Five Biggest Online Dating Profile Mistakes

eDateMate was an guest blog writer for eHarmony. Original article appears on eHarmony Blog.

Online dating can be a great way to find love, but many of us don’t know how to market ourselves. As a professional online dating profile writer, I know too well how tricky online dating can be. Many of our clients are successful, personable people who would make someone a great partner but they struggle to write a profile that highlights their attributes and is not just a carbon copy of a hundred other profiles out there.

Here’s how to avoid the common pitfalls of the well-meaning profile writer:


1. Your profile is too generic

If you look at ten random profiles right now, I bet you’ll find the same common themes: everyone is fun, outgoing and adventurous, with a great sense of humour, loves travelling, eating out and, of course, long walks along the beach. While these responses are all OK, after a while they sound generic and same-same.

To stand out in the online crowd you need a profile that is unique and compelling – turn the ordinary into extraordinary. And no, I don’t mean listing naked bungee jumping or trekking across the Himalayas as your usual weekend activities.

For example, “my profiterole chocolate tower is always a hit” sounds far more enticing than “I like cooking”. Or, “I’m adventurous” doesn’t tell me anything, however by writing “I’m taking flying lessons” you’ve got my attention.

2. You don’t tell a story

The dating profiles that compel you to click and email are ones that play into your emotions. Does it warm your heart to hear about her love of animals and how she volunteers at a dog shelter? Did his sense of humour in his profile make you laugh out loud?

We remember the things we feel, so if you want your profile to be memorable start tugging those emotional strings. People act on a dating profile when they can see themselves as part of your story. If you don’t tell a story, people will have nowhere to see themselves.


3. You haven’t put your best face forward

It’s sad but true that one bad picture can cast doubt in the mind of a potential match about everything they have seen prior to that blurry or unflattering photo. Without being superficial, your profile picture is the best first impression you give online. Yes, you’ll be judged on how you look, but rather than feeling despondent you just need to OWN IT! No matter your shape, size or age, a clear, flattering photo showing you at your confident best is a surefire way to attract promising interest. As I’m fond of saying: you never get a second chance to make a good first impression!

4. You are negative

People are attracted to positivity, not someone who comes across as disgruntled, overly picky and jaded. A profile littered with criticism of others and negativity will be interpreted by a potential match as a sign that you have wholly unrealistic expectations. It also screams ‘bitter-ex-clinging-to-past–relationships’ or a person with emotional baggage.  So reread your profile to ensure the tone remains upbeat and approachable.

5. You aren’t authentic

Make sure your profile truly reflects who you are. So what if you’ve never owned a passport or you’ve yet to reach the pinnacle of your career? Everyone has something worthy or interesting to offer, it’s just a matter of prising it out of your back pocket.

When I was online dating, my greatest claim to fame was ‘perfecting the art of lasagna’ and my partner and I still laugh about the line that hooked his interest.

In a world of selfie-superficiality, people still appreciate authenticity and humility. Looks may attract initial attention, but character has greater substance. So like a true marketer, think outside the square and identify what is your unique selling point. Your number one product is YOU, so make your profile count. And it may just bring you one step closer to finding your perfect match.




Whether you’ve never been married or a divorcee, a single parent or a widower - online dating is all about strategy, where crafting the perfect profile is only the beginning...


Online dating can suck. And it can be hard work too. It's not unlike juggling a second full time job.


“...If there is no risk, there is no reward.”


Having coached singles aged in their 40s and 50s, I know from experience how hard (and rewarding!) online dating can be. And that there is a right way and a wrong way when it comes to the strategies of online dating. What is clear to me is that people in their midlife have embraced online dating in their thousands. It makes sense. The pubs and clubs have less appeal and with a busy work life and family commitments, there is less opportunity for the over-40s to meet someone in their day to day life. It’s no wonder online dating is so popular.

Also, the stigma associated with finding love online is well and truly gone. It’s now a normal avenue for seeking new relationships. In one study of 25,000 couples it was found that 37% of people in the 60+ age group found their partner online, compared with 19% in the 20-29 year old age group[1]. Which confirms that older daters are ruling the online roost!

I was recently a guest speaker on ABC radio in Brisbane where I outlined my successful strategies for midlife singles dating online.  You can listen to the podcast here >> 

For those taking the plunge and embarking on an online journey to potential love in midlife, here are some essential tips for improving your chances of success.


