A happy accident with a side project

I accidentally created the de facto showcase gallery for Carrd, a growing SaaS web builder platform.

A happy accident with a side project
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Way back in 2020, while the world was gripped in a pandemic, I was just starting my journey in the world of no-code side projects.
I’d made other side projects before, but I’ve only been consistently doing it since 2020.
Anyway, one of my first projects turned out better than expected.
This is the story of Deck of Carrd.
Deck of Carrd as it looks today
Deck of Carrd as it looks today
For those who don’t know it, Carrd is a 1-page website builder platform that’s been going since 2016. Whilst it had a growing popularity and user base early on, it was still run very much like a bootsrapped startup (which it was until 2021). There really wasn’t much in the way of marketing or resources, even in 2020.
There especially wasn’t a showcase gallery. Something I spotted and decided to do something about — just for fun initially.


Not wanting it to be another big, boring gallery to scroll through I decided to have some fun with the concept:
  • Called it a ‘deck’, not a ‘gallery’, as a twist on the meaning of ‘Carrd’
  • Limited it to 52 sites at a time in the gallery, like a pack of cards
  • Designed a logo that looks like both a hand of cards as well as a spread of websites
  • Initially made it green, like the majority of card tables, but eventually resorted back to purple to be more in line with Carrd itself
I put together a quick site, then launched it straight away (with the intention of improving it later).
Deck of Carrd V1, around May 2020
Deck of Carrd V1, around May 2020
At the time, I was still very modest in launching side projects and this was no exception! This is my launch tweet, back in May 2020:
notion image


Now for a site like this, you wouldn’t expect much. It’s a tiny, niche gallery, after all. And I didn’t do any marketing beyond social posts. So it surprised me, in truth.
In the time since launch, it’s been really successful for what it is — a simple one-page site, limited to niche content from one web platform. It grew to about 300–500 page views a month after just a few months, without really doing any marketing. It kept that volume consistently through it’s first few years.
The traffic seems to be improving recently too, as I’m being more intentional about SEO and making regular, small changes. You can see the uptick in the chart below, over the last year. (Side note: I post updates about SEO learning on X and in my newsletter).
Analytics for Deck of Carrd since Jan 2021
Analytics for Deck of Carrd since Jan 2021


One thing the good traffic allowed me to do was sell sponsorship. I reached this point in 2022, when the site had been getting steady traffic for a couple of years. It was still modest traffic in SEO terms, but good enough to show engagement.
Carrd has quite an active community, and there are a number of creators making templates and tools. Some of these have been my sponsors all the way from day 1. At one point I even needed a waiting list.
As a result, the site has been at around $80–100 MRR since 2022. It’s barely anything, but better than nothing.
I don’t really want to add more sponsors, so I’ll have to get creative to find other ways to increase that figure.


Whilst I’ve enjoyed the journey making Deck of Carrd, and I’ve learned a lot through building it — one of the surprising things was the impact the site has had.
As a project, I consider it a happy accident.
It’s become the de facto gallery for Carrd, one that even the founder recommends. It’s not something I set out for it to be, but it’s a fun position to be in!
It’s had an impact on individual people too. Me for a start — it’s given me a lot of personal brand exposure over the years, along with a lot of side project learnings too.
I’ve also had many people reach out to me with support, praise, and stories of how being listed on the site has gained them freelance work.
There’s been a steady flow of submissions through the site, again without me having to go looking for these. I take that as a sign the site has good distribution and engagement.
Some happy feedback from the owner of a site I listed
Some happy feedback from the owner of a site I listed

What next?

There was a time when I thought about selling the site, but I think I’ve moved past that now for a few reasons.
Firstly, as things stand (June 2024) the site’s traffic is growing again. I’m intending to keep that going, partly out of curiosity — to see how far you can grow traffic on a one-page site with very little text content, without paying for ads. Also for the sake of my sponsors, who I want to maximise value for.
Secondly, it helps with my other Carrd resources, through brand awareness and linking. In particular, I have a blog called starrt.co (which gets even better traffic by the way), where I list Carrd tools and tips.
Lastly, it’s a little bit of fun to run. I think that’s because it’s such a simple setup (just a Carrd page, an X account, and a newsletter), and one of my first successes.
I’m aware that it may not last — at any point Carrd may decide to make their own showcase gallery. So for now, I’m happy to just ride it out and see where it can go.

I also write on Medium.com

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