Struggling to land that special someone online? We’ve been deep in those trenches, and we’d love to help you get out of ‘em. Here are our favourite online dating profile tips to help you snag the love of your life (or at least some love for next Valentines Day in a few weeks).
If you’re flying solo right now, you’re in good company. Eating whatever you want for dinner. Using all the hot water without regrets. Never having to say you’re sorry for binge-watching Game of Thrones (again).
Single life has its perks, but not everyone is happy being a member of the lonely hearts club. If you’re like a lot of people — 15 percent of the population, to be exact — you use online dating in hopes of making a lasting love connection
6 Secrets for Writing the Best Online Dating Profile
While writing the best online dating profile isn’t rocket science, it’s not as easy as you might think. You get one chance to make an impression. If your profile is unappealing — or worse, offensive — you’re going to miss out on opportunities to meet people. Here are six tips to keep in mind.
1. Write Your Profile When You’re Happy
Your mood matters, so write your profile when you’re in a positive frame of mind. When Iain Gorman at Urban Social gives online dating profile examples, he stresses the importance of striving for positivity (and avoiding negativity) when you sit down to write. “... [K]ick things off by focusing on your most positive characteristics. Be truthful and concentrate on what makes you you.”
It’s also important to avoid snark and negativity when you write your profile. This doesn’t mean you can’t use sarcasm when appropriate. However, keep in mind that humor (and pretty much every form of communication) doesn’t always translate well through text.
If five people read the same thing, it’s likely they’ll walk away with five different takes — even if some of the interpretations are somewhat similar. You don’t want to risk turning someone off by making insensitive jokes or filling your profile with negativity.
2. Focus on Values, Not Physical Traits
You may like big butts and feel unable to lie about it, but there’s probably a better way to communicate your thoughts about what types of physical traits interest you. Of course, no one’s saying physical appeal isn’t important. But putting too much emphasis on looks can backfire by making potential dates perceive you as shallow or judgmental.
Fortunately, there are ways to make your preferences known without risking offense or missing out on dates. For example, if you’re attracted to people who are physically fit, think about what types of behaviors and attitudes contribute to fitness.
3. Little White Lies Can Be Big Trouble
We all want to look (and sound) our best on an online dating profile. However, going overboard can mean facing down buyer’s remorse when you meet a date in person. Greg Hodge at Huffington Post writes that 53 percent of Americans admit to lying on their profiles.
At the same time, a majority of people cite misleading or false info as one of their top complaints when it comes to dating profiles. According to a survey conducted by Elite Singles, 66 percent of respondents “said they wouldn’t even consider a relationships with someone who embellished their characteristics on their profile.”
While it’s totally okay to use a flattering photo of yourself, and to highlight the most positive aspects of your life and personality, don’t go overboard.
4. Grammar and Spelling Matter
You don’t have to be a professional writer to create a good online dating profile, but you should make an effort to use proper grammar and correct punctuation. Your online dating profile isn’t an English essay, but it does say a lot about you.
And speaking of “a lot,” there are a number of common spelling mistakes you should avoid when you write your profile. Clean spelling and good grammar might not have potential dates flocking to your virtual door, but they help make a good first impression. Hey, any little bit helps!
If you’re totally hopeless when it comes to writing, you can always consider hiring a pro to write your online dating profile. Just as you might outsource your resume writing to a company that specialises in employee recruitment, look for dating and relationship experts who can help your profile shine.
5. Update Regularly (and Include the Latest Buzzwords)
Is your online dating profile dry and dusty? Knock the cobwebs off and give it a makeover. According to dating experts, you should even consider approaching your profile like a marketer.
If this sounds weird, think of it this way: Your online dating profile is designed to sell a product — you. Shouldn’t it contain details and buzzwords that attract potential consumers?
In fact, surveys of singles show that profiles featuring specific words tend to get noticed more. For example, the dating site Zoosk found that online dating profiles that include the word “guacamole” receive 144 percent more messages than those without.
Words people find most attractive in male online dating profiles:
- Physically fit
Words people find most attractive in female online dating profiles:
- Hard working
Of course, every good marketer knows that trends change fairly often. This is why you should make an effort to regularly update your profile. This doesn’t mean you have to lie and say you love pumpkin spice lattes if you’re allergic to pumpkin. Rather, run a search for online dating trends and see if you can find which words and phrases are gaining the most traction. Chances are you’ll be able to identify with at least a couple.
6. Get Potential Dates Engaged
No, not that kind of engaged. (Although eHarmony says that 20 percent of all modern couples find each other through online dating.)
Instead, invite visitors to your profile to interact with you. Ideas for this include asking questions and encouraging feedback. If you’re a voracious reader, for example, ask fellow bookworms to share their top reads for the year. Are you a foodie? Invite potential dates to swap recipes or list their favourite restaurants.
4 Online Dating Profile Mistakes to Avoid
Now that you know how to write an online dating profile that converts, it’s a good idea to cover the types of things you should definitely avoid. No matter how dreamy your looks or how charming you are in person, making one of these dating profile mistakes can leave you out in the cold when it comes to scoring a hot date.
1. Don’t Make It All About the Hookups
You read that right. While online dating can sometimes get a bad rap for being all about that bass, it turns out that most people really are looking for a meaningful relationship.
Sure, there are plenty of people who use online dating for casual sexual encounters. There are even a few online dating apps that seem to attract users who are more interested in sex than a committed relationship. But surveys show that comparatively few users are focused on sex alone.
If you’re serious about finding your penguin, rest assured you’re in the majority. According to a survey of almost 400 Tinder users, just five percent said “the desire for hookups was their main motivation for joining the site.”
2. Don’t Overshare
While it’s important to be thorough when you write your online dating profile, you don’t want to venture into TMI territory, either. When Huffington Post surveyed readers about their biggest turn offs when it comes to online dating profiles, “oversharing” topped the list.
According to one reader, the worst online dating profile example was a man who shared he’d been married three times and was “looking for [his] fourth wife.” Not everyone is lucky in love the first (or fourth) time, but maybe save those details for a few dates down the road — and ease up on the nuptial talk.
3. Don’t Be Controversial
Or at least avoid including information others might perceive as controversial, depending on their personal views.
While you might feel passionately about a certain subject, stating it on your profile can give people the impression that you care about little else. If people think you’re going to lecture them about saving sea turtles over a plate of fettuccine alfredo, they’re probably not going to ask you out.
On the other hand, if your personal beliefs are a central tenet of your personality and lifestyle, you might want to state that up front — especially if you’re committed to finding a partner who shares your beliefs.
For example, if you’re part of a religious community or sect and wish to only date people from the same background, you can probably improve your chances by listing that on your profile. In fact, there are several prominent dating sites devoted to matching people from various religious and cultural backgrounds.
4. Don’t Be Generic
Just as it’s possible to go overboard when it comes to listing your passions, there’s also a risk of making your profile too bland to attract notice.
Natalie Jane at eHarmony writes, “If you look at ten random profiles right now, I bet you’ll find the same common themes: everyone is fun, outgoing and adventurous, with a great sense of humour… While these responses are all OK, after a while they sound generic and same-same.”
If you make your profile too “safe” or generic, you might get lost in the crowd. One way to avoid this is by getting specific about your interests.
For example, instead of writing “I love hiking,” share details about the time you hiked the Mist Trail in the Blue Mountains. Or if you’re an expert cook, don’t just say you enjoy cooking. Instead, share your favourite recipes or talk about how you visit your local farmer’s market every Saturday. These may seem like insignificant details, but they make you stand out as unique in a sea of bland profiles.