How Much is My Domain Name Worth?

How Much is My Domain Name Worth?

A great domain name is the difference between being well branded right from the start, or having to invest the time, effort and marketing into something that may potentially become a household name in years to come.

While this might be right in most cases, there are some exceptions here and there, such as eBay.com, PayPal.com, Google.com — all names that are short and sweet, but not exactly “real words” that anyone would know or think of if the current names and sites weren’t already attached to them.

However, having a great one-word generic domain is potentially worth millions, especially if it’s relevant to a multi-million dollar brand that wants it enough.

No matter the business, brand or name… one thing that is common in the world of online marketing, is that everyone thinks their domain name is worth a heck of a lot more than it actually is.

Registering a cheap domain name for $10 and expecting to flip it for a quick 10-50 times profit is extremely unlikely, but I still get emails everyday from random people who bought domain names similar to some of my other sites and expect me to buy them — which is just silly, and a horrible business model on their part!

For anyone that wants to learn more about legitimately and successfully buying and selling six-figure domain names, I highly recommend you check out my interviews with Adam Dicker and Dave Evanson — two of the brightest people in the world of domain name sales.

With all of that being said, I wanted to provide some insight on what makes some domain names worth more than others. Obviously one-word generic domain names are the best, especially when they are “.com” extensions, but there are also many other key elements as well — all of which we will be cover in this article and through the infographic below.

All of the data and factors listed below are based off the “The Art of Valuing Domain Names” infographic found below, which was originally created by Aftermarket.com, but has since been changed over to Igloo.com.

The Art of Valuing Domain Names

As mentioned, when it comes to putting an actual price on what a domain name is worth, it comes down to many different factors — but ultimately it’s decided by what a person or brand is willing to pay for it.

Let’s first take a look at some of the key elements that INCREASES the value of a domain name.

  • Domain names that are unique and brandable
  • Shorter domain names are usually valued higher
  • “Everyday words” are more sought after
  • There is a lot of value in “exact match” domains
  • Higher search volume on a domain also increases value
  • The TLD of a domain is a huge factor in worth
  • The “lead value” for the domain name niche is another indicator
  • Previous sale prices of the domain can also come into play
  • Age, existing traffic and SEO are also measured

Now let’s look at some key factors that DIMINISHES the value of a domain name.

  • Domain names that infringe on trademarks usually won’t sell for much
  • Having too many words/characters in a domain is also a negative
  • Singular versus plural words can devalue a domain name
  • The use of dashes and numbers is frowned upon
  • Errors and uncommon words aren’t very sought after
  • TLDs outside the top three are immediately devalued in comparison
  • A negative domain history can also devalue a domains worth
  • Negative SEO, content and backlinks can keep buyers away

Generic Domains that Have Sold for Millions

To get an idea of what type of domains names demand high value, I’ve listed a few of the top selling seven-figure domain names over previous years. Not many domains sell for millions, but plenty do sell for six-figures. Take a look at my infographic on the Highest Selling Domain Names of 2015 to see what’s been selling lately.

  • Sex – $14 million
  • Fund.com – $9.99 million
  • Porn.com – $9.5 million
  • Business.com – $7.5 million
  • Diamond.com – $7.5 million
  • Beer.com – $7 million
  • Slots.com – $5.5 million
  • Toys.com – $5.1 million
  • Clothes.com – $4.9 million
  • Candy.com – $3 million
  • Vodka.com – $3 million

As you can see, pretty much all of these domains are super generic and would be of value to any brand or business selling products or services related to the domain name.

The amazing thing is that each of these domain names were purchased for under $100 at the time of their initial purchase (and probably back in the mid 90s)!

How to Determine the Value of Your Domain Name

Using the factors mentioned above, you should have a better idea of what your domain name is worth. If it’s a generic one or two word domain name, that is a .com and doesn’t have any hidden negatives (seo/search), then you probably have a nice 5-6 figure domain name on your hands.

