How to Create a Dating App and Website: What You Need to Know

woman scrolling through a dating app template on her smartphone

Dating trends continue to turn digital. With a variety of dating apps and dating websites available to modern Americans, evidence suggests that more of us are meeting our significant others online than ever before. In fact, as early as 2017, a study found that over 35 percent of couples met on the internet.[1]Stanford News. “Meeting online has become the most popular way U.S. couples connect, Stanford sociologist finds“. Accessed March 21, 2022. With online dating becoming a large, lucrative industry for app and website developers, you might be wondering how to start a dating site of your own. Well, we’re here to help you do it!

If you believe you have a niche dating idea or target demographic, there’s nothing stopping you from building your very own dating app template. In this guide on how to start a dating site, we take a closer look at how to create a dating app or dating website. We’ll also take a look at potential costs, features, revenue generation ideas, and more. Let’s get started!

Getting Started with Creating a Dating Website and App

The first step in how to start a dating site is establishing a specific dating direction. This should be executed before you start developing your dating app template, as you want to avoid wasting money on useless features.

Let’s explore two core pillars to establish before you begin building your app and website:

Decide on a niche or target audience

First, it’s time to decide on your target demographic. While some apps, such as Tinder and Hinge, provide platforms for most people, you might want to target a niche. Targeting a niche can make you more attractive to sub-sections of the population.

While this might seem like a small-scale approach, it can help you be more competitive. If you don’t have millions of dollars in funding, it can be hard to compete with the large dating platforms currently available. Choosing a niche is a way to undercut these large players by specifically targeting a group of daters.

For example, you might want to launch a dating app that is only applicable to one city. Or maybe you want to create a dating app that is designed for people in a specific age category or with a particular interest (such as gamers, dog enthusiasts, sports fanatics, etc.).

Choose a name for your new app and website

Once you’ve narrowed down your target audience, it’s time to decide on a name for your dating app and/or dating website. Many of the large platforms have names unrelated to their niche, but if you’ve chosen a niche, it might be best to choose a name that indicates that niche to your target audience.

Let’s explore some interesting names from niche dating apps and dating websites:

How Much Does it Cost to Make a Dating App?

The next step in our guide on how to start a dating site is creating the actual dating platform. How much will this cost, you ask? Unfortunately, there’s not a uniform answer to this question. The cost of developing an app depends on a range of factors, including your personal coding skills, the size of your app, the features you want to integrate, and a host of other elements.

If you plan on hiring a team to complete the project, it’s best to request a quote in advance of any agreements. You don’t want to enter a situation that results in costs spiraling out of control.

How to Build a Dating App

If you plan on creating a new dating app, you might be wondering how to actually build a dating app. Even if you don’t have a coding background, not all hope is lost. You can still hire development teams to take care of the technical work for you. Let’s take a look at some core steps you need to take to build a dating app:

Assemble your development team

If you’re not going to code the app yourself, the first thing you need to do is hire a coding team. You can use freelancer websites or hire an app development company to complete the project.

Always ask for portfolios and references before you enter into any contract with an app developer. Then, speak to their references to ask questions about the team’s capabilities. You want to confirm your app developer has the necessary skillset and knows how to create a dating app.

If you want to save money, you can buy a dating website template from an online template store. It’s likely you will still need a coding team to integrate the app and personalize the branding, but this is a starting point if you want to avoid large setup costs.

How to create matches in your dating app development

a person holding two blocks together to forms a heart symbolizing how to create a dating app

The core function of your dating app is to match people with one another. If you want your dating app to be successful, it must be effective at matching compatible people. Additionally, if individuals have success finding romantic partners on your app, they’re likely to tell their friends, which is one of the best marketing tools for your platform.

While some of the most popular dating apps allow users to browse through individuals within their area, adding more specific matching criteria can help people filter to find those with whom they’re most likely to connect.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can match individuals:

Use interests to calculate compatibility

If you want to use common interests to match people, it’s worth allowing users to input a range of interests on their profiles. This can help people match with others who likely enjoy similar activities.

Use questionnaires to create matches

One of the best ways to help people exclude unsatisfactory matches is by asking users to fill out a questionnaire. This helps you gauge what someone is and isn’t looking for in a partner. For example, if someone is allergic to cats, pairing them with a cat owner isn’t ideal.

Use behaviors for matchmaking

Another matchmaking method is behavior assessment. For example, if someone is particularly high-energy, they may want someone that is able to keep up with them. Asking questions about behavior is an insightful way to see who might be suitable for one another.

Use an AI-powered algorithm

If you want to offer a more advanced set of tools to your users, take advantage of AI algorithms. However, this can also be a very expensive endeavor. And if you don’t have a background in AI development, it might be difficult to offer anything truly revolutionary.

What Features Should Be Included When You Create a Dating App?

While developing an app that can appropriately match users is essential, you also need to consider which features you’ll offer. Let’s explore some features worth considering for your new dating app:

Ways to discover other people

One of the more desirable features to build into your app is an easy portal for discovering other people. Whether it’s displaying everyone on the app that’s nearby, allowing users to swipe through various profiles, or suggesting users with similar interests, you must make it simple and stress-free to meet other single people.

Verification system

As catfishing continues to be a major problem for online daters in the United States, a verification system is more important than ever. This gives people confidence that they’re speaking to someone who is who they say they are. Also, having a verification process naturally deters scammers from committing financial fraud on your adult dating platform.

