For me, the business of “domaining” has always had appeal and allure. Maybe it’s because of all the stories I’ve heard about millionaires making their money domaining, or because it seems like I’ve heard all of the smartest people online talk about it at one time or another. Yet information on “domaining” seems to be illusive. I wouldn’t by any means consider myself a domainer, but I have definitely had success using what I’d like to call “practical domaining” for my efforts in search and online marketing.
While traditional domaining consists of buying domains (usually in large volume) in attempt to later resell for profit, I’ve used domains and domain buying in some alternative ways for my benefit.
Most people that make a living online tend to have way more domains than they need and/or could use. For example, I own this site — which serves no absolutely no purpose other than its comedic value. While I’ve had a few offers on different domains I own, I’ve never sold one. So technically I’ve never done any traditional “domaining”. But there are other reasons to buy domains than hoping to flip them for profit.
Exact Match Domaining
One of the most common reasons to buy domains is to get a domain name that directly matches keyword phrases that you are trying to rank for. It’s well known among the SEO community that exact match domains tend to work better than they should. This is especially common among niche affiliates and sites that have a big focus on lead gen.
Another reason to buy frivolous domains is for their type in traffic. If you are able to get ahold of a domain that receives any amount of significant traffic just because people type it in their browser, it never hurts. People tend to get into trouble here though because they post duplicate content on these types of domains. The best thing to do is put a 301 redirect on the domain to the main site where you conduct business. I’ve had clients that had as many as 20 different type-in traffic domains that were able to contribute traffic to the main website. Be careful not to get carried away though, it’s rare that you actually find a domain that is valuable for it’s type-in traffic.
Most people are familiar with the concept of buying domains that are common misspellings of your brand name or search phrases in order to capture all type-in traffic. Maybe not as popular, but definitely full of potential is buying domains that are the common misspellings of other popular sites. Misspell domains of sites like Facebook and YouTube receive large amounts of traffic that could hypothetically be used for all kinds of things. While all of the misspellings of these particular sites are already taken, if you’re able to get misspell domains of a site that becomes popular, you could be in for a big payoff. Misspell search phrase domaining can also be used to capture misspell search traffic as these domains can be used as exact match domains on popular search misspellings.
While traditional trendwatch domaining consists of buying domain names that you anticipate to be popular, we can also use this strategy outside of trying to simply sell anticipated popular domains for profit. The most popular method I think is for affiliate marketers. Affiliates who can anticipate products that will become poplar can purchase domains in hopes of being able to launch an affiliate site with either an exact match domain or type-in traffic domain they bought prior to the product becoming popular. Imagine how many affiliate commissions you could have made if you had bought up all the “snuggie” domains before the snuggie was popular.
While buying domains that are already established websites isn’t technically domaining, it may be a tactic to consider. I’m not talking about buying established online businesses, that’s a completely different animal. But there are many websites online that are left dormant that can be great sources for link building. Buying these domains can often be a better way to get links than asking for them, or trying to “persuade” the site owner to link to you. While they may not be “up for sale”, owners of these types of domains can be responsive to offers.
Conversely, if you’re good at building sites that get decent traffic and/or rank well, building sites to sell is already a proven and established business model.