The rise of digital technology and the fact that the average person owns some sort of smartphone or device that has access to the Internet has significantly changed many aspects of people’s lives including the dating game.

According to the Pew Research Center, when they first polled Americans back in 2005 about their experience with online dating, their data was very low. They found that many Americans had little to no interest in online dating, nor did the know anyone that did. However, nearly 15 years later, their data has changed. Nowadays, nearly half of the American public knows someone who uses online dating sites, or they themselves met a spouse or partner online. The stigma surrounding those who go online to seek out romantic relationships has significantly decreased.

The Pew Research Center states that only one-third of people who have used dating websites have never successfully met up with someone they’ve met online. However, the other two thirds of online daters have successfully met up with someone online, some even started a romantic relationship. Therefore, if you still haven’t found the “one” there is still hope.

Today we’ll be discussing how to successfully navigate the online dating world and tips to create an online profile that will stand out above the rest.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

If you’re planning on entering the online dating pool it’s very important that you avoid making the following major dating mistakes, especially because the competition is extremely fierce out there (hey, it’s a dog eat dog world out there). Before you jump right in, it’s also important to take a few deep breaths – online dating isn’t supposed to be stressful. So, what mistakes are people making?

Your first impression doesn’t make a lasting impression

A simple “Hi, how are you?” isn’t going to cut it for most people. It’s time to think outside the box.

One quick tip is to actually spend the time to analyze the profile of the person you’re interested in, once you’ve gathered all the research you need, simply ask them a question that is specifically about their interests. This move is more than likely to guarantee you a good first impression.

Spelling errors

Sometimes spelling counts – this is usually the case when it comes to people viewing your profile or not.  Of course, there is no need to use big fancy words that you’ve found in the dictionary, but avoiding spelling and grammatical errors is key.

If you’re not confident with your spelling, use an online spell checker.

Your profile doesn’t provide enough information

Instead of using generic phrases in your profile, try including specific information to let the person reading your profile know exactly who you are (i.e. What specific hobbies do you partake in? What clubs are you part of? What do you like to do on weekends? Who is your favorite author?). A profile that is filled with specific information is more likely to stand out from the rest.

Not reaching out

If you’re one for sitting back and waiting to see who contacts you, you may not be getting the most out of the online dating experience.

According to eHarmony, a well-known dating site, not making the first move is a common online dating mistake. By reaching out, this allows the person to take control and “handpick” specific profiles that they are interested in. So, if you read someone’s profile that you like, there is no harm in reaching out. The worst that’s going to happen is that they don’t reply, but remember like the saying goes, “there’s plenty of fish in the sea.”

Filling out your profile

A great first impression can make a lasting impression, therefore in order to get yourself seen in the market of online dating profiles, it’s essential to craft one that stands out. First things first, be creative. A boring profile will have users clicking out of your profile, so make sure your profile tells your story in a fun and interesting way – and it’s okay to be a little filthy too.

When creating a profile that will attract someone, it’s important not to boast too much about yourself. You don’t want people thinking you’re full of yourself – no one is attracted to that.

Be true to who you are as false advertising won’t get you anywhere in the dating game. Don’t pretend to be someone you are not, especially if you do end up meeting, talk about awkward.

Choosing a profile photo

Of course, once you’re done filling out your profile with specific information about yourself, the next step is to choose the perfect profile picture. According to eHarmony, “a great photo can attract someone instantly but a bad one can turn them off straight away.” Unfortunately even the nicest of people online can be quick to judge, and this could prevent someone from reaching out.

So, what makes for a bad online dating profile picture? A few suggestions from eHarmony include: fuzzy or bad-quality photos, looking unhappy, a picture of you with someone else, and the dreaded “bathroom mirror selfie.”

What makes a good profile picture? Many online dating websites suggest posting a picture that looks like you; don’t get all dolled up if it’s something that you normally wouldn’t do. Smile, smiling is a very attractive quality in a person – your inbox will be flooded with messages simply by posting a picture of posing with your pearly whites. It also suggests posting a picture of you doing something you enjoy (just make sure you can be seen in the photo or use it as a secondary one).

If you want to feel more confident with the photo you choose, ask a friend or family member, although be prepared for criticism.