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Online Dating - How to Write a Great Profile

Updated on September 19, 2015
FatBoyThin profile image

Colin's novels, story collections and stage plays are available as eBooks and paperbacks.

Happy couple
Happy couple | Source

Online dating can be a great way to find a new partner, start a relationship or just have some adult fun. But it's not all plain sailing. Usually the first thing anyone sees when they're searching a dating site are photos of possible partners, hundreds, maybe thousands of them. Attached to each of those photos should be written profile, and if your photo sparks some interest, it's your this bit they'll go to next. Unfortunately, a lot of people think what they write doesn't matter, that it's just a bit of nonsense and doesn't require much thought, but your profile is what tells everyone what it is you've got (or put another way - what it is you're selling).

Don't be in any doubt - without an appealing profile, you won't draw much attention, and the 'buyers' will very quickly move on to the next photo.

Writing your speel
Writing your speel | Source

What exactly is a personal profile and how do I get one?

When you find an online dating site that you like, the next step is to fill in a few details about yourself. Most dating sites call this your personal profile. This is simply information about you – who you are, what sort of person you are and what you are looking for.

The first stage in creating a profile is to provide a verifiable email address. Verifiable means that it can be checked to see if it is a real (ie working) email address, and to confirm that it doesn’t belong to someone else. Dating sites do this by sending an email to the email address you provide, with a link back to their site. By checking your email and following their link, you verify your email address and confirm your account with the dating site.

Source

Do I need an email account?

To register with any online dating site, you will need your own email account. From experience, I know it's very easy to end up getting a shedload of spam that most of us would prefer not to deal with, so I recommend setting up a new email account to use just for your dating emails. This makes it easier to keep things separate from your personal correspondence. It's also sensible to use a new one if your usual email address has your name, or part of your name, in it - eg janebloggs@aol.com, or Harrysteptoe@gmail.com.

Setting up a new email address is relatively easy and in most cases you won’t need to come up with anything more than a name, a password and a security question. A few email providers will ask that your email be linked to your real address and real name. Most however, do not have these requirements.

Name games

As I've already said, it's a good idea not to use your real name on your profile, including in your email address. This might seem odd, but at some point you're going to be giving out your email to potential partners and until you've actually met them (and established they’re not mass murderers, psychos or simply not the right person for you), it’s safer to keep personal information to a minimum.

Remember too that if you do create a new email account, this will also say something about you. For instance, what impressions might you get from the following?

bigwillie@yahoo.com

justlikephoebeinfreinds@gmail.com

metarzanyoujane@jungle.com

bingobob@aol.co.uk

lickinlizzy69@yahoo.com

Creating a Profile

So now you’re ready to start writing your profile - right? Stop! It’s very easy to write a complete pile of crap in your eagerness to get started. So...slow down.

Study

Take a look at the online form on the dating site you're interested in and think about what you might like to write. These forms come in all shapes and sizes – some are short and sweet, others are quite lengthy and can easily take an hour or more to complete.

Skip / Don't skip

Sometimes you can skip through the various stages and get a good idea of the different sections first. Others must be completed before you can move on to the next section. Some sites use a questionnaire format, many have a tick-box set-up, or a simple blank space and a limited amount of characters. If you decide to leave some sections to later - Don't Forget to come back and finish them!

Be positive

It's easy to use this exercise as a therapy session, but this is not the place. Keep well away from phrases like:

  • I’ve been alone for years and am desperate for a bit of company…
  • I’ve had a hard life and I don’t get on with people very well...
  • I'd love to have someone to listen to my problems...

Start in the middle

Many successful novelists scrap their initial opening lines and start at the bit where the story begins to get interesting. Cross out beginnings that sounds like:

  • Well, my friends say I’m…
  • I don’t know what to write for this bit…
  • I hate filling these things in…
  • I'm just a crazy sort of gal!

Try to avoid making excuses to get out of doing it. If you have to, set a time when you can sit down and think about it. Consider all those things you are good at, take pride in, and can boast about. Also, think about what it is you're looking for. Make lists, prioritise, draw pictures if you like, but spend the time you need to make a good job of it.

Use a great photo
Use a great photo | Source

What if I don't have a good photo?

If you're camera-shy, bashful or simply don't like having your photo taken, Get Over It! Don't even consider not including a photograph as part of your dating online profile. Think about it - in your search for a partner, are you likely to contact people who don't have a photo? Probably not. Why? - because if there isn't a photo, your first thought is probably going to be:

  • What's wrong with this person?
  • Are they horribly disfigured?
  • Do they have some reason for keeping their identity a secret?
  • How do I know this person is genuine?

So if you don't have a recent photo of yourself that you're happy to have online, get someone to take one for you. Most mobile phones have built-in cameras and all digital cameras have some means of connecting them to a PC, so there's no excuse.

Take the time to do it right

Your personal profile is your social identity. By creating an online profile, you show something of yourself to the Internet community – in this case via Internet dating sites. You also have several “personal spaces” - your personal space is partly private and partly public. How much (or how little) you reveal can vary enormously from a simple email address to photos, website links and many other personal details.

