There's all kinds of online dating advice given by self-proclaimed relationship gurus, but it baffles me why the basic rules are forgotten in their advice. When you post your profile online you want to make sure you stay safe and you want to have a successful dating experience.

With this objective in mind, I have summarized my online dating advice and narrowed it down to a list of nine essential rules. Keep this list handy and have it close to your computer! By following these tips, your online dating adventure will be more productive and you'll be safer.

Writing Your Profile
Too short (just a few sentences) and most people will think you didn’t put serious thought into it; too long, and they may not read to the end. Three paragraphs is a good length if you create an interesting snapshot of who you are. Mention some of your interests and past times. Observations such as “I’d love to travel to Europe sometime, but for now Italian restaurants give me a taste of what’s to come,” show that you’re interesting and have a sense of humor.

Posting Your Picture
And consider this online dating advice: photos are the downfall of many people. One of the most common mistakes is posting a bad photo. You don’t have to have a formal portrait done, but you should make sure the photo is a clear, close-up shot without others in the picture. Don’t post a photo you obviously took of yourself with your computer cam late at night. Also don’t post photos where your ex was obviously cut out of the picture.

Your Privacy
Never give away personal data like your last name, where you live or even where you work in your profile. It’s too easy for someone to find you. While most people online are well-adjusted individuals, you can never be too careful. Until you know someone very well, don’t tell them more than they need to know. This is probably the most important online dating advice and safety tip of all – meet someone for the first time in a public place. There’s no leeway on this one – it provides you an “out” if you need it.

What to Say in Your First Email
No complaints about past relationships or how lonely you are. Instead, make sure the other person sees you as someone who is complete and happy already. If they understand that you want to add someone special to an already fulfilling life, they will be drawn to you as someone who can enhance their own life.

Don't Fall on Your Knees
I’ve read hundreds of profiles that have phrases like, “no games – I’ve had enough of them,” or “broken heart needs healed.” This kind of stuff smacks of emotional baggage – something no one wants to start a relationship having to cope with.

Don't Lead Anyone On
If you want a serious relationship, be honest so that you don’t get involved with someone who is only looking for something casual. You’ll get hurt and have wasted your own time and theirs. The same goes for the opposite scenario – don’t lead someone on if you know they’re looking for true love but you just want someone to hang out with for a few months.

Tell the Truth
Don’t forget this important online dating advice. Fudging the facts on income, what you do for a living or what you like to do, you’ll only dig yourself into a hole. At some point the truth will come out, and you’ll have way too much explaining to do.

Pick Up on Hints
As you move on to exchanging your actual email addresses or phone numbers, be sure to pick up on the other person’s cues. If he or she emails or calls and you have a great chat – wonderful! Agree at the end of the conversation when you’d like to talk again and stick with it. Don’t blow them off – a sure sign you aren’t reliable. On the other hand, don’t call earlier or email too often – clinging like that is a definite turn-off during what should be a cautious phase.

Finding the Right Dating Site
There are hundreds of dating websites available, and many sites cater to specific groups. If you want a Christian-based relationship, consider a Christian online dating site. If you are looking for something that’s purely physical, there are sites that focus on that as well. Don’t just randomly pick a site. You may discover that it has lots of members, but not many who have anything in common with you.

Finally, don’t give up. The best online dating advice I can give is to be patient and try a few different online dating services. It may take some time to find the right person, but along the way you can make some great friends and have some fun.

Author's Bio: 

Kevin Urban went 'undercover single' to find the best dating sites for Visit his site for dating site reviews covering 80+ sites. Single ladies: submit your profile for free.

Copyright 2008