Want More Attention Online?

Not getting as many winks and emails as you’d like? A few tiny profile changes can attract a slew of new suitors—try just one of these tips and watch what happens!

By Laura Gilbert

othing beats those first few weeks and months after you’ve posted your profile. Your inbox magically fills with winks and emails from cute strangers dying to know you better—the romantic possibilities seem endless. But as time goes on, many online daters see that initial interest flag... what’s changed? Nothing—and that may very well be your problem. “If you’re not getting the results you want, change your photo, your essay, anything. Just keep changing until your results change—too many people just give up,” says Michael Lasky, author of Online Dating for Dummies. We’re not saying your profile needs a total overhaul. Just a few tiny changes in your profile can make a world of difference and attract new interest. Try just one or two of these tips, then kick back and watch your love luck change, pronto.

Attention-getting tactic #1: Swap your shots
What many online daters don’t know is that one photo, no matter how fantastic and flattering, can only do so much for them. That’s because people are attracted to different looks, so if your primary photo makes you look a certain way (say, exotic and mysterious), consider replacing it with one that shows a different facet of your personality (like your sweet single-next-door side). Or, even simpler, move your primary photo (the one members immediately see when they search) in with your secondary photos, and move a secondary photo up to the primary spot. “If you just switch the order of your photos, you’ll get an entirely different result,” guarantees Lasky. The difference between your shots may seem unimportant to you, but given most online daters depend heavily on visuals, the tiniest aspects make a difference: A photo of you outdoors vs. indoors; smiling wide vs. a suggestive smirk... these all send totally different messages that will appeal to totally new audiences—and attract a whole different set of potential dates.

Attention-getting tactic #2: Keep your interests current
People — their interests, goals, even what they enjoy doing on the weekends — change over the months and years, so it stands to reason that their profile shouldn’t stay
People change over the months and years, so it stands to reason that their profile shouldn’t stay frozen in time, either.
frozen in time, either. Imagine what kind of impression you’re sending when people check out your interests only to find you spend most of your time... watching the Athens Olympics?! Profiles stuck in a time warp send an “I don’t care” vibe to viewers; to avoid that, “update sections—like the ‘last book read’ to something like the new George R.R. Martin book or your ‘favorite place’ to a hot new restaurant,” suggests Alyssa Wodtke, coauthor of Truth, Lies, and Online Dating: Secrets to Finding Romance on the Internet. Not only may these tidbits give people plenty of easy icebreakers to email you, but people searching for specific key words in profiles that are pluses for them, like “skiing,” “surfing,” or “MBA graduate,” will find you when they wouldn’t have before. “And make sure your profile doesn’t include something like ‘It’s a new year, so I thought I’d check this out,’ when it’s now August!” adds Wodtke. “Keeping things up-to-date shows you’re putting effort into your profile and search.”

Attention-getting tactic #3: Give prospective dates a deadline
Call it direct advertising: “Two tickets, one row from the back—anyone for the season opener?” “Be my date to the City Ballet this Friday!” When it comes to hearing back from members, it can be galvanizing to give them specific ideas about when, and why, you should meet up. “Time-sensitive invitations are a good idea. Something like ‘Want to see The Black Keys this weekend?’ will usually work,” says Evan Marc Katz, founder of and author of I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating. Added bonus: Shy online daters may be even more likely to come out of the woodwork, since they feel encouraged that you’ve made a concrete offer.

Attention-getting tactic #4: Check your profile from all angles
Whether you make a great impression can depend on how people are conducting their searches, points out Joe Tracy, founder of Online Dating Magazine. “Many people make their profile well-written but don’t focus on what will get people to see that profile in the first place,” he says. For example, people who view profiles in the “profile detail” format will see your name, age, location, headline, the first few lines of your personal essay, and the age range for potential matches. But if an online dater views search results in the “photo gallery” format, all they see is your primary photo and username. That means that the clever headline that explains why you’re
Time-sensitive invitations, like ‘Want to see The Black Keys this weekend?’ give people the perfect reason to get in touch.
wearing a Santa hat or the super-sultry line you wrote about your mile-long legs under “about me” won’t be visible. “It’s vital that in any view, your profile attracts and commands attention,” says Tracy. So, do a search for your own profile, then toggle the views and alter your pictures and words as much as you need to make sure that however you’re being found, you look and sound as good as is humanly possible!

Attention-getting tactic #5: Loosen up your requirements
“Go through the initial criteria you may have marked [wanting in a date] — religious beliefs, hair color, smoking preference — to see if you’ve been too hard-line on one of those items,” says Cherie Burbach, author of At The Coffee Shop: If You Thought E-dating Was For Freaks And Weirdos Read This Book! “What you may have thought was an important point before you meet someone may seem trivial when you meet a great person.” Even if you only add a few years to either end of the age range you’d consider or expand your geographical range by another 20 miles, you’ll be inviting to more singles—something Burbach proved to herself. After changing her own search parameters from ‘non-smokers only’ to ‘no preference,’ Burbach got a whole new set of potential loves sent to her. One of them had listed himself as a smoker even though he only smoked occasionally when going out. “If I hadn’t changed my preference, I never would have met him—but now he’s my husband,” she says. “Changing information doesn’t mean you’re giving in to something you don’t want—it means you’re opening up to the possibility of meeting more people.” (And for the record, Burbach has yet to see her husband light up in front of her.)

Freelance writer Laura Gilbert has contributed to Cosmopolitan and Maxim.
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