Top 10 Mistakes in Online Dating Profiles

I’ve told you plenty about what you should do with your online dating profile; but here’s some don’ts. These mostly apply to the guys, but ladies, watch out for some of this stuff, too. View Photos of Singles at

  1. Talking About Yourself Too Much: It’s your online dating profile, so it stands to reason that it should be all about you, right? Wrong. You are writing this profile for an audience; and to get your audience to pay attention to your profile – you need to connect with them. Everyone’s favorite subject is themselves. You don’t have to write your entire profile about your match; but you should have a good portion of your profile written about your match in a positive light (e.g. “you’re the girl with the warm smile that lights up the room, and a spring in your step”). If you do this, your audience will see themselves in your description, and be interested enough in you to make the first move.
  2. Shirtless Pics: This seems pretty obvious to me; but from what I’ve heard from many women dating online that they get sick of seeing pictures of guys with their shirts off. “It doesn’t matter how good your physique is, we don’t want to see you with your shirt off,” writes Lisa, who has been dating on I think the core behind this is that women dating online get bombarded with enough sexually-charged creepiness. So, unless you can really find a good way to justify having a shirtless pic, it’s best to either leave your bod’ out of it. If you’re really in shape, maybe you can find another way to subtly communicate this, such as a pic of you rock climbing, in which one can conveniently see a little of one of your bulging triceps.
  3. Can has punctuation & spell-check?
    Can haz punctuation & spell-check?
    Misspellings & Poor Grammar: This also seems obvious to me; but it gets neglected quite a bit. Run your damn profile through a spell-check if you have to (though most browsers have one built-in these days). Capitalize and use punctuation correctly; and watch out for your/you’re, its/it’s, their/there. Also, it’s been proven that “netspeak” performs poorly in online dating. Run your profile by a friend if you really have trouble with this. Heck, send it to me.
  4. Negativity: You only have a few split-seconds to make a first impression – and you never get a second chance to make a first impression. You want your audience to feel good when they read your profile, and the best way to get this reaction is to speak positively about everything in your profile. Instead of saying you don’t like cats – say you like puppies; instead of saying you don’t want a cheater – say you like a woman who is loyal and reliable. Be positively positive.
  5. Poor Photo Quality: It’s a shame, photos don’t really tell the truth like you think they would. A good photo is rare: a great, genuine smile, good lighting, and crisply in-focus. Poor lighting, bad camera optics, and too much compression or digital zooming can make Adonis look more like Quasimodo; and be a warning sign that you may be hiding something. Get a quality photo main of yourself, even if it means you have to hire a photographer, or get it touched up.
  6. Being Too General: Sure, you love to laugh, you’re up for anything, and you live life to the fullest; but these are all too cliché. Text is a dry medium, and you need to spring off the screen at your audience. Be genuine, individual, and active. Instead, you might “think that if you’re too busy to laugh, you are too busy,” have “unlimited curiosity,” and “strive to make every moment count.” Instead of enjoying skiing, going to yoga, and hanging out with friends, you may “like to hit a few jumps in the terrain park on [your] skis, hit a warrior II in yoga class, and grab a Delerium Tremens at The Map Room with your friends.” You want to be specific, and use conversation nuggets, because they will give your profile life, and worth talking about.
  7. Qualifying Your Presence: You may see plenty of profiles out there where someone talks about how they’re “skeptical, but trying this whole online dating thing out,” or their “friends talked [them] into it.” Don’t follow suit. All you do is make yourself look weak, and insult the very person who is viewing your profile.
  8. A trifecta of bad. Okay, so *we* covered up his face.
    A trifecta of bad. Okay, so *we* covered up his face.
    Blacking Out People in Photos: If there’s someone in a photo that you don’t want to include, please, please find some tasteful way to crop them out, rather than just painting a big blob over their face. This just looks awkward, and if it’s someone of the opposite sex, your audience will assume it’s your ex (because it probably is). Google “how to crop a photo,” or get a friend to help you if needed.
  9. Talking About Sex: For the guys, remember that women are getting bombarded enough as it is by creepy guys, who are sending even creepier messages. It may be that you’re a bit kinky; but please don’t say so in your profile. It will just give your audience the heebie jeebies. Girls should avoid this, too, because you’ll be getting enough attention as it is – and this probably isn’t the kind that you want.
  10. No Call-to-Action: So she’s seen your great picture, she’s read about how exciting and active you are, she sees herself in your description of an ideal mate, now what? It’s not as simple as it sounds. You want her to contact you. So, tell her, right there at the end of your profile “send me a wink!”, also, throughout your profile, it may be good to have little questions, such as “I’m new to town, are there any good Thai places?” Commanding your audience to take action works time and time again, and this is why every smart marketer uses a call-to-action.

Avoiding these mistakes in your online dating profile can not only help you get active responses to your online dating profile, but can increase your odds of getting a response when you do send a message. Good luck!


  • Hi Russ:

    I have read a lot of the material on your site and it has been very helpful. Thanks. I have corrected a few problems that I had with my profile and will be taking and uploading some new pictures that will help “tell my story.”
    I signed up with recently and found your site when I did a search to clarify some issues that I was not sure about. From my fresh perspective, online dating is very similar to what you must do for job interviews or as a sales person.

    You are advertising, promoting and marketing a product: yourself. Your potential dates are your customers. If you do a great job of presenting yourself, piquing interest, and meeting your customer’s expectations, you will be more successful.

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