As the online dating market becomes more saturated – with new brands appearing every week promising to help singles from all walks of life make romantic connections – there is no single go-to service that gives people guidance on how to look for the perfect platform for them.
In an effort to try and change this, Australian TV presenter, writer and professional blogger Renee Slansky recently transformed her blog into The Dating Directory, a place where individuals can access need-to-know information about the multitude of dating services currently out there.
Formerly known as Bella & Darcy, the site now offers regular dating service reviews, event and community notices and interviews, in addition to articles on relationships and dating advice.
And fresh from relaunching the new site, GDI spoke with Slansky to ask what inspired her to rebrand the site, her vision for the Dating Directory and how it can benefit online daters around the world.
You can read the full interview below:
Can you briefly explain the Dating Directory and how it works?
Whilst The Dating Directory was initially set out as a blog about dating and relationships, it has now grown into an online platform that aims to connect women (and men) globally to resources, information, companies, people and events to educate them on how to find, maintain and build healthy and fulfilling relationships.
The purpose and passion behind my site is to build a new dating culture worldwide, to offer support, love, laughter and advice to women and let them know they are not alone in their situation. Relationships nowadays look very different – with the influence of technology, social media, role reversal, the rise of divorce and a whole load of other contributing factors – love has become more complicated then what it actually is.
This is where The Dating Directory steps in, to bring a touch of reality, hope and a new type of healthy perspective.
What is your own personal background in?
For the last 12 years my professional life has been in modelling, TV presenting, make-up artistry and running several businesses .Whilst I have no professional qualifications in the dating and relationship industry, I do believe I have the experience!
From a young age I was very curious about relationships and had a real heart to impact the world, and in particular women, about how to understand their self-worth, live in their full potential and build healthy relationships in their lives. I think a lot of this desire stemmed from my parents’ unhappy marriage, and as with my love of writing, it was something I have always had and nurtured, I just never knew it would become my ultimate passion.
Over the years I have counselled friends, led women’s groups and even had complete strangers ask me for advice on the street – it’s amazing where a simple “how are you?” can lead! I now write professionally for publications such as The Huffington Post and Fitness First Magazine, as well as some of the biggest online dating sites in the world like Plenty of Fish, RSVP.com, eHarmony, Singles Warehouse Experts and Lovestruck.com
What qualifies me to be a dating and relationship expert/coach? 10 years of bad relationships, heartache and lessons learned!
What were the main reasons for rebranding your site? What has changed?
When I started my site three years ago it was originally called Bella and Darcy, and while I loved this name I felt it didn’t give my viewers a clear idea of what the purpose of the site was. Not only did I want my title to read well in SEO and Google but I also wanted the branding to be as clear as the vision I had for it.
I came up with The Dating Directory one day when I was working out different features I wanted to add to the blog; a directory listing was one of these features…and well, the rest is history! Essentially my purpose for TDD was for it to be a dating and relationship version of Google or The Yellow Pages – after all, where does everyone go for guidance, or to be connected to knowledge? A directory!
My site now not only features relationship and dating tips, events and reviews, but it also has inspiring interviews, showcases charities of the month, has a quick advice section (for busy people who just want a short read) and a directory listing for viewers to use as a reference for anything related to love, dating and relationships. I also have a personal touch under “My Favourite Things”, where readers can get a feel for the real me and what I endorse. I will also be launching a YouTube channel later this year as well.
What sort of reach does your blog and site have?
Our top three countries are the USA, Australia and the UK, and we have a combined social media following of over 13k, and our readership tripled within the first year of it being launched. We have touched over 130 countries! We share all content through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and will also be moving to YouTube.
Who can use the dating directory, and what information can they search for?
While the site is predominately for women, it is open to all ages, demographics and genders. All content is monitored to meet the strict requirements, values and guidelines of the blog.
They can search for relationship and dating advice, practical tips, product and service reviews, dating and relationship events, inspiration from great interviews and of course look up any related service in the directory listing.
Can you tell us a bit about the system you use to rate the dating platforms? What information do you take into account when making your decision on ratings?
There is a lot of competition out there and it can all be very confusing, especially to someone who is not very confident or tech savvy. We aim to do the groundwork for them and help to guide each viewer to the service that suits them best. We base our ratings on five things:
- Practicality and user friendliness
- Accessibility on different devices
- Quality of content and users attracted to it
- Appearance and branding association
Are you looking to harbour any affiliate-style relationships with online dating sites, or connect with them to join the database?
While I write for several different online dating sites as a guest contributor, I am the main blogger for Australia’s latest online dating site: My Single Connections. I am also in talks about a partnership with one of the biggest online dating sites in the world, but you will have to stay tuned to see who that is!
Can you tell us a bit more about the product reviews that will feature on the site?
We get a lot of different services and products offered to us, however we like to be a bit fussy about who we choose, only because you can’t buy our opinion! Most of the reviews are services or products that are related to women, as the site predominately caters for them. Reviews cover everything from the latest books, movies or events related to dating and relationships, as well as services and products offered by companies that can be related to self-love, confidence, dating and love. We aim to give an honest, practical and positive outlook, as well as a rating.
Can dating sites and services advertise their sites or upcoming events on the site?
Yes absolutely! The more the merrier, as we promote TDD as THE place to go for a wealth of information and to be connected to the right resources. All they have to do is email us and we can get their events, services or company listed, so long as it is in line with our morals and guidelines.
How do you plan to grow the site in the near future? What is your vision for it?
The future is looking very bright and busy! We are currently in talks with several big online dating agencies and companies about a collaboration, which will involve: webinars, e-books and our YouTube channel, as well as a monthly subscription. I also plan on releasing a 3-5 part relationship advice video series, as well as a paperback book. They say to aim high, and my vision is definitely to build a platform on a global level.
Check out the Dating Directory here.