The Domaining world is changing – we all have seen it coming and now it’s here – Domainers are becoming developers. It is easy to forget that the Domaining world is also made-up of developers turned Domainers…people like me!
When I entered the Domaining industry I had already missed-out on owning domains with type-in traffic and instead chose to focus on exact-match keywords in wacky extensions like .us. I started building websites in 1995 and wrote HTML when the first spec became available and NCSA Mosaic was the most popular browser. That’s right…I’m old school!
It only took a few months before I could clearly see that my development skills were going to dramatically help me in the Domaining world. Since starting my business during the summer of 2007 I have focused on creating targeted content sites that can rank well and offer good click-through rates.
I’m an Engineer so I love optimization problems. I spend my nights thinking about how I can generate more revenue from my portfolio and then making small tweaks and changes and waiting to see the results. Yes – I’m a geek…but a geek who LOVES passive income.
Okay – enough about me – time to share what I have found to be the three key elements to our success in monetizing our portfolio.
- Fresh Content – I knew that fresh content was going to be key from the beginning. We don’t use duplicate content or RSS feeds to provide our primary content. The content on our sites are written by real humans that research every single topic they cover and provide relevant and factual information.
- Focus on Affiliate Marketing – I quickly learned that if I wanted to make real money with my sites I had to promote and sell actual products. Affiliate Marketing allows you to provide targeted products directly to your users. I love looking at analytics data and learning about my visitors. Understanding how people get to your site can help you target exact what ads you should show them. There are many affiliate products I make $20-$30 per sale – this is much better than waiting for 100 clicks at $.30/each!
- Patience – if you think every site you develop will make money overnight you are kidding yourself and setting yourself up for a major letdown. Some of the sites you develop will make money shortly after you build them, most will surprise you over time. I love to quote field of dreams when it comes to domain monetization – “if you build it they will come.”
Those are the three key elements of my monetization strategy…but there is one more crucial overlying principle I have to state. Only build content sites on domains that exactly match keywords with strong search volume. To generate revenue you need visitors and you won’t get many visitors if four people a month are searching for your topic. I try to go for over 1,000 exact match searches a month and over 10,000 if I really want strong revenue.
I have consulted with many new Domainers trying to monetize domains in categories that nobody is searching. I usually get an email saying, “I don’t get it – I rank #1 on Google for ‘New Caledonia airports’ but I’m not seeing any revenue. If nobody is searching for New Caledonia airports then you won’t be getting many visitors, even if you are #1.
I still write all my HTML, CSS, and PHP by hand and yes – I did listen to Run DMC and the Fat Boys and for a moment in my life thought Vanilla Ice was cool. I’m old school – but it’s worked for me so far! If you want some examples of domains I’ve built and monetized take a look at 2010 Stimulus Check, Kayaking, StimulusCheck.us, Jury Law, H1N1A.us – I have 130 domains built so far and about 630 left to build!