The important thing to remember is that the price of a domain name is not random. Just like everything else in the world, prices can fluctuate and the value of a domain name is based upon what someone is willing to pay for it. Obviously, if you had a domain name for someone’s personal name, it would be of great value to only people that share that name — yet worthless to nearly everyone else.

The one thing that does stay the same is the variables listed above — which have been used by domain brokers and investors for the past 20 years!

How to Value a Domain Name

Domain Registration Tips: 7 Things to Know Before You Buy

Domain Registration Tips: 7 Things to Know Before You Buy

Registering a domain name for the first time can be one of the most exciting things you do when starting a new website or business on the internet. For many of us, registering a new domain name is nothing new, and it to some it might actually seem quite tedious. However, I still get excited when I register a new domain these days… even with then 400+ I already have, each domain is unique in their own way and full of potential.

At the same time, millions of people are still starting a website or blog for the first time daily, and with each of these, they will also need a domain name. To help with the process of grabbing a domain name and making sure you are setup for the long haul, today I’m going to highlight seven domain registration tips that everyone should be aware of — even if you’ve already registered hundreds of domain names in the past.

Grab All Variations of Your Domain Name

When registering a domain name for your personal site or business, make sure you spend the extra few dollars to grab the .net and .org versions of these names as well. With a low investment of around $10 per year for a domain name, it’s just a no-brainer to not let such domains get in the wrong hands — especially your competitors!

Make the Process of Domain Transfers Easy

Some domain registration services make it a real hassle to register domain names and transfer them to another location. A domain transfer might take place if you want to swap ownership or simply keep all of your domain names under one provider. To learn more about this process, I recommend you read this guide on the domain name transfer process, along with the many different fees, benefits and things to be on the lookout for depending on your domain registrar.

Secure Your Personal Name as a Domain

If you are lucky enough to have a unique name, there is a good chance someone didn’t grab your personal name as a domain yet. However… in most cases, the chances are against you.

This means you should head over to your favorite domain registrar and check to see if your personal name is available. Heck, check your spouse’s name and any family members too! It’s only a matter of time before all personal names are scooped up, and potentially out of your hands forever.

Enable WHOIS Protection on Your Domain

Did you know that when you register a domain name, you are potentially putting all of your information out there for the world to see? It’s true, and all it takes is a simple WHOIS search. Go ahead, try it sometime.

The good news is that you can protect your personal information from being easily accessed on such sites by simply implementing WHOIS protection when registering your domain name. There is usually a small fee associated with this, but it’s well worth protecting your personal identity in the process.

Make Sure to have Auto-Renew on Your Domains

Once a domain name is registered, it’s usually gone for good. This is due to the fact that domain names are extremely cheap to register and renew on an annual basis. However, sometimes people forget to renew their domains and then they are instantly picked up from domain registry companies to be resold at a higher markup.

Most domain registrars will allow you to register a domain for multiple years in advance (which may help with SEO, though this is always up for debate), but the option should also be there to automatically renew your domain names as well. Make sure this option is always in place, while also making sure your credit card and payment information are up to date as well.

Choose a Domain Name that is Easy to Spell and Remember

When it comes time to register a domain name, you are likely going to need to get a bit creative to find something that is available. At the same time, don’t get too crazy with it. I understand the process of finding a good domain name that isn’t already taken can be quite frustrating and timely, but before you register a domain name that you think might be pretty amazing — think again!

For example, I highly recommend you stay away from misspellings and the use of hyphens and numbers in your domain name. For example, if the domain name seeyoulater.com was taken, you wouldn’t want to register CUL8ER.com because it’s “cool”. Think about all the times you would need to spell out your domain name versus just saying it. In short, get a unique domain name, but make it easy for your audience to find, spell and remember in the process. If you still aren’t having a lot with coming up with a unique domain name of your own, try any of these domain name generators to help out with this process.