You wouldn’t attend an important job interview with a second-rate resume would you? Many people underestimate the importance of a well-written profile, free from spelling and grammatical errors and cheesy clichés. Your profile must encapsulate YOU - Your main interests, your sense of humour and your values. It must be read like the back cover of a good book and leave your match wanting to know more. Do this and you’ll attract the right type of attention from like-minded singles.


Without being superficial, your profile picture is the best first impression you give online. Yes, you’ll be judged on how you look in the photo, but rather than feel gloomy about this fact, you just need to OWN IT! No matter what your shape or size, a clear flattering photo with a great outfit showing you at your confident best is a sure fire way to attract promising interest. As I’m fond of saying: you never get a second chance to make a good first impression!


Just like applying for that important job, you’ll inevitably face rejection online at some point. The key thing to remember is that it’s a two-way street. You may find yourself the subject of unwanted attention from the players, the riffraff or the scammers online. You may feel a little discouraged about the type people who are contacting you, but take heart in the fact that rather than having to deal with them face to face, you have the glorious option of pressing ‘delete’!


By your 40's and beyond, you know yourself well. You have fully formed values and views that should never be compromised. If having kids is part of your life plan and not theirs, move on. Likewise non-smoker seeking same. Like-minded singles will recognise this from your well-written profile and seek you out.  Have a think about what you do and don’t want from a relationship. While there is a healthy amount of 40 pluses online looking for love, the sea isn’t necessarily brimming with fish.  Don’t exclude people for things such as height or hair colour or whether they live within 10 kilometres of your house. Sharing the same values or sense of humour is much more important than finding a 42 year old lawyer who speaks fluent Mandarin and plays polo.


eDateMate tailors your dating profile to reflect your life stage and expectations. There is a beautiful complexity to life in mid-age – there may be kids to consider, ‘baggage' from previous relationships and busy lifestyles juggling career and family. You may even be adjusting to the new "dating rituals" if you’ve been away from the scene for many years, or even decades.  

We are aware that with each decade brings unique differences that need to be considered. Some Baby Boomers are less tech-savvy than younger generations and are therefore more vulnerable to scammers who prey on people who are more financially secure and trusting of strangers. Our sure-fire system of ‘red flagging’ suspicious contacts gives peace of mind to midlife daters and will give you the confidence to navigate safely and successfully through the process.

eDateMate will help you in your quest, from writing your profile, filtering for your match, flirting successfully in messages and meeting in person, every step of the way should not be underestimated in this game of love.  




[1] Sue Malta, Sociologist, Swinburne University, video: ‘why older adults love online dating’

What To Say In The First Message To Hook Her Interest

Emailing is the digital equivalent of courtship. Stand out. Take a chance. If you don’t, you risk sounding like everybody else. And in a fast and busy medium like online dating, sounding like everybody else is about the worst thing you can possibly do.

First email messaging strategies. Keep it short and sweet (5-7 sentences at the most). Start with a unique catchy opening line. Find a similarity between you, then call it out. Ask one question about her (linking back to her profile). Honest, depth, creativity and humour are key.

Keep it short and sweet

Keep your introductory message to 5 - 7 sentences at the most. Too short in a first contact email will make her think you’re sending off dozens of messages (and she’s not that special for receiving one!) Go too long and you risk losing her interest.

Start with a unique subject line

Starting with hey, hi, hi there, or how are you? are all perfectly fine and polite, however think about starting with something unique that stands out to hook her interest. In fact, an OKCupid survey found it is smarter to use no traditional salutation at all and just dive into whatever you have to say such as "Wow! I never thought I’d find someone who loves archery as much as I do!“  Just think about what a typical woman’s inbox looks like:

Subject:  (No subject)
Subject:  Hey
Subject:  What’s up
Subject:  (No Subject)
Subject:  (No Subject)
Subject:  Battle of the Lasagnas…
Subject:  Hey
Subject:  Hi
Subject:  You are beautiful…

Which one of the above examples stands out from the crowd and makes you want to open it?  And if you think the last example (you are beautiful) will work, please learn the fundamentals of attraction immediately because you are unintentionally killing yourself! Battle of the Lasagnas stands out from the competition because it generates interest and creates curiosity and ultimately is an eye-catching email subject line.

