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Do bloggers actually need business cards?
Book bloggers only really need business cards in two different circumstances:
- If you are attending a huge convention like BookExpo America or ALA. Or, if you regularly attend tons of book signings.
- If you constantly “market” your blog in the real world. Like if you often meet new people who love books and you then mention that you have a book blog.
If you don’t fit into either of those categories, then there’s honestly very little point to you printing business cards other than to feel cool (which is a perfectly valid reason if you’re willing to spend the money! Having business cards makes me feel so professional and I love that LOL!).
But, if you fit in the first category in particular (especially if you’re going to BEA/ALA), then having business cards is almost essential. Those conventions are places to network, meet new people, and form contacts. But you can’t do that without business cards! Sure, you can tell people, “Hi my name is Ashley and my blog is Nose Graze!” but will they remember you? Most likely not. I know that’s harsh, but it’s true. At those events, publishers meet hundreds or THOUSANDS of bloggers, authors, and more. They probably won’t remember you or your exact blog name if they don’t have something to reference you by later (like a business card!).
Let’s learn a bit about how to make a business card!
So I’m going to walk you through some information on how to make a great business card. This post isn’t really about the technical steps (like uploading your design), but it’s more about what to include, what options I recommend, and a few links to printing companies. I spent a long time making my business cards and doing a lot of research, because I had questions and there were things I was unsure about. I learned a lot in the process and hopefully this information will help people who are just now making their cards!
What information to include
The information you include on your business card depends on who you’re targeting. Think about who you will be giving your business cards to and what you’re marketing yourself as. For example:
I am a book blogger AND a web designer/developer. So, when making my business cards, I had to decide which one I was going to sell myself as. I could list both of those, but then in order to make the most of it, I’d have to list both my websites ( www.nosegraze.com and www.creativewhim.com ), and possibly even both my e-mail addresses. I was quickly running out of space!
So, I made a decision. I figured, these business cards were probably all going to be handed out at BookExpo America, which means I’d be giving them to bloggers and publishers. My main goal at BEA isn’t to sell myself as a designer; it’s to sell myself as a book blogger. So, I decided to make my business cards 99% about book blogging (except for my “title” which says “Blogger, Designer”). Here’s what I decided to include:
- Front of Card: Blog name (“Nose Graze”)
- Front of Card: Blog description (“Book reviews & giveaways, WordPress & blogging tips”)
- Back of Card: Full name (“Ashley Evans”)
- Back of Card: Title (“Blogger, Designer”)
- Back of Card: Blog web URL (“www.nosegraze.com”)
- Back of Card: E-mail address
- Back of Card: Twitter handle
- Back of Card: Facebook page name
- Back of Card: Home address
Now, you may or may not be able to fit all that information on your card. Ultimately how much you can fit depends on your card’s design. But let me also explain why I included some of the things I did:
- Blog name: – If you’re marketing yourself as a blogger, your blog name should be the most prominent bit of text. It’s how bloggers and publishers will remember you (much more so than your first name). There might be 100 bloggers named “Ashley”, but there’s only one “Nose Graze”, so Nose Graze is the name that will stick in peoples’ minds.
- Blog description: – I want it to be clear to people that my blog is a BOOK blog, and it also contains information on WORDPRESS tips. Those are keywords that I specifically wanted to mention in my description.
- Full name: – Give people a name behind the blog! I don’t think this needs to be as prominent as the blog name, for reasons I already discussed, but it’s still important to include it so that people know what to call you!
- Blog URL: – This is a MUST HAVE! If you’re marketing yourself as a blogger then there’s no point in even having business cards if you don’t include your blog URL! People need to know how to get to your blog and you should not force them to resort to Googling the name.
- E-mail address: – I think this one is mostly important if you will be giving your business card to publishers. I find that bloggers usually don’t need my e-mail address. If I get business cards from bloggers, I only need their blog URL so I can find their blog and start following their posts. BUT, publishes are the ones who may need to contact you about review requests, blog tours, or other promotional stuff. Make it easy for them to contact you by including your e-mail!
- Twitter handle & Facebook page: – I honestly don’t think either of these are that important. The only reason I included them is because I happened to have extra space I needed to fill up, and my cards looked better with the extra information. Most people will care about your blog and will visit that first, so if you have social media links on your blog then it’s not entirely necessary to include them on your card.. unless you’re like me and need to fill more space!
- Home address: – This one is probably the most controversial for people. Here’s why I chose to include mine: when I hand out my cards to publishers at BEA, I’m really hoping to make new contacts. I want to be able to establish a relationship with publishers, and that includes receiving books for review. Now whenever I e-mail in a review request, I always include my shipping address in the initial e-mail (all bloggers should do this!). This makes it easier for publishers. If you don’t include your shipping address, the publisher might not go through the extra effort to e-mail you back for it and might just decide to not send you anything at all! But maybe if you had included your address, you might have gotten the ARC. I think this applies to business cards as well. If they already have your address on the business card, they might start sending you books. But if they don’t have it on the card, they have to e-mail you and ask for it. What if they don’t want to go through the extra effort? Publishers/publicists are very busy people!! So ultimately I’m just trying to make things easier for them. An alternative would be to hand-write your address on the back of cards for specific people. For more info on that, see the section on Do you want a blank back or a coloured back?
