This year I have decided to start an article-series on my blog. Each month I will write a new article focused on a different aspect of Domaining. I invite anyone to re-print or re-use this article or any part of it as long as proper credit is given along with a link back to my blog. This first article of the year is great for new Domainers that want to learn how to harness the power of search engine optimization (SEO) to increase the value of their domain investments.
As a Domain investor I am always looking for domain names that will make me the most money over time, with the smallest up-front cost possible. Hand registering domains is about the lowest price you can pay, the only problem is that all the good domain names are taken – right? I am happy to say this is not the case – thanks to search engines like Google it is very possible to generate strong targeted traffic to your domain name.
The problem is that SEO is oftentimes thought of as a dark art. For those in the know – money is flowing-in, for everyone else paid advertisement is the only way to get in front of their target customers. The difference between receiving free traffic vs. paying for it oftentimes dictates the success of a domain. If it takes fifty dollars in advertising to generate sixty dollars in revenue then you are doing a lot of work (or in this case providing a lot of capital) to generate a small gain. On the other hand, if you pay nothing and are able to generate sixty dollars in revenue then you now have an additional $720 a year – get ten domains doing this and you are looking at over $7,000 a year – with no investment. Oh, and this is assuming that traffic doesn’t grow over time which it most likely will.
This is how many domaining business operate – many domain names generating consistent revenue each month. There are two ways that business-owners do this. One kind of domain portfolio may receive most of its traffic through type-in’s (think one-word, strong keyword, .com’s) then SEO isn’t a concern – plenty of people are already going to the domain by simply typing the URL (or keywords) into their browser. Another domainer may generate their income through domains that receive very little traffic through type-in’s and instead get the traffic through search engines.
While both of these methodologies accomplish the same task – they have a different set of requirements for what makes the business successful. Domainers who generate their revenue through type-in traffic can use a parking page to generate their revenue. A Domainer who generates their revenue through search engine traffic will need to focus on creating and SEO-optimized site that gives them traffic and finds a way to successfully monetize this traffic.
Here is why this is relevant to the domaining industry today. There is more and more interest in Domaining every year – the problem is that it takes a sizable investment to purchase a strong revenue producing Domain. Most new Domainers can only afford to hand-register or purchase domains in the $200-$1000 range. Let me be clear – there are certainly a few new Domainers with the cash to buy a five-figure domain, but most people are attracted to this industry by the relatively low cost of entry into the market. When you hand-register a domain, you’ll usually need to do something to get traffic and revenue coming-in and growing on a consistent monthly basis.
I hope that blogs like mine can help to inspire new Domainers about the potential for a domain that has a SEO-optimized, content-drive website to generate and monetize their traffic. In June of last year I hand-registered the domain name – StimulusCheck(dot)us. Stimulus Checks were a hot topic in 2008 and just through watching CNBC and CNN (yes I’m a bit of a news addict) it was clear that this would be of interest to people for some time to come. I had some great success with stimulus check-realted .info names and knew that there was a growing market here.
As a domain investor you have to think a bit like a stock investor. When I register a domain name I try to think if this is something that someone would be searching for online. Well – since simulus checks were all over the news I was certain that people would want to know more and where would they look – online! At the end of January I began work on an SEO-optimized custom website for StimulusCheck(dot)us and launched the site at the beginning of February. When focusing on SEO, the TLD of a domain is no longer important. Google will rank a .com, .info, .net, or .org exactly the same way – what they are looking for is relevant content on your site. This is why I’m not afraid of buying domains that aren’t the standard .com, .net, or .org- I am looking for strong keywords that will rank well with search engines.
To give an example of this think of the two keywords “buy” and “car”. Someone may own the domain buynewcars(dot)com, but with the domain buycar(dot)us you are providing an exact match for the search string “buy car” which gets far more searches thn “buy new cars”. This domain would be considered more “relevant” event though it doesn’t end in a .com. Remember – ending in a .com doesn’t make a domain’s information more reliable – strong keywords and a content-driven website are the key to making a revenue-producing domain investment.
So far the site has received over 1,000 visitors so far in February (with more than a week to go!) and generated over $60 in revenue. I paid $10 for the domain name when I bought it so already have made back my initial investment and then received five times that investment in return. Just think if this were popular in the stock market! In the world of traditional investing most people are ecstatic to see an investment grow over 10%, 20%-30% would be incredible. The world of domaining sees returns in the 500-600% range all the time due to the low cost of entry and high potential of domain names.
Take a look at the chart below – it shows a breakdown of how visitors get to my site (click image for larger view):
As you can see a whopping 86% of the traffic coming to this domain is through search engines. That is 866 visitors in a 22 day period for free! Not only that but this is highly targeted traffic. Since the website I built has well-written, search engine optimized content, users searching for information through Google or Yahoo can most likely find their answer on my website. Unlike a parking page I don’t necessarily want the user to leave right away – I want them to find their information and then potentially click on a link if they are interested. Users are sick of seeing parking pages and will oftentimes avoid clicking the links and just go back to their search. Having a website with content that users are looking for and good ways to monetize traffic is a great way to generate consistent passive income.
Of course – it wouldn’t be fair to talk about the revenue without showing exactly how the organic traffic translates into clicks. Click the image to display full-size.
With an average CTR (click through rate) of over 7% it is clear that the website is doing an excellent job of converting traffic to revenue. CTR is the metric most important to domain name investors. Optimizing your CTR could mean doubling or tripling your monthly income. By continuing to improve your websites and provide fresh content for your visitors you can expect to grow CTR and with it your revenue.
I hope this article has shown new Domainers the incredible potential their is in Domaining. There are a lot of incredible domain names available – the question is will you have the vision to help that domain realize its true potential. Make sure the domains you register are relevant and topics that are here to stay or growing in popularity. If you have a domain with strong keywords and a well-written, SEO-optimized website you are on your way to generating a nice passive income stream for your business. Just remember what you learned from the movie, “Field of Dreams” – “If you build it, they will come.”
Please feel free to reprint this article or any portion of it. I only request that you provide myself with the author credit and a link back to my blog.