Improving your online odds

When seeking dates online, look for those who want the same type of relationship as you but keep an...

When seeking dates online, look for those who want the same type of relationship as you but keep an open mind on the smaller stuff. (Shutterstock)

Sexy Typewriter, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

Valentine's Day is closing in at a breakneck speed. And you still don't have a date. (You know, if you happen to care about that sort of thing. Which I don't. Not a bit. Nope.)

There are plenty of other singles out there who are looking for an over-priced prix-fixe dinner companion on Feb. 14. Why not find each other?

The beauty and the terror of the age in which we live is that you can go online, young man, and set up a date with a beautiful stranger in a matter of hours.

Whether you're an old grizzled hand at online dating (hi) or setting up a profile for the first time, there are a few important things to remember that could help you to succeed where a multitude of others have failed.

According to Kim Hughes, LavaLife dating expert, there are a few things that online daters should be doing in order to have get the best response rates possible.

"(Online daters) make a lot of mistakes," says Hughes. "One of the key mistakes is not having enough photos. We're living in a digital age, so everybody should have relatively easy access to photos of themselves. There's just no excuse for not having lots of pictures."

When it comes to online dating, looks matter, so Hughes says it's important to post photos that are clear, recent and relatively truthful. Go with your most flattering ones, as long as no one has Photoshopped the hell out of them. When it comes to online dating, nobody likes surprises.

"You want to present the person who's going to be walking into the coffee shop on the date," she says.

Photos where you're too far away from the camera, your ex is clumsily cropped out or your face is obscured by a gigantic sombrero and sunglasses are probably not going to garner a great many responses.

Of equal importance in an online dating profile are the words. Who are you? What kinds of things are you interested in? Who are you looking for? Can you spell?

It may not seem like a big deal, but I am frequently put off of reasonably nice-seeming men if their online profile contains a wealth of typos, grammatical errors and poor spelling.

"Spell-check is essential," says Hughes. "I don't care how long or how short your profile is; sloppy is never sexy."

Not only does an error-free dating profile boast a certain level of intelligence, it also proves that you are serious about meeting people and care about the image you're projecting. Have a friend or two read your profile to check it for mistakes.

Finally, don't be afraid to play against type - your type, anyway. There are people of all shapes, sizes, colours and stripes online. Maybe you should try meeting them all?

"If you want to find a German-speaking Virgo Buddhist, you can find him," Hughes says about LavaLife's user search capabilities. "But if you winnow your list too narrowly, you might miss out on meeting somebody really be cool. I mean, we all have our deal breakers. If you really want to have children, you shouldn't date someone who doesn't want children. If religion is really important to you, of course you should date within your faith. But once you narrow down the big things, you should be kind of fluid on the rest of it."

Other online tips include logging in at different times of the day (vary mornings, afternoons, evenings and weekends) and exchanging enough messages to feel comfortable without overdoing it - too much communication before meeting can escalate your expectations to dizzying heights.

Happy Valentine's Day, future lovebirds!

Sexy Typewriter blogs about her dating failures – online and otherwise – at Sexytypewriter.com



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