Writing your profile
The first, and if you don't fill it out, only contact with a potential partner online will be via your profile. Having a well presented profile will attract interesting partners who are interested in you. If you don't put any effort into it you'll likely attract no interest or just get the machine gun messages from people sending the same thing out to everyone in the search results.
Your first reaction to seeing the blank box asking you to write a little about yourself might be 'I hate filling these things out'. But leaving it blank doesn't make you sound deep and mysterious. Hoping that you'll get a flood of messages enquiring about your inner self isn't a good tactic either. It'll probably be more like sifting through junk mail.
Enough of the defeating talk. where should you start?
The basics don't take much thought at all. Set your age, what you're looking for etc. A lot of people are tempted to choose a more favorable age. My advice would to be honest. If someone's going to be put off by a number then perhaps they're not right for you and a lie, even a little one is never a good way to kick things off. Often the check box type questions are what we use to help filter the search results so making sure they are all filled out will mean you show up in the most number of searches.
The picture. We are visual creatures. Profiles with a picture are far, far more likely to attract attention. We're not trying to reduce you to just your appearance but people like to see who that are communicating with, it builds trust and is incredibly important to our initial connection. It can feel scary putting up your picture on the internet so make sure you choose one you are happy with and that you'd feel comfortable with being displayed in a semi public place. Choose a picture that is in focus and just contains you. A smiling face picture is always a good bet. If you can't find one you're happy with then take one especially for your profile. With digital cameras you can take as many as you like until you get one that's just right. If you have a particular hobby that lends itself to photography you could upload another picture of you doing it. It all helps to give an idea about what you're like.
Now the dreaded bit. The part where you talk about yourself. It's far too tempting just to leave this blank or put ‘I'll fill this in lat er'. Resist that urge. You don't need to be shakespeare but put some thought into what you're going to say. If you're stuck then have a look at some other peoples profiles. What catches your attention, what makes you yawn? Avoid filling it with cliches and empty statements; ‘I'm the one your mother warned you about. I'm always up for a good time' doesn't really tell anyone about you. Plus people have probably seen it a million times before. Write about how you like to spend your time, things other people might like to ask more about, why you're using online dating, the type of person you'd like to meet. The important thing is to give a sense about yourself. If your profile is filled with things you don't like or people you don't want contacting your, it'll make you sound very negative.
Remember your profile can always be edited so do a first draft, publish it then come back to it later when you've had some more ideas.