This is a guest post written by domain broker, Rob Sequin.
As part of my 2011 planning, I have been giving considerable thought about the current and future use of my domain names. This nice thing about owning a number of domains is that domain portfolio owners have numerous options for what they can do with their domains.
Of course everyone’s portfolio is different as are business models and goals but I thought that it may be helpful to offer some guidance about use of domains. Here is a list of what you can do with your domains…
Summary: Website development requires skills and software. To develop a site you need to have a server, website design software/platform like xsitepro, WordPress, Dreamweaver etc. Development requires lots of time and skill or money if you have to hire a developer.
Adds value to the domain so long as your development is appreciated by search engines, visitors, direct advertisers and potential buyers. Gives you the ability to place Adsense, affiliate ads, sell products, get direct advertisers etc. Ability to track everything with Google Analytics code.
Time consuming and may be developed differently from what your visitors, direct advertisers or potential buyers are looking for thus just a waste of time.
To Developed Website
Summary: Forward related domains to a developed site already in your network that would be an appropriate “lander” for the forwarded domain.
Pros: Visitors land on a developed page therefore you get the best use for this forwarded domain. Developed site gets more traffic from type ins from relevant, forwarded domain. Why park a domain for pennies a day if you can forward to your site and capture a potential direct advertiser or customer. Why not spend those pennies a day and “buy” this traffic?
Cons: You have to have a related developed domain as a “lander”. Cannot offer forwarded domain for sale if it is pointing to a developed site. No stats for forwarded domain unless masked. If masked then visitor cannot see URLs of developed site. No search engine love for forwarded domains.
To Retail Sales Website
Summary: If you have a developed site that is a retail sales site, forwarding your domains to this sales site can increase sales.
Pros: You can have some advertising on the site but if it’s for sales of domains, limit ALL outgoing links. Direct sales to buyer, no third party marketplace with anonymous negotiations or commissions. Potential to upsell buyer more similar domains. Why park a domain for pennies a day if you can forward to your site and capture a potential buyer. Why not spend those pennies a day and “buy” this traffic?
Cons: Same as above to Developed Website.
Summary: I know there are leasing sites and opportunities out there but not practical for most domain owners.
Pros: Generates guaranteed income over what Adsense, sales, leads or direct advertisers will pay you.
Cons: VERY difficult to find anyone to lease your domains, you need a STRONG contract and need to make sure leasee is not using your domain in bad ways. You give up all control of the domain.
Summary: Epik, Whypark and DevHub are hybrids of parking and development. Not all domains are good candidates for minisite development but a great option for the right domains, usually product domains or long tail domains.
Pros: May generate more revenue parking and may get some search engine placement. Adds value to domain since content is directly relevant to domain. Minisite platforms are very advanced today and offer many ways to add content and revenue generating features. You can probably have a “This domain for sale” link on the lander.
Cons: From my limited experience, I have not made any money nor created any search engine traffic from minisite development. No public sales marketplace at minisite companies.
Summary: Nothing means nothing. I am amazed how many dead landing pages or registrar landing pages I come across.
Pros: Not using domain could help if you are TM squatting. That’s about all the Pros I can come up with J
Cons: Dumbest use of domain, shows owner does not care at all about domain, adds zero value. In fact tells potential buyer that you are uneducated about domains, not using it and therefore you should expect VERY low offers and of course no revenue or search engine placement, no stats either.
Summary: Many people say that parking is dead or dying but this is by far the easiest way to make the most revenue with little effort. I have used Sedo (Google feed) and Parked (Yahoo feed). I admit I do not make much money from parking, which is not my primary source of revenue. I will say that I have tried MOST of the parking companies at one time or another and I have found that I like working with Sedo or Parked.
Pros: Change the nameservers, optimize the lander, set it and forget it.
Cons: Probably no search engine ranking but I have seen my domains rank with Sedo and Parked pages.
Sedo Pros: Best parking revenue, domain for sale link, sales marketplace, good stats but confusing
Sedo Cons: Cannot negotiate directly with buyer, buyer is anonymous, sales commission, no custom content. Landers are very generic.
Parked Pros: Custom domain for sale link, great stats, simple user interface, ability to add custom content, plenty of photos directly relevant to keywords.
Parked Cons: Adequate revenue, no sales marketplace. I understand that the transition to Bing has not gone well and Yahoo feed parking companies may need some time for revenue to recover.
You should have all your domain names in a spreadsheet or in some manner that they can be sorted and categorized. Make a column for near term use and long term use. Ultimately your long term goals might be something like this:
- Development 5% to 20%
- Forwarding 10% to 20%
- Leasing 0% to 5%
- Minisites 10% to 30%
- Nothing 0%
- Parking 40% to 80%
Short term use could be parking while long term use could be development. Parking is a great way to at least see what kind of traffic a domain receives then you can make a better decision about developing it. Be sure to have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish.
If you want a revenue stream then test parking, test minisites and test development. If your goal is sales then be sure to have your domains listed for sale in several locations and/or forward them to your own retail sales site. If you goal is to bring in direct advertisers then you’ll want to develop good websites with unique content that offers value to your visitors.
Good luck. I hope this helps with your domain planning for 2011.