Writing a good online dating profile isn’t as easy as it looks. Simply listing dry information about yourself makes it read like a résumé. Snooze. But trying too hard can come across as inauthentic, needy or sounding like a braggart (OK, we get it — you’ve been to 87 countries). Fear not. As a dating coach, I will share 10 tips on how to write an online dating profile that gets you more matches, more messages and more dates.
When you get down to it, an online dating profile is simply marketing content with you as the product. As with any marketing campaign, you want your message to stand out amid the competition. Take it from a dating expert: A good profile will turn your smartphone into a date-generating machine. Here’s how to write an online dating profile that will help you get what you want.
10.) Start With Great Photos
The most important part of online dating success? Photos that capture the attention of potential dates. The most well-written profile won’t matter without effective images. One of the most important things to consider when you want to know how to write an online dating profile is how the images will sell you. Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- Make sure your shots are crisp, well-lit and have high-resolution.
- Favor a portrait or a headshot with you looking at the camera for your featured photo. Studies show that eye contact builds trust with your audience.
- Include a cuddly photo of your dog or cat.
- Show good emotions in your photos. Have fun and be silly. Fun vibes are more attractive than you channeling your inner Zoolander.
- Use selfies. They’re common and forgettable.
- Wear sunglasses. Let’s have a look at that attractive mug of yours!
- Post group shots where people can’t figure out which one is you. Online daters don’t want to work hard to identify you.
- Worry if your first few photos fail to yield matches or dates. Try new pics. Make adjustments. Keep testing until you find shots that connect.
9.) Diversify to Double Your Options
Just as a smart investor won’t put all their money in one stock, you don’t want to rely on one dating site. Diversify.
I have my clients sign up for two sites or apps, ideally ones that complement each other. For example, Match is largely populated with singles seeking a committed relationship while Zoosk is geared more toward casual daters. The two platforms are different to navigate, so there’s minimal user overlap between the two. If you use both, you effectively double your pool of potential dates.
If you’re not sure which are the best ones for your needs, read our review of the best online dating sites.
8.) Show, Don’t Tell
When it’s time to craft your personal description, remember what your high-school English teacher taught you about writing: Show, don’t tell. Showing who you are is more compelling than telling who you are. On your profile, don’t just say you’re funny — crack a joke. Don’t just say you have a weakness for reality TV — mention your Big Brother addiction.
This is telling: “I have an adventurous side, and I’m very athletic.”
This is showing: “I just backpacked through France, and I run the New York marathon every year.”
Instead of “I love to travel,” you might write, “I spent my summer seeing Tuscany from the seat of my red Vespa.” Rather than “My family is important to me,” you could say, “To me, happiness is playing hide-and-seek with my little niece Megan.” It’s about specificity and details.
7.) Get in the Zone
A common mistake in profile writing is making it sound like a dull list of facts. Your profile is not a CV. It’s a platform to show off! You get to display your personality, your passions, your sense of humor. Have fun with it.
Before you sit down to write, get in a great mood. Sing a song. Pour a drink. When you feel good, those positive vibes will flow through your fingertips as you write about your job, your hobbies or your love of Honey Bunches of Oates. Your description will be more engaging.
Oh, bonus tip: When writing about what you like, explain why you like it. Lots of people run, bike, do yoga and travel. But why do those things speak to you? How do they make you feel? This extra tip on how to write an online dating profile can help set you apart and help potential dates get to know you better.
6.) Cliches: Avoid Them Like the Plague!
Clichés are kryptonite to a good profile. They make you sound ordinary instead of awesome. Some tips for how to write an online dating profile might suggest them, but take it from an expert: be more creative. Beware of using tired, overused phrases that pockmark too many dating profiles.
Here are 10 phrases to banish from your bio:
- “Well, here I am, giving [name of site] a try”
- “I like long walks on the beach”
- “I’m looking to meet people”
- “Seeking a partner in crime”
- “I’m looking for someone kind and caring”
- “My family is so important to me”
- “Not really sure what to write here”
- “I’m equally comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt as I am in a dress and heels/suit and tie…”
- “I’m not into playing games or drama…”
- “I’m terrible at talking about myself.”
