1. Take Advantage

Dating more people at the same time is a strange habit to get used to, and can often seem irresponsible, but when it comes to online dating, meeting a variety of new people at once is a smart move. Could be a numbers game. It may sound like serial dating, but if you’re interested in really connecting with somebody, then there’s nothing wrong with going out with several people at a time. You also should think about that most of the time you’re paying for these sites, so getting your money’s worth means being efficient about seeing more people you can.

2. Make a Move

In your initial message to a potential partner, it’s crucial to indicate that you’ve read his profile and show that you are interested in it. Usually, the top three phrases in initial messages with the highest response rate are “you mention,” “good taste” and “noticed that.” The ideal first message length is about 200 characters, or one minute’s worth of typing for the average writer. The shortest messages get the best response rate; the reply rate goes down as messages get longer. This is likely because an initial message serves mostly to make your profile available to the other person. The lesson: Spend time on your profile, and don’t stress too much about your first message!

3. Be Direct

When it comes to virtual dating, forget playing “hard to get.” If someone you’re interested in contacts you, it won’t pay off to casually wait a few days to reply. You need to show your interest right away; in the world of online dating you never know how many man one woman has contacted, and how quickly the others may express their interest. If you contact someone and haven’t heard back in a week, it’s OK to send a second message. If someone is new to a site, his or her profile is often featured in the community and the person becomes inundated with messages. So, assume that your interest hasn’t had time to open your message. But if there’s silence after two messages, cut your losses and move on.

4. Taking the Relationship Offline

The time to take your relationship on and go out the dating site will eventually come. It should be sooner rather than later. Exchanging about ten or twenty messages is a good way to get a sense of each other’s personality. After that, have a phone conversation, trade cell phone numbers, never home numbers. And if it goes well it’s time to meet.