business card

Creative Business Cards that Function as Other Things

The business cards you’ll see below aren’t likely to be the usual everyday business cards handed out at a conference or in a meeting, but a creative promotional tool to attract better brand awareness.

With this in mind, we scoured the Web to find the very best examples of unique multi-purpose business cards to show some amazing and creative ways to really stand out from the crowd!

Matchbox

These ought to spark a bright idea!

Sponge

“Our reputation is spotless.”

USB

Just make sure it isn’t the USB stick with your company’s confidential financial information in it.

3D Glasses

Well it improved the film industry. Oh, wait…

Condom

Work hard, but play it safe.

Wheel Nut Tightener

Extremely useful (if you’ve got a bike, that is).

Fortune Cookies

You may be hungry soon: order takeout now.

Ninja Stars

These cards should probably come with a health and safety warning!

Ninja Stars

Playing Cards

Anyone for a game of 52 card pickup?

Playing Cards

Nail File

“Our future is looking good.”

Tea Bags

Brewing success?

LEGO

We couldn’t possibly do this showcase without a LEGO reference, could we?

(Fake) Camera

Cheese! (Or cheesy?)

Comb

A business card comb that plays classic rock music? This one scores an 11!

Chewing Gum

The perfect card for a sticky situation.

Pencil

Back to the drawing board.

Balloon

Inflation, in this case, is good for business.

Whoopie Cushion

Who says business can’t be a laugh? These are simply perfect for the Atomic Toy Co. who came up with the idea!

Lock Pick

Pick a card… or a lock.

Jewelry

This business is bling!

Shoe Polish

“Our designs really shine.”

Paper Plane

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a business card!

Sun Dial

“Your time is important to us.”

Ticket

Upgrade to business (card) class.

Coaster

Mmm… I’d love a drink right about now.

Menu

A menu? What’s next, printing business cards on food?

Meat Card

Yup! Just be careful your new contact isn’t feeling peckish.

Dog Biscuit

Dogs need to eat too, remember. Down. Sit. Beg. Good boy!

Condiments

Looks like they’re missing ketchup. (You can tell that I’m British!)

Scrabble

Yes! Triple word score.

Rubber Band

“Our rates are pretty flexible.”

Scratch-off Card

Yay! You won my email address.

Dog Tags

They say the life of an entrepreneur is deadly.

Tongue Depressor

Certainly makes doctor visits more palatable.

Medicine

“Whatever the problem, we can find a cure.”

Map

“We like to explore all the options.”

Bottle Opener

The perfect companion for the coaster business card!

Pop-out Animal

Are you having a giraffe?

Torch

“To light your way to our services.”

Magnifying Glass

“We can find you a solution.”

Nutritionist Business Card

Just don’t eat the whole thing before memorizing their phone number!

Rubber Stamp

Just add ink, and everything is now a business card.

Penny Shooter

Losing an eye should get you out of that 4-hour meeting.

CD Business Card

Just eject this one from your cardholder to stand out in any meeting.

Spoon

An easy way to get your business in people’s faces. Or mouths.

Guitar Pick

Stairway to business opportunities

Dental Floss

“I’m afraid we have no plaques on our walls.”

Peanut

May contain traces of business details.

Catapult (Card-apult)

Let the business battle commence!

Lego Brick

What can we say? We love LEGO.

Car

“We are a fast moving company.”

Plant

“We intend to grow our business.”

Price Tag

No need to shop around.

Clothes Peg

“We won’t hang you out to dry.”

Model Kit

This one is for your Dad.

Clothes Patch

Wear your logo (not your heart) on your sleeve.

Word Search

“If you can’t work it out, we don’t want you to work with you.”

Wood Man

Why not leave a piece of you (or a mini-you) after your meeting?

Ruler

How will your company’s services measure up?

Tape Measure

I can’t do another “measures up” joke after that last one, sorry.

Calipers

We just need a hammer business card for a complete toolkit now.

Bookmark

“We keep things well organized here.”

