Looking for love online? Here's how you get ready

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It turns out that online dating is more popular than ever. ConsumerRankings.com released a new study, rating the best dating web sites for 2013.

At number one is Match.com, which guarantees you'll meet someone within six months.

At number two is Zoosk.com and number three is eHarmony.com, known for its long-lasting matches.

"There are as many good people on online dating as there are in traditional dating," said author and relationship expert Charles. A. Johnson.

Like anything in today's consumer driven world, when it comes to online dating, you're pretty much marketing yourself - your personality and who you are - to other people.

"What makes you attractive to someone else and people think I'm great," said Johnson. "But are you great from that person's perspective?"

Searching for a mate is like looking for a job,  says Johnson. You have to make an effort.

"How do you start looking for the perfect job?" said Johnson.  "You know you get yourself ready, you get your resume ready, you get a new outfit, you get your hair done, and you get yourself perfect."

To get started, be clear about what you want when creating a profile.

"You have to know what you are looking for; you have to be honest about who you are," said Johnson.

Also, be clear about who you don't want meet, so that you don't waste your time and theirs.

"The player is everywhere, the jerk is everywhere," said Johnson.  "They're online, they're in traditional dating right on the streets. So the best way is set in your profile only serious applicants apply."

You want to use pictures that reflect who are.

"You have to put the real picture up there, not the one from 20 years ago but the real picture," said Johnson.

Before meeting in person, Charles suggests to do some background research.

"Facebook and twitter are some of the best resources on the planet because you know what it does, it tells you about the person," said Johnson.

And most importantly: enjoy getting to know each other. 

"You know when you first meet somebody you're meeting their representative," said Johnson.

"I mean they are perfect, they treat you the best, they take you on the best dates, they have the best conversations, they're trying to impress you and then 6 months down the road 12 at the most,  the reveal takes place and you meet the real person."

Experts recommend you use paid sites.  Charles Johnson says if people don't pay, then they don't pay attention.

But if someone is forking up 20 to 40 bucks a month for some of these services, people will be much more driven to actually find somebody of quality.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.