Getting into the online dating world can be intimidating. There are so many different sites to choose from, ways to interact with other users and potential matches online that it can be difficult to even know where to start. Although there are plenty of ways to find the person you’re looking for online, it doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it originally seemed. Use the following tips to help you get the most out of your online dating experience and find the right match for you.

Choose The Sites That Fit You

If you’re thinking about trying online dating, the first thing you need to decide is what you’re looking for in a potential match. That could be anything from a casual hook-up to dating multiple people to finding a future spouse. These are very different goals, so it’s important that you find a site more suited to your interests. For instance, eHarmony.com is geared towards finding users lifelong partners, while Match.com is more suited to those looking to casually date.

While you’re at it, you should consider if you’re looking to date within any certain groups. For example, there are dating sites for people in the military, single parents and senior citizens. There are also those for religious and ethnic groups. If you’re Christian and finding a match who is also Christian is important to you, then you should consider trying a site like ChristianMingle.com.

Create An Appealing Profile

Once you’ve found the right site, or sites, for you, the next step is to make sure you create a profile that other users will want to click on. A profile photo should be one of your priorities as profiles with a picture are 15 times more likely to be viewed by other users. In addition, you’ll need a unique and interesting “About Me” section that explains not only what you’re like, but what you want in a potential match. Avoid using lots of clich’d wording and just be yourself – it won’t do you any good to reel in potential matches based on false pretenses. Have fun with your profile, but be sure to not write a novel. Nobody likes to read a block of text.

Take Your Time

First-time online dating site users may be so anxious to find a potential match that they rush through user profiles. It’s important to slow down and take the time to give more users a chance. While it’s easy to scroll through and dismiss people solely based on looks, you might find that they become more attractive to you once you read what they have to say about themselves. A good strategy is to narrow down your search by age, location and any other “Must haves” on your list. Then try to look through everyone’s profile in your search results. You might be surprised by what you find.

Use Site Features To Your Advantage

When using an online dating site, be sure to explore all of their features and use them to your advantage. For example, taking the site’s personality test may seem a little tedious, but it can really help you see what you have to offer and what you want in a match. Similarly, you can make communicating with others more interesting and fun by using features like icebreaker questions, chat rooms or message boards. Ice breakers are good for those who aren’t comfortable writing direct messages to other users. For example, on Match.com you can send a wink to another user to let them know you’re interested in them. If they respond by sending you a wink back, then you know the interest is mutual.

Create Fun Dates

If you decide to meet with someone in person, try to think of a fun date where you’ll get to know them better. Some fun ideas include sporting events, going to a museum or volunteering together. Choose something that you both enjoy so that you’ll both feel at ease and comfortable. On the other hand, more adventurous types might want to try something they’ve never done to see how their date feels when pushed out of their comfort zone. Try to avoid going to a movie or just going to dinner for your first date – it’s often easier to find things to talk about and ways to get to know each other better if you’re actively doing something. If you’re not the active type, then a coffee house is a favorite spot to meet someone. With this scenario, you’re still in public and you have a nice atmosphere for interaction.

Be Safe

Don’t forget that safety is your top priority whenever meeting an online match in person. Always meet in a public place and make sure you have at least one friend or family member know where you’re going to be. If at any point you don’t feel comfortable, make up an excuse to leave or have a friend pick you up.

Although talking online feels much less intimidating, remember that you need to keep your safety in mind at all times. Don’t reveal any information that is too personal either in your profile or while chatting online. Wait until you really trust someone to give out any personal information about yourself. You may even want to create a new email address to use for your account, in case you want to interact outside the dating site via email.

Conclusion

Online dating isn’t nearly as overwhelming and intimidating if you keep the above tips in mind. For the best success, focus on finding the sites that best fit your needs and creating a profile that pops. If you get those two steps right, then the rest of your search for a potential match should go very smoothly.