The internet — a technological and communication marvel that has brought us 24-hour access to cat videos, social media rants, and online dating. While uploading a video of “Fluffy” shredding a pile of newspapers, or posting a comment under the latest trending hashtag won’t do much to advance your love life — when done right, online dating actually will. Like anything involving the internet or relationships, doing things right is the difference between getting the results that you want or just wasting your time. Fortunately, being successful with online dating can be as simple as improving your profile. Here are some quick and easy tips to improve your online dating profile. They will not involve cat videos or social media rants, we promise.
1. It All Starts With Your Profile Picture
It is amazing how in an age when everyone has access to a camera on their phone that would’ve been the envy of the best photographers just a couple of decades ago, we still see profile pics that look like DMV photo rejects.
For men, your profile picture should unite the elements that guide attraction in women. You should appear confident and appear in a posture or pose that, as behaviorists would say, “asserts social status and dominance.” For us mortals, that means that you should appear lively — smile. Do not slouch, do not appear with your arms folded or legs close together. If it’s a full-body picture, stand occupying space — don’t appear to be minimizing your presence. If it’s a portrait shot, put on a strong smile. If grinning suits you better, make it a resonating grin — think George Clooney. In other words, solid manly expressions, no meek expressions.
Some studies have suggested that male profile pics that are taken outdoors generate more interest. Take this information with a grain of salt. While it may be true, slapping on a profile pic of yourself taken the last time you went to the beach in 2013; when in reality you despise sand, dread the surf and you have a phobia of seagulls — well, that might backfire when beach going ladies start flooding your inbox. If being outdoorsy is genuinely your thing — definitely choose an outdoor setting for your pic. If not, a pic taken in an urban setting or park will also be effective and won’t set false expectations.
Don’t forget to change your profile picture every three weeks or so. You’d be amazed how potential matches that may have skipped over your profile before, may find you appealing when using a different pic.
Also, for the love of all that is sacred in this world, never — we mean, NEVER — use a shirtless selfie as your profile pic.
2. It’s About You
Remember, your online dating profile is meant to be used by your potential matches to gain insight on you. As such, this is one of those few times in anything involved with dating that it should be all about you. (It’s kinda nice to say that, isn’t it? “it’s all about me!”)
Do not waste valuable text real estate talking about what you like — interject yourself into your likes instead. Posting, “I find hiking to be a great way to connect with nature, to appreciate the beauty and majesty of the world that surrounds us,” is not as effective as posting, “when I want to connect with nature I go hiking.” You want potential matches to envision you in action, not to go off on a poetic tangent.
Another pitfall to avoid is describing your ideal mate or how you would treat them. While phrases such as “I’m looking for a smart woman with a passion for fitness” or “I would treat the woman in my life like a queen” may be factual and sweet, your profile is not the place for them. Your potential matches want to read about you. They want to determine on their own whether you would be a good match for them — they don’t want your dating rhetoric or hyperbole.
Edit your profile so that approximately 80% of its content is directly about you. Also, remember that the purpose of your profile is to make you intriguing. You don’t have to write a complete auto-biographical retrospective about your life. You want to mention just enough so that a potential match will want to get to know you more in person. When it comes to your online profile “leaving ’em wanting more” will often create interest.
3. Accentuate, Yes — Lie, No
When writing your profile you are essentially writing a piece of sales copy in which you are the product being promoted. Just as an effective ad will accentuate the positive attributes of a product without crossing the line of deceptive advertising, so too should your profile.
This means that it’s fine to accentuate your positive attributes, just don’t lie about them. Trust us, writing about your “passion” for 5K runs at dawn when your preferred morning routine involves a big bowl of Rice Krispies is not going to do you any good when you actually meet a potential match.
4. Grammar Counts
Proper grammar and spelling are important in a profile. Having a proper grasp of the language reflects on how a potential match views your level of intelligence. The better structured and more fluid your writing style, the smarter that potential matches will envision you to be.
In fact, a study on online dating discovered that male profiles which incorporated the word “whom” in their content had a 31% increase in response rate.
While your profile should not sound like a collection of Shakespearean verse and prose, you should make a solid effort to polish its grammatical structure. It will reflect better on you and make it easier to understand.
5. Optimize Your Username
Just as you should optimize your profile pic, so too should you optimize your username. Remember, your potential match will be scanning through dozens or hundreds of profiles. The two most prominent things that they will see will be your pic and your username.
Usernames like “John903642” are plain, generic, devoid of all personality. Others, such as “HardHarvey69,” well, what woman in her right mind would choose such a fellow for a date?
Your username should make you stand out as potential matches scan profiles. It should incorporate some element of your real name. They should never be crude or brash.
“RascalTom”, “ElatedEd”, “AviatorJohn”, “HikingBob” are some examples of short, easy to remember usernames that invoke personality.
6. Avoid Cliches
Describing yourself as “easygoing,” saying that you are looking for your “soulmate” will not make you stand out. Avoid cliches as much as possible simply for the reason that by definition they are overused and lack originality.
When a potential match comes across the phrase “I work hard and play harder” for the 100th time, she’ll be more prone to scan past you than pause and take a deeper look.
7. Speak for Yourself
A phrase that you should avoid like the plague in your online dating profile is, “my friends say I…”
Your potential match wants to know how you describe yourself. They want insight as to how YOU see yourself. They don’t care about the perspective of your friends. For all they know, your friends are just a bunch of no-good hoodlums out to set you astray.
Always write your profile from your own perspective. It makes you appear assertive in an “I’m my own man” sort of way. That creates a far better impression than someone that is seemingly swayed and guided by what “their friends say.”
Some Parting Words About Your Online Dating Profile
Always view your dating profile as yourself just prior to a first date. You want to look your best, you want to be witty and interesting and, above all, you never want to appear like an @88#0&%. Go ahead and try these tips to improve your online dating profile and watch your inbox get flooded with messages.