I really enjoyed reading the latest article from Daniel Henningsson on how to make your site look unique. It is excellent and I will certainly be following up on some of his expert tips. In my recent article outlining a Dating site set up checklist, I mentioned a number of areas that I would cover in more depth when setting up a site, primarily aimed at making your site look different from the excellent, but basic, templates provided by Dating Factory.
I recently transferred one of my dating sites from World Dating Partners to Dating Factory, and needed to set up again. With a few modifications it is already getting some great conversions. If you follow some of these basic steps, you could have a site that looks something like this:

In this article, I will cover how to create headers, logos and banners and how to resize them easily. I’ll also look at how to create unique content for your dating site home page.

How to make and resize banners / logos.

If you want to make your own banners or logos, and if you have Microsoft PowerPoint or Word, you can do a lot of clever stuff with these tools, almost to a desktop publishing standard. In both Powerpoint and Word, there is a facility called “WordArt”. It is located under the “Insert” tab in both programs. With this tool, you can choose the style and colour of your WordArt text and play around with a logo that works for your site. I like to include the main name of the site and also add a strap line underneath, like these:

What I like about the WordArt facility is that it gives the logo some real texture; plain text options can sometimes appear a bit flat. However, there are some good font options available if you experiment:

You can easily and cheaply differentiate your sites without having to employ a designer to do it for you. Just remember to save your logo as a picture, and you’re almost there! Next, how to resize your images easily.
One of the issues I used to struggle with was how to easily manage images to fit specific dimensions. Then I found a programme called XHeader. There is a free version that you can download here, or for more sophistication, you can get a Pro version here. When you install and open the free XHeader software you get these options:

There are some good free banner options that you can edit under the “Templates” section, so explore and experiment with the “Romance and Dating” section.
To change the size of existing images easily and quickly, choose “Load an Image from Hard Disk” (the fourth option at the bottom). You will see the screen below, which is preloaded with one of my banner images. I have already selected the “Options tab”, where there is a “Resize Header” option. Use this to resize your image and then save it; rename the file if you want to keep the original.

Looking at this screenshot you can see some of the great features that you get with this free software. You will be able to edit banners, add in text and other images, as well as special effects, which I use all the time. It’s a great tool and produces some very good results with a little bit of practice.

Creating unique content for your home page.

There is no doubt that Google, as the predominant search engine, is calling the shots when it comes to stipulating a web site’s key criteria to get high rankings in natural search results. Google’s objective is to end search, that is, when someone keys in a search phrase both Google’s ambition and reputation rest on the quality of the search results which it returns. The sites it displays must be the best possible match to the search term as determined by its algorithms, ideally to get a “right first time” result. Once you understand and accept this premise, creating unique content makes sense and is a “must do”. Don’t take short cuts with this step; it is worth making the effort for a critical element of successful natural search ranking.
When you are thinking about writing a text section for your dating site, don’t get overwhelmed by writer’s block. I’ll share with you a technique that I use. This approach has the added advantages of ensuring that the content is keyword rich and is not keyword stuffed (as you will get penalised for repeating the same keyword over and over again). Use Google’s keyword research tool, select “Broad”, “Phrase” and “Exact” keyword matches for some target keyword phrases or analysis of a competitor web site; the keywords returned, once you have sorted them into the highest searches first, are the most popular keywords that are being searched on.

By constructing your content around these keywords, whether you think they are hot or not, you are targeting high volume, site relevant keywords that your potential visitors are searching for. This, in my view, will increase the relevance of your site to Google and other search engines and open up your site to indexing for more than one “seed” keyword.
I have written a couple of articles on Keyword research and the Keyword Conundrum, which if you haven’t read already, you might want to run through or read again. When I wrote this content for my site ThreesomesWithCouples.com, I used Google’s keyword research tool; the keywords returned helped me to construct this text:
<p><h1><strong>Swingers swingers! Welcome to ThreesomesWithCouples.com, one of the best, most active threesome and swingers contact sites online today! Swingers chat by email, voice or video. Swingers Couples, Swingers for threesomes, MMF, FFM, girl threesomes, granny swingers, mature swingers, threesome xxx, all swinging activities are covered at ThreesomesWithCouples.com. The swingers online club is free to join, so sign up now and hook up with local swingers today!</p></h1></strong>
The tags around the text that you can see are <p> for a new paragraph, <h1> is a header tag (use <h2> and <h3> as well), and <strong> emphasizes the text in bold. The keyword search terms that came back in my search are highlighted in the text. Remember to close off your content with the tags </p> to end the paragraph, </h1> to end the “header 1” section and </strong> to close off the bold text section.
The text must read as naturally as possible; highlight keywords individually in bold if you prefer, by adding the <strong>BOLD</strong> tags around your keywords. You can also underline and italicise your keywords.
These techniques are also used in blog posts to improve their rankings for natural search. I’ll be covering this in more detail in a later article.

In summary:

  • Use XHeader to resize images and develop handsome, bespoke logos and headers for your dating site.
  • Get ideas for unique content by using Google Keywords search tool. Then create natural, flowing narrative around the keywords, highlighting them in bold, italics or underlines.

I hope you will be able to put these techniques into practice to develop an individual dating site that appeals to your target audience.
Best of luck!
Steve Bolton aka Dateblogger