Even though we’re in the digital age, the lowly paper business card is still important. I recently returned from a conference armed with more than 300 business cards. Unfortunately, almost half the cards were unreadable or lacked key contact info. Because so many people use personal computers and electronic media, it’s time to remodel your business card to make it as easy as possible for prospects to communicate with you.

—Joe Stoddard is an industry consultant helping remodelers be successful with their technology. Reach him at Twitter, www.twitter.com/moucon, or at jstoddard@mountainconsulting.com.

A. Hard To Read, Harder to Scan

If your grandmother can’t read your card, your Gen Y prospect’s card scanner or Evernote setup can’t either. Simple dark fonts and straightforward line art on a light background are always best. Skip the art-nouveaux microscopic text and monochrome color schemes, and ditch dark-colored or photographic backgrounds.

B. The Right Stuff

Include the complete information prospects need to contact you: your full name, company name, title, office and mobile phone numbers with area codes (and extensions if you use them), your e-mail address (not a generic info@so-and-so.com placeholder), and your complete website or blog URL, including the http://. Don’t assume that anyone knows your area code or will be able to guess your website’s URL.

C. Social Media

If you regularly use social media, by all means include your Twitter and Facebook handles on your card. Just remember that if someone sends you a direct message, an immediate response is expected. If you’re not willing or able to do that, leave the handles off. (Tip: “Immediate” doesn’t mean “complete.” “In mtg — will call U L8R,” is perfectly fine, as long as you follow through.)

No Card? Use Mine

Not every homeowner carries cards. You can hand a prospect one of your cards and pray that they contact you. Or you can take control by getting permission to contact them. Print “Name,” “Phone,” “e-mail,” and “Interested-in” fields on the back of your cards along with a short “Please contact me” permission statement. When someone expresses interest, simply hand them two cards — one to keep and the other to fill out and hand back to you. Then immediately follow up.

It’s a Business Card, Not a Website

Too many of the cards I see cram in company history, awards, mission statement, and every service offered in six square inches. All that is good information, but it belongs on your website not your business card.