cute woman online with love hearts on her computer

So you've decided to give online dating a whirl!  Surfin' and searchin' the ads is fun... and may yield some tasty material. But it's much easier to post your own profile, let 'em have a peek, then let them come to you.

Your ad has to stand out from the crowd... you only have a few seconds to catch his attention and draw him in for more. So take your time with this. Treat your profile like a it's a resume for your dream job...because it kind of is...

First pick up your local newspaper and give the print personals a thorough once-over. Look for clever headlines and screen names. Make note of interesting things the writers reveal about themselves. It's okay to "borrow" a great idea, put your personal twist on it,  and then put it in your own ad.

So give your personal a lot of thought... write and re-write it... punch it up... polish it... (spell-check it). Let your buddies check it out. Run it by a trusted male (straight) friend. Ask him what would make him answer a personal ad. (Aside from a promise of wild sex).

We've put together a great guide here to help you construct a personal ad that will get responses... So get to it, girl...

                                    woman searching online dating sites
A personal ad consists of 5 parts: The photo, the headline, the screen name, the body or profile, and the closing. Here's how:

              ONLINE DATING ADS  small love heart with arrow piercing it

Online dating ads...

Don't lie with your photo. Do NOT post your college yearbook picture if you've since had 3 kids and put on 30 lbs. It's lying, and it'll come back and bite you in the butt. Use a current picture, please.

Get some new photos made. Get your buddy who's an amateur shutterbug with a nice camera to give you a "shoot". Or, go ahead and spring for a session at a professional studio. You can frame one of the 8 X 10s and give it to your Ma for Christmas. Kill two birds with one stone.

Follow these tips to create a portrait with impact:

  • Put together a snappy, dressy casual outfit...in your most flattering color.
  • Get your hair done at the salon the morning of the session.
  • Then have your makeup applied professionally... at the cosmetics counter of an upscale department store (ask her to apply it on the heavy side).
  • Have several shots taken, inside and outside, head shots and shoulder/head.
  • For each shot, think of something funny or pleasant... and smile..... with your eyes and your mouth.
  • Take the proofs and run them by your platonic male friend... let him pick the best ones.
  • Have your selections put on a CD- easier to access & download.

                     5 pretty women in sexy poses for photo shoot

            ONLINE DATING ADS  small love heart with arrow piercing it

Online dating ads...

It's the attention grabber, the first impression. A witty, personal, fun headline is essential. What did you see for headlines as you studied the print personals? Blah! Bland! Boring! But then a few jumped out at you, didn't they?

Well, that's what you gotta do... jump out. Gear your headline towards the kind of man you want to respond...and somehow think of a way to grab him!

 NO: "Lonely sensitive babe ISO tall handsome hero"

 YES: "First mate seeking captain for high-seas

                                lovers on a sailboat on the high seas

              ONLINE DATING ADS  small love heart with arrow piercing it

Online dating ads...

Make your "handle" creative and catchy like your headline. It's okay to toot your horn a little bit... but outright bragging is a put-off. DO NOT call yourself a "Hottie". Instead, tout your best feature or hobby:

"Soulful blue-eyes" "Boston Blondie" "Petite Peach"
"Memphis Mama" "Green-eyed dancer" or
"Sexy scuba girl"

Get it? Good..

                                   dating couple holding hands while scuba diving

                       ONLINE DATING ADS  small love heart with arrow piercing it

Online dating ads...

Really take your time with the body of your ad. Rewrite it 'til it sparkles with class, sincerity, substance. Keep it light, pleasant, positive. Drop the sarcasm, negativity, sadness, loneliness, anger, desperation... all are downers & turn-offs!

Show your uniqueness, your personality... and above all, stand out from the crowd.

There's 2 parts to the body:
    1. Your bio---tell a little about yourself

    2. What do you want? Place your order!

1. Your bio---be honest here. Don't sabotage a potential relationship by lying up front. DON'T describe yourself as a petite, blond 30-something if you're really slightly overweight, naturally mousy brown and 42. He'll figure it out when you meet, you know... and you'll be shot down!

