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Dating 2.0: Match.com & Internet Dating – What’s Wrong With Your Profile??

Ever wondered ‘what’s wrong with my internet dating profile?’ ‘Why aren’t I getting more interest?’ Internet dating can be a tough, cruel and shallow world. Below is some advice on how you can make your profile more appealing, to improve your chances of attracting Mr or Miss Right.

Be Honest

It’s not a secret that I have been online dating recently. I’m pretty open about it. I try to be honest in my profile and I try to use recent pictures. I’m always dubious of people that don’t have photos and tend to avoid them. If you haven’t been in front of a camera in the last 24 months or you’re too embarrassed by online dating to put a picture on, then don’t do it. I always think you’ve got to be comfortable with your decisions. I don’t think there is anything wrong with registering for online dating and that being an admission of wanting to meet different people and possibly “that special someone”. Dating’s changed and there is nothing wrong with embracing it. You’ve got to be comfortable to put yourself out there.

Limit it

I have tried online dating several times in the past, but I only tend to do it for a month at a time, because that seems to be long enough to get through all the people you’re going to want to find out more about. Then I remove my profile for a good six months to allow for churn. There is no point in paying out £29.99 just to ignore the same faces for another month. The marginal benefit of that additional 28 days is small. You might want love to happen, but not at any cost.

Failing that, keep it fresh

However, if you really don’t want to miss out on your shot at love in the intervening months, mix it up a bit. Change your photos, change your main photo, try some new hobbies and update your profile to reflect this. Change your writing style, your format, your search options. I’m a Web Analyst, I’m essentially telling you to step test your profile. See what gets you the best responses.

Wrong Photos

You’ve got to be realistic. It’s so tempting to put up photos of you looking super hot 5 years ago and even if you think you still look like that, you might be wrong. Try and stick within the last 24 months, 36 at a push. Now, I’m mainly checking out men’s profiles, but as a woman I don’t want to see:

  • You with another woman, whether she’s your friend, sister, ex, whatever, it just doesn’t make a great impression. They provide the wrong subconscious cues.
  • You with a child or baby. Even if you explicitly write on your profile that you have no children, it’s a subconscious thing again. It also makes me wonder if you’re broody, because I’m not.
  • Bad cropping. If you’ve obviously cropped out a woman it makes it even more probable that it’s your ex. You don’t want to be reminding a potential new girlfriend of your baggage, no matter how well the break up went down.
  • Your car, any car. Just a photo of a car, not you. What are you trying to prove? I drive a Peugeot 206, I’m very proud of it, I love it, it’s called Rooster Booster, but I sincerely hope this car isn’t swaying people’s dating decisions. I don’t need to see your yacht either. Why not just put up a copy of your bank statement and be done with it (or your tiny *cough cough* …just saying).
  • A dog, cat, parrot, whatever animal. If it’s you and the animal, I’m OK with that, but again, it’s unnecessary alone. People look through profiles so quickly. You want to utilise their attention to the maximum. I truly don’t understand why people put up photos of landscapes and monuments either.

One small request from me though. There seem to be a disproportionate amount of men with military links on Match.com. This is not a problem. But it wouldn’t hurt to throw up a few photos of you in your uniform. I’m totally OK with you going all Officer and a Gentleman on me. Just a personal preference there.

Your Personal Statement

I’d put up a tag line if you can think of something catchy, but that’s not vital. Remember, people are largely just scanning profiles, don’t waste their attention. Don’t write ‘errr, I’m really not sure what to write here’ or ‘I’m new to this, where to start.’ Sure, you might be thinking that, but if you don’t know what to write, do a little research, what have other people put? Write something about yourself that people can comment on , write about what you’re looking for, but try to be specific, though not so specific that you put people off. Mmm, that is a little tricky. OK then, just avoid using the word ‘nice.’

Get Off The Site

Whether it’s by providing an email address, friending on Facebook (not my preference), texting, calling (big bonus points for this) or getting in on going out on a date quickly, if you’ve found someone on there you like and you’ve sent some onsite emails, try and move them off the site. This serves several purposes:

  • People will check their phone and personal emails more frequently than their online dating site emails, so they’re more likely to get the message and hopefully respond.
  • It means the other person is open to letting you infiltrate their everyday life a bit further rather than containing you within the dating site.
  • If they don’t have to log on to communicate with you, there is less chance of them being lured away by someone else.
  • If you cancel your subscription you can still keep in touch.

