While I'm no expert, I do think the experience has taught me something valuable when it comes to representing yourself online.
First thing's first - be yourself. Be honest about what you want, why you're there in the first place, and who you are. I know it's tempting to be someone else - after all, if you can't be someone different on the internet, where can you?! While that might be fun for a while, and might even help you meet people, it won't help you meet the right person.
When I say be yourself, I don't just mean be honest about where you live, the number of kids you have, and your relationship status and goals (though please be honest about these things). I mean let your personality show through - not just in the words you choose, but in your tone.
Are you sarcastic? Write a playful profile. Are you all business? Get right to the point. Are you a vampire? OK - maybe mention that, with no photos. Are you super-athtletic and active? Show it off in your profile pictures.
Whatever you do, the whole point is to set yourself apart from everyone else. I mean - whoever you're looking to meet has probably rejected those other profiles, so why lump yourself in with the crowd?
To this end, try to avoid words and phrases that are generic or vague. Such as....
- Laid back - EVERYONE thinks they're laid back, but most people think everyone else is not. Conclusion: This phrase does not mean what we think, and is therefore useless.
- Loyal - Unless you're describing your dog, this word has no place in your profile.
- I like to laugh - Everyone likes to laugh.
- I like to have fun - See above.
- I like to smile - ENOUGH ALREADY!!!
- I like to go out, but also stay in - No matter where you go, what you do, or how often - you're always either home, or away from home. (Unless you're homeless, in which case, get off the dating site and start looking for an apartment.) Everyone likes to go out and stay in. (Unless you're agoraphobic, in which case get off the dating site and start looking for a therapist.)
- I'm a gentleman - Unless you go on to define what that word means to you, it's pointless. Some guys think a gentleman is a guy who allows a woman to do all the cooking and cleaning, while not asking her to clutter her mind with opinions.
- I don't like liars - Ya don't say? That's weird, because I always make sure a new date is only telling me the truth 50% of the time. Otherwise, where's the mystery?