Make Money Buying and Selling Domain Names
Learn how to make money flipping domains names. See how profitable domain name flipping can be after 2020 as online digital assets become more useful and valuable in the 21st century.
How to Flip Domains for a Profit
Buying and selling domain names to make money is an age-old method for low and high income online earners. Strategies for flipping domain names can include the use of various domain marketplaces, DNS registrar’s, and domain auctions platforms.
To stay ahead of the game, it is essential to become familiar with processes necessary to find the expiring domains of tomorrow, as well as the tools required to perform those processes accurately and efficiently. In this tutorial, we will break down the entire process from buying to selling and everything in between. We will cover unique domain hunting techniques, profitability predictors, and step-by-step approaches to earning an online income from flipping digital properties for big profits.
Finding Domain Names to Buy and Sell
Finding the right domain names can seem like an extensive challenge at first, especially if you’re jumping into this headfirst without any skin in the game. Once you understand how to find the domain names, it’s important to develop a strategy for continuing that system if you are interested in continually earning from this profit stream.
When shopping for domain names online, you might notice inconsistency in what seems to be like unnaturally high and inflated prices from the sellers. Don’t fear, we will not be buying high-cost domains like these to begin with. The primary strategy when flipping anything will always be buying low and selling high, which is a practical guideline to follow when just starting out. With that said, let’s get into what makes a profitable domain name and what to look for when purchasing domains to flip.
What to Look for in a Domain Name
Don’t be left with a bunch of garbage domain names and waste your money. Instead, take note of the following domain metrics and rules when searching for your first domains to ensure higher chances of selling your domains to willing buyers.
Domain Extensions (.com, .net, .org, etc.)
Are .com domain names worth more than .net or other domain extensions? The short answer is; yes. But that doesn’t mean things aren’t changing as we venture into the future with a plethora of new extension options like .ai, .app, and .co. As these extensions become more accessible and the availability of .com domains diminish, it only makes sense that profitable domain territory will cross over into other premium extension options.
Domain Length and Characters
By a general rule of thumb, domain name value increases as the length of the domain name decreases. This means domains like recently sold voice.com and 360.com (which have just sold for well over $10,000,000) are more valuable than long domains like GetMyFreeCreditReports.com, for instance. For one, they are easier to remember if they are shorter, and two, they command more authority from search engines which can increase visibility tremendously in the long life of your domain.
Hyphens and numbers are acceptable characters for use in domains, however, they may not always be a good choice if you’re going for high domain value when selling for a profit. It is recommended to stay away from hyphenated domains like books-now.com, as well as domains containing numerical digits such as crazy4fitness.com which would not demand a high value from domain buyers.
Tip: Stay away from using the letter (i) which can look like (l), when capitalized in the beginning of your domain. This can be confusing for shareability (See brandability below).
Exact Keyword Domains & Search Volume
When starting out in the domain industry, you may eventually find gravitating towards domain names with exact-match keywords with high search volume. An example of this would be something like kittenbeds.com with 1,900 exact monthly searches.
You can check the search volume of a particular keyword or set of keywords using Google’s keyword planner tool. Exact match domain keywords may make your asset more valuable to the right buyer.
Keep in mind current events when scouring for your flippable .com’s. Most huge profitable flips occur through predicting future trends and buying up related domains. Take for example Bitcoin; a fast-growing and trending niche from which many domain buyers acquired related domains early and made massive ROI as Bitcoin grew in popularity. Using tools like Google Trends, trending topics become easy to foresee so you can make accurate predictions when buying trending domains.
The most sure-fire way to achieve a memorable and worthwhile domain is to consider brandability, shareability, pronounceability (is it intuitive and easy to say out loud when talking to a friend), and legibility. Exact keyword domains are beginning to phase out as short, brandable domain names become the go-to for new startups and investment opportunists. Easy-to-say and memorable domains when it comes to making a profit in this industry.
Website and Backlink History
Lastly, when searching for domain names to buy and sell for a profit, we want to take a look at the usage history of the domain. If it’s an expired domain or it has been dropped by it’s current DNS registrar, you will need to check the domain’s history and if there were any websites hosted on it. Was it used prior and what it used for? You can use The Wayback Machine to check and see whether a domain has been archived before. Take a look at each snapshot to see if it was a legitimate website or spam.
