Getting Started

Once you've decided to try online dating and have chosen the site that most suits you, here is what you need to get started.

1. Internet access. Even if you don't have a computer at home, I've known people to use the computer at their local library, at work during breaks, or at internet cafés. You don't have to have access at home ... though it helps.

2. A credit card. If you decide to become a paid member of a site (which I recommend, since it's incredibly frustrating to see a girl who looks perfect but be unable to contact her), you'll register for a membership online and usually pay via credit card.

3. A quality digital photo of yourself. This is the image that will appear next to your profile. Online dating sites review photos before posting them and will reject profiles that don't meet their standards. Make sure that the photo is well-lit, of good quality, and shows your face clearly. You want to show potential dates what you look like so that there will be no surprises.

4. Brainstorming materials. It's a good idea to start brainstorming what you want to put in your profile before you even start the registration process. Look at a variety of profiles of other guys who suit your age group and see how they are selling themselves. Is there anything that makes one person stand out to another? Use any ideas that you particularly like, then come up with your own unique angle.

The registration process can be lengthy or quick, depending on the kind of site. I recommend that you set aside a good half hour, if not longer, for registration and creating your profile. You don't want to feel rushed and botch the job.

Remember that the clock is ticking from the moment your photo goes online. The online dating community can be quite static, so people will be immediately interested in any newbies to the site. You want your first impression to be good. So put the time in and invest in your profile like you would a résumé.

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