How to Write an Effective Dating Profile
Read below for the updated and expanded A Great Online Dating Profile.
I’ve written or helped write roughly 20 dating profile pages on Match, Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, and eHarmony. Most have done pretty well including some engagements and a few long-term relationships.
But, if you’re like most men, you receive something like one response out of every 30 emails you send. And no one contacts you out of the blue.
My response rate was roughly 1 out of 8, which is really good considering all my various faults.
Here are ten tips to help you up your response rate:
1. Search for men first, before you do anything
If you are a 35 year-old 5’8″, dorky Asian male, search for 25-35 year old 5’6″-5’10”, dorky Asian males. Why? Because this is your competition.
Click on their profiles.
- What do you like? Do more of that.
- What sounds lame? Do less of that.
Spend two days on this before you even start to post anything. This is the single most important thing to do and I’ve honestly never met anyone besides me who did that. Do the things no one else does and you’re ahead of the game already.
And yes, people will say this isn’t a competition but they will also tell you that supply-side economics works. It does not and online dating is a competition. Winner gets a date.
2. Write your profile as a response to a response.
Most men write their profile as if a woman will search through profiles, find them, and then try and contact them. That *rarely* happens. Most women put up a profile and then have to wade through an avalanche of emails or as my friend Kay put it: “OMG, Logan – why didn’t you warn me about all the emails I’d get!?”
So, write your profile as if someone liked what you sent her enough to check out your profile. Because 99.89% of your interactions will be:
email from you->read your profile->email to you
search-> read your profile->email to you
In other words, the profile supports the email, not the other way around. If you stop here, you already know more than the vast majority of your competition.
Want more? OK, moving on.
3. Tell a story
Because you listened to me, you went through roughly 100-200 profiles of your competition. And you saw that the almost everyone lists his/her attributes like a resume.
As I said, be different.
We live our lives through stories. What are movies, TV shows, even songs but stories? A resume is not a story. A story has characters, plot, cliffhangers, etc.
Write a story, not a resume. Why should she contact you? What will you two do? Make her laugh and want to find out how the story ends with her playing the part of the female lead.
4. Be fun and friendly
Sarcasm is difficult to pull off so avoid that. Similarly, do NOT be deep, because you will come off creepy. Think about meeting a girl at a party and her talking about famine in Africa. There’s a time and place for everything. This is not that time nor that place.
Instead, be witty, smart, and funny. If you are not witty, smart, and funny, take an improv class and learn how to be. This is crucially important for reasons far beyond putting up a dating profile.
Ask yourself, If I were a woman – that has the qualities that I’m looking for – would I be interested in the guy in this profile. If the answer is no, get to editing.
Look at this as a chance to be better than you were yesterday.
5. LOL and =) are persona non grata
Again, you’ve listened to me and went through your competition’s profiles, what was the most common thing you saw? Let me guess – a plethora of smiley faces and LOLs.
Two kinds of people use smiley faces and LOLs:
- 14 year old girls
- Men that cannot use the English language
If you are neither, do not use them. Because what you’re really saying is:
=) I hope and pray that you don’t take what I’m saying too seriously because *I* don’t take what I say too seriously for I am not a serious man. LOL Please take pity on me and see that I’m a genuinely good soul that wants you to pick me even though I am clearly not worth your time. =-) Please? LOL, just kidding (kinda).
Please write me. =) I’m tired of living at home with my mom. HA – kidding! No really, I’m desparate. Help me.
6. Spell Check / Grammar check / Format check
“Desparate” is spelled “Desperate.” Pick up a Strunk and White while you’re at it. A grammatically-correct, explicative-free profile will – on that alone – stand out. Also, skip spaces between thoughts, also known as: make paragraphs. Otherwise your profile will look like one block of words that people will not want to have to wade through as if it were a collegiate textbook. Just as this paragraph looks like with three separate thoughts but no carriage returns.