Take your chances... tell the truth, then you can relax and enjoy the online dating experience... without worry.

In telling your story, think like a man. A man will NOT be drawn to sappy, sentimental girlie stuff, like:

  • walks on the beach
  • candlelit dinners
  • committed relationships

He WILL be drawn to fun, adventure and sex:

  • Mention any hobbies a man would find interesting
  • Sports you like to attend or participate in
  • Organizations or groups you belong to
  • What you find fun
  • What people like about you
  • Play down the sexual side of things---be a woman of mystery...

                             chic and mysterious woman cloaked in black
2. Now, what do you want? Who are you ISO?

  • Don't narrow down the pool of potentials by being too selective about physical traits. Your soulmate may well end up being short, balding and grey-headed... really.
  • Be honest here, too. Ask for sincerity, kindness, a good sense of humor, and a warm heart.
  • Tell them what you're really looking for... a date with a good man!

             ONLINE DATING ADS  small love heart with arrow piercing it   

They teach salespeople in training to "Ask for the sale"... Well, at the end of your personal ad, it's time to "Ask for the date". Challenge the reader to contact you... send an email... to get in touch soon... "You'll be glad you did!"

              ONLINE DATING AD  small love heart with arrow piercing it
               SOME FINAL TIPS FOR A
                SUPER ONLINE DATING AD 


  • Marriage
  • Sunsets
  • Walks on the beach
  • Candlelit dinners
  • Lonely
  • Commitment
  • "Friends first"
  • Hate sports
  • Love cats
  • Mother, or worse, Mom
  • Soulmate
  • Symphony
  • Ballet
  • Opera
  • Meaningful relationship


  • Divulge your income or the brand of your expensive sports car
  • Act desperate or pitiful
  • Air dirty laundry of any type
  • Mention your horrible marriage or stalking ex-boyfriend
  • Lie about your age, body size, smoking habits or fondness for children
  • Post your ad until your English teacher friend has checked it carefully for proper grammar and spelling errors. This is most important.


"Sensitive, caring woman, 30-something, ISO tall, dark, and handsome Prince Charming for walks on the beach, wine at sunset, and cuddling by the fire. I enjoy ceramics, quilt-making, and reading a good book. I also love ballet, opera and live theatre. You'll never find me at a soccer match or NASCAR race! My six cats are my life! Do you think you can fit in? If so, give me a buzz! And thanks for reading my ad".... (YUCK)

OR THIS: (Part of an actual personal ad that was posted by a Cambridge academician  in the form of a Q&A AD):

Q- What will we do together?

A- Start with the NYT crossword puzzle — the SATURDAY puzzle, not the punk Sunday one. Then stroll through the Arboretum reading all the informative placards. Then after I do forward citation checks on my papers to see if anyone new has referenced them, and Google myself, we’ll head to dinner, where I’ll inquire at length about the restaurant’s single vineyard cabernets and sheep’s milk cheeses. Interspersed with all this we’ll talk about subjects of common interest like unfair teaching loads and how all the prestigious journals have evidently been taken over by editors with tin ears to real research.


"SOULFUL BLUE-EYES SEEKS GOOD MAN FOR ADVENTURES... I am 36, naturally blonde (though you can't tell from the way I act), with an average build. My friends say I'm the life of the party, always cheerful and full of energy. I have many interests, and am always willing to try a new sport or activity. I enjoy boating, fishing (yes, I can bait my own hook!), sports (in moderate doses), and have been known to fix my own leaky faucet. Sound like a tomboy? I am, a little bit, but all woman when it comes to romance. I'm looking for an honest man with a good heart; a sense of humor is a must! Let's dream up some new adventures for just the two of us...Contact me soon...you'll be glad you did!"

You can write your own ticket to adventure... now that you know how to write an effective online dating ad... good luck and happy dating!

                                           woman racing with ticket and big smile


Ready to post your new personal ad? On to the
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