In the past few months the news has come out that Google has dinged EMDs (exact match domains) and everyone jumps on the bandwagon that this is a fact. To counter that train of thought here's a quick blurb about one of my sites...
I caught a post in a forum that I'm a member of about a SEO service where you pay only if they get you ranked well. Personally I had not heard of any SEO service that does not charge up front (not sure if this is rare or if I need to get out more) so this concept did intrigue me as I have a ton of very competitive niches that I'd love to rank for without having to do any work myself and without paying someone up front only to possibly be disappointed when they can't rank well against the competition. I have not used this service yet. But I did take their site for a little test drive to see how it worked and here's the summary:
1. Visit the Rankpay Homepage.
2. Enter the website that you want SEO services for. For this example I will use TLD.org.
3. On the next page, enter the keyword you want to rank for. I chose "domain names". Your results will appear (click the image to see it enlarged):
4. As you can see, the results tell you how many monthly searches there are within Google, Yahoo, and Bing... where you site currently ranks within the search engines for the keyword (if you are not in the top 30 it will just say "Not in Top 30", otherwise if you are in the top 30 it will tell you your position, and then it will give you what your cost would be if they can rank you within a certain range.
So in this example, if they got me within the top 3 results for the term "domain names" they would charge me $756 a month. At the end of the next month they see where I am, if they kept me in the top 3 I would pay the $756 again. If I fell in the rankings to let's say #4, then I would pay $680 for that month. This continues for 6 months. After 6 months they charge you a 'maintenance fee', so instead of full price you pay only 50% each month on. So how much would it cost you to be in the top 3 results of Google for an entire years??? 6 months @ $756/month plus 6 months @ $378/month = $6,804.
So if you're one of the big boys who have 100,000 domain names to sell it would make perfect sense to spend $6,804 to get in the top 3 results for "domain names" for an entire year. If they made one sale because of that ranking they would already recoup their cost.
Now let's compare if you wanted to do some PPC advertising instead, right now using the Google Adwords tool, the top paying click for the exact match "domain names" is costing the advertiser $8.69 per click. Let's say that is too expensive for you and you pay $2 per click. For $6,804 you would get 3,402 clicks (i.e. visitors) to your site. How many visitors would you get from the organic traffic being in the top 3 results? Let's see... I used this image in one of my older posts and it is time to bring it back...
So the top spot in Google will get you 56% of the clicks, spot 2 gets you 13.5% of the clicks, and spot 3 gets you 9.8% of the clicks. Let's be conservative and say we land in spot #3. If you clicked that thumbnail pic above (the first pic, long and skinny one) you would see it tells you that there are 450,000 for the term "domain names" in Google each month. If we got 9.82% of them we would get 44,000+ visitors per month. In a full year that would be about 530,000 visitors. (on a cost per click basis that would be $6,804 divided by 530,000 visitors... or about $0.013 cents per click... so a little over a penny per click)
So with $6,804 you could receive 3,402 pay-per-click visitors, or you can receive 530,000 organic search engine visitors.
Now, this all sounds great but the big caveat is the word IF... IF they can get you ranked that high. There's no guarantees here. Obviously it is in their best interest to get you ranked as high as they can, because it puts more money in their pocket. Now I just heard about them today, did a few tests to see what it would cost for some of my sites and some of the keywords I would like to rank higher for so I have not yet used their service. Just want to be clear with everyone, this is all conceptual and mathematical.
I will be narrowing down the research I did today and using their service for two keywords for two different sites and I will report back on how that goes.
A question that I have a lot of people ask me is should they work on creating one big domain or multiple smaller domains as a business plan. I say that there is no right answer. I then pose a question to them which I'm sure a lot of people have heard before... is it easier to collect $1 from one million people, or to collect $1,000,000 from one person? Your response to that question will tell you if you should develop one big site or multiple smaller sites.
Personally, I am a fan of diversification, I think it is the smarter play for a few reasons.
1. What if your site got knocked in the current Google algorithm change? If you only had one site then you would be in trouble. If you have 1,000 sites and some of them took a hit but others remained strong then you are far better off.
2. What if something happens with your one main site? A server crashes and you lose your files, your hosting is down for an extended period of time, the topic of your site is no longer popular and old news, etc... Basically all it takes is one big event and your huge site could lose significant value and revenue in the blink of an eye.
3. Testing... if you don't test different things then you are missing out. Would a site make more revenue by selling private placement ad space, or with Adsense, or with CPA banners...? Testing different things on one main site could result in a big revenue decrease over the time you are testing methods which aren't effective. It also takes longer to test. If you can split your testing among many sites you will find the answer a lot quicker and get up and running with the most profitable method a lot faster.
Developing domains is the way to go. Parking is yesterday's news and anyone who says otherwise is still living in the last decade. So decide how you want to focus your time and resources and start developing.
