When it comes to dating, nothing matters more than a first impression. And when it comes toonline dating, your first impression is made with your profile picture and your username.

The importance of your username simply can't be overstated. A good username is sometimes all it takes to get someone to read your entire profile, while a bad username is likely to get people to skip or even block you, without ever giving you a chance.

This is particularly true if you are initiating contact. When users are browsing through profiles, they tend to focus on profile pictures and may not notice your username. But when you send a message to someone else, they receive a notification that they received a message from you. Choose the wrong username and that message will never get read.

Choosing a good username is not exactly easy. There is no perfect formula for choosing a great username. The following tips, though, will help you avoid particularly bad usernames and increase the likelihood that your username entices potential partners into further interactions.

The Real Name Dilemma

The simplest username is your real name. But just because it is simple, that doesn't mean it is necessarily a good choice.

The advantage of using your real name as your username is that it makes you appear more genuine and helps confirm that you are a real person (sadly, fake accounts are an existing problem on some dating sites). Using your real name will appeal to more conservative users and is probably a good choice if you are looking to date older or more grounded individuals.

Conversely, by using your real name you have sacrificed an opportunity to show off your creativity. Even a simple username like TheWhoFanatic shows off your creativity and reveals information about you that might interest someone in reading your profile. When you choose to use your real name, you are actively choosing not to reveal that kind of information about yourself, and that may turn off some users.

Finally, by using your real name, you are willingly giving up your privacy. You should consider this fact very carefully before making an account. If you have any concerns about the privacy of your identity, don't use any portions of your real name in your username.

Positivity Matters

From this point on, we are assuming that you are using a username that is at least partially not your real name. The first and most important rule when choosing a username is not to include negative words in the name. Names like AlwaysBroke and HatesFootball no matter how true they may be, are basically sure fire ways to turn away other users.

For the second name, you may be thinking that if you hate football, you don't want to date someone that enjoys football, but you still shouldn't use the name. Not only will you drive away people who love football (some of whom may otherwise be a perfect match), but you will also drive away people who simply are turned off by the negativity of your name.

Reveal Something Important About Yourself

Imagine for a moment that you received a message from someone named SwingChampion. Wouldn't you be intrigued? Has this person won contests for swing dance? Or maybe this person is a champion cricket player. You don't know, but you probably want to find out more.

A good username should reveal something about you that makes someone else want to learn more about you. Your username can be incredibly explicit, like FourMinuteMile, but generally you want the information you revealed to still require some investigation to fully understand it.

Sexual Innuendos

Similar to using your real name, using sexual innuendos is sometimes the right choice and sometimes the wrong choice. If you are looking for a long term, serious relationship, it is the wrong choice.

However, if you simply want one night stands or a casual relationship, it can be a good way to advertise that fact to potential partner. If you do use a sexual innuendo, try to aim for amusing, as opposed to crude. Even if you are looking for someone who wants a one night stand, that person probably prefers you to have some personality!

Avoid Numbers

Except in rare circumstances, numbers are terrible in a username. When they appear at the end of your username, it looks like you weren't creative enough to come up with something original. Even when that isn't the case, usually they just look awkward. And putting your age in your username is a terrible idea because you will grow older. About the only good time to include a number is when you are character limited and a number can replace a word to make it shorter, like in Hot4Chimichangas.

Carved in Stone

Finally, remember that on many dating sites your username can't be changed. Thus, you should think carefully whether you will want that username as much in a few years as you want it today.