You can be the most colorful, magnetic person, but if your dating app profile doesn’t reflect that, it won’t give you much appeal online.
Finding a good partner on apps like Hinge, Bumble and Tinder is possible, but not easy, also because so many singles do what dating coaches do Blaine Anderson called “match-repelling errors” when creating her profiles.
We asked Anderson and other dating experts to share the most common pitfalls to avoid when creating a dating app profile, and what you can do to make your profile more engaging.
Mistake #1: Not including enough information in your profile.
With dating apps, there’s no denying that your pictures are an important part of the equation — they’re the first thing potential matches see. But that doesn’t mean you can just neglect the rest of your profile. What is written is more important than you might think.
“Having a fun, creative, or insightful bio on your profile is a great way to show your personality,” dating expert Maria Sullivan, vice president of Dating.com, told HuffPost. “Bios and prompt responses should be well thought out and original to draw the attention of potential matches.”
Your profile should contain fun details or interesting tidbits that potential matches can use to start a good conversation with you.
“Give the other person something to message you about,” dating and relationship coach Meg Rector told HuffPost. “‘Send me a message if you’d like to learn (fill in the blank with a hobby or skill you’d like to share)’ or ‘Ask me about the time I’ve been (fill in the blank with a good story).'”
Once your profile is complete, don’t just set it and forget it, said dating expert and matchmaker Jasmine Diaz of Diaz Dating Group. Adjust it from time to time as you experience new things, change and grow.
“Include your hobbies, goals, and witty sense of humor,” Diaz said. “A great profile is the secret of great dates.”
Mistake #2: Being too negative.
Your profile is a snapshot of you, an opportunity to share the things you love and what makes you who you are she. It shouldn’t be a place where you rattle off all the things you don’t like or door want in a partner. Phrases like “‘Don’t contact me if you don’t like pets,’ ‘If you like Trump don’t even bother,’ and ‘If you don’t have a job, it’s a no'” emanate from negative energy, he said Diaz.
“Describe what you want instead of wasting your precious characters on anything you don’t want,” she said. “To find a compatible match, you must articulate what you value, but those values may not match if not stated.”
OkCupid dating coach Damona Hoffman reiterated a similar point, noting that profiles that say “don’t notify me if” tend to get fewer matches.
“Keep it positive and welcoming,” said Hoffman, host of the “Dates and Mates” podcast. “You can sort the news in the DMs or swipe left if you don’t know what they have to offer.”
Mistake #3: Including information that is inaccurate or misleading.
Of course you want to make your profile attractive to others – but this must not be at the expense of honesty. The most important thing you can do with your profile is be authentic, Sullivan said. And remember: a potential partner will eventually catch you in a lie.
“Including inaccurate but more appealing information about height, age, location, or occupation seems like a way to better attract potential matches, but could put you at a disadvantage when the truth emerges,” Sullivan said. “My advice is that you stay truthful in your answers as you don’t want to create a false sense of who you are or make an effort to uphold a lie.”
Mistake #4: Using old or misleading photos.
Again, the desire to show your best side is understandable. Just make sure the images you choose accurately reflect who you are today – not the person you were 10 years ago.
“Make sure to include a close-up of your face, a full-length shot, a picture of you with something you love, and a photo of you with friends or family,” Rector said. “Pictures are an important part of a dating profile, so let the pictures tell the story of who you are and what you love.”
Mistake #5: Too many group shots—and not enough individual shots.
If you post too many large group pictures, potential matches need to figure out who you are. A few group shots are fine, but shouldn’t make up the bulk of your photos.
“Group photos can lead to matches looking for faces to figure out whose profile they’re looking at, potentially causing confusion and frustration and leading them to abandon your profile and see who’s next,” Sullivan said.
As Hoffman said she should be the star of your own profile – not your best friend, pet or favorite relative.
“Make sure it’s clear who you are and get your partner’s eye to focus on you and not your cute friend, your dog, or your grandma’s smile,” she said.
Mistake #6: Choosing unflattering photos.
People are surprisingly bad at identifying good photos of themselves, Anderson said.
Among the more than 1,000 clients she has worked with, she found that there is not much overlap between photographers think are good and those that are “objectively good from the ‘other users will swipe right on these’ perspective,” she said.
“To avoid accidentally littering your profile with unflattering photos, find a trusted friend — or a pro! — to get feedback and give their suggestions a chance,” Anderson said.
Online dating coach Joshua Pompey of Next Evolution Matchmaking cited another common mistake among the clients he works with: Not paying attention to what’s in the background of their photos. Avoid shots that show your messy room and the mirror selfies you took in the bathroom. And don’t forget to cut out any weird or distracting elements that come up.
“Often the background of your photo reveals as much about you as your looks, so always be aware of that,” he said.
Mistake #7: “Tell” instead of “show”.
Remember when your middle school writing teacher taught you to “show, don’t tell”? The same principle applies to your dating app profile. For example, it is better to show that you are funny – by sharing an amusing story or detail – than it is tell It’s okay for you to be funny by stating it on your profile, Anderson said.
“Saying you’re funny might be true, but it’s abstract, which makes it hard to grasp,” Anderson said. “Sharing the story that makes people laugh – aka ‘showing’ – is tangible and therefore more intriguing and inspiring.”
To make your profile more eye-catching and less telltale, look at what you’ve written through an editor’s eyes.
“Take a critical look at your written bio and prompts, and replace generalizations or abstract claims with stories and granular details,” she said. “For example, don’t just say you love cooking — show it by sharing details about your favorite dish you plan to make.”
Mistake #8: Taking your profile’s performance too personally.
If you don’t get the matches you want,”It’s easy to blame your lack of success on factors beyond your control — “I’m not attractive enough” or “People like me don’t get dating” — and give up on dating apps,” Anderson said.
But in her experience, building a strong profile is pretty formulaic. And there’s a good chance the root problem has more to do with what you include — or don’t include — on your profile than who you are as a person.
Try to adopt a growth mentality with this process, Anderson suggested. Instead of throwing in the towel when things aren’t going as well as you’d hoped, take the opportunity to experiment with your profile. What can you tweak to better capture who you are in an engaging way?
“You’ll be amazed at how dramatically your results can improve when you swap out a single photo or line of text,” Anderson said.