The card design
To pre-made or not to pre-made?
Whenever possible, do not use the pre-made business card templates! It’s not because they’re bad (well, some are), because some of them can actually look pretty great! BUT, how awkward would it be if you came across someone who had the exact same business card as you but with different text? That’s the risk you run with using a template.
Use plenty of contrast
I’d hope this would be obvious and self explanatory, but I still see tons of blogs, business cards, and other hand-outs that are hard to read! Please do not have a white background with light grey/pink text. Please do not have a black background with navy blue text. Contrast is necessary for readability!
Don’t skimp too much on quality
I know business cards can get expensive pretty quickly, and it’s good to try to find deals, but if you go with the absolute cheapest option out there then odds are your business cards won’t look great. It’s pretty easy to tell when someone spent $100 for their pack of 250 versus $5 for their pack of 250. Now I’m not saying you have to spend $100, but if you buy a pack of 250 cards for $5 they will probably look and feel like they cost that much (in other words, they will look a bit cheap).
Obviously your first conversation with whoever you’re giving the card to is your fist impression, but the card is how they will remember you later. When someone is going through their pile of 100 business cards, do you want yours to stand out? YES! Otherwise, what was the point? Having a professional and quality business card will help with that.
Stick to a normal size and shape
Sizes can range a bit from country to country, but the standard business card size in the US and Canada is 3.5 × 2 inches. I strongly discourage you from printing at anything other than this approximate size. Some sites offer different sizes like 1″ x 3″, or maybe even different shapes like circular business cards. Don’t buy those!
People will lose small business cards
If your card is teeny tiny (like 1″x3″), people are more likely to lose it. It will easily slip out of the “business card pile” or is more likely to fall out of a notebook or get lost in a purse. Trust me, don’t go small. Going bigger isn’t quite as problematic. The only downside to a bigger business card is that it might not fit in someone’s wallet.
Non-rectangular business cards are awkward
Sure a circular business card might look cool, or it might be fun to get some kind of weird cut-out shape, but they are so much more awkward to manage! They won’t easily fit in a stack (which might make it stand out—which is good—but it also might make it annoying for the recipient) and it’s less likely to be able to fit comfortably in a wallet.
Glossy or matte?
If you don’t know the difference, then here’s the quick and dirty: glossy is “shiny” and a bit reflective, but matte is not. Here is a good video on YouTube that demonstrates the difference.
Now whether you go for glossy or matte is ultimately up to you and your own personal preference. But here’s my personal opinion, which you’re free to ignore.
I do not like gossy finish on 99% of business cards. I feel like glossy looks best when you’re printing out photos, but business cards look sturdier and more professional if you go with a matte finish. In my experience, business cards tend to look cheaper with matte, but more refined and sturdy looking with matte.
Do you want a blank back or a coloured back?
If you will be adding every single piece of vital information to your business cards, then feel free to go with a coloured back! It will help make your business cards look better and more “complete” overall.
But, if you don’t want to always include every piece of information, you should have a blank back so that you can write that information on it for specific people! Here are a few examples:
- E-mail address: If you don’t want everyone to have your e-mail address but want to be able to give it to publishers, you should have a blank back so you can write it in for specific people.
- Home address: If you will be giving your business cards to publishers in the hope of establishing contacts who might send you ARCs, then you should give them your mailing address. Publishers are busy people and it’s always good to cut out as many steps as you can (the extra step here would be having to e-mail them your mailing address later). If you don’t want to put your home address on your business card for everyone to see (like other bloggers), then a blank back will be beneficial because then you can write your address on it when you give the cards to publishers.
Recommended Printing Sites
There are soooo many sites out there for business cards. I’ve only ever used two different sites, so those are the only ones I can personally vouch for. But for the others, I’ve heard good things about them.
Okay, this site is incredible. I got their luxe business cards, which are more expensive, but they are so worth it! The quality is fantastic, they’re shipped with so much care and pretty packaging, and I got a million comments on my business cards. The thing the luxe cards have going for them is that they’re THICK. And trust me, people notice, and they get impressed.
I think Danny from Bewitched Bookworms got her cards from Moo’s standard line, and I can vouch that those are also great! The cards aren’t as thick as the luxe line, but the quality is superb! When you hold them, you can just tell that they’re seriously nice cards.
The only business cards I got from Zazzle were glossy ones… which I regret. First, keep in mind that this was at least a year ago. I don’t know if things have changed since then. But the glossy cards…. they looked kind of cheap… I think part of that is because I made a mistake by getting glossy cards, which I’ve since decided I really don’t like, but I think it was also that the quality of the paper wasn’t great. But maybe that was my fault for picking a cheap option.
I’ve used Zazzle for other printing services (like photo prints) and I was always impressed with the quality of those. So I’m inclined to think that I just chose crappy business card options.
I have never ordered cards from Vistaprint so I can’t tell you first hand if they rock or suck. But here’s what I do know about them:
- They have cheap options (that can be good or bad).
- Tons of people use them.
That last point has to count for something, right?