Domain name market sales documented on namebio.com over the last 10 years show us that businesses and individuals pay the most for shorter domain names (typically 3-9 letters) that reflect their industry, business activities or abbreviate their business name.
Benefits of a shorter domain name
It’s so much easier to type 6 characters than 15 characters. This is particularly important giving that mobile now accounts for over 55% of web browsing, and 92% of all internet users. Given that search boxes are smaller on these devices and that it’s a bit trickier to type long strings, it’s important to have a shorter name to avoid misspelling.
It’s important to have this memorability and accessibility. Conversions are universally invaluable to business and having the right length domain name means that your business can be found more easily.
It’s also easier to include a shorter domain on any printed material, like business cards or brochures.
Come across as an Industry Authority
A short URL that sums up your business concisely shows that you are an industry leader who has resources and doesn’t need to settle for a longer one.
Longer URLs can be associated with spam
Longer URLs are commonly associated with spam as the barrier to entry for registering longer urls is very low. A shorter url gives a sense of authority especially in a popular field. This is also the case when it comes to sending emails using your domain name.
For example: “Apple.com” would sound more legitimate in 2023 than “Applecomputers.com”
You can add a short version or variation of your domain to redirect to another one
It’s also possible to add shorter domain names to your website so that they redirect to a longer main one. This is similar to setting up a catch all email account so that emails still find their way to your company.
In an age where everything can seemingly be outsourced to an AI Assistant-like Chat GPT, why would anyone think about shelling out precious dollars to a redundant human writer?
The answer is both complex yet seems obvious with a bit of thought.
Google has a pretty good idea of whether content has been auto generated by AI. Given that they operate Google Bard, they have a ton of information about the structure and patterns of AI generated content. In fact, AI generated content directly goes against Google guidelines.
Fallout of AI Generated writing
There are so many sites that I’ve looked at on Semrush and other SEO auditing platforms who produced huge amounts of content using AI generated writing in a short time and achieved some initial traction. The only problem is, once Google pushed an update their traffic basically went close to zero.
Another key issue arises when considering site backlinks. Backlinks refer to when one site links to another in a specific way, that signals to search engine that the recipient site may be a quality resource. Webmasters and bloggers-in control of backlinking- are very Savvy internet users who will be able to see through AI writing.
AI Leaves a bad taste in Prospective Customers mouths
As a matter of fact, I used the analogy of AI writing having negative subliminal messaging, just like the studies done that showed people were likely to be made uneasy by AI generated faces. The “Uncanny Valley” theory. Do you really want your brand to be associated with a sense of uneasiness?
A website or resource is highly unlikely to link to a purely AI generated post or page. Similarly, the post would be less likely to gain organic social media traction, for the same reason.
Most businesses utilize written copy in some format-
Quality over quantity
I have found when outsourcing my own content for large scale projects that often the quality of the cheaper writers was simply too poor quality or AI generated compared to the higher ticket writers. High ticket writers charge up to 5 times per word higher than the cheaper writers but were at least that much more likely to gain a proportional amount of traction and backlinks.
Gaining a higher quantity of backlinks and social shares is likely to lead to sustained improvements in Organic Traffic- something that can benefit a business immensely to generate no-cost leads and establish them as an authority in their industry.
According to Search Engine Journal, SEO is one of those things where you actually do get what you pay for. Businesses spending more than $500/month were 53.3% more likely to be “extremely satisfied.”
Whether you already have a job and want a side hustle, are saving up for something or need to make a quick buck, here are 5 ways I’ve tested to earn money online.
1. Graphic Design Contests are a good way to earn money if you have creative flair
If you have a flair for the creative, graphic design contests on sites like 99 designs and designcontest.com can be a smart way to make bank. I found that if I got into a good creative flow, and followed the brief correctly, I was usually able to win contests regularly enough that it worked out to around $20 per hour (if I worked on designing for 2 hours per day, I’d usually win about one contest per week, and it got easier as my skills improved.)
Typical prizes for being the winning designer ranged from $100-around $500-600, though there were larger jobs. The easiest ones to win were the signage design contests that had less competitors than the logo designs, though these are enjoyable to do as a hobby.
I’d say it’s definitely better to be creative/risky with your ideas, to stand out from the crowd- and so many designs are copied from each other or plagiarized that contest holders really appreciate unique designs.
My Profitability Rating: 7/10
2. Fiverr Affiliates seems like it could be the way to go if you have an audience interested in entrepreneurship
Essentially the idea is you promote Fiverr services to people, who if they make an order, you will receive a healthy set commission, or ongoing percentage fee depending on what you choose. You can also promote affiliates to people who then themselves sign up to become affiliates- so if they make commission, then you will receive a percentage of their earnings.
