Domainers are rushing-into development like never before and in doing so many are starting to run-into some of the stopping-blocks I encountered in 2007 when I started developing my domains. I receive dozens of emails each week from Domainers with questions about development. Many of these emails start-out the same way, “I’ve tried everything to make money with my domains but it’s just not working.” In many cases these Domainers are making some very basic mistakes that can lead to a losing model. To help sort through the mucky-muck that is monetization I thought I’d cover a few of the basic ways you can fail.
First it is absolutely essential to understand that Domain Development and Domain Monetization are two completely different things. I talked about this in my presentations this year at Meet Domainers in England and DNCruise. Domain Development can be dumbed-down and just called building websites. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people that can build a great website for you, just search for “web designer” in Google! 99% of these companies can build a great site for you but they can’t build an online business for you.This makes sense as most web developers are hired to build websites for existing businesses.
Domain Monetization is the process of taking a developed domain and generating consistent income with that domain. Monetization is a lot more like stock investing, you pick a strong keyword domain for development, study the niche, and take the time to understand how people make money in the niche. Monetizers are focused things like SEO to build-up targeted visitors and studying which ads visitors click on the most.While web developers use tools like Dreamweaver and Photoshop, monetizers like myself use tools like the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, SEOMOz, and Compete. Monetization happens after you’ve built a great site.
So why do most Domainer-Developers fail?
This isn’t going to be a long answer. Most Domainer-Developers fail because they just build a website on their domain and expect the money to come rolling-in. The problem is that Domainer-Developers aren’t following-up with the monetization step. Throwing Google PPC ads on your site can work in some cases but it’s not a great long-term model. Things link Lead Generation and Direct Advertising are how you build a real online business.
That brings me to the second reason most Domainer-Developers fail. Even if they do branch-out and focus on better ways to generate revenue they oftentimes forget that at the end of the day they should treat the domain and website as a business. Make a Twitter account, build a Facebook fan page – these things don’t take hours to do and with under 30 minutes a week you can actually interact with people in your niche and become an authority MUCH quicker than just sitting there.
Finally the third way Domainer-Developers fail is SEO. I can’t tell you how many sites I’ve seen with terrible title tags, duplicate content, and no backlinks. Just look at the sites on the first page of Google, you’ll they are there for a reason, this is often because they have great content, good backlinks, etc. If you’re expecting the domain name itself to just carry you to the first page of Google – think again, Google hasn’t done this for years. While Bing will proudly give you a first-page ranking Google reserves the first page (in popular niches) for those with some real street cred, and by this I mean Google street cred which is backlinks.
Now take a step back. Look at your portfolio from 10,000 feet.
Are your domains making money for you? If not then what are you doing to change it? Mass development is not the answers, automated parking systems won’t win you many accolades in the search engines. Looking at your portfolio from above pick three names you think would make great businesses. Not 30, but three! Now one by one turn these into real online businesses that generate real income. If you’re trying to do it all you will fail, create a winning model, then repeat. It’s worked for me and it can work for you…but it’s not going to happen overnight!
Remember, if you’re failing now don’t feel bad. It’s those who fail, learn from it, and make changes to their business that are successful in the end…and I’m in this for the long-haul, how about you?