Welcome to 2012, everyone!
When you’ve read as many dating profiles as I have, you start to notice patterns. Whether it’s writing about your ex, being negative, starting every sentence with “I”, or not giving your audience any reason to write you, I think I’ve covered a lot of them in the past. (If you’re new, click on Geek Dating Advice and take a surf through the archives!)
But I missed this one!
A Good Example
Let’s look at an example of good web design. I’m going to be a little self-serving here and show off the skills of the designerds at my day job, ThinkGeek. Here’s a screenshot of a product page:
Notice a few things, which I’ve numbered:
- Photos & Video
- Headline & top 3 things about the product
- Social Media sharing
- Customer Action Shots (social proof)
- Price / Buy Now / Wishlist / Facebook Like (more social proof)
What do all of things have in common? It’s the secret that’s going to help your dating profile!
Location, Location, Location
All of these things appear above the fold.
Depending on your monitor, your fold-age may vary, but the important thing to realize is that when people read on the internet, they want to see something right when the page loads that catches their attention and holds it. Otherwise, they click away.
Web folks call this the “Bounce Rate.” These are folks who click into your site and instead of doing what you want (staying & interacting), they click away to go elsewhere. Having a high bounce rate means that something is wrong with your website. It’s not sticky enough. It could be your design, your content, or a combination of the two.
How Sticky Is Your Profile?
Your main photo and Self-Summary are the first things people will see. If your Self-Summary is short, folks may see the What I’m Doing With My Life section (or if you leave things blank, whatever the next thing you filled in is).
What This Means
For a sticky OkCupid profile, you need:
- A great default photo. The math nerds at OkCupid have crunched the numbers and given some advice on that on their blog.
- A super self-summary. Most profiles have never been revised or edited. They start weak because you’re not sure what to say about yourself and as you keep writing, you hit your stride and by the end, it’s pretty good. Problem is, you never go back to fix the beginning, so it stays boring and wishy-washy. Start your profile with a bang! How about short, funny anecdote? Maybe something weird that you like to do: My dating profile started out by admitting I like to ride my shopping cart in the parking lot of the grocery store.
- Keep up the pace! Once you’ve gotten someone to read your self-summary, keep up the great writing! Need help? I can advise you on profile improvements, edit your profile, or write one for you from scratch.
I really don’t like Match.com’s new UI, but that’s a story for another post. (Note to self: Write another post!)
Like OkCupid, your main photo is prominently displayed above the fold. So is your headline, although it’s in a tiny font on a fairly dark background.
What This Means
For a sticky Match.com profile, you need:
- A great default photo. The advice of OkCupid’s math nerds still applies here.
- Additional photos. I recommend clients to have at least 4 photos, and for Match’s profile format, you really need those extra shots to give folks a place to click. Since all your photos are available before a match sees your written profile, choose your photos with care. They are your first impression.
- A snappy headline. It is a little lost in the blue sea, but it’s the only thing above the fold that’s in your own words. Make it count. Movie quotes work great here!
- Activity & Interests: Notice the white boxes below the photos. These are populated by matching the checkboxes you selected for your interests with those of your potential match. Be sure to check off at least a few things that interest you. It also lets matches know if you’ve uploaded a new photo. Rotating photos in and out of your profile every couple weeks will keep you flagged as having “new” photos.
Once you’ve gotten someone interested enough to scroll down, remember that those first few lines of your written profile count! Make them interesting so your match will scroll back up and click “Email Him/Her.”
How About You?
Got questions about how to improve the stickiness of your profile? Take a screenshot of what your profile looks like above the fold and link it in a comment below. I’ll give pointers to anyone who posts here by Friday 1/6/12.