Don’t Pay Too Much for Your Domain Name

My last domain registration tip for you is to simply not get ripped off by registering domain names at the wrong location. For example, when I first started registering domains in the late 90s, Network Solutions ran a monopoly over the world of domains and it cost $70 to register a domain name ($35 for two years). Now you have a world of options for registering domains, also at a much lower rate as well (around $10 a year). Yet some people are still paying $30+ per year to register and own their domains on an annual basis — this is just a waste of money. Find out how much you are paying for your domain name registrations, and if it’s too much… it’s time to find another registrar. Even though it might only seem like the difference of a few dollars to register a domain name, this could add up to hundreds or even thousands of waste dollars per year if you have several domains that are up for renewal.

I Hope You Enjoyed My Domain Registration Tips

As someone who has been buying and selling domain names for nearly 20 years now, I’ve had my fair share of experiences with each of the points I highlighted above. Your domain name is going to be the beginning and end for your site, so make sure it’s pretty great. Don’t rush to go live with your site until you found a perfect domain name to represent your brand, it’s mission and content.

Once you’ve found that perfect domain name for your next site, be sure to follow my blogging guide for a complete walkthrough of how to start a successful website or blog from day one.

How to Improve Domain and IP Reputation and Steps to Improve Email Open Rates

How to Improve Domain and IP Reputation and Steps to Improve Email Open Rates

I launched a case study to try and revive a dead email list last week, and today I’m providing my first full week update after getting started.

As a reminder, I already have an email list of about 22,000 subscribers in the “Mom” / recipes / discounts niche, but they haven’t been emailed in over a year.  Now, I want to see if I can revive that list and start making $1,000 or $2,000 a month with affiliate offers.

My original goal was to start emailing them 5 times a week, because I’ve seen another similar business in my niche do the same thing (and I know they are successful…$$$).

However, after just 3 email blasts sent last week, I know I already need to pump the brakes!  My open rates are just abysmal!

So, I’ve taken a few steps to try and improve my domain and IP reputation for email deliverability.  I’m going to walk you through the exact steps I’ve taken so far, the results, and additional steps I plan to take to improve my email open rates.

My False Start…

So, I started with 3 emails in 3 days to my cold email list of 22,000 to see what would happen.  I knew the open rates would be low…but this is just embarrassing.

Email 1 – 6.6% open rate

A 6.6% open rate is not good.  But I knew it was going to be bad, so it wasn’t too much of a shock.  I was hoping for over 10%, but this was just day 1…maybe my second email will be better.

Email 2 – 3.5% open rate

Ouch!  The open rate dropped almost in half!  It went from bad to worse.  Maybe I just shouldn’t email about dinner ideas again…

Email 3 – 2.5% open rate

Ugh, this is not going to work.  A 2.5% open rate is D.E.A.D!

After seeing these terrible results in 3 days, I decided to stop all emails going out until I did a little more in-depth research.

First step, improve the Domain and IP reputation for my site.

Steps to Improve Domain Reputation

If your email is going to spam or promotions folder, people are not going to see or open your emails.  That was definitely the case with my first 3 emails.

I took a quick look at ConvertKit (the email provider I’m using) and realized that I had never been DMARC verified.  If you want to read up on why DMARC is important, you can do so here.

Well, it only took me a few minutes to get my DMARC submitted.  However, I know that it can take a week or two for your domain reputation to improve even after getting DMARC verified, so that’s certainly not the only step that needs to be taken.

A way to monitor your domain reputation is through Google Postmaster

You will be asked to add a TXT file with a value that they give you.  And just use the @ symbol in the name field.

Sure enough, Google is telling me that my domain has a low reputation.  Check this out:

So, Google Postmaster is showing that my domain has a “low” reputation.  Once I get fully DMARC verified, I hope to get that up to “High”.  Then my emails should start hitting more inboxes.

The above image shows that after August 4th, I’m now SPF and DKIM success for authenticated traffic.  So, I think I’m moving in the right direction.

Getting Rid of Invalid Email Addresses

I have to give a hat tip to the Niche Pursuits Facebook group.  Someone in the group recommended that I clean up any invalid email addresses off my list.

An old list likely contains lots of bad email addresses.