For detecting spam sites, keep an eye out for foreign languages, adult websites, and page errors. All of these are red flags that should tell you to stay away. Any competent domain buyer will check to see if a website has been hosted on the DNS before. On the other hand, if a legitimate website with an authoritative presence was previously hosted with it, this can be seen as an advantageous aspect to buyers.
Another metric when considering a domain’s history is the backlink profile of the domain. An easy way to tell if a domain has been spammed with bots and SEO software would be to check the links that are already online pointing to your domain. Check the backlink profile and of a domain using (XXX). (P3) If the backlinks contain inconsistent and “spammy” looking sites, then you know that would not be a domain you want to use as it would be viewed as a negative from the buyer of whom you’ll eventually want to sell it to.
Expired Domains Tool
Finding expired domains is a great way to expand your online asset portfolio, especially when searching for the right domain to flip as these domains may already contain some value. ExpiredDomains.net provides an extensive and free way to search expired domains using their dropped DNS database. The database is updated everyday and can make a great way to consistently acquire new domain names. Be sure to take advantage of the search options and filters to separate the wheat from the chaff. Below represents a quick guide on optimizing your filter settings to increase your chances of finding valuable .com domains (requires a free account);
First, set your search settings to “Deleted .com” Domains.
Show filter and consider these search settings.
You can adjust and filter by search volume and various other metrics.
Pick your domains with our recommendations in mind. Keep your domains short, intuitive, and descriptive, and/or brandable. The below image shows an assortment of domains you can expect when searching for expired names with this tool.
- LE – letters in the domain name
- BL – backlinks pointing to the domain
- WBY – birth year of the domain registration according to public whois information
- ABY – birth year of the domain registration according to public archive.org data
- ACR – archive.org number of crawl results
- ALEXA – alexa traffic rank
- C – domain availability status
Instant Domain Search Tool
Another free online tool to add to your domain hunting arsenal. Quickly check the availability of single or multiple domains and gather suggestions for various extensions or wording options. Instant Domain Search provides super quick results, so going back and forth between researching and checking domain status makes the searching process much more efficient.
Cold-Contacting Current Domain Holders
There may come a time in your domain search you may find the domain you want is already registered with someone else. Perhaps you see that the site has been abandoned, or it is up for sale. Most of the time the sale price will be quite high, and so it’s recommended that you try to negotiate significantly with the seller as the only thing you have to lose is your dignity. Don’t be afraid to throw some low balls out there, as this is a numbers game.
Scraping soon-to-be expiring domains and using automated software to send cold emails through contact forms on their website is a sneaky way to get in touch with loads of website owners who may be interested in selling their web properties.
Domain Marketplaces and Auctions
There are an assortment of online auction houses and domain marketplaces where domains can be bought and sold with active traders. For buying domains names, we will cover just a few places you can go. Later in this guide, you can find more marketplaces for selling your domain, but they can be used for buying as well.
One marketplace that has domain listings and auctions on the cheaper side is Flippa. Flippa specialized mostly in complete websites, but they have a domain auction platform included. Sorting the domains by “ending soonest” will provide you with soon-to-end auction listings that may go unnoticed by other buyers. Flippa’s audience is not entirely huge, so you chance of snagging a low reserve price domain name for pennies can be accomplished with Flippa.
Believe it or not, you can sell digital assets on Ebay and that includes DNS domain names. Sorting auctions by “ending soonest” just like on Flippa, you can easily find available and affordable domain names that can be sold later at a higher price.
Registering and Transferring Your Domain
After hours of searching and making lists of potential prospects for flipping, you may just be ready to buy your domain. Once you’ve found the domain name(s) that you want to buy and they are available, you will need to register it with a DNS registrar like Namecheap or GoDaddy. There are many other options available as well so do some shopping around for the best prices and usability features, especially if you are considering buying domains in bulk as discounts may be available for large quantities.
If the domain name is already registered with someone else and you have negotiated the pricing and terms with the seller, the domain can then be transferred to your own registrar using the domain migration process of your registrar. Most good DNS registrars will provide support for domain transfers such as this to make the process easier.
