Carrd is a free one-page website builder that will allow you to quickly generate a landing page for Instagram (or any other social network) from which to redirect users to the area of your business that interests you the most.
Free sign-up and verification
Registering with Carrd can be a bit complex at first, since the “natural” process is to start creating a website, so that the moment you want to save it, the service asks you to create your account.
Although this is very good, as it allows you to try the whole service without registering beforehand, I don’t like this flow.
Luckily, if you search a bit on the web, you will find the direct registration link (menu button > sign up).
The form is very simple, as you will only have to use your name, email, and password to create your account.
Once this is done you will have to verify your email address or you will not be able to publish your website.
For some strange reason the classic verification email does not send itself, but you will have to click the button to receive it.
Once you have done that, just go to your Inbox, click on the unique link in the email, and then click on “Verify Account” to finish the registration.
Interface and first steps
Carrd is a web service that will allow you to create several websites.
Therefore, the main interface is a Dashboard where you can see all the microsites you have created, so at first it will be empty, but you can start creating content by clicking on the + New Site button.
This will launch the template selector.
Carrd is mainly focused on helping you create well-designed pages quickly, so here you can choose from a base to work on depending on your objective, which you can choose from the top area:
- Profile: personal pages,
- Landing Pages: to test a product,
- Forms: if you want to generate a business around a Newsletter,
- Portfolios: to show your work,
- Sectioned: more professional pages that include several of the previous elements.
- Carrd Template Selector
If you prefer, you can also click on “blank canvas”, to start with a blank page, which is how you have more freedom and how you will best learn to use this tool.
This is the interface you will find once you choose the blank canvas.
Difference between Background and Page, the basis of Carrd
The basis of a website/site in Carrd is composed of two elements: the background and the page.
The background is everything that is, as its name suggests, in the background of your website, and will always reach the edges of the browser.
While the page is the block where you will add the content of your website.
This can be easily seen in any of the templates offered by Carrd.
You will define these two main elements by clicking on the hamburger menu button, and selecting each of them independently.
This will bring up a sidebar with options.
Configure the background
As a general rule, all the elements you add in Carrd will be configured in a similar way to the one you are about to see.
In the sidebar, in the first tab, you will find the options to define:
- Style (background style): this can be a flat color, a gradient, an image, a video… and even a slideshow.
- Pattern: this is the style you can add for example noise, lines, a grid…
Notice that in the background settings sidebar, there is also a second tab with a ► Play button.
This button will appear in more places in Carrd, and is used to define the animation of the element you are editing.
In this case, the background.
For example, you could set a Fade in effect, even controlling how long it takes to activate, and how long it lasts.
It is not common to add animations in the background, but by using animations on images for example, you will get a page that will look much more professional.
Configure the Page
Once you have configured the background, you could configure the “page” (the block that will store all the content of your website).
Note that the system is similar, in the sidebar you will find a tab for animations (this time with many more options), and the configuration tab.
Because of the differences between the background and the page, the latter has quite a few more options that you will be able to configure.
- Style: in this case you will be able to differentiate between a “box” type page, a wide box, or a tall box.
- Position: in case you do not want to center the content, but position it on a side, for example.
- Width: to change the width of the box.
- Box margin and padding
- Size of the box, rounding of the corners, border…
- Shadow generated by the page…
- As you can see, a lot of options, the best thing is that you go testing each of them to create or adapt the content to your liking.
All actions you perform in Carrd are launched from the small tool menu in the upper area.
In addition to the hamburger menu button, which you have already seen is used to set the background and the page, here you will also find:
- +: the button for adding blocks (you will see these later in the guide).
- Go backwards and forwards: to undo or redo actions
- Play button: to see live animations that you have configured on the elements.
- Mobile button: to check that your website looks good on mobile devices.
- Diskette: to save/publish the page.
Save and Publish your Website
This last button is important, as the changes you are making are not saved until you publish the site or save it as a draft.
It is important that you decide the latter in the action box, since you can simply save the changes (Save as an offline draft) before publishing them definitively (Publish to a carrd.co URL).
For the latter, you will have to define the web address in the action box at the end.
If you save the website as a draft, it will appear in the future in the Dashboard you saw earlier.
And if you publish the website, in addition to being saved as a draft, it will be instantly available online at the URL you have decided.
The blocks are the pieces that you will be fitting inside your “page” to make up the web.
You can add them by clicking the + button on the toolbar, clicking on the one you want to use, and then dragging them to the area of the page where you want them to appear.
Types of Blocks
As you can see, in the free plan there are 14 blocks:
- Text / Text: for writing any type of content. Supports Markdown.
- List / Lists: similar to text, but to create bullet points or numbered lists.
- Image / Images: to add your photo, or photos of your products.
- Buttons / Buttons: to add eye-catching links to any other page.
- Video: to add much more visual content.
- Links: to add links easily, although this can also be done with the text or list block.
- Audio: in case you want to add an audio from SoundCloud or Bandcamp.
- Icons: generic or brand icons (Facebook, Twitter, Amazon…) to give a more striking touch to your website.
- Gallery: to add several images easily (ideal for portfolio templates).
- Table: to add informative tables.
- Timer / Countdown: for example to promote the launch of a product.
- Divider: to visually separate two blocks.
Within the free blocks you will find two special blocks called “Container” and “Control”.
- Container: allows you to add an “empty block”, which you can use for example to include an area with a different background color, or with columns.