Be personal and positive

The goal here is try and stand out from everyone else in the building. Keep 'the vibe' upbeat and personal and try to establish a connection with her.  Talk about one of her hobbies, the book she just read, how cute her dog is… anything that shows you've read her profile.  Use phrases such as I'm curious what... noticed mentioned.... Also, don’t rehash your profile; she can already see that you’re a 32-year-old man from Caulfield who enjoys fishing on the weekend. Essentially, focus on the person and why they should write to you.

Relate, then add

Ideally, you should stick to one topic so your message is focused. If there are two that go hand-in-hand, you can expand, but more than that and you risk sounding too interested for a simple hello. Relate well to her and show interest by asking questions, but also add enough detail about your own life to keep the momentum moving. Avoid talking about religion, politics, past relationships, marriage and heavier topics such as personal health issues (she doesn't need to know you had a bowel obstruction operation last week!) and try to keep topics of work and your children (if you have any) to a minimum. It doesn't hurt to even start a fun, friendly debate which starts a dialogue between you such as "You say you love your iPod and the sand, so remind me never to lend you my iPod before you wreck it at the beach!".  The focus of your initial email conversation should be about the two of you, to allow you get to know each other and hopefully develop a rapport.

Project Warmth

To figure out if your email is coming across as genuine, try reading it out loud. If it sounds conversational—like something you’d actually say face to face—then you’re on the right track. Of course, a well-placed witty line or one-liner can be really effective, but if it doesn't come naturally to you it's much better projecting warmth than coming off as sarcastic or that you are trying too hard. Humour is very subjective  – what’s funny to you may be incomprehensible to your potential date. Never forget you are in essence writing to a stranger who may not yet appreciate your rapier wit. 

Ask her a question

Your profile writeup 'call to action' may be subtle, however emails should be more direct. Ask a question about her (based on what you’ve read in her profile) and where her response can’t be limited to Yes or No.  The easier you can make it for the recipient to respond, the more likely you are to get a reply. Only ask one question and keep it simple. Asking three questions for example can become overwhelming or feel like badgering, and she may not respond at all.  If you can find a similarity between you - call it out and then weave it into your question to her. For example “You’ve said you want to travel to Rome. That’s one place I’ve never been – what places are on your hit list?” If there isn't much detail in her profile and you're grasping at straws for a connection, make a joke of it even. If she says she’s looking for someone kind and smart, you could say something like “I’m kind of smart. Is that close enough?”  You obviously don't have to be laugh-out-loud funny, but it does need to be an original take on the material you’re given to work with. 

Be literate

Netspeak make a terrible first impression

Bad grammar and bad spelling are distracting and are huge turn-offs so make sure you spell check your emails. Netspeak such as ur, u, wat, wont, r, u, ya, cant, hit, realy, luv, wat etc also make a terrible first impression. The only exception are expressions of amusement such as haha and lol, however hehe not so much because it’s a little evil sounding. People like a sense of humour, and you need to be casual to convey genuine laughter.  

Use emoticons sparingly

In a male-female situation (and particularly from the guys perspective) use emoticons sparingly as they can give off energy that isn’t confident. Use once in an email and not in every email as any more is distracting.  For example, save your smiley face to the email when you eventually ask her out. This is when you want to convey more genuine emotion and excitement.  And stick with the plain smiley faces … even just the symbol :) …rather than the variations.

Go easy on the emoticons to make a good first impression

Write with confidence

People like confidence, far more than wishy-washy use of language. What kind of person would you rather hang out with: a person who comes off as independent and strong or someone who'd give their right arm to be with you before you’ve even met?

  • Writing things like, “you probably won’t answer this but ..” or “I can’t believe I’m doing this but .." makes you look unsure of yourself and it’s not going to get the women flocking to your profile. 
  • If you are outside her criteria, call it out (which shows you have read her profile) but then put a positive spin on why you think you’d be a good match. For example, if her maximum age range is 42yrs and you’re 45yrs you could write  “I realise I’m just outside of your ideal age range, but I feel we have a lot of in common and…" OR put a funny spin on it such as “I thought of being 5’11” just for you...but I figured that if honesty got me this far, why blow it now? I’m 6’1” in 3” heels so does that cut it?”

End With Your Name

Signing with your name instantly warms up the tone of the email. While this may sound obvious, some guys leave it off and risk coming across as mysterious - and not in a good way.   Needles to say, you should also skip any extraneous information, like a full signature with your title, email address and phone number.

