When I joined Border Crossing Media last year Frank and I discussed setting up a personal website/blogging platform. There were several reasons for creating one such as building a nice portfolio piece for the company, creating additional link juice for our site, improving my online profile and giving me an additional channel to share my views on dolphins.
**Update (15/10/11)- since this post was written card.ly has become businesscard2.com. Thus all the links to their website are now redirected and so we have disabled them in the post**
However a whole website seemed a tad over the top as in addition to this blog and website I have plenty of accounts for these purposes:
- Twitter for business updates
- LinkedIn for my working profile
- Facebook for social networking
- LastFM for music
- even MySpace, Getglue etc.
Surely if people wanted to have information from me they would look here…..but then how would they find these?
This is when we came across this excellent little website from Shaun Inman and I realised that was all I wanted – a single page which simply tells people who I am and how to contact me. Seeing as we are a UX design firm specialising in researching and building beautiful websites we started looking into whether there were services like this out there and if anyone was really using them.
The answer to those questions is yes there are definitely services out there and as to whether people use them – well they are certainly catching on. When we started to look into it there were two services that caught my eye: OnePage and Card.ly
First I checked out Card.ly – a service that you can sign up for and create a mini profile hub that contains some personal bio, links to your websites and networks and contact routes. It seems that Card.ly was born out of a similar circumstance that I found myself in and they devised stock themes to address the problem. They offer a free service where you can get basic themes or skins and a premium service with additional themes, your own domain.com, removal of ads and Card.ly banners.
I signed up (for the free service) and found the process nice and simple to execute in terms of signing-up and creating the links to my profiles etc. Then I had to choose my skin to present the information. Now I should preface this by saying that I have just logged back into Card.ly and they have appeared to have changed the way you choose your skin. There were quite a few available and each was represented by a tiny thumbnail which you then had to preview with your details just to see what it looked like. From a UX design point of view I got really frustrated and to be honest nearly gave up! I decided to persevere and choice the starry theme and that was that. I showed Frank what it looked like and we had a little giggle and decided to move on.
What I moved on to was OnePage – who market themselves as providers of online business cards. To be honest they offer a very similar service to Card.ly without the paid for additions. I had some issues signing in for the service, there seemed to be a bug that kept me in an eternal loop of entering my password and going back to the home page. I decided to have a little tweet about it and got a tweet from @Joelg87, the founder of OnePage who helped me through the process and fixed the bug that was affecting me. Once I was signed in I was impressed at how easy it was to create a very professional looking online business card. There are limitations to OnePage such as a lack of choice in terms of design, custom URLs and no paid for services. However the product is in beta and so these things may be coming in the near future.
So which did I prefer? Well whilst OnePage is limited and I had a few issues signing in I much preferred the end-result. I was also incredibly impressed with the Customer Service from Joel Gascoigne and can see that OnePage could catch on. I’d like to know which you prefer so check out my card.ly and MyOnePage let me know which you prefer or if you know of an alternative product that you use.