1 in 4 relationships now begins online. With eHarmony, Match.com, and literally dozens of niche dating sites available, it’s easier than ever to find exactly what you’re looking for in love.
But once you decide on a dating site, the real work begins. Now you’ve got to stand out from the thousands of other people posting photos and profiles. Luckily, dating site Zoosk.com has done some research into just what you should and shouldn’t do with your profile. What their survey, conducted in 2013, found is enlightening.
Here are some handy tips:
- Include a full-body photo. You’ll attract 33% more responses.
- Write about your hobbies and interests. If you like to exercise, you’ll get 21% more responses. If you like to read, you will attract 21% more response to your profile.
- An upbeat, positive attitude in your profile description with words like “creative” or “healthy” or “ambitious” will return 33% more responses. Words like “confident,” “outgoing,” and “positive” can net 23% more responses.
The more photos you include, the better. But be sure they work for you…and not against you.
- “Selfies” are viewed negatively for men (-8%) but slightly positive for women (+4%).
- Outdoor photos work well for men (+19%) but not so much for women (-40%).
- If you include pets in your photos your response rate will drop by 53%.
- If you include friends in your photos your rate of response will be 42% less.
- You might think a sexy photo would help attract people, but according to Zoosk.com a “hot” photo will decrease your response by 44% (at least on Zoosk.com).
- Grammatical mistakes or typos reduce responses by 13% for women and 27% for men.
- And for reasons you may never fathom, the word “angel” in a personal ad results in a 51% drop in responses.
When writing up your profile some subjects and words can either hurt or harm your response rate, depending upon whether or not you or male or female.
- Talking about family increases the response to men by a whopping 52%. But it decreases the response rate for women by 4%.
- Writing about your children will boost men’s responses by 7% but decrease the number of responses for women by 4%.
- Using the word “baby” as a descriptive term for an adult woman decreases a man’s responses by 10%. However, it literally doubles a woman’s response rate.
- The world “beautiful” in a man’s profile decreases the percent who respond by 13%. For women it increases their response rate by 50%.
Perhaps the biggest difference in response rate is suggesting a date. It decreased men’s responses by 35% but increased those for women by 73%.
According to Harvard Magazine, there are some other tips to increase the effectiveness of your personal ad.
- Be honest. This includes using photos that aren’t enhanced, or worse, ten years old. Don’t describe yourself as you would like to be…or you think will attract more inquiries. Describe yourself as accurately as possible. If you aren’t honest, people who meet you may be disappointed.
- Don’t over-share. Don’t provide details about where you live or work, names and photos of your children, or other intimate information. Create an anonymous email address. Check out potential dates online first. And meet in a busy public place.
- Be personable. Don’t be demanding or create non-negotiable lists of exactly what you want in a person. Use humor (if you have a good sense of humor). Watch out for grammar mistakes and typos. Write in the style you speak and stay conversational. Keep in fun.
- Check out other ads first. You’ll get an idea of what works and doesn’t work.
- Where you place your ad will determine the type and quality of people you meet. So do your research into all the available dating sites before you choose one.
Also, avoid clichés. Everybody likes walks on the beach and sunsets.
Don’t assure people of how “normal” you are by saying how “down-to-earth” or “easy-going” you are.
Ditch the negative stuff like “serious inquiries only” or “no bs” statements…it’s off-putting to most readers.
Don’t decry the fact that you are resorting to posting a personal ad with “I’m not good at these things.”
Don’t talk negatively about yourself. “I know this photo sucks” or “boring old me.” Who wants that kind of person in their life?
And don’t go on about how versatile you are with “I enjoy partying, but I also love to curl up by the fire or dine in fine restaurants when I’m not racing Porsches.” Let the diversity of your interests and background speak for itself.
There aren’t many relevant, exceptional books or resources to help you succeed with online dating…especially considering that millions of relationships start this way. The best advice comes from the websites themselves (who should know best, after all). But to learn more about how to successfully date online, pick up a copy of Online Dating for Dummies by Dr. Judith Silverstein and Michael Lasky J.D. (available on Amazon Books). The straight-forward advice in this book will appeal to non-dummies too.
Finally, don’t think you are “above” scouting for a potential mate online. This isn’t Victorian England, it’s the 21st Century. And it sure beats going to bars and clubs.