Buying and selling domain names is an exciting adventure that for some seems to conjure up images of finding hidden pirate treasure or guessing the winning combination on the next Powerball. Stories abound of domains that were purchased for $8 dollars 15 years ago being sold today for millions. Of course, that leads the more adventurous of us to wonder, “How can I do that?”
Well, the ocean is big. Your likelihood of cashing in on the motherlode is low, and you’re liable to waste a lot of time and money chasing after the wrong ships. You need a map or some other advantage to guide you toward that elusive booty.
These five tried-and-true tips for buying and selling domain names for a profit can navigate you to becoming an expert.
5 tips for buying and selling domain names for profit
Here are some tips to get you pointed in the right direction when trying to buy or sell a domain name for profit:
Narrow your focus.
Find names that offer real value.
Check domain availability.
Evaluate the price.
Get your domains front and center.
Let’s dig into each of these tips.
1 - NARROW YOUR FOCUS
There are millions of domains already registered by someone and endless combinations of available domains to register — especially when you consider the hundreds of new domain name extensions like .app and .club.
If you plan on buying a domain to resell it, start by narrowing your focus.
What do you know about already that can make this easier?
Do you know about pets? Trying getting a .dog or .pet domain name.
Are you in car or home sales? Consider getting a .car or .realestate domain extension.
Is your profession in education or healthcare? Check out .education and .doctor options.
Think about some of the spaces you are most familiar with and start your domain name search based on the related keywords.
It is much easier to sell a domain you know would be valuable to someone in a particular industry.
You can check the strength of a keyword by using tools like Google Trends and Keyword Planner.
What not to do
Here’s what you DON’T want to do: Target prospective buyers based on their perceived economic status, without any insight into the industry you’re targeting. “Lawyers seem to do well,” you think, “maybe I should start selling names to them.” So you rush out and buy a bunch of domain names you think would appeal to the law firms you’ve identified as potential buyers.
Without knowledge of the space, you may not know that the American Bar Association and other industry-specific organizations set rules that govern some aspects of legal advertising. You’re not going to strike gold selling names your target buyers can’t use.
Understand your audience, and the sales will eventually follow.
You can keep a domain for 10 years and still sell at a considerable profit. While you are waiting for it to sell you can monetize the domain and throw in some SEO, which in turn can justify the cost to the buyer.
Most domains end up paying for themselves so your portfolio won’t really cost you any money out of pocket.
Remember to focus on the areas you know well and you will be much more successful than buying and selling domains you think would benefit someone in an industry you know little about.
Related: How to buy a domain that someone else owns
2. Find names that offer real value
Think of ways that the domains you buy would be a valuable asset to the buyer.
Picture someone who would benefit from buying the domain in a space you are very familiar with. If this was you and someone was trying to sell you this name, would it be beneficial for you to own? Be honest. If so, why? If not, why?
Use those answers to refine your search for names.
Let’s play this out with a real example. Say you’re familiar with the real estate market in Tempe, Arizona, and you have the opportunity to purchase tempeapartments.com for $200. This might be a good deal. Tempe has a lot of rental property; it’s a competitive market; and there’s ample turnover in the apartment space because the city is home to a major university. Ask yourself:
How much does one month of rent profit a landlord, property manager or other prospective domain buyer? How about a year’s worth of rental profit?
Would you buy this name if you were in the space? If so, why?
What kind of domains are landlords, property managers, etc., using?
How much do they spend on advertising?
How much would this domain help them to sound authoritative in their space?
If you can answer these questions with confidence and know this niche well, you probably already have an idea of who to contact and how to make a compelling case for how this domain could help their business grow.
Related: Should you buy a premium domain name for your business?
3. Check domain availability
Now that you have narrowed down what names you should probably be buying, how do you find them?
First, check to see if the names are available to purchase as new registrations. You can buy the domain names immediately if no one owns them.
CHECK YOUR DOMAINS
If the names are taken (as many probably will be), head over to the aftermarket to buy from people who already own the names or who let them expire because they no longer plan on using them.