- Control: will allow you to divide your page into sections, so that you can for example create an “About you” section, a “Services” section, a “Products” section, a “Contact” section… so that users can navigate to these areas through specific links of the type yourweb.com/#contact.
In the Pro plans, you can also use the following blocks:
- Slideshow / Slideshow: to add this content that is halfway between photos and videos.
- Form / Forms: so that people can subscribe to your newsletter.
- Third party widgets: which will allow you for example to include a Gumroad widget to sell directly from Carrd websites.
- Embed / Embedded Content: so you can embed any content on your website.
As there are so many different blocks, it is impossible to explain the specific configuration of all of them, as each one has specific options depending on the type of block.
You simply have to keep in mind that when you select a block, its customization options will appear in the sidebar.
For example, in the case of the “Button” type block, you will be able to define the icon, the button label, the link, the background color…
In each type of block you will find a different configuration:
- In Images, Gallery, Videos or Audio blocks you will find options to upload or link content,
- In text blocks or lists you will find options to enrich the text with bold, italics, underlines…
- In the counter you can set the end date,
- And so on with all the blocks.
You should note that in addition to the basic settings, there are two more tabs in the sidebar.
- Brush: appearance tab.
- Gear wheel: advanced settings.
While the advanced settings may not be needed, as most of the options are locked for the paid plan, and are moderately complex, the appearance tab is simpler, and you will probably get more use out of it.
From this tab, in the block type “button” for example, is where you will decide if you want these buttons to include icon or not, and on which side, if you want them to have a colored background, or just a transparent background, the font used by the button, its size…
Whenever you are looking for an option to modify a block, and you can’t find it in the main tab, remember this appearance tab, because surely what you need to change will be hidden here.
Pricing and plans
Carrd is basically free, with certain limitations, but indefinitely.
This will allow you to use it as long as you want, and only upgrade to a paid plan when you need to unlock a specific feature.
In addition to the free plan, Carrd has three other superior plans, which are quite affordable.
- Pro Lite ($9 per year)
- Pro Standard ($19 per year)
- And Pro Plus ($49 per year)
Pro Lite ($9 / Year)
The most interesting features of the Pro Lite plan are:
- Eliminates the “made with Carrd” footer, which can detract from the professionalism of your websites.
- Eliminates the limit of 50 blocks that exists in the free plan (you will be able to add unlimited blocks to create more complex pages).
- You will have access to more templates: so you can create something more eye-catching without much effort.
- You will be able to add a favicon to your website.
- You will be able to use videos and slideshows as background.
- Although this plan still maintains the limit of only 3 sites, for its price, it is quite interesting, if only to remove the footer and thus have a cleaner web.
Pro Standard ($19 / Year)
For a little more, you can sign up for the Pro Standard plan, which in my opinion has much more interesting features than the previous one:
- You will be able to use your own domains: together with the elimination of the footer, your website will be totally professional for external users, and they won’t have to know it’s made with Carrd.
- The limit of sites increases to 10: which comes in handy if you have several projects, since 3 may not be enough in some cases.
- You will be able to add subscription forms: to Mailchimp, Revue, ConvertKit, SendFox…
- You will have access to Widgets: from for example Stripe, PayPal, or Gumroad, which will allow you to easily sell your products (for example, if you have created a website to promote a book).
- You will be able to embed your own code: in case you want to upload your own scripts.
- You will be able to include your Google Analytics code: to keep track of the visits to your websites.
- In my opinion, if you are going to use a paid Carrd plan, the Pro Standard plan is much better than the Lite plan, and the price difference between both is quite negligible (less than $0.9 per month).
Pro Plus ($49 / Year)
In addition to all of the above, with this plan you will be able to:
- Create up to 25 sites.
- Save the sites you generate as templates.
- Download the code of these sites: that is, the HTML, JS and CSS code of the sites.
- Password protect the website: for example, you can use this if you do classic wedding photography services, creating a new site with a portfolio template for each client, and protecting them with a password for privacy.
- There are some extra advanced features, but in my opinion, those are the most interesting ones, and the ones that could make you purchase this plan.
Carrd, opinions and conclusions
I’ve always been of the opinion that on the internet you should own your content, and that’s why I always recommend creating your own platforms to work on:
- WordPress for your website/blog instead of Medium or Blogger,
- Memberpress + Wp-CourseWare to create your online school (instead of Teachable, Hotmart…)
- Woocommerce for your store instead of Shopify….
However, I think Carrd can easily fit into an online strategy.
- Its free or Lite plan, can be very useful to use with the classic “link in bio” for Instagram or social networks, and thus redirect your followers to your other projects.
- You can create micro-sites quickly to focus the attention of your customers on a new project (for example, the launch of a new book or course).
- You can even create a business with Carrd alone, combining it with SendFox to create a newsletter community, with Gumroad to sell, or with password protected websites to distribute the content of your services to your customers.
All these features are especially interesting due to the speed that Carrd offers compared to WordPress, its low learning curve, and of course, its affordable price.
Although if you want to use your own domains you will have to buy them separately (something that is actually good), you should not forget that Carrd is covering the cost of hosting your website, and this for only $19 per year, so in many occasions, it can be interesting to use this service to create your content, even if you already know how to use WordPress as in my case.
Of course, you must be aware of the limitations of the service.
Do not use Carrd if you are planning a very long term project, which depends especially on SEO or content generation, because Carrd does not have any kind of “blog” with which to attract potential customers.
Except for those specific cases, Carrd can be a fantastic ally that will make your life much easier for specific situations, providing agility to your projects, with a very careful design.