With over 7,000 online dating sites to chose from, the stigma once attached to them is a thing of the past. Recent research even suggests that couples who meet online enjoy stronger marriages. I have tried it myself and now use my mistakes, along with the latest research findings and data, to guide my clients to improve how they market themselves online and apply a smart, proactive strategy.

Dating and relationship sites are considered a credible and convenient way to connect to relationship-minded singles you wouldn’t ordinarily have the chance to meet in your daily life. At first, I was among the 10% of women who closed their account within three days of subscribing, more than once. When I became more comfortable, I met quality men, who I would have never crossed paths with otherwise.

Here are the mistakes I made personally and observed in my clients’ profiles before we do the makeover to turn their experience around.

1. Being passive

Quality relationship sites are dynamic, and people generally skim through because of the high user volume. Therefore, it isn’t enough to set up a profile and wait to be contacted. You have to be proactive and apply a smart, consistent strategy to connect with the right people.

2. Making it sound like a professional bio

The most challenging part of online dating is describing yourself in the way that works for dating. Using the same approach as you would in your CV or LinkedIn doesn’t resonate. The most successful profiles show your multi-dimensional personality [further reading: an online dating game].

One way to do this is to “show” (not tell) the essence of you in an authentic way. “I’m outgoing, caring, honest, loving, funny…” is too generic and sounds like a sea of other online profiles. Instead, describe how you are all these things by giving specific examples.

3. Using an unappealing profile photo

Our photo has the power to deter or inspire connection from a quality match [further reading: how to make dating apps work for you]. The issue is, we’re just not very good at choosing the most flattering ones for online dating. This was confirmed by a recent study by We just don’t see photos of ourselves the same way strangers do.

To impress potential matches, ensure your photos are high quality, high-resolution, with good lighting, and capture you in your best light, looking happy, natural and classy.

4. Negativity

When you write what you’re looking for, it’s almost automatic for people to start with what they don’t want. Avoid anything negative at this stage. It doesn’t need to be stated in your profile.

Even saying “I want…” or “Only message me if you’re…” sounds aggressive and unwelcoming. Reframe it to, “message me if…” and then filter. Your goal is to fill your funnel with potential quality matches. You’ll be filtering unsuitable matches through the connection process.
The most successful profiles have a few of these elements working together in harmony.

Read the full version on the author’s blog and see more tips in her closed Facebook community for women. Read more about online dating here and here.