"I equate online dating to looking for a job," says Julie Spira, cyber-dating expert and author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating.

"You'd want a rock star résumé for your perfect dream job, and you should feel the same way about your online dating profile." And the profile is just where it starts—we have plenty of expert tips, from sending the perfect first e-mail to picking your first date location.

Offering group chats with users of the same gender, its smart algorithm pairs you with like minded people, allowing you to get to know each other safely. Meet Me (Free) Meet Me offers over 100 million people chatting, covering all ages, nationalities and backgrounds.

"Your primary photo should be all about you." She recommends posting between three to five photos only—any more and "it's as if you're already smothering your future partner." Also, be sure to include a shot where you can see your body.

It doesn't have to be provocative (and you most certainly do not have to have a perfect figure!

Sure, you can sign up to a dating app or site, but what if you just want to make new friends?

Here’s a selection of 10 great apps for doing just that: 1.

By signing up, you can immediately check out what your local area has to offer.

Whether it’s simply a group full of people of a similar age, or a keen bunch of tech or fitness fans, there should be something for you. Nextdoor (Free) Want to get to know your neighbors more easily but never seem to run into them? It’s a private social network for your neighborhood, allowing you to exchange information on the local community through your smartphone.

It’s ideal if you’re worried about being isolated while on paternity leave, as well as great for gaining advice. Skout (Free) Skout works on preferences and proximity, much like a dating app but for friends.

You can use it to meet new people, no matter where you are, even if you’re just visiting a new area.

Dating is complicated enough on its own; when you add in the confusion of online dating sites, it can be just plain intimidating. There is a technique to navigating the virtual playing field.

Not to mention effective: Each day, an average of 236 people who met on e get married. So, how do you go from logging on to finding your perfect match?

Meetup (Free) Meetup works across thousands of cities.