As verifying individuals can be a complicated task, this might be a feature you need to outsource to a specialist. If you don’t have experience with individual verification methods, you could put users at risk by incorrectly verifying fake profiles.

Date ideas

Providing date idea prompts is a great way to help users break the ice. If you come up with unique date ideas applicable to the geographic location of your users, you might help daters form better connections.

In-App messaging capabilities

For most dating apps, one of the most important features is an internal chat or messaging function. Without this, it’s difficult to form a connection.

Many people don’t feel comfortable disclosing their phone numbers before they meet people. The messaging system grants them their privacy while they get to know potential matches. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-functioning internal messenger platform.


If you want your users to remain engaged with your app, it’s best to integrate notifications. This notifies them when they receive a new match or message. Not offering notifications can lead to users ghosting potential dates unintentionally.

Connect your app with your dating website

Lastly, it’s critical that your dating app and dating website fully integrate. If you can’t connect profiles, messages, and other core details across your app and website, users won’t have full access to your platform. If you lack coding skills, however, this is a task for your developers.

How to Build a Dating Website

In terms of how to start a dating site, it’s critical to ensure your website is as professional as your app. Modern web users want to use a safe, secure platform when trying to meet partners online. But, again, this is a task that you can hire a professional development team to undertake if you lack the necessary skillset. You have the choice between outsourcing this to a third-party company or hiring your own team of freelancers.

Keep in mind that many popular dating apps don’t actually offer full-service websites, so building an advanced website might not be necessary for your app’s success.

How to Market Your Dating Business Website or App

woman holding iphone with heart on screen after learning how to create a dating website

As dating turns digital, so does advertising. If you want to reach as many people as possible, it’s essential to focus on building a comprehensive digital marketing campaign.

Many popular social media platforms allow you to target consumers in specific categories, making it a great advertising choice if you’re building a niche dating platform. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and other social medial platforms all have powerful advertising platforms. Additionally, Google can also be an effective pay-per-click advertising partner.

Another good way to reach new users is to pay influencers to market your app. This can be expensive, so it’s critical to choose influencers relevant to your niche.

If you’re planning on making a dating app exclusive to a single city or location, using traditional advertising—such as billboards, flyers, and radio ads—can also be a useful strategy.

Regardless of whatever marketing method you choose, this is a step that cannot be skipped. Knowing how to start a dating site is only half the battle. You can create the greatest dating app in the world, but without marketing it, no one will know to use it.

How Much Can You Make by Developing a Dating App?

When it comes to potential earnings from any type of app, the sky is truly the limit. While it’s essential to monetize your dating app using revenue streams, many developers build their apps with the hope of selling it in the future or listing it on a public stock exchange.

While the road to a sale or public listing is extremely long, it’s not impossible. Other dating apps have had huge financial success. For example, Bumble is now a publicly-traded company that reported over $400 million in revenue during the first three quarters of 2020.[2] “3 Dating App Stocks For Investors To Love“. Accessed March 21, 2022.

How to Earn Money with Your Dating App and Website

Also as important as knowing how to start a dating site is knowing how to monetize a dating site. It can be difficult to monetize an app during the initial stages of development and marketing, as you need users to generate revenue. But once you experience success in cultivating a user base, it’s time to look at ways to bring money into your new business:

Offer in-app purchases

If you want to make a free app, you can still charge users for in-app purchases. For example, if you allow a user to match with 20 profiles per week, you can offer an additional 20 matches for a set price. These in-app purchases can be very lucrative. But if you choose to do this, you may need a payment processing partner to help you accept online payments for your adult dating platform.

Sell in-app advertising

Some apps display ads internally. While this is a good way to generate revenue, make sure that ads don’t become too pervasive, as it can take away from the user experience.

If you’re operating a geo-specific dating app, using local businesses for advertising can be a lucrative channel. For example, local restaurants may offer special deals to daters who choose to host a date at one of their locations.

Offer subscriptions

A subscription business model continues to be a favorite with many app owners because the recurring billing of subscription programs offers excellent cash flow benefits, as well as user loyalty.

However, offering subscriptions to access your platform can also limit participation, which can have a negative impact on your app’s expansion. It’s best to wait until you have a large, loyal following until implementing a subscription business model. Making individuals pay for access when you first release your app will lower participation, which will create fewer matches on your dating platform.

Offer premium access

On the other hand, creating a premium program with upgraded benefits is an excellent way to benefits from the subscription business model without scaring away users. This creates a two-tier system: a free version and a paid version.

You’ll need to decide which premium features only your paying members will be able to access. For example, you may allow your premium members to match with more dates, link their social media accounts, or access other unique features.

How to Start a Dating Website and App: Closing Thoughts

Now that you understand how to start a dating site, it’s time to put your billion-dollar dating app idea out into the world. Once your dating platform begins to take off, you’ll have to decide which route to take in monetizing it. For whichever route it may be, you’ll need to obtain adult payment processing services from a trusted merchant service provider. This is the final step in launching a dating platform, after which you can sit back, relax, and watch as your new dating app brings happy couples together while turning you a profit.

Article Sources

  1. Stanford News. “Meeting online has become the most popular way U.S. couples connect, Stanford sociologist finds“. Accessed March 21, 2022.
  2. “3 Dating App Stocks For Investors To Love“. Accessed March 21, 2022.

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