How I Find Domains Has Changed This Year: Less Time, Better Names

This has been an exciting year for me on all fronts and today I was thinking about how my approach and routine has changed in 2011. When it comes to domain acquisitions I made it clear at the beginning of the year that my focus was shifting .COM, and it has. In total I’ve purchased about 300 new domains this year and dropped about 400. I can see my portfolio getting smaller next year as I continue to focus on quality domains and I can tell you there is no shortage of quality in the expired domain market.

I made three mid four-figure sales this year thanks to domains expired domains I purchased, all for under $1,000. What I look for in a domain has changed as has my average purchase price. In 2010 I think I probably spent about $100 per domain on average and I was buying every TLD under the sun. In 2011 my average is probably closer to $500 and 90% of my purchases are .COM. Outside of .COM I’m still investing in .ME, .CO, .TV, and .US but focusing mostly on one-word, truly premium domains, only.

When I buy a domain I want to make sure it satisfies two important conditions – it has good potential to develop and monetize, it would have immediate interest to an end-user. There are two tools that I’ve been using this year that have dramatically impacted how I find expired domain names, these tools are Protrada and Domains On Fire. I wanted to share with all of you how I use these tools and how they’ve both helped me save time and find better names.

Think of Protrada like you would a Bloomberg Terminal in the finance world. They have built a platform that allows you to access a ton of information and quickly organize it in a way that is meaningful to you. In 2010 I would search for expired domains across ten different sites, with Protrada I can view it all in one place. Now for the next step – getting the metrics that are important to me.

Like I said, I like to buy domains with good development potential, this means I care a lot about search volume, CPC, and existing backlinks. I can see all this information in Protrada and have some great saved searches that I use to quickly see which domains meet my criteria each day. This on its own has turned a process that took me over an hour to do now using less than 10 minutes. With Protrada the bidding process is very simple and I can setup an entire process flow so that after I buy a domain it automatically has its nameservers updated and is listed for sale on listing services like Afternic.

protrada_siteSince Domain Development is the focus of my business one thing I’m always looking for is domains that used to rank well in Google. While it’s true this ranking goes-away when a domain expires, you can usually make a few key moves to get it back up. Recently a new tool called Domains On Fire was launched that has allowed me to really drill-down and find some truly phenomenal domains for development.

What I really like about Domains On Fire is that you can easily sort by search volume to quickly see expired domains that used to rank well for terms that got good search volume. That’s what I care about and it’s literally one button click away every time I login. Domains on Fire also lets you save searches so I’ve put-together some of the key metrics I’m looking for. Now when I login I can simply click on any of these saved searches and in under five minutes I’ve done all the research that used to take me hours.

domains_on_fire_siteWithout Domains On Fire I used to have to do tons of Google searches, constantly checking the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, and running this highly manual process across multiple keywords. Together both Protrada and Domains On Fire have saved me a lot of time and automated a ton of things I did manually last year. This is what I’m always looking for in my business and you should be to. Look at everything you do manually and write down each step that you take, then find-out if there’s a tool that might help you automate the entire process.

We are all very lucky to be in an industry that is booming with innovation and great software solutions. So stop staying-up late going to every single domain auction site individually, use tools like Protrada and Domains On Fire to save time and find better domains. Then with all that extra time you create you can focus on doing the most important thing you can do for your business – make money!

Protrada VIP Special Offer!

I just found-out that Protrada has a great VIP deal running right-now that you can take advantage of. This will get you 50 credits, enough to build ten websites for free! You can cash-in on this deal now at: http://www.protrada.com/offer/vip

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Peter Liam December 2, 2011, 2:04 pm

    I have some thoughts on the value of the backlinks and search volume. Only when the new business has the same target market and preferably the same products, these have value. Otherwise all backlinks could be in a wrong category or even website. The search volume would have been created by the content that was used. Most likely completely other content will be placed on the new website.
    Or am I missing your point here?

    Reply
    • Morgan December 2, 2011, 2:07 pm

      @Peter – you are spot on. Yes – I only buy sites that ranked well in niches I have experience building sites in. I then use a tool like Archive.org to see what the previous site looked like and make sure to bring the old pages and site back to life but with my own content, design, ads, etc.

      It is critical to understand that you absolutely have to stick to the same topic and niche that the original site did otherwise you’ll see no advantage in search.

      Reply
  • Poor Uncle December 2, 2011, 3:43 pm

    Hi Morgan…thanks for highlighting these effective tools that had helped your business…and your comments about resurrecting backlinks pages were insight. I found this post particularly helpful.

    Reply
    • Morgan December 2, 2011, 5:11 pm

      Thanks @PoorUncle – much appreciated! Have a great weekend!

      Reply
  • PPC Ian December 3, 2011, 10:28 pm

    Fantastic post, Morgan! I’m going to bookmark this one. I like your strategy and can totally relate. I’m glad I’m not the only one dropping non-dot com domains and trading up to a more streamlined portfolio of premium domains and websites. I’m operating on a smaller scale vs. your huge portfolio but hold very similar perspectives.

    Reply
    • Morgan December 4, 2011, 10:51 pm

      Thanks @Ian – much appreciated!!

      Reply
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