How To Set Up Your Online Dating Profile in 4 Easy Steps


Do you want to try online dating? Are you procrastinating? I remember being nervous and excited and uncertain about what to do first. Once I took that deep breath and hit the Get Started button it was simpler than I anticipated.

I’m going to help you get started  with a brief step-by-step:

1. Get an email address that doesn’t use your full name. It can be your screen name (see number 2). At some point you’ll begin corresponding ‘off-site’ via email, rather than through the dating site’s message board, and you’ll want to protect your anonymity – initially, at least.  Google, Yahoo or Hotmail provide free email accounts. This video walks you through the process of setting up a Google account.

Tip: when you fill in the area for First Name and Last Name as you’re setting up your email account, don’t forget to use the anonymous name you’ve created!

2. You need a Screen Name for your profile. Don’t use your own name. It’s important to remain anonymous until you’re ready to reveal yourself to a potential date.  You don’t want a stranger to discover your identity and show up on your doorstep.  You can be Ann55513X, Senior Stuart, or Savvy Deb, for example. The very first screen name I chose contained part of my last name. Imagine my (unpleasant) surprise when the owner of the company installing my new kitchen floor popped up onscreen and asked me out, after seeing my picture and name.

3. Photos are so important. I can tell so much about a guy by how he looks, what he’s wearing and what’s in the background. Choose a flattering but natural photo. I’ve seen photos of men taken while standing in front of the bathroom mirror wearing only their underwear – No Thanks! Be honest and don’t drag out a picture from five years ago. When you find the picture you want to use, start creating your profile. When you get to the “add a profile picture” part, look for the button that says ‘upload from computer.’ Click that and the search feature lets you locate the photo on your hard drive. Click to upload the photo.  It’s that simple. You can use several photos, adding them now or at a later time. You will be able to designate one for your main image.

4. The profile – this is your chance to shine.The firstline is important; it’s your marketing pitch. It shows up in the little snapshot of your profile. You want a sentence that makes him or her want to read more.  Be positive. Don’t list of all the things you don’t want in a partner. Tell what you like about yourself – or your friends like about you. I move on when I read negative profiles. I don’t want to date a man who talks about distrusting women in his profile. Yes, people are sad, angry, depressed, etc., but it’s a turn-off in the initial search phase.

Tip: Write the About Me and other profile sections in a Word document or email to yourself first, so you can use spell check and edit your information. Next, copy the text and paste it directly into the form on the dating site.

That’s it. The basic components in most online dating site profiles are pretty simple. Now you just have to wait for the email telling you a potential date has messaged you at the site.

For more tips on what type of screen name to pick, what type of photo to use and the kinds of things you can write about yourself, check out 11 Ways to Quit Lurking and Write Your Dating Profile, all the Dos and Don’ts you need to make your profile stand out from the rest.

Walker Thornton blogs at The Diva of Dating and The Huffington Post, and is writing a memoir based on her online dating experiences.

Need help with any of the technical stuff – uploading a photo, setting up an email account, etc? Ask our Tekspert by emailing


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