If you’re single, you ahve at least heard about, or have maybe even tried, online dating. In our digital society, where everything is done online, it’s just natural that romance and dating have found their way online, too. According to Match.com, the oldest online dating site, approximately 40 million people have used online dating services.

Some people still have some misconceptions about online dating. Myths abound that online dating is impersonal, or it’s like shopping on Amazon, or even that it’s only for people who can’t find love any other way. But fortunately, as more and more people get used to the idea, meeting someone online no longer carries a stigma and it can be a wonderful way to meet someone new. Although online dating also sometimes gets a bad rap for producing less than ideal matches, I believe it can be an effective tool if used correctly. I speak from experience because I met my husband online. I know that it works and, by no means, do I consider myself rare. Online dating can result in finding the love of your life and I’m living proof.

Even though I’m a professional matchmaker, I don’t downplay the benefits of online dating, and I encourage all singles to try it out as another way to meet people and put themselves out there. I’m often asked, “What’s the best online dating site?” or, “Is so-and-so.com a bad dating site?”

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My answer is that there are no bad online dating sites. They all have their own benefits as well as their individual downsides. The best online dating site is simply the one that is in line with your personal goals. If you’re seeking commitment, you’ll likely use different sites than someone who wants to date casually. That’s not to say that you can’t find the love of your life on well-known casual dating sites. It’s more about positioning yourself where you will have the most reasonable chance of success.

If you’re a single who is planning to venture into online dating, the first question to ask yourself is whether you should invest in a paid site or go with a free site. A recent study in Current Psychology showed that paid sites often attract more serious potential matches. The reason is that people who pay to join a site are making an “investment” in the process and are more likely to put serious effort into creating their profiles and responding to inquiries with better communications. Therefore, sites such as Match.com, eHarmony and others would be more likely to have singles who are seeking marriage or, at least, a serious commitment.

If you decide to use a free site or mobile app (i.e. Tinder, Plenty of Fish), that’s okay, too. Singles often feel that they’re wrong for trying these sites, but I don’t see it as negative. If you go this route, just understand that not everyone on those sites will be seeking a serious, long-term relationship. They may just be looking for casual dates, or just hoping to meet some new people. Again, it all depends on your goals and what you’re hoping to get out of it. If this aligns with your goals, free sites and mobile apps may be the best online dating sites for you.

If you are searching for a serious relationship, don’t be afraid to try different sites. But, your best chances for success are on the paid sites that tout themselves as marriage-oriented. You’ll be more motivated to put in the effort and take your profile seriously.

[quote_right]You’ll also be more likely to find like-minded individuals and more relationship-ready matches.[/quote_right]

All in all, online dating doesn’t have to be difficult or scary, and choosing the right site shouldn’t be an issue. Choose a few different options and try them out for a while and if they aren’t serving you, move on to another. The best advice I can give is to just give it a try. You don’t have anything to lose, and you may find your soul-mate. The worst that can happen is you’ll meet some new people and have some fun.

Stay tuned next week for actionable tips on how to make your online dating profile compelling, classy, and more likely to attract the responses you want.

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Jessica-Nicklos-WPB-MagazineJessica Nicklos is the founder of Better Half Matchmaking in South Florida. Jessica’s passion is bringing people together. Through personalized matchmaking and dating coaching, she works with singles to find their match and build a solid foundation for dating success. Jessica has a B.A. in Corporate Communication and a minor in Psychology from Duquesne University. She is a member of the Matchmaker’s Alliance, serves as director of the Premier Women’s Network of South Florida and as organizer of the Single Professionals of Northern Palm Beach County.

Jessica lives in Palm Beach County with her husband, Chad, and their dogs, Vida and Daisy.

Do you want to try finding love online? Learn and Decide what are the Best Online Dating Sites if You are Looking for a New Relationship.

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