Building a "web business card" for yourself doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. There are several professional nameplate sites that give you the tools to build a page you can put on your business cards or in your email signature that anyone — employers, friends, and business partners included — can visit to learn more about you, how to reach you, and even see some of your work or connect to you through your social networks. Here are the five best professional nameplate services, based on your nominations.
About.me didn't really exist the last time we asked about your favourite landing pages, but since its rise to popularity, it has s easily become one of the most popular services to build a personal or professional nameplate with a short URL. About.me is free, and the page designs highlight a single image that you can select from a gallery or a photo of yourself or your work that you can upload. You can then fill in information about yourself around the image, including a short bio, links to your social networks, other blogs, or even your professional portfolio. The page designer is easy to use, even the advanced tools don't need a lot of experience to get a handle on, and within minutes you'll have a great-looking nameplate for yourself. Plus, you get analytics, so you can see how many people are visiting. About.me also partners with other companies to offer perks, like business cards from Moo and email services.
Flavors.me was one of the first nameplate sites that focused on design instead of essentially being a web-based resume. It's the only site that made the top five for a second time, and for good reason — it's easy to use, the drag-and-drop page builder is intuitive, and setting up a personal portal is quick and simple. Upload a photo or choose from the site's gallery, fill out a few details about yourself, and then add in some links to your social networks, blogs, portfolio, or even the company you work for currently. flavours.me is free, but you're limited to connecting only five blogs or social network accounts and seven starter layouts. If you want more, including 17 layouts, as many connections as you'd like, a mobile site, analytics, even a contact form or the ability to use your own URL with your nameplate, you'll have to fork over $US20/year for a premium account.
Zerply's approach to a landing page focuses on the professional elements. Your landing page looks and behaves like a resume, complete with your work history in chronological order, along with a short bio at the top. We've mentioned Zerply before, but it has caught on with a number of you as a fast and free way to build a web-based resume you can link anyone to, and a social network you can join that will help you connect with other people looking for candidates who do what you do. You have the ability to connect with and contact other professionals in your field or in your area, and share your profile with them. Plus, it's completely free.
Re.vu is another service we've discussed before as a fun, web-based resume alternative that's also a sharp looking landing page that you can invite anyone to see. Re.vu is free, and will automatically create a profile for you if you connect our LinkedIn account. It will pull in your work history, current position, credentials, and recommendations, and then let you fill in the rest or connect other social networks or websites. Then, when you're finished, you can even tell Re.vu to let visitors download a copy of your resume if you want to offer one. Once you're all set up, you can see how many people visited your profile and how many people clicked through with detailed analytics to help you understand if the page is making the impact you want.
Another popular option a number of you mentioned is that you'd prefer to simply host or build your own. Many of you have your own websites already, and want to use your own fully-controlled URLs, and the best way to go about it is to just host it yourself. Some of you noted you use Wordpress to host your own nameplate site, and then lay over a business card theme like John Saddington's digital business card theme or the Elegant Themes Business Card Theme to get the job done. It's definitely a DIY approach, but if you're already paying for web hosting, it's free, and you can build it to look the way you want and offer as much or as little information as you choose. You have total control, and you don't need to pay anyone for premium features.
Honourable mentions this week go out to Google Sites, where you can set up a free site or link to your Google Profile with nothing more than your Google account. Whichever service you choose, all of them will have you up and running with a sharp-looking professional nameplate in minutes that you can link to anyone who needs to find you on the web.
Did your favourite not make the cut? Have something to say about one of the contenders? Even if your favourite didn't make the list, let us know why you think it's better than the others in the comments below.