Picking Domains to Develop

develop domainsJust as with real estate, developing an online “property” is a fast and easy way to increase the value of your domains. But not all domains are created equal – or are worth developing.

According to the domain trading and monetization experts at Protrada, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether to invest time, money and resources in developing a domain. Here are five questions to ask yourself as you evaluate the development potential of your domains:

“Does this domain exactly match a popular search phrase?” Domains that match popular keyword phrases are good choices for two reasons. First, Google scans domain names when determining search engine results page placement. If your domain includes exact-match keywords, it will help to boost the domain’s ranking.

Second, exact-match keyword domain names are easier to remember than other domain names. Use the Google Keyword Research Tool to check the popularity of keywords related to your domain.

“Can I deliver what visitors want?” Visitors need products to buy, interesting content, or both.

If you’re not selling products at your site, you can use content to attract and keep visitors at your site; your revenue will come from advertising. But content can be valuable even if you intend to sell products, because it can help to pre-sell visitors. (Next week, we’ll talk more about how to create content.)

“Can I compete?” Go to Google and type in the keywords in your domain. Take a look at the other sites that appear in the search results – these will be your competitors.

With luck, you’ll see mostly individuals or other small companies. But if you see Fortune 500 companies, beware. Competing for these keywords will be incredibly difficult, because big companies can always spend more money to keep you away from the top spot for that keyword.

“How big is the niche?” Building a competitive site for a broad niche can take years. It requires building an authority site with thousands of pages of content. But if your domain name has long-tail keyword phrases in specific niches, it will be faster and easier to become competitive. These sites often need only a few pages to monetize.

“Am I infringing on a trademark?” In the past, some domainers would buy domains that infringed on trademarks in an attempt to force companies to buy back the domains from them. This practice is called “cybersquatting” – and it’s something you should avoid. Major companies are happy and able to outspend you in court. To make sure your domains are not violating a trademark, do a free trademark search at www.uspto.gov.

One final thought: Remember that domains are worth developing, but that you may not be the person to do it.

Protrada illustrates this scenario well in its free e-book, Domaining 101, with a fictional domain of www.UsedHybridRVs.com.

Because of the growing popularity of hybrid vehicles, it’s a good domain. But it will be challenging to monetize for several reasons. First, you probably don’t have an inventory of used hybrid RVs to sell. You probably don’t know enough owners of used hybrid RVs who would be willing to list their RVs for sale on your site. There may not even be enough used hybrid RVs in circulation yet to develop a whole website.

In this scenario, this domain would not be a good candidate for you to develop. So you’d buy and hold the domain, waiting until some date in the future to develop and sell it. Or you might find that there is another individual or company that is better positioned to monetize the domain now – for example, an RV dealer – and therefore is willing to buy the domain from you.

What criteria do you consider when determining whether to develop a domain? Please share your thoughts below! ~ Alex

Source: Domaining 101, a free e-book from Protrada. Download your copy here.

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