What Bad Dating Profiles Can Teach Us About Designing Good Websites
We’ve all seen bad dating profiles.
They usually have some combination of terrible photos and pick up lines and when you stumble across them you feel an urgent impulse to screen cap and send to a friend for a laugh… and then maybe a cry about the state of the dating pool.
But what does any of that have to do with websites?
Well, as weird as it might seem, when we look at these profiles from a design perspective, a lot of the things that make a dating profile crappy or worthy of an eye roll are the things that undermine a website too.
And that’s because in so many ways a dating profile and a website have the same goals and the same purpose.
Both are meant to draw people in, encourage them to stay a while, and then get them fired up enough to act. They’re marketing something to someone, so a lot of the same branding and marketing principles apply.
Given those similarities then, what lessons can we learn from bad dating profiles that we can apply to our websites (and our own dating profiles)?
Let’s find out!
YOUR FIRST IMAGE SAYS EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU
As cliche as it is to say, a picture is worth a thousand words and first impressions count, so don’t just throw up any old image - be thoughtful about it.
If you want to use a picture of you and your (hopefully) ex-wife on your wedding day, power to you I guess, but don’t expect a ton of hits because, realistically, it sends a bad message. One, that you might be a dirtbag and two.. well that you might be a dirtbag who doesn’t know how to crop photos.
Same goes for your website. You want to choose pictures that say all the right things about you and what you do. Pictures tell a story, so you want that story to be relevant and positive.
HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY
Dating profiles that don’t have much info (or more importantly, the info you’d be looking for) can send a signal that you don’t really care that much. That’s a-okay if it’s true. Maybe you’re just flirting with the idea of creating a profile, scoping out the scene before you commit.
But, if you actually want to meet someone, you should probably tell them something about yourself because otherwise all you’re really giving them is a picture and saying “you make up the rest”.
You’re also kind of saying I don’t really want to put much effort into this and when you do that, why would anyone else?
Your business’ website should operate under the same guidelines. Be a resource to people and answer their questions so they don’t have to make assumptions or guess at what is you’re doing or how things work.
When you do that, you’re keeping people’s expectations in check and making things easy for them and we all know how much more inclined people are to follow through on something when it’s easy.
The only reason I even worked out today is because my gym bag was already packed!
DON’T MAKE PEOPLE GUESS WHO YOU ARE
You know those dating profiles that only include a number of group shots so you’re not entirely sure who exactly you’re scoping out?
Yea, those suck and they have this kind of disingenuous feeling about them. It’s like they’re trying to sneak something by you.
Same goes for people who write their profiles in the 3rd person. It’s super weird and unsettling.
Just like a dating site is intended to connect people, so is your business’ website which is why you don’t really want to make people guess at who you are.
Say hello clearly, be upfront, and include photos of yourself. People want to know that there is a real person behind the scenes. It helps build trust, makes the experience more personal, and sends the message that your business isn’t some weird anonymous scam operated by a bot. All good things - whether it’s a website or a dating profile!
SAY WHAT YOU MEAN
I am 100% done with dating profiles that say things like “looking for someone fit” because the people that say that are generally not really that concerned with how fit someone is, but are rather saying they care a lot about how someone looks.
If that’s how you feel, be upfront with it and if you’re too embarrassed to be up front then you should probably evaluate the reasons why.
It’s going to save everyone involved a lot of time and heartache if you’re open and honest and that’s just as true when it comes to your website.
There’s no need to string people along or guide them down a path they’re not interested in. You’ll just end up doing a whole bunch of wasted work and you’ll probably piss them of a lot in the process so just say what you mean and you’ll be in a good spot.
We’ve all heard the line “is heaven missing an angel?” and I don’t think I’ve met anyone who goes week in the knees over it.
It’s impossible to be truly original, but at least give it a shot. Highlight the things that make you unique, whether that be on your dating profile or your website.
Even if you don’t see yourself as unique, you (and your business) are, so do some soul searching, ask some friends or clients, and figure out what it is that makes you stand out from the pack and get that message out there. ASAP!
So, there you have it. It’s kind of neat to look at things this way, isn’t it? Just goes to show you how much you can learn from seemingly unrelated things. And, enjoy your next scroll through Bumble or Tinder. You’ll probably never look at a dating profile the same way again!