Let’s Call It What It Is, Domain Development Is Website Development

Okay, so I’m as guilty as anyone else in perpetuating the term “Domain Development” but I think it’s time to put the term to rest and call it what it is. Domain Development has been used to describe the process of putting a website on a domain, I hate to break it to you (and I guess to myself) but that is web development. Of course for years there has been a lot of discussion about the advantages of exact match domains, those advantages are very real but that doesn’t really have anything to do with domain development, instead it has to do with building a website on an exact match domain.

I know that you may have read online or even heard at a conference or two that domains do not provide any ranking benefit but I can tell you, they do. The issue is you need a lot more than an exact match domain to rank well in Google or Bing. An exact match domain does two things for a website:

  1. Increased CTR – more people click on exact match domains as they carry authority in the mind of the consumer
  2. Lower link-building threshold – in general you don’t need to build as many backlinks as your competitors, but you still need to build them

Some people think that exact match domains carry no weight because they put a simple 10 page mini-site on the domain and expect it to become #1 in the search engines overnight. That’s a pipe dream and if you think that’s how the world works, I want what’s in your pipe! The rules haven’t changed that much, you still need solid backlinks and these can’t be gamed any more, they have to be earned. If you think it’s too hard to build backlinks then SEO might not be your thing but there are tons of great companies that can do it for you.

Now back to the term Domain Development, the definition of this term has been putting a website on a domain name, so let’s put this to rest once and for all, putting a website on a domain is web development. It has been fun to call it Domain Development so it sounds like as Domainers we’re doing something different than web developers but it’s the same. In fact, if you want to learn about development conferences like Affiliate Summit have a lot more to offer than TRAFFIC or DOMAINfest.

Now this is not to put down TRAFFIC or DOMAINfest, I’m a huge fan of both conferences, but I see the value here as a Domainer pertaining to buying and selling domains. I have done over $50K in deals thanks to meetings/conversations I had at DOMAINfest, I plan to see the same results or better from TRAFFIC. Real business gets done at both of these conferences but that business is Domaining, which is buying and selling domains.

The good news for Domainers is that there are far more resources about Web Development, SEO, and Affiliate Marketing out there than there are about Domaining. If you’ve decided to take the web development path, awesome, go for it and make good money, but realize there’s a whole world of resources out there and it doesn’t have to come from this community. That being said, there are some people that do amazing web development work within our community, people like Tia, Theo, and many more. Learn from them but also learn from all the other awesome resources and communities out there, web development has been going on for a long time and there are tons of people, publications, conferences, and meet up groups that can help you take your business to the next level.

Of course I’ll still be talking about development a lot here on MorganLinton.com but I’ll be calling it what it is, and you should too! As always I’d love to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Louise August 24, 2012, 5:58 pm

    Thank you! As soon as I saw the headline, Let’s Call It What It Is, Domain Development Is Website Development, it pulled me in, especially as we have been reading about Google algorithm updates which demote spam and copyright infringement sites!

  • Tom August 24, 2012, 6:20 pm

    Hey Morgan,

    Nice post. Couldn’t agree more. The web design, web development, marketing, and SEO communities are enormous. Anyone considering developing websites or having the work done by others is doing themselves a huge disservice by not learning from the best these niches has to offer. There are thousands of sites offering free training for beginners to advanced. Additionally with a little research, anyone looking for help can locate thousands of incredibly talented companies and freelancers.


  • Friend August 24, 2012, 6:41 pm

    And “website development” is nothing less than Business Development. Walla. Now we can all move on from terminology to actually doing stuff.


  • Morgan August 24, 2012, 6:52 pm

    Awesome, glad you liked it @Louise!

  • Christian August 24, 2012, 7:12 pm

    I have used Tia Wood several times for my websites like HygienistSchools.com, DentistAssistants.com, ChristianCalvin.com and more. She is easy to work with and does great work. I just wanted to add my testimonial from working with her. I enjoyed the read.

  • Perry August 24, 2012, 8:36 pm

    First, congrats on your marriage, Morgan!

    Your points are all accurate. Link building is tough work for sure, especially in niches like real estate. And in those competitive niches, an exact match domain name can dramatically lower your seo expenses.

  • Dimester August 24, 2012, 9:09 pm

    There are some times Domain Development is the right word.

    – Website Development is graphics, word copy, SEO, website coding, uploading to a server etc. Website Development is is about art, writing, and technology.

    – Domain Development includes Website Development but much more. It is choosing a domain name to develop, creating a business venture with it, using the domain as a brand or a call to action. It is identifying a product or service to promote, and then advertise or SEO the name. The domain name can be used for a website or just an easy to remember email address. Domain Development is bringing a domain name into a use that is profitable or useful. Zipsurance.com uses thousands of domains just to direct traffic to insurance agent’s websites. Each domain is developed to be a money making enterprise.

    – Businesess Development is creating a business to create a profit. The business might use one or more domains or websites to help the business grow and earn money.

    Just my 2 cents

  • Adam August 24, 2012, 11:21 pm

    Yep I can see how domain development or web development could be seen as pretty interchangeable, but as dimester points out web developers don’t usually include business development, strategy, planing, seo, monetization angles, etc. Maybe SEO, but most of the people doing paid “domain development” seem to be doing just the building and then leave everything else to you. They seem to be webmasters building sites for others who can’t build them for themselves.

    When I think of the term domain development, I equate it more to building a business . .. i don’t see calling it “web development”, as I see that as more code-based work, and you can’t really use “business development” as that is more the deal-making side. It’s more all-encompassing business building.

    When developing your domain/business you’re doing a lot more than coding up a site. If you do all of this work for hire or yourself maybe you are more of an internet general contractor.

    Congrats to you and your wife too !

  • Warren August 26, 2012, 6:44 am

    Sorry but I disagree strongly with this. I guess it depends what you mean by “domain development”. In my mind, domain development is taking a raw, undeveloped domain and creating a business from it. That is a much different task than throwing up a website. I agree with @Dimester.

    Website development is just one small component of a large-scale, true domain development effort. In order to develop a domain into a business, the website is just one small step. Then, there are all kinds of offline activities which must occur – for example, with an eCommerce site you have to source and acquire products, warehouse them, develop strategic partnerships with vendors and industry providers, develop marketing channels, create ads, hire staff, develop products, acquire 800 numbers, purchase phone systems, racks, forklifts, and office equipment, attend tradeshows and industry association events, advertise (online and offline) and SELL. None of that activity has anything to do with website development.

    With my ecommerce business I built out my website in about 3 days and then have been working for 4 years on all the other activities needed in a “real” and viable business that generates profit and sustainable revenue.

    Equating domain development with website development is a big mistake, in my opinion. It implies that you can develop a website and then, after complete, and then move on to the next project while they “sit and wait” for the world to beat a path to their door. I’m afraid that the people who do that are going to be very disappointed with the results.


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