For almost every domainer, the big money is in the actual flip, not the domain maintenance. So just as with real estate, one of the biggest keys to domaining success is to limit your overhead during the holding period when you are waiting for your buyer. In this section, we cover some common and not-so-common techniques for monetizing your domain to cover your overhead expenses.
- Duke of URL: type-in traffic.
Google may control most of the western world’s web traffic, but they don’t yet control everything. In fact, a good keyword based domain can receive loads of type in traffic. With a well converting PPC landing page, this type in traffic can bring in from $100 to $1000 per day for a top-notch domain. Not a bad way to bide your time waiting for that perfect buyer to come along! So, when you’re searching for domains, keep in mind that type-in traffic is entirely defensible, meaning it doesn’t rely on a search engine or any other third party to send traffic your way, and that with enough of it, you can entirely cover your overhead expenses.
- Optimize your parked domains.
Some registrars allow you to add content and advertising directly to your parked domain’s page at no extra cost. If that is the case in your situation, you should definitely take advantage of this opportunity by optimizing your landing page. Try various configurations and combinations of affiliate ads and PPC ads to see what yields the highest return. Often simply changing the color of your landing page is enough to double your click-through rate. So, don’t sell yourself short by using a default ad configuration, or worse, not placing any advertising at all.
- The (traffic) collector.
If you already have your own well-converting highly monetized website within the same niche as your domain, instead of optimizing your landing pages, it may be more profitable for you to simply redirect your parked domains to that website. The key consideration when making this decision is simple, can I make more money by optimizing or redirecting? By electing the more immediately profitable option, you ensure that the maximum amount of your domaining overhead costs are offset, which may ultimately enable you to hold out for the right buyer longer than you might otherwise be willing to.
- Park and go.
While running your own PPC or adsense is the more lucrative solution, some domainers who are short on time or technical expertise choose to simply park domains at a service like Sedo. These sites allow you to optimize your parked page template, and they run PPC (Pay Per Click) ads such as AdSense for you, in exchange for taking a cut of any PPC revenues your domain earns. While this is a fine solution for those that are flipping sites on a very short timeline, for those domainers planning to hold the site for any significant length of time, the technical knowhow required to optimize on your own is very small relative to the earnings you may be giving up by sharing with a site like Sedo.
- Community spirit.
Converting expired domains with traffic into web 2.0 community sites is one of the most popular new trends in domaining. The theory goes, that by starting your own community, regular focused traffic will visit your website in great numbers which you will be able to leverage to offset maintenance costs. Unfortunately, the hype surrounding web 2.0 typically overshadows the reality, which is that most community sites eventually fail, so trying something like this will require a lot of time, effort, money and luck. For those of you working on a tight budget, good ole’ fashioned domain parking may still be the best solution.
- Creating your own lead generation.
Buying up older expired domains with a niche focus can serve as an internal lead generation system. For domains with a narrow focus, redirecting them to specific landing pages on your more general high-converting website can be an excellent way of leveraging your domains into a sort private Adwords / PPC campaign.
- Adsense Arbitrage.
Google AdSense arbitrage is the practice of buying traffic at a relatively cheap price, and leveraging that traffic by having those users click through to ads which are relatively more lucrative than the cost of bringing in the traffic. When considering whether adsense arbitrage is the best monetization solution for your domains, it is first necessary to consider whether it is allowed by your parking host. Even if it is, however, adsense arbitrage is a very risky game which is in almost every instance better left for more experienced domainers and webmasters.
- Choose volume over quality early on..
It’s the volume domain purchasers who consistently earn the highest profits from domaining. New domainers are often intrigued by the possibility of owning THE keyword in a niche (keyword.com). But more often that not, it is better to diversify your holdings, start small, then later bootstrap your early profits into domains a bit higher up the food chain. Think of it like this: it’s easier to sell 100 domains at $10 profit than one domain at $1000 profit.