Anatomy of a Flip: Kayaking(dot)org

I bought Kayaking(dot)org last year through Namejet – someone let it expire and it went to auction – I was able to pick it up for only around $1,400. I immediately realized the potential for this domain, but unfortunately never turned my dream into a reality. Well it’s 2009 and we finally finished our first round of 2009 planning and first up is Kayaking(dot)org. Since this is only our second year in business I feel odd calling this a tradition – but this is our tradition. At the beginning of each year we decide which domains we will flip from our portfolio.

Remember – for me flipping isn’t just putting a domain up for sale on eBay. Instead we treat each flip like a stand-alone company and create a premium web presence for the domain. As a strong keyword .org it makes sense that Kayaking was first in line this year.

Before I start a flip I like to analyze what is wrong with the current website – or in the case that the domain doesn’t already have one – what a potential visitor would be looking for. In the case of this site I already developed a site last year, however this site failed to bring in much traffic or revenue. It’s time to look at this domain from a different perpsective and try to determine what changes need to be made to turn this into a search engine dream machine!

kayaking1

When I first look at the site I can’t believe this looked good to me at some point in time. That happens a lot – as a designer and developer its easy to quickly become disappointed in what soon becomes last week’s great idea. If you look at the current version of Kayaking(dot)org there are a few things I would like to point-out. First – the top image takes-up almost half of the screen – with little information this isn’t much more than a large photograph. The links at the top don’t blend well with the rest of the site and the news feed on the front page is out of place leaving the visitor a bit confused. On the corresponding pages there are links to Amazon products but nothing in the form of content for the visitor. There is an online forum for site visitors to communicate together however with little reason to stay on the site visitors have not explored this feature.

So what’s in store for version two? It’s a long list to say the least. First the top images had to be reduced in size, which also meant changing the image to one more appropriate to the new size constraints. An articles and resources section will be added to allow for both more content with “Articles” and more opportunities for link partners with the “Resources” section. Remember – Google will rank your site based on how relevant it thinks the content is to what the given user is searching for. The more content you have on your site – related to your topic – the better you will rank in Google for the given search term. By creating a specific section for link partners the site will be able to grow organic traffic and get more visitors without having to pay high advertising costs.

The previous version of Kayaking(dot)org was also missing an important piece of monetization – banner advertisments. Since “kayaking” is a strong search term – advertisers will pay to have their banner on this domain as long as it ranks well in search engines. This also allows for a third form of monetization for the site.

kayaking2

There is a lot more in-store for Kayaking but for now we’ve just started a mock-up of what we would like the front page to look like. Amazon books will go on the very bottom along with some additional content that we are still in the process of writing. You can see a preview of the site here. Only the front page is built so don’t bother clicking on the links for now.

I will continue to update my readers with all of the changes/additions we are making on this domain. I hope this can serve as a good reference for new domainers looking to increase the value of their existing domain investments. Have a great night and as always – Happy Flipping!

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Ross February 19, 2009, 2:45 pm

    I would personally switch over to wordpress if i were you. Easier to optimize and add things. Speeds up the development of the site you have going here. About the only thing you will spend any amount of time on are writing the articles. Besides you can have someone write them for you for under $20. Cost of development would literally only cost you the $20 for the articles or free if you write them yourself. Good Luck ;)!

    Reply
  • wannadevelop.com February 19, 2009, 4:01 pm

    …somebody to write quality articles for less than $20 ?!

    Please e-mail me and let me know of such a service.

    admin at wannadevelop

    Reply
  • Adam February 25, 2009, 11:34 pm

    So did I miss something? The domain wasn’t flipped yet right ? Just wondering. You bought it and built it out and have had it for 2 years ?

    Reply
  • Macmullen May 23, 2009, 11:35 am

    Is Twitter or Facebook better? I say both are great together. I have my blog, and my twitter account, and my facebook account all intergrated. Then I use tweetdeck. Its great.

    Reply

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