However, I should caveat that you do need to be careful who you give your personal details to. If you’re going on a date, always let someone know where you are going and what time you can be expected back. This should be the same whether you meet someone at the bus stop, in a bar, at speed-dating (really? You met someone speed-dating?), for safety and because it’s fun to chat about dates!

Have fun out there. Oh, and if you get a date, here are some first date pitfalls to avoid.

Do you have any online dating tips? What are the worst things you’ve seen on dating profiles? What are the oddest pictures?

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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Dave June 16, 2011, 11:17 pm

    It always shocks me how many people put the most unbelievable crap in their personal statement. I think the worst kind, even worse than those who say they don’t know what to put, is those (I’m talking about women here) who say “I like most things. Ask me!”

    Why would I? I bet they don’t like ‘most things’. It will be some combination of chart music, going out with their friends, ‘having fun’ and shopping. Mundane tedious cack. Which is why they’ve tried to create some air of mystery by making a poor effort at filling out their profile. I imagine first contact would involve asking what they like, finding out it’s boring and never responding again. Or perhaps I’m missing out on some incredible repartee that they are too shy to show off to the world.

    And another thing, dudes, keep your shirt on ffs. It makes you like incredibly vain posting topless photos. Yes, you may spend hours a week in the gym, but a well fitted shirt will also show off your toned physique.

    Good point on the badly cropped photos. There’s nothing that says ‘bad breakup’ more than a great picture of your face, with one side of your body missing and a disembodied hand on your shoulder. Look at your profile and think to yourself, ‘would my ex laugh at this?’

    • Jo Darby June 18, 2011, 11:27 am

      Hi Dave,

      Loving your comments as ever. Having not searched for many women to date, I hadn’t realised that their profiles are just as bad as some of the men’s. The “I like most things, ask me” line really is appalling. Where do you go with that?

      People just don’t seem to realise that with so many other people out there they need to try a bit harder to pique people’s interest.

      Jo

      • Dave August 8, 2011, 5:44 pm

        One more thing. PLEASE make sure your photos are the right way up. The number of profile pictures that are sideways is ridiculous.

  • Miss Digwell June 19, 2011, 11:41 am

    Wasn’t sure, at first, what you meant by ‘get off the site’, but now I realise you mean ‘conduct your conversation off the dating site’. Have always been slow on the uptake, but think I’m getting worse. x

  • Gary June 19, 2011, 3:06 pm

    Jo….

    “Having not searched for many women to date”

    So just the odd one or two then? Hahaha, that did make me laugh!!

    Good comments all of you however there is the risk of, dare I say, trying too hard? I’m all for women having much more to them than “I like most things, ask me”, which does blatantly suggest that they really do not have a lot of substance, but also there is nothing worse than looking at a profile with so much to it that you think, well if you are that great then why don’t you have a boyfriend? It screams bunny boiler or psycho- girlfriend to me.

    Selling yourself too much can sound very over cocky and confident, a risk that both men and women risk when online dating as you sometimes cannot sense the tone or meaning to what is being written.

    I have signed up with match.com recently, as I am investigating a piece of writing for a magazine, and I have trawled through many, many profiles. There is not one profile out there that is perfect. It’s such a strange concept – selling yourself so blatantly.

    I would much prefer a pint in hand and some cheeky banter to win the ladies over, not showing off how much I LOVE adventure, sunsets and a man with a GSOH.

    Right.

  • Jo Darby June 19, 2011, 3:22 pm

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for your comment. Online dating is a minefield. I’ve been told that I must be good at Marketing because I’ve managed to sell myself pretty well in my profile, though that could just be a line and I’m still single.

    I tend to agree with you that it would be much better for ‘love to happen’ in a more, dare I say it, organic manner, but dating is changing. I think the stat goes that 1 in 8 US marriages are a result of online dating, though I don’t know how many US divorces are a result of online philandering.

    I still think getting off the site and making a date happen is the best way to actually find a match and also the quickest way to nip a waste of effort in the bud.

    I’d be interested to see your writing, so let me know when it’s available for public consumption.

    Next up, first date don’ts.

    Jo

    • Dave June 23, 2011, 1:24 pm

      Just FYI, a common number quoted is that Facebook (specifically) is cited in approximately 20% of US divorce cases.

  • Dave June 19, 2011, 6:15 pm

    So who is going to be first to link to their profile? We all talk a good game. ;)

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