On social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger etc, people often use their real names. However, the nature of dating online can leave individuals open to abuse, therefore most people create an identity that cannot easily be traced to their real selves. (In reality of course, IP - Internet Provider - details and such like can be traced back to the computer used to access the site, so there can never be complete anonymity).

My top tips for a great profile

Names

It's always sensible to use something different than your own name. Try to choose something that sounds interesting, but don't go for obvious ones. If you're stuck for ideas, have a look at a few other member profiles on the site.

Taglines

Most dating sites give you the space to write a tagline (or headline) along with your photo, as a sort of brief introduction. Lots of people write things such as: “Looking for my soulmate” or “Searching for the right one” Try to come up with something a bit different, without being crass or over-the-top. Consider using a quotation, or a line from a film or stage play. Also, think about who you are trying to attract, so don’t say anything that is likely to be a turn-off.

Be Interesting

Make a list of all your good points and create something that sounds appealing. There are thousands of profiles that say things like “Love watching TV, reading, walking on the beach, nights in/nights out etc” Try to sound different or unusual - without exaggerating.

Don’t lie!

Ever.

Check Your Profile

This might sound obvious, but what you write – particularly your tagline – might not display quite the way you expected. Check your profile after it’s been submitted to see how others will see it. It’s amazing how many people put in the wrong age or height – and sometimes even the wrong sex!

Oo-er Missus!

Be careful of using sexual innuendo – this is the quickest way to get your profile blocked by other members.

Spellin' granma and punk-u-ashon

Wun ov the big no-no’s iz pore spellin. Too many people don’t take time to check what they’ve written and end up with a profile full of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and no punctuation. This creates an instant portrait of someone who either has poor literacy skills or who doesn’t care enough to do it properly. Avoid cliché’s, DON’T WRITE IN CAPITALS, and never use text speak:

I gt on wiv ppl nd lv gd fn nd 2 rlx

And Finally...

When you've done all that...

Go fish!

Comments

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    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Hi Gary, thanks for reading. Yeah, I think a lot of it's common senes, but sometimes it's easy to forget that while we know ourselves, people reading our details only know what we tell them.

    • Gary Malmberg profile image

      Gary Malmberg 2 years ago from Concon, Chile

      Good and important advice. Much of it translates to my Hub personal profile. Thumbs up!

    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Excellent suggestions and good advice - I think it's always better to err on the side of caution as you never really know who you're 'talking' to online. It's very easy to allow yourself to believe something just because it sounds like a good idea. You're dead right about the photos too - lots of folks these days seem to think it's fine to get their kit off for their profile photo, though of course there are also plenty of 'dating' sites that are simply for people who are looking for sex. Yup, it's a minefield out there! Thanks for reading and taking time to comment, much appreciated.

    • savvydating profile image

      savvydating 2 years ago

      Good advice. I appreciated that you mentioned that is is best to keep sexual innuendos out of one's profile. There are guys out there who will say something ridiculous like, "I prefer sex in the morning, if you don't mind." Sheesh. That's just plain dumb....but at least he's polite about it. Lol.

      I also know for a fact that it helps to profile happy or "pleasant" pictures, some of which were taken outdoors. A great smile does wonders if you're looking to attract. Let's face it, nobody want to look at a picture that resembles a mug shot. It is also important not to have too many pictures as that makes one appear egotistical. And.... I highly recommend that both men and women keep their clothes on. Unless you're just looking for a hook-up and have no desire whatsoever to be taken seriously. So please, guys, leave your shirt on, and ladies----please skip the bikini picture or the selfie with the plunging neckline. Those types of pictures are strictly for those people who want to use be used.... as they make a person seem less confident and well, kind of desperate. Finally, show a bit of humor. If you can make someone smile or chuckle a little bit, that's a good thing.

      A fine article. Hope you don't mind my suggestions. Voting up & useful.

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      You are most welcome.

    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Thanks for that, Julie, you're a star!

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      Well done. I think you have presented this information in a helpful, thoughtful manner. Voted up.

    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      That's so true - those sorts of negative comments always make folk sound like there's an awful lot of boxes you've got to tick before they'll even give you the time of day. Though they probably think they're just being honest, they might as well post a photo of themselves with a big sign on their head saying 'No!' Thanks for reading.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 2 years ago

      Voted up and useful!

      You can't stress it enough to post a "positive profile".

      Women in particular oftentimes spend a lot of time listing what they (don't want). "No liars, cheaters, players, or married but separated men.."

      Trust me when I say if a guy (is) a liar or cheater and comes across a profile of a woman he considers to be "hot" who has written those lines he is not going to say to himself:

      "Aw snap! She's not into liars and cheaters. I guess I had better move on to the next profile." - That's not how liars and cheaters operate!

      You are better off saying something along the lines of : "I'm an honest caring loyal person who is seeking someone who shares my same values."

      Whenever one spends a great deal of time listing what they (don't want) it makes readers of their profile feel like she's picked a bunch of losers in the past and may have a negative attitude towards dating.

      "She's carrying some serious baggage!"

      No one wants to get involved with someone who sounds like they have a chip on their shoulder or comes across as bossy/demanding.

      The more positive sounding a profile is the more people you attract.