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?
This is pretty awesome. Your cards make me want to get some. But I don’t really fit the two reasons to get them. Maybe one day.
Oh, I bought a private mailbox at the UPS store to use for receiving ARCS and stuff like that through my blog. It’s safer, easier, and more private. I love it.
Your business cards look awesome, Ashley! They’re simple and cool and definitely very easy to read. You just made me want to have my own business cards haha. I don’t think I’ll need them though. Like ever cause there’s literally none bookish event in my country. But this is definitely a big help to other bloggers out there!
So pretty! I won’t need business cards for my book blog (because Australia pretty much doesn’t have book events) but might need them once I have finished my bookkeeping course, so I am definitely keeping this post bookmarked. However, I am considering making a ‘online’ business card to be able to add to my contact page and for book-related emails.
So pretty! It’s almost a shame that I don’t need business cards.
Lovely business cards, Ashley. If only we have BEAs here or big book blogger gatherings then I would certainly order these lovelies. <3
They look so nice that I want one! The thing is, I don’t really need them. The only events that happen here are book signings, and I don’t know if it’s good to give that to authors. What do you think?
But thanks for the referral to the sites. Moo looks great, and I feel like going splurging. Although, I have absolutely no design to give.
And Ashley, how did you get all those lovely swirls around your name for the back?
Yeah I wouldn’t give my business card to authors. At book signings I find it better to give them to other people who attend the signings (readers, other bloggers, etc.). But I personally feel a bit awkward giving them to authors!
For the swirls, you can do that in Photoshop using the pen tool to create the line, then in the brush settings add spacing between each stroke (so that when you draw a line, it appears as dots instead of a straight line), then convert the line with the pen tool into a brush stroke. 🙂
I do tend to give them to authors if I’ve recently posted a review of their book or am planning on writing about the event/signing/etc., because I feel like some authors (not all, but enough) do read reviews that people have posted about their books, and I want to make it easy for them to find.
Love this post! I have thought about business cards in the past, but never actually went through with doing anything about them because I didn’t find them to be necessary for me. (I have never attended any event, whether a small author signing or BEA.) But, since I’m going to London to study publishing I know I’m going to be surrounded by tons of bookish people and I wouldn’t mind having a quick and easy way to share my blog. Still unsure if I’ll do this, but I love having this information here for me if I decide to!
Your business cards are absolutely beautiful! They really do look sleek and professional. And I love how even on the side there’s blue! Great post 🙂
Ahh Ashley I was totally in love with your business cards! When I designed my cards it was like so long ago and I honestly really don’t like them but meh. Awesome tips, though, I definitely need to look at this if I ever get new cards lol 😀 I’m just totally obsessed with your cards they came out so fantastic <33
Fantastic post, Ashley!
Since I plan on doing BEA in 2014 I really need to get business cards made. This was a great article Ashley. I adore Vistaprint. It’s where I went for my business cards for my trip to DC for another cause. They are inexpensive but not poor quality.
GREAT post, Ashley! Full of so many awesome tips, as usual. I’ve been thinking about getting some business cards for a while now. Maybe next time I have some extra cash lying around. 😀
Yours are absolutely GORGEOUS, by the way! I’ve been wondering about the luxe cards from Moo, so thanks for mentioning that detail.
This is a great post. I was always curious why a book blogger would need a business card and you answered that question and definitely included very handy tips and ideas.
I am so glad that you did this post! I’ve been seriously considering ordering business cards lately. I even already contacted my blog designer to see if I can use graphics for them (she said yes!). I desperately want to go to BEA next year, so I think it would be nice to have some on hand.
Thanks so much for these tips! 😀
Ah, I can attest that Moo cards have amazing quality! A few years ago, I got the mini cards with my info to exchange at grad conferences and they held up really well. I still have a few left over.
When in a bind, there’s nothing wrong with homemade ones especially if it’s just a small get together. It’s helpful to have something to hand out without having to scramble for paper and write down your info.
A local printing company is a good source for getting cards done especially if you have your own design template ready to go. They can be cheap to print and will cut the cards for you. It is a bit of legwork finding one and calling for prices, but you also have the luxury of seeing their quality in person. Also ask friends if they know anyone in a sorority or fraternity since they will usually have party invites printed at a local printer and can refer you.
You welldone. Your card looks so pretty.
I love this post so hard, Ashley! (ps you are a life saver.) I have been hearing that Moo is great, but haven’t checked them out. My old business cards are from my old site, so once I’m ready, I’ll be in the market for new ones. I’m so glad you did this post for us – very educational. 😀
I just LOVE your cards <3 Been wanting to get MOO business cards forever, but they're more expensive 😛
Yeah, they are, but they’re so worth it! I got a lot of great comments on my cards at BEA last year. A lot of people said my cards stood out or they could find it quickly because of the unique thickness of the card (Moo Luxe, FTW!).
Your cards are gorgeous! I’m going to hire you to design mine! 😀
Thanks for the tip on Moo! I’m checking them out now!
Thank you! 😀 I’d love to do your cards!
Wonderful post Ashley. I am a new follower and find your blog helpful. I am a book blogger and so far haven’t attended any events. I’m in the category of don’t really need cards, just like to have them. I’m in the processes of redesigning my blog. I just went to Moo and did a simple design for business cards. Thanks for your tips. They were very helpful. I’m looking forward to receiving my cards soon! (P.S. Your cards are amazing – thanks for sharing your photos.)
Thank you Pat! 🙂 You’ll love your cards from Moo! The quality they produce is just fantastic.
Oeh your business cards are really pretty! I’m kind of jealous!
Thank you! 😀
Perfect post! And realy nice business cards! Very nice job!
Mine are very simple but I lurvvve them. https://scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/l/t1.0-9/10612976_1495720310669537_4184352698565264058_n.png
In the pic, my name is hard to read but it’s very clear on the actual card. I tested it on my roommates and they could make it out easily without knowing beforehand the name of my blog or that they were my cards.
I feel very strongly about leaving one side of your biz card blank. The first thing I do when I finish talking to someone at an event & taking their business card is try to jot some notes about what we talked about. Not only does this help me put a name to a face/conversation later on, but I like to send follow-up emails after the event, and this helps me remember what we talked about to bring it up in the email. This makes it clear that I’m not just copying and pasting a message to everyone I met, and I know that I feel special when I receive a similar personalized email from someone else. 🙂
Anyway, when there’s nowhere to jot notes on the card, it becomes more difficult for me to remember the person later.
Thanks for this. it’s really helpful.
OMG This is amazing advice thank you!
You’re welcome. 🙂
Another good place for business cards is GotPrint.com. I’ve found they have a better quality than Vistaprint and are right around the same price points.