Attract Quality Not Quantity

Attract Quality not Quantity 

Unless you're seeking a casual no-strings-attached relationship,  guys who put up a front, who are cocky, who try too hard, or push the envelope with sex talk won't impress "quality" women because she knows these acts are transparent. If you approached a gorgeous girl in real life with these tactics, it would either result in an eye roll or attract a lower-quality mate, and the same is true in the virtual dating world.

  • Template emails are the pickup lines of the web. Being proactive and sending an appropriate number of emails is important, but avoid templates messages that are so generic it's obvious they are copy-and-paste jobs.  It's fine to create a message outline, however be sure to erase signs of it being generic, by getting specific. 
  • A little email flirtation is never a bad thing, but you don't want your message to scream "you're not worth getting to know more, so let's just meet offline and be inappropriate together" so skip sexual content and physical compliments such as "I think you're ....gorgeous".
  • Leaving your number in your first email message is the equivalent of saying I don’t want to put much effort into this, but I figure if I write to enough people, maybe someone will respond. “Why don’t you give me a call when you get a chance” is not an open-ended question because (for any self-respecting woman) the answer is already No.  It's impersonal and shows that you are more of a ‘player’ than the real deal.

Final Thoughts...

Honesty, depth and creativity are the keys to the initial email exchange. So guys aim high! Choose wisely and take the time to make each girl feel special in your first email message. 

If you require personalised help or support to make sure you get your match, checkout our online dating coaching and mentoring packages or our blog for more online dating tips and advice.

Online Dating In Your 20's: Five Tips For Success

Singles in their twenty's aren't short of meeting people - through work, active lifestyles, university and large social groups.   Social networking is also a way of life with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat (and now Tinder!) helping online dating to effortlessly slot into normal life. 

Online Dating In Your 20s: Five Tips For Success: eDateMate Australia

BUT if only it were that easy...! 

Compared to our grandparents era, traditional dating rituals have become almost obsolete, having been edged out by hooking up, hanging out and casual sex. Sure, there are plenty of opportunities for the 20+ age group to meet people through online dating, however they should still be strategic in their approach - to make the most of their freewheeling days and pave the way for regret-free romance later in life.

If you're twenty-something and embarking on an online journey to potential love, here are some essential tips for improving your chances of success:

(1) Leave Room For A Love Life

With better education and job opportunities, more singles are living in cities and towns to enjoy the fruits of their success. But inadvertently they may be closing off dating possibilities, in preference for their career, travelling and a carefree lifestyle. In particular the woman who may decide to put off marriage and families until their late 30s, but then find themselves competing against younger females in the dating game - and at a time when there is more urgency and seriousness about the process. 

  • Be OPEN to possibilities.
  • Like yourself and know you're worthy; when your self-esteem is high, people will be attracted to your positive energy.
  • You can't simply 'be' on an online dating site - you need to actively 'use' it. Most importantly, post a well-crafted profile and put in the hard work when it comes to searching for matches, messaging them, responding to standouts and meeting in person.
  • Remember that online dating is not a sprint, it's a marathon.

(2) Know Your Standards (and stick to them!)

If you want to take control of your dating life, make sure you create a set of standards of HOW you date and do this without exception. Before embarking on a lifelong commitment, we should take the time to learn more about ourselves and identify what our standards and values are.  Many people go through their entire life without this clarity.  Values are beliefs that guide us in the way we make decisions, live our lives and interact with others. It's about how someone treats you, your connection, common interests and life goals. 

  • Write down your values and 'deal-breakers' before embarking on online dating. Make sure you stay true to yourself and your beliefs.
  • He or she may look good on paper, but the FANTASY can be very different from REALITY. Move to offline meeting early on as real relationships happen in person, not behind a computer screen.

(3) Expand Your Dating Horizons

Your twenties are the ideal time to find out what you do and do not like. You may even be surprised by what you find if you take the time to explore options, as opposed to shutting too many doors or getting stuck dating the same 'type'. At this point in your life, dating is more about you than it is about the other person. You’re figuring out how to love and how to be loved.

  • Date as many DIFFERENT types as you can to get a good sense of what’s out there and to weed out the kind of people you don't like.
  • Don't cling onto or waste too many years of your 20s on the wrong relationship.
  • You have youth on your side; don't settle for less than you deserve!