I have people ask me all the time how to make money online. In real life, in cyberspace, via email, over the phone, in person, through IM... it doesn't matter. And I usually don't 'spill the beans' because what I learned early on is once you share some information with a person, and that person finds some success they will keep coming back to you and try pumping you for more information. At first they were happy to make $1. Then they were able to make $5. And soon they hit $10... but eventually they plateau and they need that drug called knowledge and so they come back to the dealer and hit him up for something to quench his thirst. After I experienced this I decided to nip it in the bud and not give out any information.
There's a lot of people who want to make money online, but how many of them are willing to work hard? I'd guess less then 5%. I had this one friend of a friend really bothering me about how to make money online. Every time I saw him he'd pester me, like a leech that wouldn't let go. This past weekend I was out at a gathering and he was there. At first I ignored him but as the night went on and I had a few drinks I became more talkative and started to talk to him. He was telling me how he lost his job and he needed to find a new job. He was willing to work hard and his dream was to work online so that he could set his own hours and be his own boss. He talked the talked and I started to feel bad for him. He seemed sincere (or was that the beer) so I decided I'd lay out a simple and easy way for him to earn a living online. He understood what a domain name was, he understood the concept of a server, and he'd even had his own personal blog on a Wordpress hosted subdomain. So he was starting off better then the average person.
I gave him a simple plan, low cost, moderate time investment, and I would say would work 95% of the time but requires some hard work and committment. Build one site a day. That's it. If you build one site a day, at the end of a year you will be able to make sustainable income to live off of. You won't live like a king, but you will be able to set your own hours and be your own boss and that was what he wanted. Now I went into more detail and gave him tips, I explained the pro's/con's of building on a blog subdomain versus buying your own domains and building your own sites. I explained to him the importance of diversifying your sites (both in content and across IP's) and how without doing so you are exposing yourself to the potential of losing all your income in one shot. I explained to him how if he could make $0.25 per day, per website, after one year of building and laying the groundwork he would be making $33k per year. After 2 years he'd be making $67k per year. (I did the math quickly on a napkin which was harder then expected after all the beer) I even explained how after two years he would have enough knowledge to then focus on bigger and better things and how six figure income was a possibility for him. I gave him tips on keyword research, plugins, SEO (onsite and offsite), content generation, etc... I even built up a small crowd around me taking in what I was saying.
After I finished teaching him in about 45 minutes what a so called "internet marketing guru" will teach you in 8 info-videos for a cost of $49.95 per video he only had one comment. His comment was "So, I can't make six figures now?" I learned my lesson again not to share anything with people. He was previously making around $10/hour working at a grocery store (or about $21k a year) working 40 hour week and I explained to him how to make $33k/year working about 28 hours a week. That's over a 50% raise while reducing his hours worked by 30% and yet he still wasn't happy. You can lead a horse to water...
I picked up the domain Expiring.org through a private sale on a forum maybe a month or two ago. I did not have any exact plan for it but after a thing or two popped up I was able to launch a nice little site yesterday. The site (as you might guess) has a listing of expiring domain names. The list is filterable, and if you are interested in quickly knowing more about a domain name you can click the magnifying glass next to the domain to see the domain's Pagerank, # of backlinks found in different search engines, and # of pages indexed. The sites updates daily each morning at around 7:45 a.m. est. so it is a zero maintenance site which is always nice (for the website owner).
The site is free to use, it is not one of those $29.99/month deleting domain sites. I plan on using the site myself once in a while to see if I can find any good LLLL.com's that deleted. If you have any thoughts on what could be done to make the site more useful I'd be interested to hear them, post a comment below.
I had written last week about a domain name I had just purchased for $499. It was a dot com keyword domain in a niche that I'm an active player in. This purchase was all luck, I direct navigated to the site and it had a 'for sale' page up with an asking price of $499. I jumped on it and made the purchase right then and there. And now, as it turns out this was my best domain purchase of 2010.
After one week here's the results: I spent five hours of my time putting a site up. My only additional cost was paying a graphic designer to create my header banner for $25. In the one week since purchase the site it received 21,000 unique visits, 90% of which were direct navigation type-ins. I have now recouped my $499 investment and am in the black almost $500, all through affiliate commissions. The traffic and revenue significantly surpassed the levels I was expecting.
I don't expect the site to make $1,000/week every week for the full year as there is some seasonality to the site, but breaking even and going up 100% on my investment in less than a week (and how I think this site will continue to thrive) makes this my best domain purchase of 2010. I am a fan of passive income (or minimal maintenance income) and I see myself only needing to spend 2-3 hours a month to maintain this site.
I'm not going to mention the site as I prefer to keep some things private (and my main niche is one of them). My point to you is that it is still possible to get lucky and pick up a great domain name on the cheap. Also, sometimes you need to drop some cash up front based on a gut feeling and hope it turns out for the best. It is like the lotto... you can't win if you don't play.
