Basic profile guidelines

I sometimes get accused of being a bit over-analytical when it comes to online dating. But you know what? Every bit of your profile matters a TON, because you only have a small amount of virtual space in which to make a big impression. The shorter yet awesomer you can keep your profile, the more you’ll be able to grab a reader’s attention and move them to actually go on a date with you. So let’s comb through the elements of a profile, leaving no digital stone unturned!


Your username needs to be AWESOME. It can’t be gibberish or full of numbers; it has to captivate the reader’s interest instantly. Read my in-depth username article for more inspiration.

Profile picture.

Obviously, this is a huge deal; you need to present the most attractive yet realistic version of yourself, and you need to make sure it’s well lit, high contrast (no crazy busy backgrounds), and that it looks fantastic even tiny. It’s also helpful to show some personality, whatever that means for you—a crazy accessory or goofy facial expression, if that fits your personality. You can read my more detailed guide about online dating photos here.


Not all sites have this, but if they do, it sure better be entertaining. No long rambly bits about how you’re looking for a soul mate. This is not the true essence of your being, nor your high school yearbook. This is essentially a tool to get someone to click a link. Make it engaging!

Main profile questions.

This is too long a topic for one short paragraph, but we’re gonna try. Every. Single. LETTER needs to be compelling. You don’t have space to waste writing in a boring voice or stating some cliché about how you like both going out and staying in. Study up a bit, read some helpful blog posts from online dating experts (hi there!) to get a feel for what kind of writing works best, and spend some time on it. (You’re allowed to have a glass of Merlot first; don’t worry. In fact, it’s encouraged.)

Sidebar data.

This is tricky; half of the questions every online dating sidebar asks you are inappropriate to answer with total honesty. Body type? Figure it out from the photos. Industry? This will inevitably make my life sound more boring than it actually is. Income? There is no correct answer; it’s always either too little or bragging. And let’s not even get started on kids or prior marriages. The fact is, you’re allowed to leave out some info—leave out ALL of the sections if you feel like even one of them will work against you (such as if you’re a very short guy, or you’re divorced with kids). I’m serious! Try keeping it completely empty! You can open up about these deeply personal topics as you get to know someone if there’s a connection from the rest of your profile.

Final answer.

The very last thing that your public profile displays needs to be positive, and needs to facilitate connection and communication. In some profiles it’s “what I’m looking for in a mate.” In others it’s “You should message me if…” But no matter what it says, it better SHINE. Don’t just state something flippant, and do NOT list negatives here. Even if you mean them. It will only make you sound finicky, rude, and full of negative drama. List an invitation, such as someone to go see Elysium with me. I’ve heard it’s awful, but I want to find out for myself! Any takers? We can always laugh about it over drinks at (name a pub) afterwards.

In summary, think twice (or thrice, or… frice?) about every single word, every detail, every pixel of what you put out there. Each element you disclose is a layer of the total story of who you are; you want the best and most compelling chapters on display here!

If you’d like more of my online dating advice, please track me down at! There you’ll find my blog, my social media info, my podcast, and my newsletter chock full of free online dating advice, as well as some basic online dating safety guidelines that I share with everyone. Happy dating!

Originally published on Singles Warehouse.

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