Lessons I learnt running a chat room and dating site

I’d like to introduce you to an online dating expert Mark Ellis. Mark runs several dating sites and chat rooms. Today he’ll be sharing lessons learnt while running social chat rooms.  

“At heart, I have always been a hopeless romantic. I am a living, breathing testimonial of just how successful online dating can be if done right. I met my current partner via one of the old-school chat rooms back in the day. Think msn or yahoo chat rooms – remember them? I understand the highs and lows that come with looking for love and I am passionate about helping people find their life-changing connection through modern dating and chat room technologies.

“There are few things in life that bring me more satisfaction and sheer delight than logging into my own dating sites and finding messages from my customers who have made a love connection through one of my dating and chat room platforms.  

“Being involved in the online dating space and helping singles in their quest to find love has taught me a lot about life. Keep reading to find out some of the lessons I have learnt running my own chat rooms and dating sites,” says Ellis.

Here’s a list of free chat rooms and dating sites. These sites are unique in their own way offering plenty of ways to connect with people that matter to you.

Zone in on What Matters

The first lesson to consider is the importance of deciding what niche you belong to. A niche is directed specifically towards a particular group or demographic. When navigating your way around your chosen dating site, check that there are ample filters available during the signup process which steer you to the appropriate group of people. For example, if you’re an Asian lady over 50 years old living in Sydney, filtering the correct criteria will match you with the correct group of people.       

“When I first started developing chat rooms and dating sites, I soon learnt that I needed to add many different categories to cater for various niches. Pooling everyone together in one large group was fruitless and it soon became obvious that I needed to improve the user experience by adding options for various niches,” says Ellis.

Growing my websites – Marketing Matters 

“Aside from being a hopeless romantic, I consider myself to be a highly loyal and devoted friend. In an ever-changing industry that requires me to keep adapting in order to remain relevant, what owning a dating site and chat rooms has taught me is the importance of marketing in order to grow. Networking with my peers and friends is essential. Many businesses make the mistake of having their initial and only goal being to simply find new customers when in fact this goal should be your end goal. Having a tonne of customers is great, but without the correct marketing efforts your goal to grow your business will again prove fruitless.

“When I first started out, I contacted a friend who has several degrees in marketing and together we brainstormed and deployed a number of very successful singles events. The knock-on effect from these events, over a six month period, drove an additional 71 per cent traffic to my website purely through word of mouth thanks to the various events I hosted which included Speed Date Saturday, First Date Friday among various other events for singles looking to connect,” says Ellis.

Legal Matters

“Like any business idea, when it comes to owning my own dating websites, there’s a lot more involved than simply purchasing a domain name and developing the site itself. Having the correct legal structure was paramount in order to protect myself from the many potential unknowns that may surface as a result of someone misusing – knowingly or unknowingly – my chat room platforms. One life lesson I learnt was when I was contacted by a lawyer threatening legal action against me for publicly displaying a photo of the lawyer’s client. The photo ended up on my website as a result of a malicious virtual revenge attack from a disgruntled ex-boyfriend previously associated with the lawyer’s client.   

“Consequently, I engaged my own lawyer to incorporate the many forms needed to ensure I’m protected from these scenarios. These forms included subscription agreements, a business plan, disclosure forms, user verification processes, and a tonne of other processes to fully indemnify me against liability in the future,” says Ellis.

Keeping up with Content

“The initial launch of my website was rather disappointing. Through a small inheritance I received, I decided to start a new business. I chose the chat room and dating site idea purely because this was how I met my life partner all those years ago. I was passionate about this – it was more than just a business idea. Naively, I spent my inheritance on a web development company to develop and deploy my new online dating venture; a process that took over three months.    

“Throughout this period of time the word SEO or content marketing was never mentioned – how was I to know any different? I soon learnt the hard way that simply developing a fantastic website with the latest and greatest functionality would not automatically open the flood gates to website visitors. 

“After parting ways with the web developer, I was essentially left with nothing more than a bunch of web pages. I didn’t give up. I studied and learnt the fundamentals of SEO and content marketing and so the journey finally began! 

“Fast forward to today, I now have a combined and active member database of more than 30,000 customers across the various free chat rooms and dating platforms I manage,” says Ellis.

Love is the Winner

“The most important lesson I learnt managing and growing my chat rooms is that loving what you do is incredibly important to your success in business, and indeed, your happiness. I could have followed my passion for the health and fitness industry but that didn’t compare to meeting the woman of my dreams and helping others to do the same. I have also found that when you do find your true life passion, you are more willing to take small risks, work longer and harder, become a more disciplined person, and you will never give up,” says Ellis.

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