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Online dating: Putting your best face forward

Sunday - 4/7/2013, 10:28am  ET

Randi Martin, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Online dating is exhausting.

It requires a lot of time and energy to do it right. The profile, the updating, the responding - it's almost like a full-time job. And many men and women who enter the dating pool later in life experience difficulties using the various forms of social media tied to online dating.

That is where Erika Ettin comes in. She is the owner of A Little Nudge, an online business that designs dating profile pages and offers tips for online dating.

From her own experience, Ettin noticed that creativity in online dating profiles earned her more responses. Soon friends also took notice and started asking her to construct their pages.

Her online business bloomed when Ettin decided this could be a full-time gig.

"A lot of people think you can just write whatever and it will work for them, but it won't. You're not marketing a product, you're not marketing a service, you are marketing yourself," says Ettin about online dating profiles.

Ettin says the greatest tip is to be creative and tell a story and to offer details about where you like to go and what you like to do.

"One of the most boring lines a lot of people put in their profile is, I like to laugh and have fun.' I don't know anyone who doesn't like to laugh and have fun."

The profile picture is so very important. Studies using eye-tracking technology have shown where people's eyes spend the most time on an online dating profile page.

"I don't think it's a big surprise that men spent more time on the picture than women did," Ettin says.

Ettin's online dating clients include men and women, many of which include those who ended a marriage.

"Whether you find the love of your life or just have some great dates, it's a great way to meet people," Ettin says.

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