When I made the transition from employee to freelancer I knew I needed to get some business cards. I had heard of VistaPrint so I went to the Web site. Ah, free business cards. You get 250 full-color business cards and 42 designs to choose from in just three easy steps.
I entered the text for the front of my business card and appeared on a mock up of my business card. I hated the design, so I looked to see what else they had. I found one I could live with, but if I wanted access to hundreds of other, presumably better, designs it would cost about $20. Well, Im cheap so I didnt go for that.
For about $10 I could do some advanced editing like changing the fonts or customizing the backside of the card. You know I remember where I first heard of VistaPrint now. Somebody at a conference handed me a business card, and on the back was an ad for free cards. It made me wonder if my cards would have that ad on the back.
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I continued through the through the screens. Paper stock costs another $13 for gloss stock or heavier paper. I passed on that. Ah, I found my answer. The free cards have VistaPrint ads on the back. But for $4 I could have a blank back. Shipping is kind of pricey.
If I was willing to wait 21 days it would cost me about $5 for shipping, but I wanted my cards for a conference the following week. That would cost me $25 for shipping. I wondered how that compared to my local print shop. OK, so maybe the free cards arent the best way to go.
I ended up with the premium cards: no ads on the back, a heftier paper and my own design. Yes, you can create your own design and upload that to VistaPrint. The total bill including shipping for my premium cards was about $30. So if you need some almost-free business cards and youre not in a hurry its possible at VistaPrint. And their premium cards are pretty good quality.
If youd like to start your own printing business, you can become a VistaPrint reseller. You join the reseller program for $50 and purchase their printed products at wholesale prices and then sell them for whatever you want.
AllTop is what they call a magazine rack of popular topics thats updated every hour. What that really means is they take the RSS feeds from hundreds, possibly thousands of blogs and Web sites from all over the Internet and updating them on an hourly basis using their own spiders and their own Web bots.
AllTop divides all of those those blogs and Web sites into different, fairly generic categories based on what theyre posting about. You can search the site using specific topics or a keywords or, if youre interested in something specific, you could type it into the search box.
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If youre interested in business there are a number of sub-categories including branding, egos (oddly enough), enterprise, executive coaching, public relations, personal finance, marketing, leadership, small business, sales and so on.
Lets say that we are interested in technology. It shows a number of different blogs that relate to technology. For each one of these, theres a pop-up preview of the last five blog posts from that particular blog. As you move your cursor over each one, it gives you an excerpt of what youre going to read.
You can also hide a particular source. For instance if you dont particularly like to read things from Slashdot, you can opt to hide that site from that category. If you want to look at a particular blog post just click on it, and it will take you through to that specific blog post. AllTop is a great way of staying up to date on whatever youre interested in staying up to date on.
Nobody would argue with you that video is taking over the Web by storm. Its everywhere. Now of course you can go over to YouTube, and guess whose videos you get to watch? You get to watch YouTube videos. But what if there are other places you could go? Quite frankly there are dozens of sites that have video, and ClipBlast gives you the opportunity to search everybodys video sites.
Some of the things you can search for are a little bit obscure, so you can find almost anything you want. One of the things I love to look at are the advertisements these folks have currently got running on their site. Theyre advertising for the Wall St. Journal, Swell, NetFlix, Barnes and Noble these are name-brand companies, so you know that these folks are getting the traffic.
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I put in my brand new (actually, its used) movie camera, a Sony HD FX1, to see if I could find any videos about it. I actually looked on YouTube, and found some. ClipBlast had bunch of them, but the very first one was not on YouTube, it was on CNet. It listed others on TeacherTube, VMEO and YouTube. I definitely found some that I wouldnt even have seen if Id stuck to YouTube.
I also searched for one of my favorite guitars a Rickenbacker 360 12 string; not the most popular guitar out there, but its out there. ClipBlast found 19 different clips, which is pretty amazing and a great way to search. The other areas you might look at are hot topics, hot searches and hot platforms; lots of good information here. Its a great placed to go to search the entire Web for all the video clips that might be out there, so go have a look at Clipblast.
You'll find lots more marketing tips and resources from Andrew Lock in our Small Business Essential series, Lock in Your Marketing Resources.
Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."
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