Profitability rating: 9/10 with the right audience
3. Creating or buying content sites can be a great source of passive income
Creating content sites like this one is a great way to create passive revenue. Typically, you can monetise using Ezoic, Google ads or Amazon Affiliate links. You can even outsource your writing to websites like Fiverr to increase your publishing rate.
It’s also possible to buy content sites to expedite your progress- just make sure to do your due diliegence. Look for sites that have a good Semrush score, have decent content and aren’t too spammy. With my product review blog, I often get paid post and free gear offers from companies too.
4. Building up a Stock Image Photography catalogue could be profitable for the dedicated hobbyist
This is a method I’ve tried that I think could work if you take a lot of high quality photos as a hobby. I’ve had some minor success with just a few photos but I think if you were able to scale it up, you would see some good results.
Typically you would receive around 10c to $2 in commission for each photo purchased on stock image sites, but you also have the option to sell rights to images to make larger amounts.
Some of the images that have sold the best have been quite random- such as a photo of the wooden stairs in my house, and a free trial logo I made. It seems the best chance is where there is untapped demand, or variety required.
Profitability rating: 4/10 (lots of effort to build up portfolio but would pay off)
5. Buying and selling domain names requires patience and skill but can pay off long term if you sell a big one
I’ve recently branched out to buying websites as an investment. I’m reasonably fortunate to have a fair bit of spare time on my hands. In between training for chess and track and field, I decided to combine my affinity for SEO (more like an obsession with keyword rankings) and blogging to purchase profitable, established websites as an active investment.
So far, I’ve dealt with motioninvest.com (not sponsored) with my purchase of thekeeblog.com. And I have to say their team was pretty helpful. I’ve failed to find another convenient broker that deals in websites in my price range. They price sites at fair value and also weigh up the pros and cons, which is quite buyer friendly.
What do I need to know before I buy a website?
You do need a smidgen of technical nuance to be able to set everything up- You need to have a basic idea of how to transfer the domain and host the site. Motion Invest migrated all of the files for me which was handy. Once I received the site I needed to apply for a new amazon affiliate account, change the API settings in the plugins, apply to networks like adsense or ezoic (which I am not currently using).
One problem was that some of the existing affiliate links were hardcoded. I worked around this by using a find and replace plugin to change those affiliate links to my own. Genius links were the biggest stitch up though, as there was no obvious way to change these automatically.
Motion invest, as a marketplace/middleman usually lists sites at between 25-37 times earnings per month. So a site that makes 100 dollars a month at a 30x multiple would cost $3000. That’s actually relatively attractive, as that should theoretically return roughly 30% per annum. That’s much higher returns than the stock market. The only problem is that many of the sites are tanking in the keyword rankings.
Here’s a screenshot from thekeeblog’s weekly earnings. As you can see, it made $11.79 in commissions through amazon. It does utilize a few other affiliate programs as well- making $5-10 a week. This is about what I expected to be earning based on the valuation and past performance of the website. My goal now is to improve thekeeblog’s keyword rankings so that I can receive more traffic, and hopefully clicks.
Keywords to generate organic traffic
Established sites will carve out keywords, usually targeted, within a niche. This is usually done by creating articles containing those keywords. Keywords with less competition are considered to have lower difficulty, and new content will rank more easily. Keyword rankings can also be boosted by SEO factors such as page speed, the content within the articles (whether it contains rich media like images) and the structure of the content. Usually when you buy a site, it’s most cost effective to look at ways to optimize existing content on the website.
Improving Monetization of a website
I try to think of ways the monetization of a prospective investment site could be improved. That is, I plan what I’m going to implement strategically once it’s under my control. If I can’t come up with a plan I like, I will not buy the site.
Website Monetization strategies
I’m personally not a huge fan of running ads, because they can throttle your Pagespeed, and are quite horrible usually for user experience. My least favorite ads are the ones where you have to click to close a full screen popup while changing pages. I usually try to replace ad income with affiliate links in the hope that the user experience and speed make up for the lost revenue- but this isn’t always possible.
What are the best affiliate networks to utilize on your website?
These are not sponsored but I do use these services.
You can try networks like sovrn.co– which has a broad range of brands and allows you to integrate a link engine to automatically affiliate links to their brands. Leaddyno can be useful for adding affiliate links for a specific brand you want to partner with in your niche.
Amazon.com is the tried and trusted network for affiliates. Sometimes their commission can be pretty low though depending on your niche. But I believe this may be balanced out by high conversion rates, and the 30 day cookie (if a customer purchases something within 30 days without overriding your cookie by clicking on another sites link, you will receive the sale).
