Domaining Lessons Often Learned the Hard Way

There are webmasters and marketing experts who reportedly earn $10,000 a day. This may be huge earnings compared to what the average individual earns, but it’s actually meager income compared to what others are earning from their domain portfolio.

For these domain services experts, earnings of $100,000 a day are normal. If you want to capitalize on this online moneymaking scheme as well, then you’d do well to avoid the common mistakes beginners make.

Mistake #1: Getting Ahead of Yourself

Before you announce a domain deal (whether you’re buying or selling) on your social media pages, make sure the deal is already final. Never forget to put everything in writing! Once you get the deal in writing, be sure to read all the details, especially the fine print. Remember that there are people who want to keep domain purchase terms a secret for whatever reason.

You could become unwittingly guilty of breaching a contract if you post details of the sale on social media when the contract says you shouldn’t. While it’s understandable to be excited about a good deal, you should always err on the side of caution.  

Mistake #2: Keeping Too Many Domain Names

Never forget that you’re buying domain names as an investment. Therefore, they should form part of your assets, not your liabilities. This means every single domain you own should be turning in a decent profit, whether you’re actually using them as profitable websites or simply keeping them as passive income sources.

If a particular domain isn’t turning in a decent profit and there isn’t really any hope of it appreciating in value anytime in the future, then it’s best to dump it immediately.

As a general rule, it’s better to invest more of your money in a few high-quality domains than to spread your investment among several non-performing or poorly-performing ones. No matter how cute or clever a particular domain name sounds, if it isn’t performing as it should, drop it.

Mistake #3: Using Unethical or Highly Expensive Registrars

Be very careful when choosing a domain name registrar. There are registrars that charge up to $100 a year for a .com domain that you can actually get for less than $10 a year at another registrar. These registrars that charge exorbitant fees are counting on the negligence of newbies. They know that many of those who are new in the field do not bother to shop around, and they capitalize on this knowledge. Don’t let them take advantage of you!

What if you got a domain from an auction and it’s already registered with one of those high-charging registrars? The simplest solution is to transfer it out to a better registrar immediately. If you wait until a later date, you just might forget and end up paying too much when renewal time comes.

Be sure to keep a record of your domain purchases and the respective registrars. If you discover that some of your domains are held by a rip-off registrar, transfer them out at the soonest possible time.

Mistake #4: Going Maverick

Many wannabe domainers have gone before you and fallen hard on their faces when they tried to do everything by themselves. Rather than repeating their mistakes, you need to learn from them. Seek out the experts in domain services and see if they’re willing to share some of their secrets to success. At the very least, they could offer some useful advice that could guide you along the way. The good thing about the domain industry in general is that it’s pretty much a supportive community.

As long as you’re willing to learn, those who’ve gone before will most likely be willing to teach you.

You may also want to consider entering into a partnership with a few individuals who can bring capital into your venture. As long as you do it right, partnerships can be an excellent way of diversifying your holdings and minimizing your risks.

Mistake #5: Not Focusing on the Moneymakers

If you have one or two domains that earn a sizable amount of money, whether it has been developed into a full-fledged website or simply being used as a passive income source, be sure to pay close attention to it. Develop the site further, add value to it by posting more high-quality content, create marketing campaigns for the site, and make sure it stays profitable.

Your goal in this case is to multiply the profitability of this domain as much as you possibly can.

Mistake #6: Failure to Set Priorities

As soon as you’re done reading this article, get a pen and paper, sit down, and do this! List down all of your objectives and priorities where domaining is concerned, and then display copies of the list where you’re sure to see them every single day.

If you suddenly find yourself doing things that aren’t on your list of priorities, take stock of the situation to make sure you aren’t wasting any of your precious time. This helps you ensure that any time spent on your domains is time well spent.

Mistake #7: Failure to Check Trademark Laws

Trademark violations can give you more trouble than you’d care to be in, especially if you happen to commit them without knowing you did! This is why you need to familiarize yourself with trademark laws. More importantly, you need to steer clear of using domain names that are too close to a trademark or any famous name. Sure, you’ll probably benefit from the good reputation of that name, but the headache and stress you’re likely to suffer when you face an infringement lawsuit are too high a price to pay.

Just like any other industry, the key to success in domaining is keeping up with the latest developments and trends. It is also important to keep observing what other domainers are doing and learn from their successes and failures. Even if you’re able to avoid the above mistakes, there’s still a possibility that you’ll make your own mistakes along the way.

In fact, there are probably dozens of other newbie mistakes we haven’t covered here, as no single article can possibly cover every aspect of such a complex and dynamic industry. What’s important is for you to keep learning and never give up. Good luck!

Domain Names in the 21st Century: How Much is Too Much to Pay?

In the early days of the Internet, it was easy to get a one-word domain name that correlated to your interests. Of course, as domain names grew more popular, the one- and two-word domain names started getting bought by big companies or enterprising individuals. If you have a targeted startup, you might be looking for a domain name that has already been bought and is being resold for a large sum of money. Here's what you need to know about the evolution of domain names, how much you should pay, and how much they should be going for. You might not need to pay as much as you think you do.

A short name can be memorable.

There's a reason why Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr are successful social networks, why Mint.com beat Wesabe in terms of online money management, and why LG is known as LG and not Lucky Goldstar, its original name.

Short, catchy names are “brandable” because they are memorable and just quirky enough to hold your attention.

Your company name and domain name don't necessarily need to be the same, but if you're trying to build an identity around your company name, it makes sense to have that domain.

Good domains are good for SEO.

If you have a short, memorable domain name that includes keywords and your homepage is optimized for those same keywords, you can get a SEO boost. If you're the only company with that particular name, you're in luck. This is typically the most noticeable if you have a domain name without hyphens, that ends in .com, and is actually live and relevant to the keyword. In these cases, a keyword-rich domain name can be the best buy.

Pick the right one early.

It's devastating to have to switch your domain name later on. Branding, SEO clout, and link-building efforts will be wasted if you switch your domain, even if you perform a redirect. It's painful to change all of your marketing, portfolio materials, email signatures and email addresses, and so on to a new domain name.

If you plan to buy the domain later, go for something that's similar like yourname.ca or yourname.co instead of yourname.com, so the switch is less jarring.

Know your pricing.

A .com domain name can be had for about ten dollars per year, assuming you're the first to register it. If someone else is selling it besides a registrar, you're going to pay more. A domain could sell for $5,000, $20,000, or even a million dollars if it's the right domain. Insure.com sold for $16 million, and Wine.com sold for $3.3 million, after all.

Is it worth sticking with that domain just because you like the sound of it, or can you find something else that's quirky, brandable, and costs ten bucks?

Startups don't necessarily need to invest a huge sum of money into buying a domain name in the 21st century. If you're creative and willing to brand your company with an unusual name (Tumblr, for instance, is missing a letter but has made it into an inside joke), you can succeed without that premium domain.

.me Domains Hit the Market in Hours

On July 17th at 15:00 (UTC), you'll be able to start buying .me domains. iCast.me Kiss.me la.me allof.me

And so on.

With Apple's MobileMe product (www.me.com) just hitting the market, perhaps the ".me" domain craze will also start to take off.  You could get pretty creative with them.

They are about $20 a year with a 2 year minimum registration.  You can get them from sites like GoDaddy.  The best ones will go fast!