Hairclips

Success is a close shave these days.

Dominos

Maybe knocking over a few could be a metaphor for a bad day.

Google Plus

The biggest Social Media news of the past week is Google+. The “Facebook Killer,” “Buzz Part II” and “Google’s Global Takeover Part XXII” is getting a lot of press, and for good reason: it is a social network that aims to contend with Facebook. It intends to do so with some initial features including group video chat capabilities, group texting (Huddles) and enhanced privacy options (via Circles).

After finally receiving an invite and elaborating on my Google profile (I’ve been a Gmail user for quite a while), there was nothing to do but wait for my friends to get my invites and join. I now have about 10 connections on Google+. So, my Circles are pretty thin. Decidedly, the only way I’ll use Google+ as my go-to social network is if everyone, or at least a majority, makes the transition—and soon. This is as important to me personally as it is to businesses and brands, as they want to be present where their customers are.

The dilemma this “friend overlap” causes right now is deciding which social network to post to (as if there weren’t enough choices already). Can’t my 10 Google+ friends just read what I post to Facebook, along with the rest of my hundreds of Facebook friends? Why double post?

The positive: I can start over with adding people to Google+. I was a freshman in college when I signed up for Facebook; there are some friends I don’t need updates from anymore. Perhaps this could be my adult version of Facebook. (Then again, I’m interested in gaining more Google+ connections, so I’d pretty much accept anyone at this point).

I love the Circles idea. I’m glad Google wants to learn from Facebook’s biggest mistakes, particularly in the area of privacy. Of course, will anything be private from Google now?

I commend Google+ for their “invite-only” launch technique, which is something many new sites are opting for. The invite-only makes it feel exclusive and is becoming the way to entice new users in a world where there is an overwhelming list of social networking sites.

In my opinion, to ensure Google+ doesn’t become defunct, 750 million people need to jump on the bandwagon. That means 750 million people need to abandon their comfortable Facebook personas and habits and learn an entirely new interface, albeit very similar to Facebook. They need to download a new app, add all of their friends and start +1-ing all the content they previously “liked”. These are some major hurdles to ask of people before they know whether or not it’s here to stay.

The bottom line is: I like Google+. I think it’ll thrive, only in a smaller social space. For now at least, it is certainly being used by a pretty niche group.

Our office has been a-“Buzz” over Google+, so we decided to ask a few members of the WebFX team to speculate on where Google’s latest endeavor is going to go:

Where do you see Google+ in 3 years?

Trevin: Three years seems like a lifetime in “Internet years” so it is very tough to say, especially this early on. They have had their misses, but most of the time Google’s side projects turn to gold, so I’d wager it will be extremely popular and still pushing the social media envelope in three years.

Saurav: As social is becoming more and more effective, in three years’ time, I see Google + becoming one of the social forces competing against the likes of Facebook.

Bill: I see it having 10% to 15% of social market share.

How do you think Google+ will affect SEO?

Mary: It already is. I can easily +1 any article I read or website I land on with simple click of a button. Then those in my Circles will see my partiality reflected in their own search results. Marketing professionals and business owners alike need to be aware of the huge potential here. Google provides personalized results whenever feasible, and that component is only sure to evolve.”

Bill: Massively – data they collect will greatly influence search results – especially “real-time” searches!

Xander: Well, the whole reason they launched this venture was to get Facebook’s content recommendation data without dealing with Facebook. Google wanted to create an ecosystem where shares, like, and comments were completely accessible to them so they can parlay that data into their search algorithm and promote worthy content. Up until now, they had no reliable way of determining the “social value” of a page. If Google+ takes off, they will.”

Are you, or do you, plan to use Google+ personally?

Trevin: Yes, I’ve been using it daily for a few weeks. I jumped in with both feet!

Saurav: I haven’t had the chance to fully utilize it just yet. But, it’s simple really; you create your profile and connect with others.”

Bill: Yep – since it’s going to be a ranking factor, I will have to use it.

Mary: Definitely, I already prefer it over Facebook – it’s more organized, less confusing and further personalized.

