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8 ways to spruce up your dating profile in time for Valentine's Day

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- So it's a new year and you're still single. It's time to revamp, restart or completely rethink your online dating strategy. And trust, it surely is a strategy.

For some, joining an app or site for the first time leads you to absolutely no clue about what you're doing. If you're at all the hopeless romantic like me, you've been in the game for a really long time with no real success, yet still, you swipe. The conversations come and go, yet still, I swipe.

That brought me to wonder, what happened to the ones I passed on because their profiles were just, so bad? Had I seen or read just a little bit more about them, would they have had a chance? Do they even know they're doing this to themselves?

Let's make sure you're giving yourself a chance in 2018. What makes you attractive online is totally different from what makes you attractive in person. No matter what apps or sites you're on, the same rules apply in making sure others see your profile as one worth spending time with.

With help from New York Times bestselling author and dating expert Matthew Hussey, here are eight tips for stepping up your online dating game.

Nail the first impression

The first impression? It's everything. It's so important that your profile photos are clear and centered, vibrant and the epitome of you in one image. "Make sure your first photo is a close-up," Hussey says, adding that you should "include one full-body photo." If potential admirers aren't wowed by your first photo, they will never make it to the rest of your profile. Depending on some apps or devices, you may not even know you've been cropped out of a frame. Other times, you may not realize which photo is even being presented as your first image. Seeing half of someone's face or cut-off body is depressing -– you can do better. For selfies, don't forget the basics: good, crisp light from the front and get that high angle.

Max out photos in your profile

Show off as much of you as you are allowed. If a person really likes what they see, they hope the next photo will reveal more of your personality. Not all sites and apps have this sort of limit, but for those that do, post a variety of images of yourself and make sure each photo is very different from the others. Post where you've been and what you like to do; show that you can dress up and show you can dress down. Hussey's take here is to "use several photos of you in different situations" rather than a selection of selfies, to vary things up. If you're in a pinch for photos of yourself (or fresh ones for that matter), find a friend who has a pet and use them to your advantage.

Don't post group photos

No one cares about your friends. You're match-making -- your profile should be all about you. The endless switching back and forth through photos before and after a group photo trying to figure out who in the picture matches the profile, it's a senseless task no one should be subjected to. So, your hair is fire in that group pic from the bar? Next. Or be smart about your good hair day and get a solo picture taken of you at said bar. Think ahead.

Write just enough about yourself

Your life story does not belong here. In truth, dating profiles should be an immediate snapshot of who you are and what you're doing with your life right now. Where you came from, literally speaking, like your hometown or state or country, can be first, but that's it. Your journey of how you became the awesome person that you are today belongs to conversation for dates 2 or 3. While you want to fill out as much as possible to let people know as much about you, don't write a novel. Be pithy, be witty and most of all, don't overthink it. Leave some room for the other to inquire and spark conversation with you.

Be up-front

Is this a fling or are we a thing? Make up your mind with what you are wanting out of dating online and if it's more than one thing or that what you want may change from day to day, say that. Whether you’re on looking for a hookup or a longer-term relationship, honesty on your part here will go a long way before someone catches feeling for no reason. One of the worst things ever is to match and have great conversation, only to find out you have two very conflicting priorities. Annoying. Don't waste your time matching for the wrong reasons. Being up-front also comes with caution, Hussey adds. You should remain optimistic and positive here: "If you’re going to say you want something serious, frame it in a positive way rather than a negative one. You don't want to come across as bitter or jaded."

When in doubt, just swipe right

If you find yourself on the fence of like versus dislike, always make the first move -- into the unknown. Hussey joins me in saying you should "be very open-minded in the first stage," reiterating that "too many people are way too judgmental too quick about silly things and miss out on great guys because of it. You can always be selective later on after you match." Always leave room for possibility, rather than not. Where there's an ounce of interest, see it through. This may not revamp your immediate profile, but it may revamp who and how you match, leaving you more optimistic about your daily plight of the swipe. Have the courage to be bold and make the first move. You just never know.

Have a friend look over your profile

"Girl, you look busted in that photo." You need this honesty in your life. Good friends will never be more honest with you than judging how you present yourself to potential suitors. They are that safe space of second or third opinions that may get your profile to really shine.

Try a paid app or site version

Don't take this as trying to buy love, but rather putting yourself out there. In most cases, a paid version means you are being presented to a wider pool of fish in the pond. In other instances, you're given the ability to like or message with an unlimited batch of matches. You can even undo that dreaded, "No, come back, I didn't mean to do that." Use a trial version and scope out the benefits of how paid versions between sites and apps can give you an extra boost from time to time. Treat yourself.

Final tip: Don't put all your eggs in one basket, and try to always be optimistic. "Sounding angry or judgmental is always a turn-off," Hussey tells me. And he agrees with me when I say, at the end of the day, just have fun.

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