(4) Have Realistic Expectations

The more barriers, requirements and rules you enforce, the smaller and smaller the dating pool will become. Good looks, outgoing personalities, money, sporty types, the kind of person who 'works' the room are often most desired, while the genuine 'nice guy' or 'nice girl' gets quietly ignored. Don't settle for something that doesn’t make you happy, but equally don’t continue to chase something you might never find. What we WANT versus what we NEED can be two very different things.

  • Don't let your checklist keep you single by setting your online filter criteria too narrow (i.e. I MUST have an educated professional who is  6 ft. tall and has an athletic physique!)
  • Don't try to date someone's POTENTIAL instead of their REALITY. You can't change people, so don't waste years of your life trying. Love isn't swimming upstream. 
  • Accept there will be the good, the bad (and the ugly) who will try to chat you up.  Yes the riffraff are also on dating sites, use the DELETE button frequently and don't let it get you down.

(5) Show Restraint

The reality is there is a game to be played when online dating and it's called RESTRAINT. Always be calm, cool and collected. You should know your worth and always remember that if the person is for you, then it will be proven in a positive way.

  • Don't freak people out with your neediness - crazy behaviour never equals 'cool'. 
  • Don’t get mad at your date if they don't answer your text, email or phone call right away. Being too demanding will only drive them away.
  • Don't show the movie before the trailer - unless you're after a casual hook-up, invest time in actually getting to know someone before having sex (and I don't mean on the 2nd date!) 
  • Don't get caught in the Texting Trap. Too many people use texting as an easy and convenient way to communicate, but getting to know each other should not be convenient; it should be personal.  

Popular Australian Dating Sites Compared Free and Paid

Here we provide a breakdown of features and costs involved for some of the most popular dating sites in Australia. Notice for RSVP, their 'google ranking' is the lowest - and therefore most popular - compared to other sites listed.  The google rank by country is calculated using a combination of average daily visitors and pageviews on this site from users of that country over the past month. The site with the highest combination of visitors and pageviews is ranked #1 in that country. For comparative purposes is ranked #1 and is ranked #3 in Australia.

eHarmony Australia 1 million + - Subscription paid service where you complete a detailed questionnaire and the site uses this to find your matches. You can then view your matches and  intiate email contact. RSVP - 2 million +; Roughly 50/50 split;  18- 34 years: 32% 35-49: 23% 50-64: 32% 65+: 9% Mix of Free and Paid Free to search and view all profiles and initiate contact (by sending ‘kisses’), however you must then pay for ‘stamps’ to send email messages to your matches. OasisActive - 1.6 million + (now owned by RSVP); 60% male / 40% female;18-35 – 64% 36+ - 27% Free Free to view profiles, initiate instant online chatting and send email messages. OKCupid - Free (* optional paid membership) Free to view profiles, initiate instant online chatting and send email messages.

Costs Involved:

Australian Dating Sites Compared Costs

Subscription Features:

Australian Dating Sites Compared Features

Online Dating Profile Truth Serum Version!

How would online dating profiles read if they told the "real" truth?

When we are trying to look our best and come across as "I-have-a-fun-active-interesting-insightful-life", of course we focus on the positives and leave out the negatives and the boring bits of life. But what would happen if we simply told the truth? 

Here is a light hearted look at online dating profiles - what they say, what they don't say and what they really mean....

eHarmony Australia vs RSVP - A Review From Personal Experience

Checkout my latest review of RSVP and eHarmony on - Australia's first and most comprehensive consumer opinion site, online since May 2003.  

RSVP Review on

eHarmony Review on

Want To Boost Your Online Dating Life?

eDateMate Australia Online Dating Profile Writing and Coaching

Even after googling everything you need to know about the most 'desirable' profile, it can still be hard to write about yourself. Should you be funny? Charming? Intellectual? Does it reflect who you really are and what you want in a partner, or does it read like a cheesy personal from the 80's? Should you be completely honest or try to position yourself so you sound a little better?  Well let us do the hard work for you…our job is to market your number one product - YOU!  

At eDateMate we offer a personalised online dating profile writing service. Whether you need help writing your profile from scratch or critiquing your existing profile with tangible advice for improvement, it's our job to make you standout from the crowd and attract your ideal match. Whether you're new to online dating or haven't had much luck,  we have packages to suit all your needs. 

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