Founded in 2016, Carrd is a free platform for building fully responsive one-page sites for pretty much anything. We had the pleasure to talk with AJ, Founder of Carrd about the origin of the brand name, the reason why he decided to acquire an exact brand match domain Carrd.com, and what is his advice to entrepreneurs who are just starting.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how Carrd got started?
Hi! I’m AJ, a designer/developer based out of Nashville, Tennessee. I founded Carrd, a free platform for building one-page sites, back in 2016 as what was initially just a side project. After launching on Product Hunt, however, it very quickly took off and grew into a full-fledged business and a full-time job for myself and now two other people. We’re now home to over 4.5M one-page sites and continue to grow by thousands more every day.
What was the process of selecting a brand name like? When did you know this was the one?
Branding is always tough but this particular project proved uniquely difficult. Since sites built on the platform would generally share our own brand/domain (for example, yourname.carrd.co), I had to come up with a name that was not only short and memorable, but also one that “looked good” in a URL. After working through a number of relatively boring/terrible choices, I landed on “Carrd” as the best one as it seemed to meet the criteria.
I had to come up with a name that was not only short and memorable, but also one that “looked good” in a URL. After working through a number of relatively boring/terrible choices, I landed on “Carrd” as the best one as it seemed to meet the criteria.AJ, Founder of Carrd.com
What was the reason to get the domain name Carrd.co for your brand?
In addition to meeting the aforementioned criteria, it also seemed to sync well with one of Carrd’s original use cases (that is, creating digital “business cards”). Granted the product has grown far beyond that simple use case, but it still feels like a good fit to this day.
How has owning Carrd.co affected your business? Do you own any other domain names?
It’s actually been pretty huge. Back when I was trying to figure out what to name this thing, meeting the criteria I outlined above was really all I cared about. However, as I’ve discovered since, the name not only works on a number of levels, but also works great “noun-ified” as a number of our users now organically refer to their sites as “carrds” on social media and elsewhere. And while we now offer additional “unbranded” domains for paid users (such as “crd.co”), there’s still a preference among many of those to use “carrd.co” because of the visible Carrd branding.
You mentioned in a tweet that 90% of your startup expenses were securing the .com and you have no regrets, can you tell us more about that?
While “carrd.co” was more or less perfect in terms of meeting my naming criteria, one major caveat was the fact that it was a “.co” (which could very easily be mistyped as “.com”). If I could secure “carrd.com“, however, I could set it up as a redirect and eliminate that problem altogether — which I did, so it all worked out in the end. 🙂
What was the vision and purpose of your company when it first started and how has Carrd evolved as a brand since?
I have to admit there really wasn’t much of a vision when I first launched Carrd as a side project. However, in the years since it’s grown to support so many diverse use cases and enabled folks to build so many incredible things, I think it’s fair to say our users are what define its vision, and our job is to simply keep that going.
How do you value your brand?
I guess at first it didn’t really have much value, but over time as the product has become more widely known and used (to the point where a “carrd” is now a known thing in various circles) it has gained value from that association.
Has the pandemic affected your company in any way? What has changed since?
Yup, it had a considerable impact. I think as many people reevaluated their careers (whether by choice or by force), a significant number moved online in some capacity and tools like Carrd saw a very measureable uptick in growth, which at least for us has continued ever since).
What do you do to make sure your marketing is effective?
So I might be the wrong person to ask this question because Carrd has yet to do any marketing (beyond the occasional post to my personal Twitter). All of our growth has come from either word of mouth or organic discovery through various channels (search, etc) which has been very cool to experience.
What would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Start small, start cheap, and move as quickly as possible. The tools now exist for literally anyone to rapidly test and prototype their ideas without investing a huge amount of time, energy, and resources so I encourage anyone just starting out to take full advantage of these.AJ, Founder of Carrd.com
What do’s and dont’s can you share when it comes to branding and naming?
Again, might be the wrong person to ask since landing on “Carrd” was something of a lucky break, but I will say take it seriously but don’t overthink it to the point of paralysis. After all, people are generally willing to overlook a weird name if the thing actually does what they want.
What is next for Carrd?
Keep listening to our users and building what they want. Seems to have worked well for us. 🙂
Last thing, if some of our readers have more questions. Where can they reach you online?
Sure, best place to reach me is on Twitter or email (email@example.com). Thank you!
How does your brand name match your company vision? What new horizons can a better name open? Get in touch if you feel your brand deserves a better name, we are always happy to help.
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