I don't think I need to explain, but internet dating is one of the most popular ways to find love. Unless you've got access to an old-fashioned matchmaker, logging on and being matched to other singles is virtually the only sensible option!

Why is a life coach writing about internet dating? It’s actually a topic I’m quite passionate about. I even wrote an ebook about it back in 2004 because after trying it out for myself, I was appalled at how badly people, men in particular, handled the whole process of internet dating and in typical Virgo fashion I wanted to teach them how to do it properly.

Also, I love helping people achieve their goals and no matter what the goal, I encourage you to take massive action and be proactive about it. Love is a personal development issue – it’s virtually the greatest experience we can have.

If love isn’t such a big deal, why are most movies and songs written about it? Why is marriage still so popular despite the divorce rate?

Because humans are hardwired to want and crave love and physical connection with others! And if love is missing in your life, then you probably want to change that.

Whenever I hear people moan about being single, I always suggest “Try internet dating”. Most people tell me in a whisper that they have and it “didn’t work”. They look ashamed to even say it. But why?

You may have even tried it and got dismal and depressing results. Losers stalking you, nobody clicking on your profile, not enough messages, zero results and you're still single. You gave up.

Well, never fear, there's a process you can follow. At the risk of sounding like an infomercial here (p.s I’m not selling an internet dating system), it's not unlike selling a product. You can't offer a product to just one person and expect them to buy. In this case, you're the product and you have the perfect medium to find a lot of "potential buyers"!

I approached internet dating very seriously and I know it works. However, please only read this article if you're serious about finding love this year. This is not a conventional approach to dating and may sound quite cynical, but it works!

You've heard the old adage, "you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince(ess)?". Well, internet dating is no different, so heed my tips to weed out the frogs a lot quicker.

Before you start, I have some questions for you:

What do you want?

Before you start internet dating (or any other kind of dating like joining a singles club or speed dating), it’s crucial to decide on what you really want.

Do you want to meet new people, do you want a long term relationship or are you ultimately looking to get married?

You can change your mind at any time, but it’s fortuitous to go into it with your honest intention. Tell the universe what you really want.

The best way to figure out what you want is to write a list of attributes or to create a dream board. Read my tips to creating a fantastic dream board for any goal in your life, including finding love.

Are you open to a relationship?

As with anything related to goal setting or the Law of Attraction, you have to be open to receiving what you want. Being hung up on an ex-partner or having fears or trust issues will create negative energy that could repel a potential partner and sabotage your success. You may even attract the wrong kind of partner, the exact opposite of what you think you want.

“Getting ready” for a new relationship could mean:

Going for a mini-makeover, getting a new haircut or going to the gym – sorry but physical appearances do matter in the world of love, so present yourself at your best.

Throwing out any old clothes, momentos, photos or presents from old ex-partners – get rid of any lingering energy from old relationships.

Mentally and emotionally forgive previous lovers for breaking your heart, leaving any bitterness behind you. It’s simple – think about your ex and mentally say “I forgive you, I’m sorry, I love you” (it may take a few times for you to truly mean it!).

Literally create space in your life. This may mean clearing your calendar so you have time for dates in your busy schedule or clearing out one side of your closet (so your new partner will have some room!).

If you think you have serious emotional blocks that you need to deal with first, I recommend talking to a good therapist. If you have some confidence issues, then have a coaching session with me and we can talk about it together about what could be holding you back from embracing love.

These actions clear the decks and leave you physically, emotionally and enegetically ready for a brand new relationship, not a repeat of your old one.

Why bother with all this preliminary stuff?

Why not just jump in and date someone? Well, that’s ok too, but you’ll have far more success if you prepare for it.

For the record, I used this exact dating system when I was living in London during my single girl days. I met some genuinely lovely men (after they passed my numerous gate-keeping), and it was a lot of fun. But, I didn't meet my husband through internet dating.

Not long after I did this, I met my wonderful husband who fulfilled everything on my “Man Wanted” list and more, so it shows that the universe applauds action and doesn’t necessarily bring the result in the way you expect.

Get your intentions right and the rest is actually really simple. It’s slightly tounge-in-cheek, but my message is deadly clear.

So, are you ready to take action and show the universe you’re ready for love? Ok – let's do it!

Step 1: Sign up

If you want to win the lottery you have to buy a ticket. Take this first step and take control over your love life.

