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How to Choose the Right US Online Greeting Card Website

US Online Greeting Card Websites image


Sending cards on special or everyday occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or sending cards just to show you care is something we all need to do from time to time. Whether giving or receiving, exchanging greeting cards helps connect us to the ones we love and who love us.

Most of us typically pick up cards when at the mall or the local store and simply write our messages inside and mail. Whilst this is a perfectly acceptable and convenient way to send cards, there are now many companies on the web offering a range of greeting card services.

This buying guide will aim to summarise the main features of greeting card websites, what to expect and what to look out for, helping you to to make an informed choice. An important first point is that, despite what you might expect, all greeting card sites are not the same. The site that's best for you will primarily depend upon your needs and preferences. Below is a basic breakdown of greeting card sites in terms of what they do and do not offer.



  • Ecards are electronic cards that are sent via email to a single recipient or multiple recipients. To send an ecard both the recipient(s) and you need to have a valid email address.

  • You'll usually find ecards arranged by theme and occasion.

  • It's easy to send an ecard. In its most basic Basically, you select a card, write your message and email it. The recipient is sent a link that they click to access their ecard. On some sites you can also receive an email notification when your card has been received.

  • Some websites are dedicated ecard sites. Some of these offer free ecards (e.g. 123greetings.com), whilst others require you to sign up and pay a nominal subscription for which you get to send unlimited ecards (e.g. Jibjab.com).

  • You often get what you pay for. Whilst a lot of ecards include animation and sound, the quality between sites varies significantly. The free sites tend to feature lower quality ecards that can only be personalized by adding your own text. In contrast, the subscription ecard sites mostly feature much better quality cards, a much wider selection and more customization options, sometimes even allowing you to upload and add your own images or sounds for unique animated content.

  • To view animated ecards you will need to have installed the Sun Microsystems Java Player and/or Adobe Flash Player on your computer.

  • In addition to emailing your cards, many sites enable you to share cards via social networking sites such as Facebook.

  • A few sites also allow you to send ecards from your mobile if you download their app (e.g. Americangreetings.com if you have an iPhone).


Printed greeting cards:

  • Printed cards come in a variety of designs, shapes and sizes. They are much the same as the greeting cards you buy in the store, except you buy them online.

  • Most websites selling printed greeting cards will arrange them according to theme and occasion. When you find a card you like, you can select it and personalize it in many different ways before submitting your order.

  • Alternatively, many sites allow you to upload your own photos and images and create your own cards this way.

  • You can typically browse existing designs and personalize the card with your own text.

  • Because you will not be able to see and handle the card, it's important that you check what kind of card it is (e.g. flat or folded), the paper/print materials used, the size of the card and whether the price includes envelopes, shipping, etc.

  • Some sites will allow you to purchase single greeting cards (e.g. Americangreetings.com, Hallmark.com), whilst others make you buy in larger quantities, usually a minimum of 15-25 depending on the design (e.g. Paperstyle.com, Sendoutcards.com). You'll pay considerably less per card for bulk orders.

  • You can typically choose to have the cards you purchase sent to your home address for you to mail, or get cards mailed for you. An extra fee will apply for this.

  • Some sites have very few printed greeting cards and deal more in toys and gifts (e.g. GalisonMudpuppy.com) or invitations and other printed products (e.g. iPrint.com).


Niche sites:

  • If you're looking for something a little different:
    • Sloppykisscards.com: photo ecards to and from your favorite pets.
    • Smilebox.com: enhance and share your photos and videos.
    • Seasonsgreenings.com: sustainably produced holiday cards.
    • Voiceyourfeelings.com: create greeting cards and add a spoken word message with sound effects.


Other features:

  • Card editor:
    • Editing your card is usually performed online, although there are one or two sites where special software must be downloaded (e.g. Smilebox.com). Card editors differ across sites, with free sites offering more basic editing options and subscription sites giving you more control and embellishments. Full instructions and help guides can be found on nearly all sites.

  • Account Manager:
    • If you sign up for a membership you'll typically have an account in your name to help you organize and manage your activities.

    • An address book feature allows you to compile a list of contacts and address cards at the click of a button.

    • A reminder service informs you of important upcoming dates so you don't forget to send a card.

    • Future send option allows you to specify when a card is sent, for anything from a month up to a year in advance.

  • Help and assistance:
    • All sites will have instructions and guidance, usually in the form of a FAQ section. If you need further assistance, email, telephone/fax and online support are usually available, though this depends on the site.

  • Other products:
    • Many greeting card sites deal in more than greeting cards. e.g. many will deal in a wide range of stationery products (e.g. Paperstyle.com), toys and gifts (e.g. GalisonMudpuppy.com) and party items and keepsakes to accompany a special occasion (e.g. Hallmark.com).


Sending greeting cards:

  • Ecards are normally emailed to the recipient, however, some sites allow you to share cards via social networking sites such as Facebook.

  • Printed cards can be shipped directly to you or mailed to recipients. The odd site may have a 'create & print' feature, whereby you can create and print a card at home or at a print store (e.g. Bluemountain.com).

  • Downloading a mobile app (e.g. from Americangreetings.com) lets you order cards using your iPhone (some sites support Android) and send ecards to other mobiles.


Signing up:

  • Ensure that you have a careful look around the site before you sign up. Some need no registration to purchase printed greeting cards or send free ecards. Other sites will make you sign up before you can send a card, even for free ecards.

  • You'll find trial memberships available on some sites when you join. e.g. Americangreetings.com offers a free 7-day trial and Bluemountain.com gives you a 14-day trial when you sign up to their create and print service.


Paying for cards:

  • Some sites (e.g. CardsRemembered.com) allow you to send a number of printed cards as part of your membership. Other sites (e.g. AmericanGreetings.com) give you unlimited ecard access for your money, but you have to pay for printed cards on top.


Payment options:

  • The following forms of payment are commonly accepted:
    • Credit card
    • Debit card
    • PayPal
    • Online check


The Bottom Line:

If you're looking for a convenient and cost-effective way to send distinctive greeting cards to your family and friends then you should definitely consider signing up to a greeting card website. As you'll see from our reviews, there are a variety of greeting card websites, each one offering somewhat different styles of card, value for money and website functionalty.

Our top ten list is a good place to start, but if you are looking for something a little bit unusual (or intentionally bizarre), then it is worth having a quick look at the non-top 10 sites in the category as you may find something better suited to your requirements.