Domain Development Checklist

Domain Development Checklist

This post has been a long time coming as it has been one of the most-requested post topics from readers over the last year. With so many Domainers looking towards development as a way to monetize their domains, I thought now would be a great time to share my own checklist that we use internally.

As you probably know, I don’t develop any of our sites but have an awesome team that does an incredible job. What I did do is put-together the list of steps for our team to follow every time we build a site, and I am excited to now share this checklist with all of you.

Most of our brands start-out as 10-page MiniSites and then evolve into brands. Not every one makes the cut and that’s why we like to start small, and turn our early strong-performers, into full-scale brands.

Step 1: Install WordPress or Website Template
Some of our sites are built using WordPress, others using static HTML. Either way the first step is to get a site appearing on the domain name. This means pointing the nameservers to the right server and installing WordPress or the HTML template we’d like to use. This varies depending on the type of site we are building and the niche that it is in. I could write a whole post just about this step (and maybe I will!).

Step 2: Use The Google Adwords Keyword Tool To Find Top Keywords
This is a very easy yet often overlooked step. Take the keywords in your domain and plug them into Google. Start by organizing the list of search phrases by CPC and pick the top five, next organize by global search volume and pick the top five from here. You now have ten keywords you’ll want to focus on, the most lucrative, and the most-searched.

Step 3: Write Articles About These Ten Keywords
If you’re just starting-out I recommend you save some money and write the articles yourself. If you have money to spend or you’re already making money, hire someone to write the articles. When I first started Linton Investments I wrote just about every single article for our sites, then as a site would become profitable, I would re-invest the profits into content. There are lots of different ways you can get content written for you, TextBroker, MediaPiston, or just reaching-out to writers you might already know are all good options.

Step 4: Design A Professional Logo For Your Site
A good logo can make a big difference, and the best part is it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. I typically use LogoNerds, they can make you a great logo, for under $30.

Step 5: Identify The Category Leaders In Your Niche
Find the top five sites that rank well for the keywords you want to rank well for. These are the category leaders and if you plan on being a player in this space, you should get to know them. These relationships are critical to go from MiniSite to full-scale brand. Try to get on the phone with as many of them as possible, see if you can write a guest post for them or get a link back to your site. These backlinks could be the difference between Google Page 10 and Google Page 1. The relationships could be the difference between success and failure so this really is the most important step. Get feedback on your site, on the niche, learn as much as you can, if you’re going to build a brand in the space you should know it inside out.

Step 6: Create A Twitter Account
Any real brand has a Twitter account, period, so you should too. Once you create your Twitter account start identifying the thought leaders in your niche on Twitter. Retweet good tweets they write and contribute great Tweets yourself. Soon you should become friends with these people and hopefully become a thought leader in your niche as well.

Step 7: Create A Facebook Fanpage
Any real brand not only has a Twitter account, they also have a Facebook Fanpage. Once you create your Fanpage start posting a few articles a week you think would be interesting to your audience. Make sure to make it easy for anyone who visits your site to become a fan.

Step 8: Monetization
This step really is worthy of an entire blog post, but to get started try to find a few affiliate programs that target customers in your niche. You can easily find a good affiliate program (or two) to get started with on OfferVault. This will get you started, as your brand continues to grow you can start looking at options like direct advertising and lead generation.

These are the basic eight step that we follow. Of course this is only the creation of your brand. Keeping your brand running and building it up from here involves doing more but this is a great place to start. Remember, just throwing a site on your domain is not a way to generate lasting passive income. Make it fun, learn about your niche, and build a real business. Oh and when you do, make sure to email me and tell me all about it!

(Photo Credit)

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • MediaWizard April 4, 2012, 7:14 pm

    Step 9: Promote!  Promote!  Promote!

    Step 10: Engage. Interact. Respond.

    Great article Morgan, though from the looks of it, people usually get stuck at Step 1 and things go south from there, not everyone has the inclination or is even capable / has the time to develop each site into a  full scale business.

    Reply
    • Morgan Linton April 5, 2012, 6:17 pm

      Thanks – and I completely agree with Step 9 and 10!

      Reply
  • Jeet Das@cashinghub April 6, 2012, 1:19 am

    Also do some good SEO works and engage in forums to promote your Website or blog. 

    Reply
  • Iain Taylor April 12, 2012, 1:22 am

    Great checklist – in step two: is it important to sort the results by “exact match” first? or should it just be left broad? 

    Reply
  • Ed March 16, 2013, 2:07 am

    Hi Morgan,

    This is a wonderful post on domain development checklist.
    As of now, many aspiring domainers believe that registering
    a domain name is all you need to earn a fortune! How wrong!

    Domaining goes beyond registering domain names and looking
    for buyers. It makes sense to register a domain name, build a
    home on it and show a prospect how comfortable it will be if he
    invest some money to own your home flowing with “milk and honey”
    i.e. traffic and income:-)

    Reply

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