So, I took the advice last week and signed up for Zero Bounce.  I was able to upload all 22,000 email subscribers there and Zero Bounce was able to verify which emails were good.

Turns out that 1,183 were invalid or otherwise bad email addresses!

So, I went ahead and removed all of those bad email addresses from my ConvertKit account.  I’m now down to 20,699 subscribers…but I know these are valid email addresses!

I found Zero Bounce really easy to use and you can do one-off email list checks, which is what I did.  If you want to check out what Zero Bounce is all about, go here.

Getting Fresh Email Subscribers

I have not tried emailing the 20,699 subscribers since my last email; however, I do plan to give it a shot later this week. 

However, in the meantime, I figured, why don’t I try to start building up the email list with fresh leads?!  I had removed the opt in form from this particular website because…well…I didn’t have an email plan a year ago.

But now that I plan on emailing the list more often, I want it to grow.

Plus, new subscribers should be more likely to open my emails.

So, I went ahead and added a quick opt-in form that just popups up when people first land on my site. I use Opt-in Monster to create my opt in forms for all my sites .

Here’s what that opt-in form looks like:

(As a reminder, this is a “Mom” blog…and this is a picture of my business partner’s wife.  She does work on the site and is the face of the brand).

So, what are the results over the last week of adding this new email opt in form?

So, in a little over a week, we’ve picked up 129 new email subscribers!  An opt-in rate of 0.29% is not great, but it’s essentially gravy as it does not appear to be impacting our regular affiliate earnings or display ad revenue from the site.

Since we were getting new email subscribers, I wanted to try emailing this “fresh” list only to see if our email open rates were any better.

Here’s the email I sent:

I hadn’t used Emojis in subject lines or in email copy before, but I’ve heard it can do good things to open rates.  Turns out it SUPER easy to do.

I just went to Emojipedia.org, and just found the emoji I wanted, clicked the copy button, and the hit pasted in my subject line or body.  I thought it was going to be more involved, but that was all that was needed for ConvertKit.

Oh, and to clarify, the links that talk about Amazon products go to a post on my own site, where people can then click to go to Amazon if they want (you can’t use Amazon affiliate links in an email).  The post is essentially just a few AAWP product boxes showing off the Amazon products.

Here’s the results:

(Note: this email was sent last Friday when I only had 89 new subscribers, now we have 129 because it’s been a few days since then).

I wished I wasn’t excited about a 9.0% open rate…but I am!  That significantly better than I was getting before.

I did test my email to make sure it was spam-free and not triggering any spam filters.  I highly recommend you do the same before you send mass emails.  You can use Mail-Tester.com to test for free if your email triggers any spam warnings.  I’m happy to report that I got a 10/10 out the email above.

However, I’m pretty sure this email landed in everyone’s spam folder still.  I need to get a bit more time and a few more emails under my belt before my domain reputation is going to fully improve.

Once I start hitting inboxes, I should see much better open rates.

Earnings?!

And believe it or not, I have a little bit of earnings to report!

Overall, just $0.90 from all of that effort :(.  However, I’m just getting my systems figured out and getting my domain reputation higher.

Once, I start hitting more inboxes those earnings will improve.

And of course, once I start hitting inboxes, I’ll make sure I’m sending the best affiliate offers I can that are converting well.  For the first few weeks here, I may just be promoting what’s easy so I can get a system in place.

Plan Going Forward?

I need to get fully DMARC verified and start hitting email inboxes, that’s priority number 1.

For now, I’ve backed off the idea of mailing 5 times a week.  I’m going to mail the “fresh” list 3 times each week.  I will include the bigger email list of 21k on one of those emails a week.

I will play it a little “safer” for the next couple of weeks and continue to monitor my open rates and any other feedback I get from Google Postmaster.

Once my domain and IP reputation improve, I’ll slowly start ramping up emails to the “old” list to hopefully 5 times a week at some point.

Overall, that’s where I’m at for now with the reviving a dead email list project.  Hopefully, you’ve found a few of these tips useful in improving your domain reputation and steps to improve email open rates.

By Spencer Haws

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