Quality of Content on your website
You will see many articles written in slightly broken English that isn’t the best to read. Surprisingly, these articles can rank OK in google search- many writers are able to target keywords very effectively even though their content might not be particularly enjoyable to read.
Two potential problems emerge from lower quality content- one, the bounce rate might be affected as people are less likely to want to read more. Sites with mind blowing content such as waitbutwhy.com probably have a much lower bounce rate/higher engagement rate than an article written by someone using google translate.
Two, readers might not view your content as authoritative, and might be less likely to trust your opinion when it comes to affiliate products. Therefore, it’s possible such a site might experience impaired affiliate earnings. On the flip side, it could hypothetically be possible you actually experience more outbound clicks as people desperately try to escape!
Additionally this lack of authority and share-ability would greatly impact the chance of acquiring high quality backlinks, as bloggers and webmasters prefer to refer to well put together, interesting resources.
Domain aftermarket sales is an industry that began in earnest around 2010. By this time most quality domain names were already registered. Though high ticket sales had occurred earlier, by this point even two word .com domains with high quality keywords had begun to gain significant worth. To companies, a memorable domain name can pay for itself.
I began my domain name investment journey in 2018 and have had the most sales success the past two years. The sales that I’ve generated have paid for the registration and renewal fees for my whole fleet until 2025. Though I’m by no means living off of my earnings, based on this my experience, the process hasn’t been a huge cash sinkhole, and has proven to be profitable.
Examples from my Domain Sales record
$8 (plus registration and renewal fees)
$30 (plus registration and renewal fees)
$425 (plus registration and renewal fees)
$30 (plus registration and renewal fees)
$800 after commission
$600 after commission
$3200 after commission
$700 after commission
Table of some of my domain sales
The key is to try to acquire domains that have high value keywords based on sales history, or have two words that articulate well together. For example, Tipmates.com has two words that individually though good don’t have a whole lot of sales history. But they articulate well together and would be perfect a sports tipping, predictions or betting site.
It takes time to sell a domain
Of course it takes time to sell domains. Especially in my company as I don’t actively advertise them other than parking a ‘for sale’ notice on the domain. The current sales process I have requires someone to type in the domain to GoDaddy or go directly to the URL. To optimize sales speed consider utilizing additional strategies.
It’s also not all sunshine and roses as the renewal fees can add up. It usually costs around 10-14 AUD to renew each domain each year. I also have a lot of domains sitting unsold at any given time. Choosing domains based on commercial potential is really important so that you don’t have a high amount of stock draining your bank account.
Expiring auctions vs closeout domains
Expiring auctions are domain auctions of previously registered domains that have not been renewed. This is occurs due to the previous owner forgetting or being unable to reregister the domain. Or they might no longer have purpose for it and not realize the re-sale value.
Higher quality/ value domains Can get an insight into other investor’s opinions on the worth of a domain
Cheaper domains Hidden gems can slip under the radar Don’t have to be monitoring or engaging in the bidding process
Higher purchase price due to competition Need to time bids to avoid competition
Closeout domains are usually Dutch auctioned which means they do require some outlay to purchase earlier in the auction- have to weigh up risk vs reward of waiting for price to lower or buying immediately Usually lower quality as highest quality domains are snapped up early on in the expiry auction process Requires a lot of time to search through the list of closeouts to find domains with value
Tips of the domain trade
Don’t buy low quality domains. You need to conduct research to determine the quality and commercial potential of the keywords. Low quality domains will rot in your portfolio and cost you money until you drop them. It’s ok to take a risk on a closeout, but just make sure you can justify it. It’s not worth buying unless a business or other cashed up entity would want it as their name.
Dot-com domains are considered the golden standard of investing, but don’t sleep on high quality established tld’s such as .nets and .orgs.
Once you have established a high quality selection of domain names, the time cost of locating good domains decreases and it becomes a passive income stream. Patience is critical to success in this business. Even my highest quality domain cloudcrunch.com took 2 years to sell after holding for 4 years. But when it did it was worth it.
Strategy to invest in domains full time
In order to sell domains full time, one would need a large portfolio of high quality domains. It takes time to develop a domain selling operation as sourcing quality domains at the right price should not be rushed. My suggestion would be to build up the portfolio gradually as you begin to make sales and eventually transition into higher ticket domains. Domains which you aim to sell for between 1000-3000 are a good starting point. These are within the range of what a small business, firm or startup could afford to pay. Higher value domains would be good to acquire if possible, but bear in mind, a smaller number of buyers exist as prices get higher.