Do you want to transform your WordPress site into a dating website? This post will give you ideas how. I worked at some European dating websites that brought in a boat load of money. The reason they succeeded is they started in 2001.  I wanted to start a dating site myself, using WordPress. My rational was a lot has changed and if I could in a clever way leverage WP, I thought I could make headway and achieve market penetration in this overcrowded niche. Therefore, I started to test and experiment what the best options are for WordPress dating. This is what my research has come up with. I found the options are:

  • WordPress dating plugin
  • WordPress dating themes and premium themes
  • Social media dating, classified dating , forums – all extensions of WordPress
  • Making my own home grown system through a WP blog, extended with enlarged Gravatar, a personal page, search feature and connections to Facebook.
  • Other CMS systems
  • Non-WordPress open source dating scripts

Why use WordPress as a dating site? WP is trusted and easy to use, chances are you know it pretty well. It can be SEO friendly and a good platform to market with.  So if you could flip a switch and make it a dating site why not?

Why create a dating website? Besides money there is a human reason. We have all been there. Most of us have tried dating sites like match.com. I am a big believer that good things can happen online.

Here is a funny story how things have changed. Around 2003, I one time told my mother that I meet a girl on a dating site, she said ‘oh really’.  Yes, I told her our first rendezvous was at gas station of the Interstate (I was joking to emphasis how shadey the notion of online dating was). She rolled her eyes. Today, dating sites are the way professionals meet these days. I would recommend something like religious dating sites as I think they have the most success in finding real love.

I met my wife in person, not online. But I still think the idea of helping others meet is not bad. Now I think it is all about niche websites as the big players dominate the general field.

wordpress dating

I meet my beautiful wife in real life, not online. I do not consider myself extraordinarily lucky, but it was destiny.

Here is what I found out:

WordPress plugin

There are two WordPress dating site plugin. The one most people look at is wordpressdating.com. My recommendation is do not use it.

  • The problem is it does not look like it has been updated for years.  There is no real contact information on their site.  I don’t know anybody, nor have I seen any site, that runs from this WordPress dating platform. Why chance it?
  • Update: I did find a plugin datingsolutions.biz, I have communicated with the author Christian Davis and he was helpful and detailed in his explanation, nice designer mind you.   I do feel the add-on has value like any social or online meeting plugin-in  you add to your site, if you know how to bring people together and market (that is the real trick).  I have bought other proprietary WordPress extensions in the repository and had good success, the WP community is usually pretty positive.

WordPress dating themes

  • There are a few website that create dating themes. This looks a little better, more update. The problem is they are not WordPress. They trick you in the search by having keywords like templates + WordPress in the small print but they are not WP.  You can demo a few which I like. Another  problem with that is I know a lot about SEO. If you want a dating site to rank you need to write a pretty good darn theme code wise. In my review of these dating site themes they are only modest in terms of SEO.
  • I would  rule these out, they look spammy and are not run off WP.  One example is vldpersonals.com which has a lot of websites selling and reselling these templates.

Social networking platform

  • BuddyPress – Good set up, but not too sexy. You need a lot of customization to make it look tempting for people, the 2012 theme will not fly. Will work with most themes if you install and extra plugin for theme conversation.
  • Mingle – More user-friendly and compatible but not a mainstream core WordPress sponsored system like BuddyPress. I have a concern what if I build a site based on it and it and the developer will someday abandon the project.  But I like it because it is more compatible than BuddyPress with many themes. I ran into this issue when my Stallion theme did not work with BuddyPress or bbPress (works now).
  • Symposium – A professional look, but again like the other two it is more a social networking platform than a dating site. Has potential as it has chat and IM systems installed.  I thought why not base a site based on chat and video chat. However, did not AOL do this? Traditional dating sites are the best as people like to take their time.

Classified ads and forums as a dating site

  • You have heard of Craigslist dating, so why not a classified ad site run on WordPress? There are a plugin that can do this. I think the problem is you need to control spam and freaks. It is a big issue. It is more of a free for all classified then a well moderated niche dating site girls, and yes these are the ones you want signing up, would register on.
  • bbPress could be a dating site but it does not work with all themes and SEO is average. Update: I got to work with my favorite theme and bbPress is a real option for making WP a relationship CMS software. However, I still would like to try to make it work without bbPress as the code is only modestly SEO-ed.

Other CMS systems as a dating site

  • Joomla – they are all the same like WP in terms of options, you might as well stick with WP.

Using an open source dating script

You can pay 300 dollars for a professional dating site script or you can use an open source one for free. I prefer open source. Not a bad option, but still SEO is an issue. It is not easy to start a dating site. You need a lot of good content to get traffic to the profiles. I have not found a good free dating software that is really free.

You need to upload a number of profile initially to test and make it look like someone is using it as no one will register on an empty site. Dating site scripts do not give you any real advantage. I want WordPress to help rocket me to success.

My conclusion on WordPress dating plugins and themes

  • I am trying to modify the current highly SEO-ed theme slightly into a WP dating theme. This is where I am at. Gravatars a big part of this. For me, right now this might be the best option for WordPress dating. I do not have the end vision, but close.

If anyone has an idea or an easy way to make work less of a dating site let me know.  Again the problem is with any social networking for him or dating site is getting a critical number of members to make it active and self-sustaining. So what is the problem? No one wants to register these days. Further, privacy is a sensitive issue so you need a way to control this.Privacy is an issue and respecting this is hard to make happen if you do not require a lot of verification and areas that are not indexed by search engines.

I have tried, but have not been successful yet at creating something that is a WordPress dating site.  I need more time. I need to map it out better and will update this post when I get it to work. So it is a date. Stop back I your should see this updated soon with a successful conventional model.

It is not like simply creating a blog community and having people comment, without registration. I just need to brainstorm a little more. I am open for ideas and others to comment as I think this would be a great free contribution to the WP community.