Everyone’s heard of domain names. If you’re reading this then you’ve certainly heard of them: you’ve typed one in your browser or clicked on one to get here! Domain names are the universal means by which you and everyone else navigates the internet; that little string of text (usually starting with www) that takes us everywhere from checking e-mail to surfing for the latest Missy Elliot video. That said, its easy to see why domain names have contributed to the astronomical success and ‘coolness’ of the internet. Yup, that’s right, the internet started as a small network of college geeks connecting their computers together so they could become even nerdier. The only reason cool folk like you and me started using the internet is because it became so easy to navigate and the internet became easy to navigate all because of domain names. If they did’nt exist we’d all be typing in long strings of numbers like 126.96.36.199 instead of google.com or 188.8.131.52 instead of yahoo.com etc…sounds like fun huh?
So that’s what we know about domain names. However, far more important is what you may not know about domains and the industry that’s mushroomed around them. There are big bucks to be made in the domain biz and we’re going to tell you all about it.
What makes A Domain Name Valuable?
Over 400 million domain names have been registered as of January 2006 and it is estimated that 20,000 names are being reserved or registered everyday. So what separates a domain name worth millions from one that’s not even worth the cost to register it? Here are a few factors which contribute greatly to the value of any domain name.
The Top Level Domain (TLD) extension of the Domain Name.
.com and .net TLD extensions currently have the most popularity because these were the first extensions to be registered back in the early 90’s. Domain names on the internet have come to be defined by these two TLD’s. This does’nt mean that this will always be the case. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ) who overseas the Domain Name System (DNS) file, approves new TLD’s every year and these gain increasing popularity over time. Regional TLD’s additionally help in identifying domains relating to a particular geographical area .US and .EU being prime examples.
Domain Name Contains popular keywords
What makes buyonline.com worth six figures and aquireonline.com practically worthless? Both are great sounding domain names but ‘buy online’ is more likely to form part of a specific search term that someone would enter into a search engine. Search engines read the text of your domain name and are more likely to display your website in search results for matching keywords. If your business sells a new product, lets call it a zigtag, you can get far more visitors to your website by registering the domain name [http://www.buyzigtags.com] rather than [http://www.myzigtagstore.com] . Its all about the ‘trafficability’ of your domain name and not just any traffic but targeted traffic. Targeted traffic means visitors who arrive at your website because you’ve got content that they were searching for on a search engine for example. Great keyword domain names have the ability to automatically drive targeted traffic from search engines.
Domain Name is Generic, Short and Pronounceable.
Keyword domains can drive traffic from search engines but an even more elusive and coveted source of traffic is from direct type-in’s (i.e persons typing the domain name directly into a browser). It usually takes many months of online marketing and promotion for a domain name to build high levels of consistent type in traffic, but the right domain name can get it naturally. Music.com, Weather.com, buydvds.com or sellcarsonline.net are all examples of domain names with great natural type-in traffic. People simply expect that when they type-in Music.com they’ll see something that grabs their attention regarding popular recording artistes or downloading music files. Also, making your domain name as short as possible and as pronounceable as possible can drastically increase its value. Domains that are short and pronounceable are more easily remembered by web surfers (some of who have memories no longer than a mouse ‘double click’) and thus more likely to get targeted type-in traffic.
The Domain Name is Registered for 10 years or more in advance.
Remember earlier we said that 20,000 domain names get registered everyday? Well an equal number of domains expire everyday. Yup, about 20,000 domains fall by the wayside having been registered only for a year or maybe two. This means that thousands of links on thousands of pages will go dead (if the domains hosted developed websites this is a big inconvenience to many internet users) or it means that the domain name did’nt meet any of the previous criteria to make it a valuable domain name in the first place. Search engines like Google are now beginning to pick up on this and will automatically assign a higher Page Rank (PR) to websites hosted on domains registered 10 years or more in advance. Even if your domain does not host a developed website, having it registered for a few years in advance will make it more attractive to buyers who wont have to pay to renew the name a year or two after getting it from you.
You may be surprised by the number internet-users who can’t spell. For the record, we’re not. Literally millions of domain name typos are registered everyday. Domain names that are close enough to the spelling of another domain that receives good type-in traffic are likely to get many accidental type-ins per month. While this will increase the typo domain’s traffic, people usually smarten up once they see that the wrong page has loaded. Developing a website on a typo domain that has similar content as the correctly spelt domain is the best method of utilising typos. The traffic these domains receive is less targeted than those fitting the above-mentioned criteria for a valuable domain name. Even so, a big chunk of the domain name aftermarket’s earnings comes from typo domains.
These are the basic tenets that one should look for in a domain name that is at the very least worth registering.
How do I Turn My Domain Name Into Real Cash?
Now that you’ve got the .com/.net domain name that’s got great keywords and is easy to remember you’re probably thinking ‘oh so I’ll just sit here and wait for Bill Gates to offer me 7 figures, right?’. The simple answer is that any valuable item if under utilised becomes a dud (yes, that’s a technical term).
Here are just a few ways of making your great domain name work for you:
1. Develop a Website
Develop a content-rich website that’s relevant to the keywords that may be in your domain name. This method has unlimited potential for traffic and earnings. We don’t have to tell you of the millions that are being earned everyday by the top websites on the internet. These websites utilise a combination of having keywords in their domain name and website content that is relevant to those keywords. If you cant find they right keyword rich domain name for your area of interest don’t despair. Some of the top websites on the internet simply made words up or acronyms which could mean anything, Yahoo and Google being prime examples. Its all about business development and the more your promote your website and domain name the more you’ll earn for your products or services (or get advertising) over time.
2.Get involved in the Domain Aftermarket.
Millions are traded daily on the internet buying and selling domain names within the domain aftermarket. If you’ve registered a name that someone else really wants, they maybe willing to pay you much more than the registration price to get it from you. Sometimes, a lot more. Business.com sold for $7.5 Million while website.com sold recently for a luke-warm $700,000 and Blogster.com sold for $100,000. You may have a great domain name but you’ll miss out on figures like those if you don’t get involved.