Peter Askew is one of the most prominent domain name-first web developers I know. His company owns several Internet properties that operate on domain names that tell visitors exactly what they would expect to find on the website. He has successfully built niche brands like RanchWork.com, DudeRanch.com, and VidaliaOnions.com (my personal favorite).
Late last year, Peter announced his acquisition of the SEOJobs.com domain name for $15,000. Peter found the domain name listed for sale on Afternic, and he tried to buy it for $9,750. The registrant held firm at the $15,000 price, and Peter decided to buy it.
Like Peter’s other projects, the business idea behind SEOJobs.com is clear – it has been (re)built into a website to help people find employment in the field of Search Engine Optimization. I say rebuilt because SEOJobs.com had previously operated as a job board for SEO jobs, but Peter’s acquisition only included the domain name.
The framework for the SEOJobs.com website is the same as the one he uses for RanchWork.com. In addition to the knowledge he gained from operating niche websites, Peter was able to take many of the tools he uses from his other websites to help operate this one. Peter told me his is using a WordPress theme for the CMS, the email is powered by Email Octopus, payments are powered by Stripe through the Gravity Forms plugin, and he uses Clicky for his Analytics.
There are some big differences between SEOJobs.com and RanchWork.com that will make this business more challenging. The cost for PPC advertising is substantially higher in the SEO field. In addition, because many of the websites competing in this category have SEO expertise, it is more challenging to rank well for the key terms that drive search engine traffic to the website.
Notably, there are quite a few large competitors that operate in the field of employment and hiring. Websites like Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter.com, Monster.com, and LinkedIn are all well-established businesses that connect job seekers with companies looking to hire employees. Although SEOJobs.com is a niche job website, it still competes with some large and well known companies. When asked about how challenging it is to compete with well-established websites, Peter said:
“Quite challenging, but not impossible. I find if you focus your efforts on over-serving an industry, you’re able to compete head-to-head with larger, VC-backed companies. For instance, an Ad agency listing on SEOjobs.com will correspond with me, the Founder, and I’ll bend backwards to ensure their listing is filled. That same Ad agency, listing on larger job boards, is unlikely to have a direct contact for their listing, and they’ll be charged 10x compared to our rates. Focusing on service and reasonable pricing has served me well over the years.”
Peter has been a big proponent of web development in the domain industry. Peter shared this advice for other domain investors who are thinking about building businesses on their domain names:
“Go niche. Avoid commodity businesses where you compete with Amazon, etal. Dig around for small, boutique industries with a strong following who are underserved. Job boards, directory marketplaces, and boutique e-commerce are business frameworks to consider. It takes several swings at bat to uncover an opportunity, but it’s worth the experience. The more swings, the more experience you’re cobbling together. Consider mixing in development with your investments – I’ve found it provides another valuable revenue stream if your domain investments hit a dry spell.”
Peter also shared the following bit of wisdom:
“Don’t overthink development. It’s best to simply jump in and give it a shot. But be wise, jump in on a smaller-level project where – if you lose it all – your well-being isn’t sacrificed. Development requires several swings until one makes contact. And listen to your inner-nature – if you uncover an an opportunity where you’re excited to wake up each morning to tinker on, you’ve hit the grand slam of development opportunities.”
Peter is known for sharing quite a bit of information about his websites, and it will be interesting to follow Peter as he continues to build out SEOJobs.com.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he recoups the URL buy price and site rebuild within 60 days.
Very clean interface.
Good luck with the SEOJobs.com platform Peter Askew.
Great! Peter is an inspiration to us all!
Great advice Eliot. I am curious about what his business model is. In the case of jobs looks like lead gen with passthrough of leads to previously sold/subscribed clients, in case of dude ranch looks like advert play with a private sale to participating dude ranches, etc. Then there’s the full out fulfillment/ecom model. Very interested to understand what he likes in terms of the model.