Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and online dating is a great way to find your perfect partner. Despite having this opportunity at your fingertips, finding a good match isn’t always easy.  Sometimes the requests don’t come in, or your own outreach garners no replies.  Even if you find someone interesting online, how can you know that there will be a connection when you meet face-to-face?

As an online dating expert and matchmaker who owns NYCity Matchmaking, an upscale matchmaking service in the New York area, I hear concerns like these all the time from my clients who are looking for “The One.” However, as a married matchmaker who found the love of her life on JDate, I know online dating can work! Here are my five tips for successful online dating:

1. Post Great Pictures of Yourself
Online dating is 98% about your picture; it’s what leads someone to click and learn more about you.  Post three to four high-quality pictures of just you – at least one head shot and one body shot. No sunglasses and no shirtless, bikini-clad, or car photos. Leave the cheese at home.

2. Brand Yourself
Your profile and carefully selected username is an opportunity to reinforce your brand. Be brief, unique, and tell a story to illustrate your personality versus listing qualities.  Honesty is the best policy (separated does not equal divorce) and steer clear of any negativity.

3. Move Swiftly from Cyberland to Reality
Online, phone and in-person chemistry are completely different.  Ultimately, in-person chemistry is the only one that matters. Be efficient and swiftly move from cyberland to reality. After exchanging two to three e-mails, move to a phone conversation or make plans to meet.

4. Be Optimistic, Open-Minded and Persistent
Online dating is a marathon, not a sprint. Throw out the proverbial check list and see who is out there.  Venture outside your circle, meet interesting people and make new friends (who may even introduce you to your future spouse).

5. Get a Second Opinion
Unlike your wonderful mom, an objective friend or date coach can help you select the right dating website, craft a great profile, pick your most flattering pictures and write your opening letter.

Michelle Frankel is a professional matchmaker, dating coach and relationship expert. Frankel earned a law degree from George Washington University Law School and served as a director of an international law firm before deciding to pursue her true calling of connecting people. Michelle founded NYCity Matchmaking—and never looked back.
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