What's your dating goal? Different sites focus on different kinds of interactions, from short-term hookups to long-term relationships, so you need to be honest about what you're looking for.
Consider niche sites for a more specific pool of singles. Some dating sites are geared toward singles with certain compatible requirements, such as age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, location, income, religion or interests, which can save you time.
Be patient. If you're serious about online dating, a one-month subscription may not do much for you. Even matchmaking sites like eHarmony.com and Chemistry.com require patience and the weeding out of incompatible matches.
Be safe -- and skeptical. You've may already have heard the basics: Never post personal contact details on your profile, make sure to meet in public, and trust your gut about anyone who seems too good to be true (they probably are). That advice all still holds true, but keep in mind that you may never need to meet someone in person to be at risk. Scammers are adept at forming deep virtual relationships with would-be victims, gaining enough trust to eventually empty the other person's bank account. Be wary of anyone who seems to fall for you too soon, continually backs out of in-person meetings, immediately asks to chat outside of the dating site or app, or asks for money for any reason. ScamBusters has more tips on recognizing online dating scams.
If you're interested in using any subscription-based dating site, make sure you know the terms and conditions before you enter your credit card information. Even if you sign up for a promotional offer where you can communicate with others for free for a limited time, be careful -- most will automatically sign you up for a subscription if you don't cancel by the time the trial expires. And when you have an active subscription, users say renewal can kick in one or two days before the end date of the subscription period, so it's best to cancel two or three days in advance. Make sure you retain some sort of proof of cancellation: Some members complain that they've asked for cancellations only to be charged anyway.