Online-dating-success-storiesHow many times have you gotten dating advice that just doesn’t quite live up to the expectations that you hoped it would? When it comes to online dating, you can’t always use the same advice that you get from people, especially if they’ve never tried online dating themselves. We asked some of the leading experts in online dating to share their best kept secrets for finding romance online.

Stick to the one hour meet up rule.

“Spend an hour a day max looking for dates online. Get an egg-timer if you have to. It might be tempting to stare at the screen for four hours at a stretch, but anything in excess is usually a bad thing. It’s like exercise. We all know those gung-ho people who start exercise regimens and overdo it that first week. Most of them get hurt, give up and never go back to it. The same happens in online dating. But if you pace yourself, you’ll lessen your odds of burnout—and increase your odds of success.”

—Bev Bacon, author of Meet Me…Don’t Delete Me! Internet Dating: I’ve Made All the Mistakes So You Don’t Have To!

Fill your profile with unique stories.

Share stories in your profile

“When writing your profile keep this rule in mind: Show, don’t tell. Instead of saying you’re funny or down-to-earth, show you’re funny or down-to-earth by sharing a story about a time you were one of those things. This will help fill your profile with lines that are so unique they could only be written by you, and that will help you stand out from the crowd.”

—Evan Marc Katz, founder of E-Cyrano.com and author of I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating

Don’t be afraid to add sex appeal to your subject line.

“When you send out your initial email to someone, give the subject line some sex appeal. Instead of sticking with a boring ‘Hello,’ reference something specific in their profile—such as, ‘Sunday NY Times Poolside’ or ‘Barcelona or Bust.’ By writing a fun and specific subject line, you will make connections faster.”

—Liz H. Kelly, author of SMART Man Hunting

Be honest.

“In a classic embarrassment of riches scenario, it’s common to find yourself in the situation of having too many online suitors. You can use technology to keep them straight—cut and paste everything from profiles and pictures to email and responses into spreadsheets or word processing programs, then create a file for each person you’ve contacted. This is especially useful at the beginning of your communications, when you’re still trying to remember which username goes with which real name. And make sure you review your date’s profile before emailing, phoning or meeting face-to-face.”

—Alyssa Wodtke, co-author of Truth, Lies, and Online Dating: Secrets to Finding Romance on the Internet

Don’t reveal all of your online horror stories.

“Too often, singles get caught in that downward spiral of having a couple of bad dates in a row and then bringing that bad attitude onto the next date with them. When I was online dating, I met plenty of guys who would say, ‘Whew, you won’t believe some of the horrible online dates I’ve had lately’ and then they’d go into excruciating detail. It was like once they met someone they clicked with, they immediately felt the need to share all those bad experiences. No thanks!”

—Cherie Burbach, author of At The Coffee Shop: If You Thought E-Dating Was For Freaks And Weirdos, Read This Book!

Get personal with your first email.

“Take the time to find something in a person’s profile that’s meaningful and significant, then comment on it. If you’re going after some hottie who’s getting a hundred emails a day, things can get competitive, so it’s important to set yourself apart. Saying ‘I can’t believe you actually got to the base camp of Mt. Everest’ will show that you have taken the time to craft a personalized response and aren’t just cutting and pasting some generic greeting. It’s better to send out ten carefully constructed emails than a hundred winks!”

—Julie Ferman, online dating coach for CupidsCoach.com