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Top Notch Domains

Overview of My Business

While at the TRAFFIC conference a couple of weeks ago, I met a number of people I hadn’t met before. Most of these people had heard of my blog, but a couple of them asked me what I do aside from my blog. I explained what I do to them, and I thought I would also give you a general overview of my business.

Before I get into it, I recommend reading Shane Cultra’s post about the three important aspects of his business. I think he said it well, so I will use that as the baseline for my post to give you a better idea of what I do and how I make a living as a domain investor.

$100 Contest: Which Domain Name Receives The Most Inquiries?

It’s been a rough week, so let’s end it on a good note. Listed below, are 25 domain names that are owned by two of my companies.

Guess which domain name on the list has received the most sales inquiries in the last month to win $100 from me. If multiple people guess correctly, I will divide the $100 prize between all those who correctly guessed. As an example, if 10 people guess correctly, each person will receive $10 and if 1 person guesses it, that person will receive $100 via Paypal. Only one entry/guess per person, and if you guess more than once, you are disqualified. Contest ends at 10pm Eastern tonight (if I don’t close comments, any made after 10pm will be deleted and don’t count).  If any other questions come up, I’ll address them.

25 Domain Names in ABC order:

  • ActingCoach.com
  • AnsweringMachines.com
  • BabyRegistries.com
  • BoracayHotels.com
  • Burbank.com
  • CoalAsh.com
  • ContactManagement.com
  • Distraction.com
  • EducationAssistance.com
  • EventManagement.com
  • HIVPill.com
  • HomeStorage.com
  • HousekeepingService.com
  • HRConsulting.com
  • KJP.com
  • LandscapeContractors.com
  • LivestockMarket.com
  • Lowell.com
  • PainIntervention.com
  • PreForeclosureHomes.com
  • ScarletMacaw.com
  • SHS.com
  • SocialMediaConsulting.com
  • TitleManagement.com
  • WhistleblowerLaw.com

Re-Launched Company Website and Logo

This week, I re-launched my corporate website on TopNotchDomains.com. I don’t really love my company name anymore, but it’s a pain in the neck to change it, and it really isn’t worth the hassle of making any type of legal change, especially because I operate in two states and that means additional work and legal fees.

One of the first things you may notice is a new logo. I used Logo.com to create the corporate logo design, and I really appreciate the work they did with the little guidance I gave. The designers came back with dozens of ideas and we eventually decided there wouldn’t be any type of accompanying graphic with the logo and it would be a stylized font. The logo designers chose a design that utilized the “notch” theme, with almost every letter having a notch in it. I kept the same colors as I had in my previous logo for consistency sake. For those who are curious, I used the platinum package giving me unlimited revisions.

I used a html theme I found at ThemeForest, and it cost somewhere around $30. I made several alterations to the theme to adjust it to fit my needs. This was one of those times that having a bit of coding knowledge was advantageous. I also used Tia Wood to make a couple of site design changes I didn’t know how to make, particularly on the developed brands page.

One thing I want to change around a bit is the home page. I think the text needs to be re-written, although I don’t really feel like spending much time doing that right now. I think the site is fairly straightforward, makes it clear that my business invests in good domain names and builds them, and it’s been around for a fair amount of time.

I think it’s wise for domain investors to have a corporate website because it gives some people assurance that you are a “real” entity when you are doing a deal.

Newburyport.com Sold to Local Realtor

I don’t generally disclose my domain sales publicly, but I want to tell you about a recent domain sale of mine. I sold Newburyport.com to one of the highest producing real estate agents in the region, Robert Bentley, of RE/MAX on the River. Newburyport is a town on the coast of Massachusetts with about 21,000 residents, and it’s a great place to live and visit.

I owned Newburyport.com for a couple of years, and I acquired it because I thought it would make a great pair with Lowell.com. One thing I realized early on is that the town of Newburyport has several news outlets, and it was difficult for me to compete for eyeballs, without having reporters and/or first hand sources on the ground in Newburyport.

With Lowell.com, I am sent a considerable amount of news and event listings, which helps drive traffic and advertising revenue, but that wasn’t the case for me with Newburyport.com. In fact, I hadn’t updated Newburyport.com in about a year, and I felt guilty about it because I think Newburyport is a great town.

The sale price of Newburyport.com was right around $25,000, and although I included the website with the sale, the site will be re-built. Mr. Bentley knows the area as well as anyone, and he should be able to use the domain name to increase the amount of business he does in town, as well as create a local guide to, and for the area.

According to Mr. Bentley, “I am creating a town site which will be an advertising platform for all local businesses in a directory format. Restaurants, Retail and Hotels will see a strong focus as Newburyport.com is rebuilt and becomes a free platform for those specific services.” The current website and SERP positioning will be leveraged to improve traffic and rankings for the new website.

I am sad to have sold the domain name, but I operate several revenue generating websites and have a newborn, so there wasn’t much of a chance for me to spend additional time working on the website. I wish Mr. Bentley all the best with the domain name.

Interviewed on Domainers Digest

I feel like most people who read my blog have a good idea about who I am and what I do, but my friend Steve Kaziyev asked to interview me on Domainers Digest, and I agreed to do it. I think it’s important to be open when you have a blog, and I hope you can read the interview to see what I am doing, what I’ve done, and what my goals are (as well as my limitations).

In the last year or so, Steve’s become a good buddy of mine, and it’s always fun to get together with him (especially when he orders bottles of champagne and seafood towers on your credit card!) Steve and I share similar domain development goals, and sometimes when we get together, we actually get some work done. Kidding aside, Steve is one of the more generous people in the business and always has good business and life advice to share.

Thanks to Steve for asking to interview me.

Make Money Doing What You Enjoy

While it certainly wasn’t intentional, I believe I have walked into a good business model with my blog. Everybody wants to have a job where they love their work. This can lead to less stress and a nice work/life balance. When you are doing what you love, it doesn’t feel like work and you can perform at a higher level than if you wanted to be doing something else.

When I started my blog a couple years ago, the goal was to help people learn about the domain investment industry. At the time, there were just a few strictly domaining blogs, and I thought I could offer a different perspective than the other bloggers. I hated posting in the public domain forums, and I figured I would start up a blog where I could post commentary and insight as I continued to grow my business, and it would be cool if I could learn from others as I shared what I was learning.

Along the way, I have experimented with many strategies, met with some of the most successful leaders in our industry, and have learned quite a bit about the industry and related industries. I have done my best to share what I’ve learned, some of which has been successful and some of which hasn’t been so successful. I’ve received considerable support, people continue to read my blog, and traffic numbers seem to increase just about every month. As a result, I have been able to sell advertising space on my blog to companies in our industry and related industries.

Although my blog doesn’t generate the majority of my revenue, the revenue has been increasing, and it’s beginning to pay for the time I contribute to keep the blog updated daily. For me, this is growing into an ideal Internet business model because I love blogging and talking about our industry, and now I am getting paid to do it. Not only this, but because I am discussing domains and domain development on my blog, my wife and friends don’t have to listen to me discuss it when I go out with them at night… it’s a win/win for all – good work/life balance!

The point of this is that no matter what you are passionate about, there are others who are just as passionate as you. Start a blog and make it your outlet to talk about your passion. Make smart business and marketing decisions along the way, but don’t let those drive your overall blogging decisions. People will be able to tell that you are passionate and knowledgeable about the subject, and if you are lucky like me, you will have a great readership that contributes to your blog. Even when my thinking is flawed, I am lucky to have enough readers who offer their opinions, making all of us smarter as a result.

It’s a win/win when you love what you do, continue to learn about the industry, grow your business, and generate revenue as you do it all.

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