Instead, show some creativity and details about yourself to interest your potential dates.
5.) Tell the Truth
At least 50% of online daters lie on their profiles, and it’s probably much higher. Don’t misrepresent things like your age, weight, height and income. Lying is not only wrong; it makes it hard to relax on a date, for fear of getting found out.
And you will be found out — yes, even your white lies. A guy who claims he’s 6’1’’ will be busted when his date realizes he’s 5’10’’ at best. A woman who tries to pass off as current a decade-old photo can expect precious few second dates. Obvious lies also trigger red flags to avoid in dating. So keep it simple: tell the truth. Lies are also one of those things never to say on a first date.
If you lie in your profile, your date may not trust anything you told them. If they realized you posted an edited picture or an old picture, they might wonder what else you’re lying about. Be honest with what you look like, including in pictures, height, weight, and even eye color.
And here’s the honest truth about dating: You’re not trying to attract the most outgoing, most attractive, tallest, smartest, blondest, or richest person out there. You’re trying to attract the perfect complement to you. If you’re not into climbing Mount Everest, there’s no need to say you are. You want to make sure you are falling for the right person. If you are lying about your personality, the connection between the two of you will fizzle quickly.
Perhaps most importantly, when you’re honest about who you are, what you do, and how you feel, you won’t run the risk of disappointing someone who’s already taking a risk by meeting you in the first place.
4.) But Don’t Tell the Whole Truth
Here’s a good rule: don’t write anything on your profile that you wouldn’t want to be printed on the front page of the New York Times.
Yes, honesty is a virtue, but don’t overshare. There’s no need to mention on your eHarmony bio how traumatic your drawn-out divorce was. You don’t want to talk about your serious health issues or your dirty little secrets — at least not yet. Leave these discussions for your dates, not your profile.
3.) Start Strong
Whether you’re writing a short description (Tinder gives you just 500 characters) or something more elaborate (Match and eHarmony provide hundreds of words to play with), you want to start strong and hook your potential date’s interest.
Great ways to grab their attention include a good story, a quirky personal detail or a joke. One of my clients starts his Zoosk profile like this: “I’m looking for a partner in crime… literally. I’m a bank robber.”
2.) Finish Strong
You want to end with a kicker — a satisfying final line that makes the other person want to write you. A joke is a great choice, but you can also end with a question that invites a response. Good topics include food, travel or pop-culture.
A female client ended her Match “About Me” section like this: “As a chef and a food critic, I love whipping up a big plate of pasta and opening a bottle of Italian wine. What food can you not live without?” This made it easy for her suitors to message her — and dozens of them did!
1.) Defuse “Landmines”
Finally, before you post your profile, look for landmines — hidden mistakes that could hurt your results. Here are some examples:
- Grammatical mistakes: You don’t need to be Ernest Hemingway, but if you confuse proper uses of “your” and “you’re,” you’ll lose some potential matches. Similarly, make sure you spell things right. Spell check is there for a reason. Use it.
- Sexual innuendos: Don’t use them, even on hook-up apps. There’s a time for innuendos, but not on your profile.
- Sounding needy: I recently came across a guy’s profile with the headline, “Lonely Eric Single Chicago.” Alas, he’s gonna stay lonely.
- Weird photos: What’s weird? Anything that’s not relatable or “normal.” It’s like the definition of obscenity — you know it when you see it.
This tip on how to write an online dating profile can help you avoid accidentally discouraging someone who might have been a perfect match. Everyone has things they worry about on a first date, and some of these might indicate to someone that you might bring up those things they worry about.
Write an Online Dating Profile You’ll Be Proud Of
These tips on how to write an online dating profile can take your profile from “meh” to “marvelous,” and you’re sure to see a difference in the number of responses you receive. Get ready to plan that awesome first date with your matches!