When do you start charging membership fees? We get this question a lot. We’ll give a bit of an explanation here.
So you just started a dating site and hopefully you also have the WordPress Dating Plugin. And now you’re wondering how you’re going to make any money. You also question how it should all work. The bottom line is that you need profiles. You have to have a profile base of members before you start charging. That’s only the case if you plan on charging for memberships. If you’re going to be running a 100% free dating site then this doesn’t apply to you.
So how many profiles do you need before you start charging? Well, the answer in a minute but first, you need to know the reason for waiting to charge.
When you first start a dating site, you don’t have any members but yet you want to make money. So, think about it like this. If you’re standing in front of a store and you see that there’s nothing in the display case, what do you do? You move on. You realize that the store doesn’t offer much so you pass. Works the same way as dating. In the niche market dating world, you have to have content and your content is your members. Without members, you are dead in the water. You won’t make any money. Would you join a dating site and pay a monthly membership fee if there were no members? That’s right, you wouldn’t. So, you need a member base.
How many members do I need? If you’re a local dating site then you need a few thousand to start with. For example, if you’re in the city of Denver and you’re looking to start a singles site for Denver locals then you need to have a good mix of girls and guys in the Denver area. A good rule to use is the 2 to 1 ratio rule. You want to have 3 girls for every 2 guys. So, if you have 900 girls then you need 800 guys. You always want a higher ratio of girls because more guys will join your site than girls. Just the metrics of it.
So how do you get these profiles? There are quite a few ways to get profiles on your site. The first option is to create a few fake ones. There’s nothing wrong with creating fake profiles as long as you put what you need on and don’t put any more. The idea of fake profiles is to show that your site has content but you have to keep marketing your site to get real ones on. Put about 1000 profiles on but don’t do any more than that. When you get a decent real profile base going then you can remove the fake profiles. There will be people that have a problem with fake profiles but the reality is this is niche market dating and if you don’t have the traffic to your site or the existing member base then you need to put some profiles on your site. If you have millions of dollars for advertising then disregard this. I doubt you do though.
Want to know what to charge? Read our blog about Monthly Memberships versus Lifetime Memberships.
The next blog I write will be about how to market your site using online and offline methods so are sure to follow us on Twitter.