What Domains I\'m Buying and Why

Categories: .US Sites, Domain Strategy, Domains, SEO

by Morgan Linton

I get a lot of questions from new Domainers about what Domain Names I am currently buying. The answer to this question has changed over the years as I've learned more about what works for me and what doesn’t. Of course I've also had the opportunity to get incredible advice from some of the top Domainers in the industry so this also has helped steer me in the right direction.

I'll keep this short and sweet as my current methodology is fairly cut and dry, almost like a science. I follow a formula now whereas in 2007 and 2008 I was much more focused on experimenting, now the experiments have been conducted, the experts have been polled…I know what works, or at least what has worked for Domainers making the kind of money I want to make in this industry. I also know what has worked for my own business and what has failed miserably, every day I hope for another failure because I learn the most from these.

I break down my domain purchases into three categories. If you aren’t doing this it’s probably very hard to stay focused or build a cohesive strategy. Any strategy you devise should be based on past successes, or if not your own then the successes of someone else. This is why someone would spend over $100,000 to have lunch with Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs — they all have achieved incredible success and have valuable insight to share. In the development and monetization space my experience with SEO and development really helped me create a successful model. In the sales space I am still learning and basing my strategy off of advice given to me by some of the most successful Domainers on the planet.

It is absolutely critical that you have expectations for every domain that you buy. However expectations along are not enough — you need to have good solid data on why your expectations would be true, it can’t just be a wild guess. By breaking your purchases into categories you can set realistic expectations for yourself from the very beginning. So here’s what I’m buying in each category and why:

Domains for Development
About 75% of the domains I buy are for development. I don’t buy hundreds of domains each month but I do buy between 20-30 for our development portfolio since there are so many opportunities at the moment. I buy my domains either by hand-registering through Go Daddy or Moniker, or buying expired names which I do almost exclusively with Snapnames.

I am looking for domains in categories and with keywords that I have been successful with over the last three years. I only buy in markets that I know and have strong affiliate or lead generation options. If you have to ask yourself, “How would I make money with this domain?” then it’s not a great development candidate. I focus on credit, debt, finance, law, government, and taxes. While I have developed domains in many other niches these are the proven winners. I also try to look for exact-match search volume below 5,000 and a CPC above $5.00. This has nothing to do with PPC but instead I want to understand how much competition I’m going to have and how much people are willing to pay for a lead. I pick a search volume below 5,000 because these are hot niches but they aren’t wildly competitive. This is why I don’t develop many generics — ranking well for a term with 300,000 exact-match searches requires major SEO and link-building. When you buy domains with an exact-match search below 5,000 there’s a good chance you can get on the first page of Google or Bing within the first few months.

As for TLDs that I’m buying, for development I focus on .com, .net, .org, .info, and .us. I definitely buy more .us than anything else. Why? That’s an easy question to answer — I’ve made the most money and ranked the quickest with .us domains. This is my experience, it’s always worked for me and I can usually buy a .us name for under $5.

Right now I don’t have any incredible five-figure sales to speak of, this is a new path for me and I’m hoping to share my successes with all of you over the next year!

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