Drive Traffic to Your Site with TopicCards

We all know what business cards are. “TopicCard” is a word I came up with for something I’ve been making. Do you see the image to the right? It gives a brief description of RSS, and an URL to learn more. The URL, in this case, isn’t a page on my site, but a video. Of course, it could point to a blog post on my site if I wanted, which would arguably be better.

A TopicCard is basically a business card, but instead of telling people about your business (or website), it tells them about a topic. You don’t even have to pay a printing house for your cards. If you have Photoshop and a printer, you can easily make your own business cards.

A TopicCard should ideally include

  • Your logo
  • The URL to your site
  • A header explaining what the card is about (i.e. “What is RSS?”)
  • A short text blurb explaining the general idea of the topic
  • An URL pointing to a resource that teaches more about the topic. This could be a post on your blog, a category page, another website, or virtually anything on the web.

I used TinyURL for the “What is RSS?” card, as it was the first time I tried something like this (try fitting on a 2-inch-wide piece of cardstock!). If you don’t want to use TinyURL, you can use your own redirection system if you prefer. You can either write your own PHP/MySQL/mod_rewrite system for redirection, or install a pre-made redirection script like Shorty. Shorty works great when it’s installed in a directory like “go,” so your redirects look like

I wrote my own redirection script, because I wanted more power than Shorty offers, and I like having absolute control of how my scripts work. Once my stock of “What is RSS?” cards is depleted, I’ll print new ones that use my custom redirect script instead. I’ll simply edit my PSD to have

Once you’ve printed your cards, you just leave them on bulletin boards, hand them out to people, etc. Just carry a few with you wherever you go, and look for opportunities.

What can you make a TopicCard about? Search your blog’s archives for ideas. If you can’t find anything appropriate, write a new post. :D

Bonus Tip: Include an image related to the topic. You can see a small RSS icon on my “What is RSS?” card. Note that it looks cool if you put an image on a layer beneath the text, with the opacity lowered so the white background bleeds through.