Use the Hello Bar to Sell a Website

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I believe it’s more difficult to sell a domain name with any type of development as compared to a parked domain name. Many people who are unfamiliar with the Whois database will type in a domain name to see if someone is using it. If they see a developed website (even a mini site), it’s likely they will move on to other domain names, unless they absolutely need a specific domain name.

When you visit many domain names parked with Internet Traffic (and other parking providers), you can see a bright bar at the top of the landing page announcing that the domain name may be for sale. From what I understand, this helps drive a significant amount of offers for domain owners. Although many offers are unqualified, it still opens a dialog.

The Hello Bar is a neat toolbar that you can easily add to the top of your website or blog, and it can be used to let visitors know the website is for sale. You can choose any color or font combination and add a link to a destination url of your choice. Many people traditionally use it to direct visitors to certain articles or make special announcements, and I think it’s a great tool to sell a website.

It’s very easy to install the Hello Bar, whether you use WordPress, Typepad, Tumblr, or basically any content management system. For WordPress, you can download a free plugin, and then enter the code from the Hello Bar website into the correct field on the plugin editor page. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to install and add. You can then add a page on your site to let people know how to get in touch with you or how to buy the domain name and website.

I want to share an example of how I set up the Hello Bar on one of my websites this morning, and it only took a few minutes. Visit BabyRegistries.com and you can see how the Hello Bar looks. Once I added my messaging to the Hello Bar, I set up a very quick and free form at Woofoo.com. It took less than 30 minutes to set up on my first try.

I can’t tell you if it will work for certain, but it’s a great way to let people know your domain name with website is for sale.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the tip. I couldn’t agree more with you about buyers staying away from names with associated sites.

    My theory on this is simply that 90%+ of would-be buyers are looking for untouched, untainted (virtual) real estate. There’s something to the view of not wanting to commit investment moneys to other people’s tried-and-floundering projects.

    No one wants to have to clean up other peoples’ messes, hence that perspective.

  2. Last week I redirected nearly all my domains to a page with a simple enquiry form instead of parking – if this week is representative, it looks like enquiries will be more than 400% better.

    As Gene said above, people want to see the name is unused – several possible reasons for that.

  3. Great tip, and very timely – about 30 seconds after I replied to your tweet I posted that I anticipate completely moving away from parking in favor of custom “for sale” landing pages, much as @JamesD has. The hello bar tip will make the process easier.

  4. Unfortunately, due to the volume of clicks as a result of the article, the Hello Bar is now inactive because I use the free account. Under normal circumstances, I doubt there would be that much click volume. Perhaps setting up a HB account for each website would be a good idea or just pay for the account.

  5. I don’t see the Hello bar on BabyRegistries.com, using IE or Chrome. Did you take it off?

    The flipside to this approach is that a ‘domain for sale’ type feature can be thought to cheapen the content of the webpage to people who aren’t looking to buy the domain, but are looking for information or products to do with the domain keywords. It’s a fine line, but if your real goal is to sell the domain or website, I think it does help.

  6. Very cool plugin. I always wondered what people were using.

    For a free form service, I would recommend jotform.com. They allow users to have unlimited forms.

    @@Domains You could probably mitigate any negative effects on your bounce rate by using non-sales wording on the HB. I think something like “Inquire about this website” would have less of a negative effect than “This website is for sale.”

  7. You would obviously have a lot more experience in this being a flipper, would you say the people who are unfamiliar with the Whois database are really able to purchase a domain name for a considerable amount?

    I would think if someone had the money and wanted a name they would take the time to figure out the whois process.

  8. @ Shai

    Maybe but maybe not. I think most people know about huge sales like Sex.com and whatnot, so they may have some idea of the value of a good name but no clue on how to find the owner.

    That aside though, the first place many people look to see if a name is a business/website/developed is the domain name itself. For instance, they probably wouldn’t waste time trying to buy Diapers.com when they see the company was bought by Amazon (found on the About Us page).

  9. I hear ya Elliot,

    If your main business is selling domains I guess this makes sense. If your developing you need to look at the flip side of this and think of how many of your potential users will look at that in a negative way. i.e. if your a directory charging annual listing fees I would think if a potential advertiser saw a “for sale” sign on top of the homepage he would have second thoughts if he couldn’t be sure the owner was in it for the long haul.

    BTW, BabyRegistries.com looks great. You need to email me your designer.

  10. That’s exactly what i did 5 days ago.
    I took all my domains from parking,where it had the bar “for sale”.I was not in touch with the potential buyers and i parked them back to Gd,then i went in to my parking acc.and click the for sale option.Now i get inquiries every day and i stay in touch with potential buyers.Big difference
    Here is an example:http://visittoturkey.com

  11. I don’t know. I am forging ahead with development of at least one domain per topic. For instance, my DualScreenPhones.com is page 1 of Google not just for the plural, but for the more valuable singular:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=dual%20screen%20phone

    because it needs to be competitive with the other extensions and with the singular. Well done, if I do say so myself.

    Isn’t that the reason domains which sell on Sedo and Afternic get everyone scratching their head, because they are indexed and have traffic or other advantages.

    My QRReader.org is page one of Bing, too. It has to beat the competition. I don’t want to fool around.

  12. From my testing, domains with a ‘for sale’ contact form/parking page do get hungry buyers more than domains that look like ‘developed’ (even just a simple wordpress site). One of the reasons ppc domain parking still work.

  13. GoDaddy’s InstantPage product has a nice “Domain For Sale” Option one can set up. I like their InstantPage product, but it only works with names one has registered over the last 14 months or so. Anything older they force one to use Website Tonight. Wish they allowed the InstantPage option for all domain names one owns.

  14. @ Elliot – that’s an interesting idea to add a sales bar to websites for sale. I just wonder, what’s the major benefit of using such a service as HelloBar.com? Is there some principle difference between using the bar provided by it and a similar html-coded bar (e.g. like one I’ve added today to the site I’m linking to)?

  15. Now that it’s been about 8-9 months since this post, has your opinion changed on using the Hello Bar to help generate potential sales of developed sites? It looks like you’re not using it anymore on BabyRegistries.com.

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