Find a reputable online dating site like eHarmony Dating and sign up as a paid member for at least three months. Every dating site will allow you to create a free profile but only do this on one site and pay to upgrade to full member.

This is important because otherwise it will slow down your success because you will be unable to send and receive messages properly and you might get discouraged quickly. This is key.

Which site should you use?

Browse a few dating profiles on some sites to see what the approximate age ranges and interests are. Only choose a site where you feel comfortable with the imagery used. Be aware that many sites will use fake profiles to look like they have more available singles than they actually have.

Some dating websites are targeted at a particular religious group like JDate for Jewish singles or sites for Christian singles, an age range or lifestyle factors.

If you’re into anything … um… peculiar, you can also probably find a site that’s targeted directly to you. No judgement here!

For the rest of us, you probably can’t go wrong with any site that’s advertised during mainstream television programmes like Match.com or eHarmony.

Step 2 - Create an interesting profile

Create a profile and choose a recent photo. Note, I said recent! We’ve all been guilty of photo subterfuge, but I’m warning you now – it’s only going to create problems down the track. Trust me.

Here are my golden rules about photographs:

Please don’t use any of those cheesy “glamour” shots that were popular in the 80s and 90s. This goes double if you’re wearing a leather jacket and clutching pearls or a piece of satin material.

Nothing dirty or explicit, even if it’s unintentionally done. Posting a picture of yourself wearing a boob tube may look like you’re naked. Really think about the impression you’re creating and would you be embarrassed if your parents saw that photo on the web?

Nothing that is photoshopped, with the exception of red eye removal or light adjustments.

Don’t crop the photo when it’s obvious there is a member of the opposite sex next to you. It sets up all sorts of questions in the mind of the viewer – is that an ex? Are they still around?

Double demerit points for posting your wedding photo from your last marriage.

Don’t take the photo yourself. No matter how long your arms are, the angle gives everyone a double chin and taking a picture of yourself in the mirror looks really weird.

Guys – I’m also talking to you. Posting a photo of yourself in better days with a full head of hair and 30 kgs lighter is only going to set yourself up for disappointment later. Not to mention you’ll miss out on all the ladies with preferences for the exact type of man you really are. (Yes, some women prefer bald, cuddly men!)

Basically, if you’ve got a different hair cut, colour or amount of hair, the photo is too old! Ditto if you’re a radically different clothes size than the photo.

The message is that you want to be completely honest. Somewhere out there is a perfect match for you – not the person you think you have to pretend to be. Getting confused about this will delay finding someone.

A great photo to use could be your practising your hobby, especially if its sports related, a favourite travel photo to show that you’re interesting or just a really nice, natural looking shot of you looking fabulous at a party. Just make sure your face is clearly visible and the best photos are from the waist up to show your approxmiate body type.

These things are great conversation starters and makes your photo stand out amongst the photoshopped-80s-double-chinned ones.

The profile is no different and this is where a lot of people agonise before finally giving up. Keep it fairly short, so don't stress about it. You'll be using your profile just as a starting page, you'll be getting a LOT more proactive than that!

Here are some tips:

Stick to a simple formula of introducing yourself (name, age, occupation) and a few lines about your hobbies and likes, and then what you are looking for in a few words.

Please, please don't start your profile with the words "I don't know what to write", or "I've never done this before, but here goes!". This is clichéd and very boring.

Most sites let you fill in your desired characteristics too, such as "non-smoking". Only specify things that are deal breakers. If you're not bothered about height or weight, then don't put a preference. You can always weed this out afterwards further down the track.

Just be honest - if you're crazy about a particular hobby or have some interesting fact about yourself, write about it briefly but leave some information back - it's not an essay!

You've got your photo done? You've got some basic information about yourself on your profile?

Ok, let's start the real magic, it doesn't stop there!

Step 3: Be proactive

In marketing terms this would be creating a sales funnel. This is where most people start to get discouraged with internet dating and frankly just don't put the necessary work in!

Most people put their profile up, browse a few profiles and half-heartedly try and contact a few interesting looking people and wait for their inbox to start filling up.

This does not work.

Firstly, a lot of people on the site aren't fully paid up members, so although they can view profiles, in some cases they can't receive messages until they upgrade.

Secondly, they might take a quick look at your profile and decide that you don't have compatible interests and so they don't message you back.

Either way - end of the line. You get discouraged. If you've read this far, I know you're willing to do something different!

