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With busy lives many people simply do not have much time for socializing. Thus, singles today are turning to the Internet to find friendship, romance and even serious relationships. There are many online dating services available for this purpose today, although not all will provide the level of service and the features that will effectively help you find a mate.

Here is a look at 10 characteristics of a successful Internet dating service. Before you sign on the dotted line, ensure the service that you are considering can fulfill these needs.

They have Experience

There are a couple of reasons to head to an experienced online dating service. First, these companies have often been around long enough to establish a name for themselves and create a large members' pool. Second, experienced companies are more likely to stick around, ensuring you will be able to work with them long enough to find a match.

They have Numbers

The bigger the online dating website, the greater the likelihood you will meet someone who shares your specific interests, values and goals. However, it is also important to make sure the dating service you choose has a decent amount of members right in your area, so it is easy to meet the people in person that you get interested in on the website.

They Offer a Variety of Subscription Packages

Larger dating services often offer a variety of subscription packages for their members to choose from. This allows members to customize their dating service to their specific needs and budget. Some even offer a free trial so you can check the service out before signing on the bottom line.

They Perform Matching Services

In addition to posting profiles, many online dating services do the hard part of matching others to your profile for you. In addition to saving you time, the precision of these matching processes usually yields better results than you might be able to get on your own.

The Website is User-Friendly

A dating website is only helpful if you can navigate it easily to use it to your advantage. Look for use friendly features like easy search options, templates to help you prepare your profile and ample information about how the process works.

They Include Options for Communicating

Not everyone is comfortable approaching someone new in the same way, so a variety of communication options allow all members to contact others with confidence. Communication might include "winks" that are sent to other members to let them know you are interested. It might also provide the opportunity to pass emails back and forth, leave voice messages or get together in chat rooms.

Chat Rooms are Included

While chat rooms aren't necessary for an online dating service, they do provide the opportunity for a number of members to congregate and socialize at one time. Many online daters like the opportunity to engage in live chat with other singles, and even organize "meet and greet" sessions on their own, using the chat rooms of the dating service.

They Provide Additional Support

Additional information should be included, like tips for creating your profile and effective ways to communicate with other members. Your online dating experience is much more likely to be successful if you are well educated about the process.

They Receive Positive Reviews around the Internet

There are many websites that provide reviews of the most popular online dating services available. It is a good idea to browse them, so you can effectively compare features of the various services and find out how former members liked them.

They Offer Customer Testimonials

Some online dating services even provide customer testimonials on their websites, with accounts from former members about how they found friendship or love using the matching company. Customer testimonials show that the company cares about what their members think, and provide a track record of success.

Finding a high quality online dating service may seem like a challenge, with so many Internet dating websites to weed through today. However, when you weight the pros and cons of each website against the features list mentioned above, you will be much more likely to find an online dating service that will provide for your specific needs and preferences and hopefully point you towards other members that share your interests, values and goals.