It’s no secret that online dating has become an incredibly popular method for dating. You see advertisements all over the place. Years ago, you pretty much only saw ads for online dating on the internet. Not anymore. Today they are on TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, billboards, and of course the internet. It’s almost impossible to go a day or two without being exposed to some sort of advertisement for a dating website. This poses an important question. What site should I join? That answer to that question will be different for just about everyone. There are so many, that are so different, you really have to figure out what you are looking for. And we are going to go through the differences in these sites to help narrow it down to a few choices.There isn’t just one kind of online dating website. There are tons of niches. But to start from the beginning, you can narrow all sites into 2 categories. We will call one category clean sites. Clean being PG-13 and less basically. You won’t find explicit pictures or any adult material on these sites. A perfect example would be Yahoo Personals. Now there are definitely sub-categories to the “clean sites.” Here is where you will find your “matchmaking” dating sites. These sites emphasize finding that special someone usually based on your personality. To find those “matches” you’ll probably have to take some personality tests. Examples of popular sites in this niche would be Match and Eharmony. Another sub-category could be “millionaire dating” sites. These are for wealthy individuals, or someone looking for someone wealthy (gold-diggers).Now the adult dating category. These sites obviously have adult content on them. Members are allowed to have naked pictures of themselves in their photo library, and sometimes as their main picture for their profile. Sites that fall into this category would be AdultFriendFinder and Fling . Those aren’t the only ones, but they are large, well-known sites. Just like with the “clean sites”, there are sub-categories for adult dating websites. These categories include “cam dating” and “alternative dating” sites. Cam dating sites have an emphasis on video chatting and video shows. So if you don’t have a web cam, that probably wouldn’t be the best bet for you. Alternative dating websites are pretty extreme. They are for people who are into fetishes and some other pretty hardcore stuff and we’ll leave it at that.Now that we’ve gone through the different types of dating sites out there, we should go into membership fees. I’m sure everyone would like to pay the least amount possible as would I. The saying, “You get what you pay for” is valid here but that doesn’t mean that you have to spend top dollar to participate in the online dating world. You can even find sites that are completely free! That doesn’t mean that they don’t advertise on the site. They do have to generate money somehow. But, you most likely won’t find a free site that is as high quality as a pay site. You should be able to get a trial membership at just about any dating site. These can be free for a day to a month. Just depends on the site. Most likely you won’t be able to directly email other members during a free trial. So what are the typical costs to join some of the top sites? I would say that about 90% of pay sites will charge around $25-$35 per month. On a lot of dating sites, you can pay for several months at once and get a discount that way. Such as $30/month, or pay $75 for 3 months. I would recommend testing the site out first to make sure you like it before buying multiple months at one time because if there aren’t many other members, you aren’t going to be happy with the site. That brings me to my last point.You want to have an idea of how large the dating site is. By understanding a little bit about traffic rankings and doing a small amount of research you can save yourself a lot of time and money. You might stumble onto a dating site that looks great, but hardly has any members, and might not ever. First, I would check the homepage and see if they list how many members they have, and how many are online. The largest dating site I know of has over 10 million members and at any given time will have tens of thousands of users online. That’s a lot of members! If the site doesn’t have the number of members listed on the homepage, there should be a “faq” page. Usually statistics are listed there as well. To get further insight on the overall traffic the dating site receives, I would recommend going to Alexa.com and checking it’s traffic rankings. The lower the ranking number the site receives the better. For example, Google is number 1 in the US and number 2 in the entire world. That means it is the most visited website in the US. I would try and find a site with an Alexa ranking of under 2,500 in the country you live in. That’s just a recommendation so if you should find one you really like, use your own judgment.I hope this was helpful. Again, there isn’t one site for everyone. There are all kinds of niches out there in the online dating world. The most important thing is figuring out what kind of experience you are looking for, then finding some sites that meet your criteria, and narrowing it down to the best option available.