You got your hands on a good domain name, any day now you are expecting an end user to come knocking on your door and offer you a sack of money... but what if that offer never comes or what if that sack doesn't hold as much money as you were expecting? Here's a tip for you to possibly significantly increase what you can get for your domain.
Give the end user more then just a domain name, give them some value by providing already existing traffic. If you have an insurance related domain name how much more valuable would that domain be to an end user if you were driving 50 targeted traffic hits a day? That is 1,500 possible leads a month to that end user. If they normally convert 1 out of 200 leads that is 7.5 conversions a month. And if they normally pay affiliates $100 per sale that is $750/month in value that you are giving them. These numbers are random of course, but you get the point. Any intelligent end user is going to recognize the value in this and you are going to get a leg up when trying to sell your domain against the domain sellers whose domain are not delivering any additional value. And when you create this value don't be shy to tell possible end users about that value. Instead of saying "Hey, I have this great domain, I'm asking $XXXX for it, let me know" you can set your domain apart from the rest by saying "Hey, I have this great domain in your niche. I've worked on building traffic to the site and it is currently getting 50 targeted hits a day. That is 50 potential customers that you could be getting a day right from the start. Etc...". I'm not going to write out an entire pitch for you but you can see what I'm driving at.
If I ended the post here the question that you would ask me is "Ok, so how do I get this traffic to my domain?".
Well, it takes a little work. That isn't the answer you wanted to hear, but that is the truth. Put up at least a landing page on your domain (though I'd really recommend at least 5 to 10 pages of content). Use meta keywords, H1 and H2 tags, and a meta description. Focus on the keyword(s) the domain is about. And most importantly, build those backlinks. Build them through forums, through blog commenting, through article writing & submission, etc... And build those backlinks using anchor text. Don't just link to http: //www. YOURSITE .com . Use anchor text for the keyword(s) you are targeting. Spend 2-3 hours a week building those backlinks. It's not that much time, you can do it any time of the day or night, and the potential value you could be adding will provide a nice return to you. If you're lazy you can hire an outsourced worker for $1.50/hour and spend a whopping $3-$4.50 a week for this backlink building.
This is such a simple step to helping you sell your domain names and something that most people don't take the time or effort to do. Think about it this way: there are two corner gas stations. They are equal in everything except that one has customers visiting it on a daily basis and the other one has no one visiting it. Now if you were going to purchase a gas station which one would you want to own? Domain names are no different. Create value = create sales.
I want to share a short story about how I took a hand registered domain and a concept and turned it into a business model that is beginning to show some solid growth and profit. I think this may give some people some fresh ideas on how to monetize hand registered domain names instead of feeling like you can't develop a successful site without using an expensive domain name.
First, I had the concept. It is not a new concept but I applied it in a way I had not seen done before. This is something that a lot of people don't think about but you really should. Take a concept, twist it to become unique, and be the first to market with it. So what did I do?
With a bad economy there are a lot of people who aren't paying for things that they may have in the past. The area I wanted to attack, ebooks. People sell ebooks online for $5, others for $25, some for $50, and I've even seen ebooks with a price tag of $500. Pretty insane. I've seen a lot of interesting ebooks online that I would read if someone handed me a free copy, but I'm not going to drop big bucks on an ebook (that's just me). So the concept I came up with is letting authors give away their ebooks for free in return for something, specifically the visitor must complete a survey first (which will generate revenue for the ebook author through a commission) and then the visitor gets a copy of the ebook for free. This is a win/win concept and helps both people which is why I was really pumped with the idea hit me and I had to develop something.
I created the site Ebooked.org. I hand registered this domain name after I knew the concept of what I wanted to offer. To me, there is no SEO difference in value between a .com and a .org and since I was buying a domain for development and not resale I had no issues picking up a .org.
Ebook authors can create a free account on Ebooked, then they upload their ebook(s), and then the magic happens... they earn PASSIVE revenue for the next 50 years (in theory) from spending 3 minutes of their time. What is there not to love about this? I wanted to make the site as simple and straightforward as possible and based on the feedback I've received I think I've accomplished this. As a web developer, there is nothing worse in my opinion then taking a simple concept and turning it into a complicated non-user friendly site, it's just bad business.
In a few months the site has grown to include over 300 registered ebook authors and almost 1,900 ebooks listed. Not too shabby considering I've spent $0 marketing the site.
How do I make money off the site?
1. There are two Adsense spots on the site which are mine.
2. I share revenue with the ebook authors. Out of every 5 people who click on the "Download" link for their ebook, 4 of those visitors will be shown a survey that would give commission to the ebook author while 1 of those visitors would be shown a survey that would generate commission for me. It is a generous offer for the ebook authors since my site is generating free traffic for them to their ebook.
I could go on and on talking about Ebooked but my point here is to share a development concept and maybe get some ideas flowing in your head. You can check out the site yourself if you'd like and if you want to get some free ebooks or if you want to make some passive income then feel free. Now stop buying domains and letting then sit untouched and get out there and try your own development project!