Hi everyone 👋
On 9th of May I launched Codewell — a website where you can improve your HTML and CSS skills by practicing on real design templates, and I just crossed $100 MRR today!
This will be a relatively long article as to what I did pre-launch and what I did wrong, so grab yourself a drink and buckle up.
Around a year ago, I learned enough HTML and CSS to build out a VERY alpha version of Codewell that was called Good Code then. It took off but it wasn't really a long-term thing because it was just a relatively simple website where people would be taken to a Google Drive link to download the templates.
It grew to a community of 96 people on reddit — it wasn't that active but people would regularly post their solutions on there.
👉 The fact that the templates were downloaded over 1500+ times, people were posting solutions, and even getting $15 in sales validated the idea enough for me to pitch to my developer friend (keep in mind I hadn't discussed this idea with him before).
Queue 3 months ago after finishing my mandatory military service (long story) — I started designing a more refined version of Good Code with more features. Users would be able to login, download challenges, share their solutions, subscribe for additional features, etc.
I show it to my friend and he's in! We had estimated it would take us around a month to 2 months to build but due to life, it took 3.
While my friend was building Codewell out, I threw some sneak peaks here and there on Reddit and this one caught the eyes of a few people and that got me around 183 people on the waitlist.
I even started being active on Twitter and grew to 760+ followers from 150 in the span of 3 months. This would prove to be VERY helpful in just a second.
Before launching on Twitter, Reddit, ProductHunt, or any of these platforms, I sent an email to my newsletter.
👉 Just a few hours after sending, 2 people subscribe. I cried a little, not even kidding. Maybe it was because of the work put in, or the fact that the idea was validated quickly, whatever it was, I cried.
👉 I launch on Twitter. TONS of retweets and likes, something I never expected because it was the first time I launched something on Twitter, that got us a few more subscribers. Before I know it, we're already at $50 MRR.
👉 I launch on ProductHunt. (Let's leave this one to the what I did wrong section).
👉 I launched on Reddit. Front page within a few hours (currently at 1.8k upvotes) and thousands of visits, this one didn't convert as much but it also got us a few subscribers.
In between launches, someone would subscribe. Eventually getting us $100 MR with one yearly plan.
👉 I launched on ProductHunt with 8 hours to go. I managed to get to the 10th spot (Twitter helped a ton here), but it just wasn't enough time for people to check it out. Why did I launch with only 8 hours to go? Lack of belief. I didn't think this was going to hit the front page, to be honest, and so I just threw it out there.
👉 I didn't include the newsletter in the website and I missed out on a ton of potential people signing up to the newsletter. I wanted to include it to reduce platform risk but I just rushed things out and wanted to launch that I completely ignored it.
👉 Didn't setup analytics correctly so where and why someone subscribed was just a guessing game. Again, this is because I wanted to launch quickly that I completely ignored it.
That's pretty much it. Looking forward to seeing what the next few months have in store and what the churn rate will look like. It's my first ever side project and it's been and still is a rollercoaster!