So far, what do you like about Google+?

Trevin: There are a lot of features I like. Circles is a pretty well-thought out way of dealing with sharing among your friends. (Facebook always had the same functionality, but it is a lot clumsier in lists). Some of my friends love when I share Battlestar Galactica videos, but others just find it weird. This is a nice way to break everybody into clusters, which is how we all socialize and interact in real life.

 

I also love being able to add writers and pundits whom I enjoy to my “following” circle. It’s far more efficient than following their fan page on Facebook and getting slammed with promotional junk. The following circle is like being Facebook friends with somebody you don’t really know without the awkwardness. My favorite feature, though, is Hangouts. Group video chat is awesome and I have pretty much already ditched Skype for video calling.

Bill: Video chat – and circles is a cool concept!

What do you dislike about Google+ so far?

Trevin: It still feels unfinished, which it is of course, so I don’t have any big worries. There are a bunch of little things missing … collapsing comments and posts, notifications are slow, no iPhone app, etc. I would also like to see some sort of groups feature where a bunch of my friends who share a common interest can join and everybody can share information amongst the group, rather than in all of our different Circles.

Bill: It feels like Google is a monopoly and controls too much of the Internet already.

Mary: I actually don’t like the idea of leaving people out at the beginning, even if it has worked well in the past. I think the real push for Google+ will be once everyone is on it. The only reason I would choose Facebook over Google+ is because everyone I know is on Facebook, I can’t say the same for Google+. And unfortunately, a lot of people I have invited probably won’t jump on the bandwagon until everyone else has. I think it will end up the way Twitter has, continue to grow as people realize it really is here to stay.

Do you believe Google+ has a chance to take Facebook’s place as the #1 social networking site?

Trevin: Google certainly has a much better chance of taking down Facebook than Diaspora or Virb or anybody else that has to build from the ground up. Everybody already knows and (mostly) trusts Google. Google also has a massive user base already, which is their biggest advantage. Around 200 million people already have Gmail accounts. I’d guess around 300-400 million people have Google accounts. With the way Google+ is built in to the new black Google bar, nearly all of these people are guaranteed to check it out, at the very least. The people will come, it is just a matter of how good the product will be and I haven’t seen anything so far to suggest that it won’t be excellent.

Bill: No – Facebook has too much of a head start and most users aren’t going to switch.

Xander: Facebook has a 750 million people head start, so it will at least take some time. They are positioning themselves to be a legit player though. The private invites promote exclusivity and that worked for Gmail and Facebook at the beginning. They also have a massive pool of people to pull from—not only everyone with a Google account, but also anyone who visits a Google search property somewhere down the line. I would suspect that they have opened it up to early adopters here to work out the kinks, and then once it’s really ready to go, they’ll roll it out to the world.

Mary: It’s hard to say. It could go either way, though Facebook will be stiff competition, and they are sure to pull out all the stops by adding as many features as possible. Personally, I hope it does in fact outdo Facebook – still, if it does, it will be a slow transition and nothing immediate because there are so many avid Facebook users who will probably refuse to convert for at least a while. I predict it will be like that of Twitter – but a bit more rapid since millions of users already seem to trust Google with their lives.

As you can see, opinions of Google+ certainly vary, especially among leaders in the industry. It’s time to sit back and see what happens!

Photo by Someecards

10 Tips To Beating Google’s Farmer Update

Search Engine Land notes that nearly 12% of queries have been impacted by the latest algorithm change. If your search engine traffic has dropped significantly from the latest Google update then it’s time to take action!

Below are ten tips to increase your site’s rankings if they’ve been hit by the Farmer / Panda update.

1. Build a Theme – That’s right, having 5 thin pages on a topic and calling yourself an industry leader simply won’t work. To be considered an industry leader, you need to talk about the main topics in your industry and get down to the nitty gritty! Start generating content (no stealing or borrowing content) that covers the depth and breadth of your industry.