7. Write one line as to what you are NOT looking for
Again, go through your competition. Tick off how many of them write what they do not want.
On my profile I wrote, “If you’ve cheated on someone before, no need to contact me.” Because it’s true. If someone has cheated on a boyfriend before, I have major issues with that. If nothing else, this shows you have some standards.
And if you see everyone else’s profile, they want to hear from everyone. You do not.
As an interesting note, one brown-eyed woman actually wrote me to say that she did cheat but that was when she was young. We ended up going on a few dates.
7a. On that note: Don’t just write about you, write about them
This is a high-risk / high-return move that women do all the time but men rarely do in their profiles. Describe your ideal girl somewhere in your profile. Is she tall? Blond? Busty? Nerdy? Working? etc.
Women have no problem stating what they prefer and do not. Nor should you.
I would say do this after you’ve gone on a few dates though, as it does lower your responses but does raise the quality – at least in terms of what you actually want.
8. Make good use of pictures in your profile
If you don’t put up a picture, you should expect zero responses. After all, admit it, the women you like put up pics. So you must as well.
A friend of mine that does well on the boards and I disagree on the number of pics to put up; he puts up one good pic. I put up a dozen pics.
If you put up one, make sure that it’s really, really good – preferably of you in a suit. Because on your first date, you will not be wearing a suit so let her know you clean up nice.
If you put up a dozen, try to include the following:
- One with you doing something you love.
- One with you at a party – you can have fun. Do not over do this. Women like men, not boys.
- One artsy shot – you can be artsy.
- One showing off a good physical feature – tread carefully and see #9 below.
- One with you and your mom or dad – come on, we love seeing people with their folks.
For all of them, I always like to write: “You should know, these pics are recent – just like yours, yes?”
Again, be fun.
9. Have a female friend check your profile
Have a female friend look over your profile and give you her honest thoughts BUT make it more than one if possible. Because not all women are the same; what one female friend likes, another may hate. So listen, consider all the facts, and then either take their advice or don’t.
Note that if you don’t have female friends to look over your profile, you’ve made some errors in judgement in your life. Just like with the Improv class, take this as a chance to be better.
A buddy of mine hits on every girl he meets regardless of how wrong they are for him. That leads to thinking of women as “other.” They are not “other.”
10. Give them a reason to write you
Do you love the 1960s funk music? Then say it. If you go though all the other profiles, you’ll sense something and you won’t be able to put your finger on what that is. It took me a while to figure it out but here’s what it is:
A palpable aura of BS masked by false bravado.
I’ve found on dating boards, just like in life, the truth is a powerful, powerful thing. People crave it. If you love making and eating chili to the point that it’s a major part of your life, say so.
I met a woman that made a killer white bean chicken chili that way. Truth is powerful. Don’t mask it. You may meet a person that says “Me too” and what is love, if not finding someone that says, “Me too!”
Good luck and let me know how it goes!
Thanks to my wife who lets me write things like this and was also kind enough to add:
11. Never use the lines: I work hard and I play hard, and I always have my passport handy.
…no you don’t. Don’t lie and don’t be say what everyone else says.
If you liked this entry, I just wrote a quick little book in April 2014 on how to write A Great Online Dating Profile with 30 tips to get noticed and get more responses – it’s just $0.99 at Amazon, BN.com, and the Apple Store, as well as most other online retailers:
- You can also read the first 25% of it online now by clicking here!
- Click on the Dating tag to see how my dating life went – the earlier stories are the more entertaining ones, IMHO. You can also click here to find out what finally happened to me.
- Check out the comments to reach other people’s thoughts on these sites (and maybe leave a thought of your own).
- Check out my previous post: Online dating: eHarmony vs. Match vs. Plenty of Fish vs. OK Cupid.
- Also check out 15 Things Every Man Should Know.
- Check out the comments to read other people’s thoughts on these sites (and maybe leave a thought of your own).
- Finally, click here to subscribe to this blog OR follow me on Twitter: @logan607
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