1. Your photos are everything
This is the big one! Depressing as it may be, your face is the first thing on which people judge you. Good or bad, you should look straight into the camera, show your pearly whites and smile! This will display friendly, healthy, and confidence! A recent study of the most popular profiles on dating sites showed 88 % are making eye contact with the camera in their profile picture.
You should try to keep your photos fresh, and swap out your primary photo frequently. You look like a new user and people who might have missed you before are more likely to give you a second look. A final suggestion; don’t be tempted to airbrush your picture, change it, or use crazy filters. You don’t want to fool the looker by changing who you are before they’ve had a chance to meet you, things can get complicated!
2. Ask a friend to read your profile
It might feel a little awkward, but asking a friend to look at what you’ve written, and offering a fresh perspective is a great idea! We live in a soundbite society, so the first 30 words of your profile really matter (think Twitter or Facebook). Try to avoid clichés in your profile such as, “I love to take long walks at sunset,” or “I am a loyal friend!” We all want someone like that, but it’s good to stand out and be different! Ask your friend to keep an eye out for overused phrases.
It’s also a good idea to emphasize any of your activities as people tend to be attractive to those who convey health and vitality. Did you know, two of the most commonly used words in profiles on OkCupid are ‘yoga’ and ‘surfing?’ Running, skiing, tennis, dancing and cycling were also rated highly. Try to find the inner you, what really makes you different?
3. Don’t be Google-able
Just like meeting a stranger in real life, you have to stay safe when you’re online. Before giving away information such as job titles or personal details, think first about how those could be used to track you online.
Be careful what you say about yourself. Could someone use those details to find you on LinkedIn, for example? It is also possible to search using your image online, so use a photo that doesn’t appear anywhere else on the internet if you value your privacy.
Denise Knowles from relate.com says a good guide is remembering that the same rules apply both on and offline. “Let a friend know where you’ll be and when, and arrange a time to text to let them know you’re OK,” she says.
4. Message first
A lot of the outdated dating rules don’t apply anymore, and sending the first message online is actively encouraged if you want to get your profile looked at. Being proactive is key. Set aside an amount of time every day and write a handful of tailored introductory messages to new people.
It becomes very obvious when someone is cutting and pasting the same general ‘hi’ message over and over again. Sometimes you might be the receiver of a repeat “hello, you’re pretty cute” message. You should also try to keep it short and avoid heavy talk in those early messages. We all have emotional baggage and now is not the time or place.
5. Use it on Sunday
Sunday is the best time to get online. Research shows that peak time for users on dating sites are all on a Sunday afternoon, especially after 5pm. Most experts recommend dedicating at least 30 minutes every evening to the process. Don’t get too carried away. Set yourself a limit, but keep at it, it’ll be worth the effort.
6. Keep your options open
It might feel strange, but don’t feel that you have to speak to one person at a time. This is online dating, so most people will be talking to a few people at once. Don’t take that personally, just be honest about it. Meeting to see if there is any chemistry should not be too big a deal. You’re not monogamous just because you’ve been emailing each other for a couple of weeks.
Which is why it’s worth meeting up as quickly as possible. Get to the first date as quickly as possible – you only need to exchange two or three messages before you suggest meeting – you won’t know if there’s anything between you until you’re face-to-face. After all this is about dating, not emailing!
7. Try not to get discouraged
Along the way, you’ll almost certainly meet some duds. You can have matching likes and dislikes, have great chemistry over email, and then have zero chemistry in real life. Don’t become disheartened, it’s important to stick with it.
Online dating should be an enjoyable and fun experience. Don’t take it too seriously and prepare yourself to meet plenty of nice, friendly people who you absolutely don’t fancy. At some stage, there will be someone that you do. Many people go on around 30 dates before they meet someone they really fall for online. So try to keep that in perspective and enjoy the process.