It's All About Marketing: Creating your Online Dating Profile

Tips for creating an online profile – from username to photos to your written profile – to help you find your best match.

By Linda J. Maynard
Updated: January 22, 2016
Online Dating Profile Tips

When joining a dating site, you should find some good recent photos of yourself, and if you can't, then have a photographer or friend take a few shots of you.

A good close-up of you, and some shots playing golf or boating to show your interests, portrays your lifestyle, too. Avoid posting photos of your dog, your cat, your boat, or your family. A male friend of mine told me that it was really a turn-off to him when he saw a woman posed with her cat. He hates cats. He said he didn't want to see her cat, just a photo of her. But then, my thought after hearing him tell me that was that now that he knows she likes cats, perhaps he wouldn't want to connect with her, since it would likely become an issue. The point is people want to see you. And please don't post a "glamour shot" – you want it to be the glorious, natural you!

Several male online daters have told me they want to see a photo that shows the woman naturally. They do not like posed photos or serious shots.

Honesty is very important here. Based on many conversations with men, women are notorious for posting old photos. That is not only dishonest, it is entrapment, and no good can ever result from it. After all, when they meet you, the jig is up, so what's the point? Imagine how you would feel if your date turned out to look 20 years older, balder, and fatter. But what if you really feel unattractive and are afraid that if you post a recent photo, you'll never get a date? It's a matter of self-esteem, and if you are one of those women who are sensitive to rejection, who feels vulnerable in this dating arena, believe me, you are not alone.

I have a girlfriend who is very shy, and although she would like to meet a great guy, she just can't seem to get herself to try online dating. It's difficult to understand if you happen to be outgoing and generally happy to appreciate the way certain shy and vulnerable people may see the world. What most people interpret as a normal behavior or response, a vulnerable person will interpret it to be negative... Even seeing "Zero Matches" when checking your activity page can reinforce that person's fears. Most people will simply check back another day, but a vulnerable person may really take it to heart and give up.

I think there should be some responsibility with the websites too. There should be some acknowledgment about the more vulnerable, less socially acclimated, and shy people out there who would like to meet someone special, but may need a little more support and guidance.

Vulnerable singles are prone to blame themselves, give up, and be crushed by rejection. Every online dating site should look at their services and messaging to do what they can to recognize, respect, and support their more vulnerable members. Dating is about handling rejection, when you consider that most singles will date numerous people before meeting someone they feel serious about. Everyone experiences their share of rejections, disappointments, and the exquisite pain of unrequited love, even the most beautiful or handsome of people. Although most singles can handle the emotions of these ups and downs, there is a percentage of vulnerable singles who:

  1. are extremely wary and even expectant of signs of rejection, or
  2. either become clingy or go to the opposite extreme of emotional detachment.

I would say my best advice is to make a list of all your qualities – all you have to offer – and read it daily. Be confident and trust that for every woman, there is a man out there who wants to meet her!

According to Dr. Nancy Wesson, Ph.D., from Wespsych.com, a website dedicated torelationship counseling: "There is no way to avoid taking emotional risks when dating. Give yourself support and seek out support from others as you do this. Be gentle with yourself. Get extra help (counseling) if you need it, as you would for any other important area in your life. Good luck. Plan dating as you would any other important area of your life. Commit yourself to taking the time and energy to finding people that are right for you to date. Don't expect for it to be bumpy, but don't be surprised if it is. Remember dating is a numbers game. You may need to meet several (10-20) new people before finding someone that you really click with. Online dating: there are many online services to choose from. Proceed cautiously, if you agree to meet the person. Talk on the phone first then meet briefly in a public place. Do not give out any personal information such as your full name, address, place of work, etc. until you know the person first. If you are a teen, tell your parents and a few close friends if you are planning to meet a stranger. Let the stranger know that you have done this."

Your username or intro: Some men have told me that there are two things that make them stop at someone's profile and read more. One is the photo (men are aroused visually), and the other is the username. They have all told me that they would rather see Sue0607 and wonder what the numbers mean than see Suewtnu and try to figure out the code. They added that they were not there to take a test. Another thing they mentioned was that statements such as "Tired of the bar scene" are annoying, because so is everyone else on the site, or they wouldn't be there. Their suggestion was to try to create a clever intro – maybe something like "Better than your last girl", something that is upbeat and funny or unique.

Before filling out all the areas for your profile, write down on a sheet of paper a description of yourself and whom you would like to meet. Put some thought into this; every word will be judged by the reader. Don't get too critical about your writing style, because you can always update it. And if you have a good sense of humor, try to reveal it in your writing. Avoid any negative comments about what you don't like, or any past experiences. For example, let's say you had a past experience with a man who was a couch potato. Don't mention, "Please, no couch potatoes," or any innuendo that suggests that's what you had in your life before. Ask your friends what they would say about you if you need some help. Above all, don't be too rigid, be positive, and have fun with it!


This article has been edited and excerpted from The Savvy Woman's Guide to Online Dating by Linda J. Maynard. Maynard has been in the marketing communications field for over 25 years, as a graphic designer, advertising copywriter, and marketing strategist. When she became single again, she realized how slim the chances were to meet someone, so she tried online dating. After a few mistakes, she searched for a book that would guide her to be safe and make good choices. Even though Linda was in the marketing field, she didn't have a clue how to best present herself both in the profile and in person. When she couldn't find the right resource, she decided to write the book herself, and interviewed many people. This book is a how-to and also includes many experiences of hers and other online daters that can help the reader be smarter and make better decisions. It is educational, entertaining, and dosed with humor with an uplifting message to all women throughout the book. For more information on Maynard's book, click here.

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December 03, 2008

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