How to Sell Domain Names for Profit
Your domain(s) are registered and sitting in your DNS account and you’re now ready to begin offloading some of your high quality picks. When it comes to selling your domain names, you have various avenues to look into. In this guide, we’re going to explore you selling options and how to make the most out of your digital properties.
Not only can you use auction houses and marketplaces to sell your domains, you can also take advantage of social media groups in the domain niches. Facebook provides many potential selling groups that pair up interested buyers with determined sellers. (P10) This can be hit or miss, but cross-posting to multiple groups can be a quick way to get some eyes on your domains. Be sure to follow each group’s specific posting guidelines or you may face restrictions and bans. Posting on a daily or weekly basis can ensure continuity on selling your domains for consistent profit, but be sure to provide more than a few options for interested buyers otherwise you may consider creating multiple accounts for posting your offers.
Niche Forums and Marketplaces
What better place to sell your online assets than a niche marketplace with a similar audience interest as your domain niche. Consider online domain marketplaces on internet marketing forums such as digitalpoint, warriorforum, or even gigtut’s domain marketplace forum on on our own platform. Typically costing a minimum fee to register (sometimes as much as $100+), some of these forums allow domain trading, buying, and selling, and provide a premium solution to selling your domains.
SEDO Auctions & Classifieds
They call it the domain industry’s leading marketplace for a reason. This online domain auction platform is a widely used and top-tier website for domain buying and selling. It’s quality comes at an expense of $69 per listing. Fortunately though, it’s a great way to list your domain to potential prospects and it should come on top of your list if you have a domain worth anything of value. If you’re planning on working with low-tier domains worth ~$100, Sedo would not be a good option as the costs outweigh the potential return.
For high-end domain names, Sedo provides a solution for posting your domain auction or classified listing indefinitely, or until someone makes an offer that sounds acceptable to you. With a long-term strategy in mind, it’s suggested to over compensate your domain’s value and list it at a modest price. Someone will eventually negotiate a more reasonable bid that may make sense for you to take.
Profitable Domain Flipping Strategies
- As with flipping just about anything, your main goal when flipping .com’s in lucrative manner means you must buy them a rock bottom prices, and sell them at premium value. A great way to do this may mean buying them from lower tier auction marketplaces like Flippa and listing them on higher-quality classified domain listings for much higher cost. Sedo buyers are willing to spend more thus netting you a higher revenue. But of course, this may take some time before you begin receiving any worthwhile offers.
- Patience is absolutely the name of the game when it comes to offloading your portfolio. Long-term domain flipping strategies tend to weed out any non-serious players from long-term patient flippers.
- Since wait times can add up to months and years for some domain properties, the necessity for higher quantities of domains increases, but this doesn’t mean skimping on quality. Too many low-quality domains may leave you with a trashy portfolio of low to no value at all. Remember, a domain is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it – not every .com will be a winner.
- Include bonuses and extra features in your classified listings and auctions. New buyers can be attracted by freebies and extra features such as ebooks, promotions, or extra domain transfer support.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section will cover the most frequently asked questions regarding domain name flipping with answers to integral questions that you may come upon during your domain flipping journey.
How much should I sell my domains for?
An easy way to check a rough value of your domain is using GoDaddy price estimator tool which is free. It’s like the Kelly Blue Book for cars, except this is for digital domains. Unfortunately, in most circumstances, it’s rare to find a buyer for the suggested retail price that GoDaddy’s estimator suggests. But it is a useful tool and knowing other buyers may use makes it easier for you to price. Go just a bit under the estimated value and you attract more offers for your listings.
How Much Can You Make Flipping Domain Names?
If you’ve been in the game for a while, you know how lucrative this business can be. On the other hand, if you’re just starting out don’t expect to make a killing right out of the door. It takes patience, confidence, determination, and a lot of luck to sell domains of high value.
Is Domain Flipping Scale-able into a Sustainable Income
How much can one person really make buying and selling online assets such as .com properties? The answer lies within automation and optimization. Once you’ve nailed the process and a system for finding valuable domains and selling them for a significant return, then it may be time to scale.
More manpower such as virtual assistants and freelance workers may provide the solution to exceeding the average domain flipping income. Designate roles and procedures for your workers with the system you’ve developed and create a semi-automated domain flipping empire.