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While the pictures you post should be clear—giving the viewer an accurate glimpse of what you really look like—don't completely discount self-taken shots (the ones where you hold out your camera to take your own portrait).Ok Trends, the data-analysis blog for the dating website Ok, says that self-shot photos can actually be very effective in attracting partners, most likely because they are approachable, casual and make the viewer feel close to the subject—all good things! Your Profile Your goal should be to create an engaging profile that piques people's interest and makes them want to know more about you.The shortest messages get the best response rate; the reply rate goes down as messages get longer.This is likely because an initial message serves mostly to make your profile available to the other person.It doesn't have to be provocative (and you most certainly do not have to have a perfect figure!), but it gives the impression that you have nothing to hide; confidence is always attractive.Dating is complicated enough on its own; when you add in the confusion of online dating sites, it can be just plain intimidating. There is a technique to navigating the virtual playing field. Not to mention effective: Each day, an average of 236 people who met on e get married. So, how do you go from logging on to finding your perfect match?

Dating online allows you to meet several different people at once and find out if you might be compatible before ever going on an actual date.

Make a Move In your initial e-mail to a potential partner, it's crucial to indicate that you've read his profile and took an interest in it.

According to Ok Trends, the top three phrases in initial e-mails with the highest response rate are "you mention," "good taste" and "noticed that." So, describe something that resonated with you from his profile, advises Spira, but avoid physical compliments because "they seem too clichéd." And keep it brief: Ok Trends found that the ideal first message length is only 200 characters, or one minute's worth of typing for the average writer.

"I equate online dating to looking for a job," says Julie Spira, cyber-dating expert and author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating.

"You'd want a rock star résumé for your perfect dream job, and you should feel the same way about your online dating profile." And the profile is just where it starts—we have plenty of expert tips, from sending the perfect first e-mail to picking your first date location.

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