If you have not read The Basics of Domain Investing better do so first, as that will help you to understand this post better
Photo by LightFusionStudio.com at Flickr
There are several keys to successful domain investing:
- Finding good domains which can bring profit
- Buying the domains at good price
- Getting the most profits of the domain names
- Flipping the domains at good price (optional)
This article concentrates on the first item and especially on buying existing domain names. (Registering new domains is a topic that has to be discussed separately) You can’t make good profits if you don’t obtain good domain names. It’s like expecting to make money by real estate investing when buying overpriced hotel in a crowded sea resort.
The Characteristics Of A Good Domain Name
Most of the things that make a domain name or a website a good investment can’t be faked which is the good news for you. A good domain is:
- Old. In the Web the older adomain is, the better, because the search engines consider older domains to be more trusted. Use the Web Archive to check what has been hosted on the domain in the past and ensure there has not been some spam or illegal site
- Short. The shorter the domain name is, the easier people will remember it. This means more returning visitors and more traffic. All 3 – letter .com domains are now taken for this reason.
- .Com Whatever people say, .com is best. When you recall a domain name but can’t remember the extension, you usually try with .com first. A .com domain means more type-in traffic. A .com domain can be sold easier than any other domain name. After .com, prefer .net, .org and country specific domains like co.uk. The least value have the less popular extensions like .info, .name, .mobi, .biz etc.
- Keyword Rich. A keyword rich domain is a domain which contain related keywords in it. This helps the domain to rank better in search results. For example sharkinvestor.com is a keyword rich domain containing the words “shark” and “investor” and ranks very well when you search for shark investor (some will argue that the search engines can’t recognize the 2 words because there is no dash, but my experiments show the opposite). If a domain can be both keyword-rich and short, then cool. If you have to choose between short and keyword-rich, prefer short, memorable and brand-able domain name.
- High PR and more links. Prefer domains with Google PR 3 or more. Get SEO For Firefox to check these things easier
- With existing traffic and revenue. It’s much better if the domain you are buying already hosts a site and that site already makes money. This of course makes the price of the domain higher.
Finding Good Domains or Websites
If you publish an ad “I am buying domains and websites” you are likely to receive a lot of offers for low quality domains. People who respond to such ads often can’t sell their domains to anyone else or are too squeezed to publish their “domain/website for sale” ad. Instead of waiting sellers to contact you, try the following ways of finding good domains:
- Online marketplaces. These are auction sites where webmasters list their domains and sites for sale. Other investors like you bid on them and try to win the auction. The marketplaces are an easy way to find domains and have a couple of disadvantages. First, you compete with many other buyers which makes it hard to make a good deal. Second, the people who go there to sell are usually people in the business. They know how much their website or domain costs and want to get the best price possible. Often there are cheaters who try to fake traffic and revenue details. My favorite marketplaces are Site Point and SeDo.
- Search engines. If you have chosen a niche in which to invest you can search for sites in that niche. Look for ones that rank between 3rd and 10th page for your selected keywords and see if they are well SE optimized and monetized (you may need to study SEO or ask an expert to evaluate for you). Some sites may have great content but not be optimized or monetized well, which gives you the chance to buy them at low price, improve their SEO and monetization strategies and make very high ROI. Then you can either keep such sites for revenue or flip them for much better price. By searching in the engines you will find only developed sites – not empty domain names. This strategy is involved and time consuming.
- Topical Directories. Do you want to buy a domain about mortgage credits? Search the web for “financial directory” and you will find the top directories with many sites listed. Use the previous strategy to pick good deals. The directory search is easier to do and has one advantage – some of the sites may be just expired domains which can be bough or registered for pennies. As the domain have been already listed, you’ll not need to re-list and it will have some SE value
- Social networks. Join a social network like Facebook and browse the groups or networks for the topic you are interested in. Many of the members of the group have website URLs in their profiles. Some of these domains will be of good quality, but under-monetized or under-optimized. Make a private offer and buy.
- Link pages of good sites. Find good sites (ranking in the 1st page of Google for competitive keywords) and find their pages with links to other sites. These links may have very good value, so the sites linked there are potential good deals – especially (again) if you can improve their monetization/SEO practices.
So many people are buying tons of books on “Making money online” and try to build web business from scratch. This requires a lot of work, happens slowly and very often does not happen at all. Most of these books suck anyway. It is so much better, faster and smarter to find existing domains, improve them and make profits. You’ll need to learn some internet marketing and SEO for that, but it’s less that you need to learn how to make it from scratch.