PG Dating Pro Editor's Review


Editor's rating

The editor's rating is calculated based on the average of the following criteria, rated on a
scale of 1 of 5:

  • Installation: 5
  • Features: 4
  • Interface: 4.5
  • Customization: 4
  • Help and support: 5

Bottom line

"PG Dating Pro is a solid choice for your online dating site, thanks to its ease-of-use both on the public and admin end." - Ahmad Permessur, Editor - HotScripts.com

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Extremely easy to install and configure.
  • Offers a plethora of powerful communication tools.
  • Combines several search methods customizable by the site administrator.
  • Optimized for search engines with Meta description and page title customization and SEO-friendly URLs.
  • Comes with a great user group permission system.
  • Offers a bunch of ways to monetize your site.
  • Works with several payment gateways and can handle SMS payment via a third-party provider.
  • Looks great on mobile devices (requires a module installed).
  • Also comes with a desktop instant messenger application.

Cons

  • Theme files could have been a tad better in terms of customization.
  • Lacks detailed revenue and membership reporting.

Detailed review

Due to incredible growth over the past few years, the online dating industry has become very lucrative for those willing to launch their own dating site. Dating Pro from Pilot Group offers a great framework if you're looking to establish yourself and stay competitive in the online dating industry. It is built upon a solid foundation that leverages know-how of online relationship building through the use of cutting-edge technologies.

PG Dating Pro is based on PHP and works off a MySQL database. It does require Zend Optimizer for encrypted version, which is usually pre-installed on most web hosting environments. For the installation, you'll go through a few simple steps and by the time you're through, you'll have a fully functional, ready-to-run dating site.

PG Dating Pro has all the features commonplace in any decent dating application. Let’s examine how it deals with five key aspects that are indispensable in any flexible and profitable dating application: membership experience, search functionalities, communication tools, monetization opportunities, and administrative backend.

1. Membership Experience – What matters the most in any social site is how the front-end interface is designed to drive maximum registration, engagement, and ultimately conversion. PG Dating Pro is shipped with a couple of pre-built themes – while they all tend to look the same, they do sport different color schemes, images, and block positioning. You can further fine-tune these in the admin area or alternatively create your own theme file. The presentation of the public page is sleek and well-optimized. It has been kept to a bare minimum, which I believe makes it highly usable. There are adequate calls-to-action or alerts in the form of messages that prompt your visitors and users for either registration or account upgrade.

The entire membership registration process can be customized. You can create your own set of questions using a drop-and-drop profile form builder in the admin area. Since dating sites require you to capture a lot of personal preferences, PG Dating Pro allows you to split registration questions into multiple pages and allows users to track their profile completion status. Finally, the application can also be configured to use Facebook Connect so that users can login your site using their Facebook credentials.

2. Search Functionalities – The developers of PG Dating Pro didn't scrimp when it comes to site search features. The application allows you to perform various types of searches: quick search, advanced search, search by tags, online status, new users, and location. It also supports radius search for US and Canada. Members can save any advanced search they make in their account and quickly re-run those any time. All search results from the site can be filtered to show online members or members with photos. In addition, the administrator can customize the fields on most of the search forms and also tailor the algorithm for the “perfect match” search. There are some elements of social discovery in suggested matches block in search pages, which can be also adjusted from administration panel.

3. Communication Tools – Several ways are provided for end users to communicate with others on the site. It comes with a pre-built IM application based on AJAX. However, third-party applications like 123FlashChat, FlashComs, or Userplane all tie perfectly into the system to offer either a chat or IM feature. VOIP calls and online video dating web services are also available for use through external service providers. PG Dating Pro comes with some other traditional communication modules like forums, groups, blogs, shoutbox, e-cards and a guestbook. While these might be superfluous to some, they can prove handy if you want to combine social networking features with your dating site.

4. Monetization Opportunities – I was pleased with the monetizing features that PG Dating offers, which work on a simple principle. First you create different membership levels for your site using the “user groups” feature in the admin area. Once these are defined, you configure the access permission of these groups by specifying which section of the site or modules that particular user group can access. Finally, you set up the pricing for each plan, complete with the ability to specify the pricing on a per billing cycle basis. To encourage users to upgrade their account, you can also define free trial periods or set up discounted plans through a promotional code.

There are also some non-plan-based paid services such as search “lift up” and the “carousel” feature that allow you to charge users extra fees. To leverage site impressions, you can run banner campaigns through the banner module. PG Dating Pro supports a variety of different payment gateways, from PayPal to Authorize.NET and even SMS payment.

5. Administrative Backend – The administrative backend of PG Dating Pro sports an elegant and simple interface, without exposing users to the usual complexity of managing a dating site. The vendor does offer some video tutorials to help get you started with configuring your site or you can just dive into its intuitive admin area and find your way around. This shouldn't be hard since each section has some help annotation on every page.

The admin dashboard gives you a bird's-eye view of your site. All the way from the number of new registrations in the past few days to the most profitable paid service on your site, you can easily gauge the performance of your site and check revenue. Unfortunately this reporting is rudimentary and the application lacks a dedicated detailed reporting feature, but you can switch to your own analytics application to track your dating site.

The admin area does do a great job of managing your membership base as well as other aspects of your site. It also includes a lightweight CMS so you can create static content pages, and a marketing campaign feature that can be a great tool for some. This allows you to generate a unique landing URL to your site to track your marketing efforts from referrals all the way to CPC programs. By sending users to a specific URL on your site, the system can track the number of clicks, registrations, and amount of profit for that campaign so that you can determine your return on investment. While it can be argued that this same functionality can be found using an analytics application, it would take a fair amount of effort to manually configure it and track a lead from a landing page till it closes.

Overall, PG Dating Pro is a solid choice, thanks to its ease-of-use both on the public and admin end. The core features alone are more than enough to power a site that is functional and usable, but the optional modules available for purchase will result in a turbo-charged dating site.

Screenshots

 
Disclosure

This is an editorial review; not a recommendation. All editorial reviews, some of which we may receive compensation to perform, express our objective findings and experiences with the specific product (including version) under review. The review expressed is of the editor only. Any product claim, statistic, or other representation should be verified with the provider.