9 ways to step up your dating profile in time for Valentine's Day

·7 min read

Calling all single kings, queens and everyone in between!

Valentines Day is upon us once again and if you're looking to shoot your shot in the dating game in 2021, your online dating strategy is of utmost importance. And trust, it surely is a strategy.

For many first-timers, the pure art of perfect profile-crafting is an overwhelming process and the endless dating app options can make you feel like you have no idea what you're doing to begin with.

If you're at all the hopeless romantic like myself, you've been in the game for what feels like centuries, with no real success, swiping yet hopeful.

For me, the tumultuous task of incessant left-swipes (sorry guys) led me to wonder, "what happened to these poor souls with terrible profiles?"

My continued spiral and emotional distress led me to ask, "What if they had shared a little bit more about themselves, would they have had a better chance? Do they even know they're doing this to themselves?"

If you're feeling remotely alarmed by reading this, you too could be making the most basic of profile faux pas.

Though your digital persona and your real-life persona may differ, no matter what app you're on, the same rules apply in making sure others see that your profile is as one of a kind as you are.

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PHOTO: A man smiles as he uses his cell phone in this undated stock photo. (STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images)
PHOTO: A man smiles as he uses his cell phone in this undated stock photo. (STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images)

With some help from Bela Gandhi, founder of The Smart Dating Academy, here are nine tips for stepping up your online dating game right now.

Nail the first impression

The first impression? It's everything. It's so important that your profile photos are clear and centered, vibrant and the epitome of you in one image. "In real life, you have 60 seconds to make a good first impression," Gandhi said. "On online dating apps, you have about .2 milliseconds! Your opening headshot and any visible text is crucial and to be strategic, think about your online profile as your 'personal marketing in cyberspace.'" She added, "You need amazing photos that are real, current and that look like you. We build massive fantasies about our date based on their photos and messaging and the best way to ace the first encounter is to look just as good (or slightly better) than your photos!"

Max out the photos in your profile

Show off as much of you as you are allowed. If a person really likes what they see, they hope the next photo will reveal more of your personality. Not all sites and apps have this sort of limit, but for those that do, post a variety of images of yourself and make sure each photo is very different from the others. Post where you've been and what you like to do; show that you can dress up and show you can dress down. Gandhi's take here is that, "Stepped up looks work best! And if you can, have a friend or a photographer do a fun, chill photo shoot. Finally, change up at least one photo each week so the apps put you in front of more potential dates, since apps tend to favor profiles that are more active."

Don't post group photos

No one cares about your friends. You're match-making -- your profile should be all about you. "If we are wondering 'which one is he/she' in the photo, game over," according to Gandhi.

Write just enough about yourself

Your life story does not belong here. In truth, dating profiles should be an immediate snapshot of who you are and what you're doing with your life right now. Where you came from, literally speaking, like your hometown or state or country, can be first, but that's it. Your journey of how you became the awesome person that you are today belongs to conversation for dates 2 or 3. While you want to fill out as much as possible to let people know as much about you, don't write a novel. Be pithy, be witty and most of all, don't overthink it. Leave some room for the other to inquire and spark conversation with you. Here, Gandhi noted to, "Be positive, specific and fun in your profile!"

PHOTO: A couple holds hands by the river in this undated stock photo. (STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images)
PHOTO: A couple holds hands by the river in this undated stock photo. (STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images)

Be up-front

Is this a fling or are we a thing? Make up your mind with what you are wanting out of dating online and if it's more than one thing or that what you want may change from day to day, say that. Whether you're on looking for a hookup or a longer-term relationship, honesty on your part here will go a long way before someone catches feeling for no reason. One of the worst things ever is to match and have great conversation, only to find out you have two very conflicting priorities. Annoying. Don't waste your time matching for the wrong reasons. Being up-front also comes with caution, Gandhi added, "When you're dating, look at peoples' profiles to see what they are looking for. If it says, 'I don't know' or 'nothing serious,' that will tell you if they want what you want. And, as you get past the third/fourth dates (which is still very early), make sure that the person wants what you want. If you're looking for love or marriage or kids, it's fine to say that after the first several dates."

When in doubt, just swipe right

If you find yourself on the fence of like versus dislike, always make the first move -- into the unknown. Gandhi affirmed me in saying that you should be very open-minded in the first stage, reiterating, "Unless you see any big red flags, swipe right." Gandhi added, "Many people look way better in person, or their personality makes them way cuter upon connection. If someone seems negative or says, 'I don't want any drama,' you may want to swipe left on those red flags because usually, a person that says they're not looking for drama is the one that will cause you the drama!" Always leave room for possibility, rather than not. Where there's an ounce of interest, see it through. This may not revamp your immediate profile, but it may revamp who and how you match, leaving you more optimistic about your daily plight of the swipe. Have the courage to be bold and make the first move. You just never know.

Have a friend look over your profile

"Girl, you look busted in that photo." You need this honesty in your life. Good friends will never be more honest with you than judging how you present yourself to potential suitors. They are that safe space of second or third opinions that may get your profile to really shine. "Studies show that we are not the best judges of our photos," Gandhi noted. "Have someone whose opinion you respect look at your photos to make sure you're really picking the ones that are best for you and have them read your profile for any possible negativity."

Try a paid app or site version

Don't take this as trying to buy love, but rather putting yourself out there. "Most apps charge less than $1/day," Gandhi said. "And, within apps, you can pay to 'boost' your profile or other features that could help you to be seen by more people! Experiment with different things: doing the same thing over and over again leads to the same old same old." Use a trial version and scope out the benefits of how paid versions between sites and apps can give you an extra boost from time to time. Treat yourself.

Put in the time

"Don't check them all day long because you'll feel like you're 'always' dating," Gandhi reminded. "15 minutes in the early morning and 15 minutes in the evening is great. Having what I call a 'Daily Dating Routine' is key!"

Final tip: Have a dating funnel.

Gandhi told me, "So many people want to settle down with the first 'normal' person that comes their way." "Have a dating funnel," she said. Explaining, "Many options to choose from makes dating so much more fun and inspiring. This way, if someone flakes or ghosts, it doesn't hurt as much. Also, you're not going to settle for red flags as easily if you've got a good mix of people and it keeps your confidence high and the process fun!"

9 ways to step up your dating profile in time for Valentine's Day originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com