So, here's the plan:

You have to create an interesting private message and send it to the profiles you like. This is to create interest and is your first little "hook" to stimulate discussion. That's it. You're not proposing marriage here, you're just getting them to respond to you to make sure a) they aren't a wacko b) they are a real person.

Here's an example:

Hi there,

I was just checking out your profile and thought I'd drop you a line as you look interesting.

(You can enter a "because... I like cooking too" if you want to personalise it for each person, but it has to be maximum one line, there are plenty of fish you need to hook)

A bit about me: (keep it brief, but maybe include an interesting fact that's not in your profile).

But enough about me - tell me more about yourself - what's your favourite place in the world to travel?

(Ending on a question can prompt a response and you're not asking for a date, it's all very easy and conversational)

Chat soon,


Don't get emotionally invested in each profile and start fantasizing about what your future children would look like. Glance over it and make a snap decision about whether to send them your message or not.

Do this alone. I once tried to get advice from a gay friend of mine and we simply did not have the same taste in men. Focus on what you personally find attractive, not caring about what anybody else thinks.

I sent a message like this to over 70 profiles. I just sat there at my computer one night, copy and pasting this message to interesting people. I want you to send it to at least 50 profiles.

That's showing the universe you are serious my friend.

How many responses do you think you'd get from 50-70 emails? Considering that most profiles are not active, but you've got a nice picture and you're sending to appropriate matches, then expect to get at least 20 responses.

What now?

Step 3 - Weeding out the losers

Now you can start personalising your responses. For each response you get from your mass mail-out, send back another message and ask great questions about their profile, hobbies or photos.

How can you recognise a loser or a weirdo?

Within a couple of responses, you can usually gauge someone's mental health. Look out for dodgy or inappropriate comments, sexual comments, angry rants or insults. If something raises a red flag for you, stop the conversation.

As Oprah says, "Believe people when they show you who they are". If someone discloses they are fresh out of jail, a frequent drug user or have a history of violence, that's not an invitation to save them, ditch that fish right back in the sea and move on.

Don't forget internet safety. Never reveal personal details like your address, phone number or location to anyone, let alone bank details or social security numbers. If anyone presses for personal information or asks for money, immediately block them or report them to the administrators. Unfortunately, there are probably small numbers of phonies or con-men (or women) who exploit these websites to try and scam people.

Enjoy this stage of chatting, but don't take it seriously. You just want to get to know people and let the weirdos just drift away.

Step 4 - The mini-date

After you've established mutual interest in each other, suggest a meet up. I call it the mini-date. You can build up people in your mind to be the perfect partner, so before you get too caught up in your own fantasy, meet them in the flesh and see if there's any spark in real life.

A mini-date is exactly that - a casual meet up for coffee or one drink without having to commit to a full date. Suggest somewhere easy to find, definitely somewhere safe and public and possibly something memorable and fun.

Commit to 1-2 hours and have an escape if needed, like "let's meet for a quick drink after work, I've got to meet my sister at 8pm". If the mini-date is going well, your "sister" can send you a cancellation text.

The beauty of a mini-date is you can double them up! If you think that's too cynical, it might be a step too far for you!

What's next?

Ok, I think you're on your own from here. Have fun with your mini-dates and see where they go. Some things will happen naturally, but if it's not happening for you, then go back to basics and get your numbers up!

Perhaps you'll find the love of your life online and you'll get married and life happily ever after. Maybe you'll just get your confidence back and open the door to finding romance elsewhere. Either way, you're not being passive about it.

I had one relationship of my experiment with a lovely guy, which lasted four months and I broke it off because he wasn't quite right for me. But I was well and truly back in the dating game and as I said, I started dating my eventual husband soon after.

So, let me sum up my experience, because it's important to see the numbers:

70 initial messages
25 replies
15 back and forth chatting and getting to know
5 mini dates
3 second dates
1 relationship

Can you see why most people have zero success with internet dating?

Don't be overwhelmed, now you know the secret, you can make sure you show the universe you are ready and willing for love to come into your life!

If you need someone to coach you through it, book a session with me. I'm not a specific dating coach, but together we can work on setting goals for your love life (and other areas that are important to you) and make this the year that changes your life forever.

Good luck, I can't wait to hear about your experiences (good and bad!),

Author's Bio: 

Denise Duffield-Thomas is a life coach and author of The Inspired Life Formula.

Download a free copy of her guide "The 7 Fabulous Ways to Manifest Your Wildest Dreams" at www.deniseduffieldthomas.com