It was inevitable that one of my single friends would get the hint. I go on and on about my fascination with online dating, and how tragic it is that I missed out by getting married before it was really a thing, and how much I would like to learn more about how it all works, really…the way you can only learn by getting first-hand (or maybe second-hand) experience. And now I have it: my first gig writing a buddy’s online dating profile.

But it’s one thing to be fascinated with online dating, and it’s another thing to be on the hook for writing someone else’s profile. What off the profile doesn’t get any interest? What if it reels in a guy, but he treats her terribly? Worst of all, what if it reels in a guy, they fall madly in love, and she no longer has time to talk with me about shoes?

Of course, the third scenario is what we’re going for (other than the not-talking-about-shoes part). But I’m way over my head: writing Twitter bios and Facebook profiles is quite a different thing from writing an online dating profile. So I’ve been doing my homework, and trying to find out what makes a great dating profile (for women; apparently it’s quite different from what might work for a man). Here are the bits of advice that have sounded the most sensible, useful or true:

Men focus on the pictures more than what you say. So keep your profile descriptive and unique but do not over do it. Just craft a few nice sentences describing how you have standards, what you are looking for, things you like to do, and what you are generally all about. Since men send the first email 75% of the time according to POF it is best to create a profile that allows a man to break the ice based off something you wrote, just don’t go overboard because your picture will determine if you get an email or not. In all honesty, online dating advice and online dating tips for women profiles really are that basic…don’t over complicate it.

—David Utke, Online Dating Advice

“Friends and family are very important to me.” That describes just about everyone. That’s the point of friends and family. Even if you write this sentence with the most heartfelt emotion, it doesn’t say anything about you.

—Jaltcoh, 17 online dating profile cliches that women should avoid
I strongly recommend that you read all 17.

In the literally thousands of online profiles I have read, I have only read two where the woman actually listed why she would make a good girlfriend or committed partner gave those reasons from a man’s point of view. Just two profiles actually addressed what a man wants in a committed relationship and these two women gave her reasons in a funny, thoughtful manner….Please communicate to your female audience that men need to know directly and unambiguously what they offer to a man.

—Drew, How to write an online dating profile: a man’s tips for women

Know what type of woman or man you want to attract. The more specific you are about who or what type you want to attract, the better you will be able to tailor your profile toward someone with those characteristics….Decide on three things about yourself that you are going to convey in your profile. These things are usually qualities about yourself that you have used successfully in the past to attract members of the opposite sex….Know how you will set yourself apart from the rest of the pack. Each of us possesses one quality that separates us from all others … it is the first reason why people, in general, like you as a person.

—Midlife Bachelor, How to write an online dating profile

When you’re creating your profile, try to stay away from the standard answers you see in everyone else’s profiles. It might be a good idea to read through a few of the other women’s profiles on that site and look for any pattern of average answers.

Online Dating Profile Tips for Women

Use specifics. Be sincere and honest. Write like you talk. Show your personality. If you make jokes, make them tasteful, self-deprecating or sarcastic, and do so with caution. Figure out what makes you different from everyone else, and use it to your advantage. Again, stay away from generic adjectives and focus more on proper nouns and stories.

— Evan Mark Katz, How to write an effective online profile (with examples)

Your life up until this point is a series of memories. So when you talk about yourself it is much better to share some of these memories in a story form rather than just making statements about yourself like, “I am a fun guy.” Instead, SHOW her that you are a fun guy through stories that illustrate this.

— Jake Vandenhoff, What to write about on online dating profiles

First and foremost, if you show a lot of cleavage or project your image as someone who doesn’t care about intelligence, the odds of reeling in a laureate will be pretty slim. I would pass over your profile without a second thought if you were wearing a glittery low-cut shirt with “JUICY” written across the chest. No thanks.

— We Love Dates, How To Write An Online Dating Profile That Will Catch a Guy’s Attention

On the other hand…

[E]ven if you have the perfect profile, the wrong mix of pictures will make any guy take a pass. Here’s the deal: Only include shots from the neck up and he’ll think you’re hiding your body for a reason. Photos with other men are an automatic turnoff too. Hey, the guy checking out your profile doesn’t know the dude in the picture is your brother.

— Cosmopolitan, How to Write an Online Dating Profile

And I’ve got to close with a bonus quote from Cosmo:

Enlist a close friend to help you create your profile. She’ll feel more comfortable highlighting your strengths and cool experiences. Another trick is to pretend it’s a job you’re trying to get, not a date, since women tend to find it easier to really sell themselves in a work setting.

— Cosmopolitan, How to Write an Online Dating Profile