2. Organize – Take your files and put them in folders organized by topic. If your desk is a mess, it’s likely the files on your site are just thrown in the root folder too. Begin to group them just as you would a filing cabinet.

3. Silo Structures – Whether it’s a true silo or a virtual silo, link your content by its relation. If you are unable to move files on your server and URL rewriting is beyond your capabilities, then use a virtual silo to internally link to related pages.

4. Make A Plan – Plan out topics you can write content about and stick to it. If you don’t have the time, then hire a few copywriters and schedule in new copy to be added to your site regularly. Once the copy is in place, be sure to link to it from other related pages to help build a relationship between the related pages.

5. Watch – View your site’s analytics regularly and determine if you see a pattern. Was a specific section of your site hit and now underperforming or was it your site as a whole? Did your site’s overall traffic decline once Panda was released or is it just for broad search terms? Ask yourself these questions to help you determine the best course of action when it comes to creating the new content.

6. Housekeeping – While you’re at it, make sure you have no reason to have any penalties on your site. Wouldn’t it be horrible if you simply had something on your site that you needed to take care of and submit a simple re-inclusion request? Look at your site and see if you’re using your headings accurately, if you have too many links on any given pages, log into Google Webmaster Console and take a look at the error messages and HTML suggestions. When you’re done, simply detail what you did and request a re-inclusion just to be pro-active.

7. Be Pro-Active – Take advantage of all the universal results Google is offering and try to get your site to show up in as many of those results as possible. Be sure you have your Google Places listing and build it out to include images, categories, videos, specials coupons, etc. If you have products on your site, create a Google shopping feed and submit it to ensure your products are showing up in Google Shopping. Images throughout your site need to utilize names that resemble what they are, provide accurate image ALT attributes, create an image sitemap and submit this sitemap to help increase your exposure in Google images. Open up a channel on YouTube and upload or create videos about your products or services. Create great keyword-rich titles and Meta descriptions, apply the proper tags and get them uploaded to be included in Google video. Start a blog and blog about on-topic industry related information and submit your RSS feed to various RSS directories and get your site showing up for results in Google Blogs.

8. Research – Review Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and ensure you are adhering to them for content, quality and design. It may not seem like a lot, but taking care of these things to ensure you have nothing being held against you can help significantly in the long run.

9. Sitemaps – Create sitemaps for each themed folder within your site and place that sitemap within the actual folder. For larger sites, create multiple sitemaps to help ensure deeper content gets indexed and properly ranked. Google determines if it will be indexing your site for depth or breadth, and with the Panda update, you need both to succeed.

10. Stay Indexed – Find out what pages within your site are indexed and which are not. Keep an eye out for any pages that are not indexed and resubmit them. Pages that aren’t indexed or are omitted from Google’s results can’t rank, pages that can’t rank can’t help to build you as an industry leader. If you have omitted pages from Google’s results find out why (duplicate titles, duplicate Meta descriptions, very little content, etc.) and make the necessary adjustments. Update your Google sitemap regularly and make sure those pages are indexed.

Making these adjustments as well as continually adding content to your site will help to ensure your site will not only bounce back from the Farmer/Panda update, but that you will be less affected from future index or algorithm updates; helping to build your site as an industry leader.

Sorry Google, YouTube Captions Aren’t for the Deaf. They’re for Your Robots.

Google, who owns YouTube, rolled out auto-captioning for English language videos yesterday.  All videos with a clear English audio track will have automatically-generated captions.

At the press conference a deaf engineer did the product demo and students from the California School for the Deaf in Fremont came on stage.  Google is painting this development as a service to the hearing impaired.

But that’s not Google’s true motivator.

Changing audio into text lets Google spiders index the content of YouTube videos.

The spiders don’t understand audio so they can’t index videos for search.  But with YouTube audio available in text form, a huge and invisible chunk of the web is opened up to Google’s search technology.

This will be a watershed for Google.  It is a good time to buy Google stock.  The company will make a lot of money selling advertising on these newly-indexed videos. Here’s what to expect: