Don’t let background noise distract him from a good thing —You!
It is common for women to feel frustrated and disappointed with the quality of replies they get on online dating sites. Either they aren’t receiving many responses at all, or the ones they do receive are along the lines of “hey there” without any thought or effort—the dating equivalent of spam. Even worse, you can start to feel that you are attracting only the toads lurking around the edges, while the cute, normal guys seem to pass right by.
So what can a single girl do? Isn’t online dating like a random carnival game? —if Lady Luck isn’t on your side, are you destined to play a losing hand?
Not exactly. While it is true that online dating is partly a numbers game, there are many steps you can take to stack the deck in your favor. I just finished my 200th online dating profile makeover and wanted to celebrate by sharing my top profile tips with you—tips that worked for me when I was single, and that work now for my private clients. (Learn how to set up the best possible first date in this article, How To Have An Awesome First Date With An Online Match.)
If you put aside all the personality quizzes, questionnaires, and fancy-sounding algorithms, the successful dating profile delivers on old-fashioned advertising goals— the same goals used to sell everything from shoes to potato chips:
- Create desire—a need to buy.
- Create a sense of urgency—the need to buy it now.
Now, let me be clear: we are not talking about a trip to Tiffany at this point. But a man could look at your profile and think "She's sexy" and "I've got to meet her"— that is the desire and need to buy trigger that I’m talking about. As far as the urgency part, it usually follows rather naturally if yours is the look he's after. So the only elements you need to pay close attention to in your profile are your handle (the “name” you’re going by on the dating site) and your photos. That's it. Everything else in your profile is there to support your goals of creating desire and a sense of urgency. Keep your descriptive text brief and action-oriented: things you like to do and places you like to go.
If anything in your profile could get in the way of your ad objectives, you must eliminate it. This is an ad—not your life story. The sooner you meet in real life, the sooner you will each know if yours is truly a match. No computerized mixologist can guarantee a compatible level of chemistry and attraction, or a shared sense of humor. A heartfelt essay on your hopes, dreams, and aspirations may be worth writing—and preserving in your journal—but it is out of place on a dating site and cannot truly bring him closer to the "real you."
So how will these advertising principles guide your own profile makeover?
1. Create a physically descriptive handle for yourself —one that says “pretty,” is easy to remember, and that matches your personal style and look. Our example will be a woman named Kimberly, 33 years old, with brown hair and dark eyes, who spends weekends playing in a municipal volley ball league. Possible handles for her could be SportyBrunette_33, PetiteBrunette_1000, VolleyBallGirl_BrownEyes, or DarkNLovely_2014. What Kimberly would not want to do is use a version of her name, which can be too identifying or just awkward; “Kimber4580” is the type of handle that is common when we let a computer call the shots. Pay attention to the trailing number, which is often needed to make your name unique. Never use your birth year, as that can leave you vulnerable to ID theft or fraud. Your handle is not the place to reference your favorite movie, book, or motivational saying; focus on the goals, and you’ll have plenty to talk about when you meet.
A note on eHarmony: I advise clients to create a handle, regardless of the fact that the site encourages the use of real first names. (A middle name or nickname can work well; or just pick a name that begins with the same initial.) Men live in the same world we do, and they truly understand that using a real name on a public dating site is not the smartest move.
2. Post the best photos of yourself that you possibly can. You will need 2 photographs at minimum—a smiling headshot and a ¾ or full body shot. I probably don’t need to tell you that the profile pic is everything, but sometimes we all need a little push to get to the Absolute Best Photograph Ever, which is what you should aim for. Many women invest in a photo shoot (one where the photographer comes to your home is best, so you will be relaxed and natural), but it is perfectly fine to use casual shots that friends or family have snapped. Make sure you crop out all other people in the photos before you upload them, as well as surroundings that might be too identifying or just odd.
Many women aren’t sure "how sexy" to look in their profile pics. For guidance, just remember the context. Men are viewing your photos on a dating site; they know that you are available, seeking a man, and that ultimately you probably enjoy getting physical with guys (or you wouldn’t be looking for one!). Therefore, to mention sex in your ad, pose in lingerie or skimpy bikinis, or otherwise flaunt an over-the-top sensuality comes across as…well, a little needy and perhaps even desperate. (Instagram "models" have different goals from yours.) Desperation is bait for a certain type of guy, but he’s probably not your idea of a great catch. So do show off your assets, but skip the boudoir shots.
When you work your dating profile like an ad—and don’t expect it to communicate every little nuance of your personality—you are much more likely to enjoy quality results: more real-life dates with men who find you attractive and want to be there with you. Streamline your descriptive text—sticking to career, hobbies, activities, and favorite places—so that nothing gets in the way of your objectives. Your next match will view your profile and think, “I better call her before someone else does.” And then the real fun begins.
Robyn Wahlgast is a Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Book a private consultation or subscribe to her FREE dating and relationship newsletter and get priority access to all new content.