) to get the first idea of how things should work on your website. You can create a website map in Miro and suggest several design ideas in Figma even if you have no technical skills – everything is pretty intuitive in these apps.

5. Choose the right technologies

As for the choice of technologies, it can be the first essential challenge you may face during your project development. There are a lot of advanced tools for modern web app development but not all of them would be equally effective for your project. At this step, it makes sense to get in touch with a development vendor and ask for advice.

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Our practical experience suggests that there are several technologies potentially suitable for online dating website development. 

  • React Native. This tool allows for creating cross-platform mobile apps that deliver a close-to-native experience. With React Native, you will also be able to easily turn your web app into a native mobile app.
  • Node.js (with MongoDB and React.js). The combination of these technologies allows for building blazing-fast websites saving developer’s time and effort. 

6. Decide on a business model

How much do dating websites make? The revenue you can get from your project largely depends on whether you have followed the steps above right and on the business model you choose for your online dating website. There are several monetization strategies to choose from.

  • Free for everyone. In most cases, online dating, as well as other websites from the entertainment industry, are free to use for some time after the project launch. This is an opportunity to attract the users without obliging them to pay, persuade them your website is a great place, and then, charge them very carefully and unobtrusively. 
  • Free for women/men/other categories of users. Some dating apps and websites are free for certain categories of users but paid for for others. For example, Tinder’s pricing is higher for users over 30. To use this model, you should have a clear value proposition for the paying user segment. For instance, you can ask men to pay an affordable subscription fee to access the large pool of women (there should be more women than men on your platform, approximately 70% / 30%). 
  • Freemium. As a part of this monetization strategy, some features are free and the others are paid. For example, the users can pay to become better visible in search results. 
  • Subscription. Everything is simple with a subscription. In this case, the users can choose a set of features covered by a subscription plan, pay for them in advance and use the website until the subscription is valid. 
  • In-app purchases. At the dawn of online dating websites’ development, the credit system was pretty popular, especially in the mail order brides segment. Some dating websites still use this approach but honestly, most users consider it to be too costly and prefer the subscription that covers their needs. 

Mixed model. You guessed it right. The mixed business model implies using several approaches from the list above. Ideally, it should be your business growth strategy – the more revenue streams your website will generate, the better.

7. Develop a marketing strategy

The online dating market is pretty competitive. It hosts a lot of globally known and popular solutions, so it would be better to think over your marketing strategy in advance. Below are some effective ideas:

  • PPC ads. When setting up a PPC campaign in Google Ads, one of the winning tactics is to make your ad discoverable in response to brand-specific search queries, in addition to general search intents. 
  • Social media ads. Consider Facebook and Instagram for attracting social media users via ads. Lookalike audiences feature (the ability to target the campaign to the user groups similar to yours) is very effective.
  • SEO. When developing your website, make sure of its SEO-friendliness. For example, the code created with React.js helps the website to be better promoted. 

8. Create, launch, and test the first MVP

This is one of the most important stages of online dating website development since it allows you to find out what do users actually think of your app and what experiences do they get with it. To unlock as many user-generated insights as possible, consider using advanced tools for feedback generation and analysis, for example, Hotjar for tracking user behavior patterns and Survey Monkey to find out their opinion and improvement suggestions.

9. Power your website with advanced features and tools

Taking your users’ wishes, suggestions, and behavioral insights into account, empower your website with additional, more advanced tools. For example, you can add a video call feature, or let the users create events and invite each other. Still, make sure to focus on the MVP testing results.

10. Consider creating a mobile app as well

Transforming your website into a mobile app can be the next stage of your online dating business evolution. To facilitate this task, be attentive to technology choice at the very beginning. For example, using React Native allows you to transform a website into an app at a lower cost.

How Much Does It Cost to Create a Dating Website

How much do dating websites cost? As always the final cost of your dating website largely depends on your approach to its development. There are two basic strategies you can follow.

Create a dating website on your own

In this case, you need some technical expertise, little creativity, and not too large investments. For example, you can create a dating website using a WordPress theme and pay for the theme itself, domain, hosting, and most likely, branded elements design. Such a strategy can cost up to a few thousand dollars, still, it has its limitations.

Self-made websites usually lack customization, a well-developed user journey, advanced and attention-grabbing designs, plus they can be lame technically, especially if you have almost to no coding skills. The last point may also affect your SEO opportunities which are important for dating website promotion. Still, this idea can be not bad for those startups with a limited budget – just to test the feasibility of the idea. 

But if you want to create a full-fledged dating website, you need to foresee a lot of technical specifics, develop the necessary functionality and carefully analyse the market to tailor your future solution to the users’ expectations. To do it right, you need a team of Business Analysts, front and backend developers, designers, testers and marketers.

Consider custom dating website development with Binerals

While this option is pricier (the custom online dating website may cost up to $30,000 for its MVP version), it opens up more business opportunities compared to the first strategy. The most important business benefit is the opportunity to realize your idea right in the way you have invented it while overcoming the limitation and technical lameness of CMS systems and website builders.

Developing your online dating website in a custom way is also the opportunity to access top programming expertise and let the tech-savvy specialist create a platform using advanced technologies, perfectly tailored to your project specifics. For example, we, at Binerals, consider online dating and social media website development our core expertise. Combining the knowledge, skills, and best practices from both industries, we will be able to create such a dating website that will actually stand out.


How to start my own dating site? You are at the right place to get started with it. Indeed, there are two keys to success in online dating website development – an innovative idea and strong technical expertise to realize it. Our tech team can help you with your business analysis, idea validation, and building your online dating platform from scratch.

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