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Flip a Domain in Five Days

Posted on 3.13.2012

Domainers are panicked. With so much uncertainty surrounding the introduction of the upcoming generic top-level domains and what will happen with portfolio values, anyone who is active in the domain-name industry is in a virtual state of upheaval and not necessarily sure what to think about their future.



Fear not. If you are worried about losing out on the investments you may have already made and are considering a domain-name fire sale, first consider flipping a few of the domain names in your portfolio. Whether you have domain names currently parked or are actively engaged in the process of acquiring or selling website properties, it is possible to flip a domain name very quickly for profit — in some cases, big profits. Domain-name marketplace Flippa, for example, has sold well over $60 million worth in websites and domains in its brief existence.

The demand is there, but only those Web workers who get involved can benefit. For our purposes here, let’s say someone owns a website that has been parked for some period of time and is now looking to sell the domain name directly to an independent buyer within a matter of days. How can they best spend that time in order to maximize the value of their sale?

Day 1) Research & Content Development
Savvy Web workers understand that content drives visibility, so content development should be the focus on the first day of a flip. Before hunkering down for a long day of writing, however, it might benefit flippers to spend some quality time with their preferred keyword research tools. There are many, but a great place to start is Website Magazine’s list of popular keyword research tools. One of the most common mistakes, by the way, is optimizing for keywords that are much too competitive. Focus instead on more long-tail terms – the ones that can drive a lower volume of traffic but by their nature come with a higher quality of visitor.

Day 2) Testing & Conversion Optimization
Websites are typically sold as a way to generate revenue for the seller, not necessarily because the seller has lost interest in the property — despite that commonly made claim. One of the reasons a site may not be performing well monetarily is the conversion process, and a flipper can successfully increase the site’s value by identifying any barriers to conversion for the future buyer. Get started by reading WM’s December 2011 Master List of Multivariate Testing Tools at http://wsm.co/tKteHy.

Day 3) Social Media & Networking Profiles
Website traffic does not just come from search engines; it also comes from social media destinations. And the stronger the social media and networking profile, the more appealing a website will be to prospective buyers. While “strong” social media profiles cannot necessarily be set up in a few days, do make sure that they have been established, feature some quality content and can reflect the brand in a positive way.

Day 4) New Feature Integration
Adding some flair to a website being flipped can make a significant difference in the sale price. For instance, if the site being flipped is exclusively a forum, why not introduce a weblog to highlight interesting conversations that are occurring (it could also work in the reverse). New features don’t have to be as time-intensive for a buyer to operate, however. Say, for example, that the website being flipped is short on social media or gamification features. Rolling in those features within your flip automatically adds value. Integrating features that positively support users, bring awareness to content and lead to a higher sale price are how you should spend the fourth day of your flip.

Day 5) Prepping for the Sale
Thousands of websites change hands every day. To ensure that you can actually sell it, there are a few best practices to follow but none more important than actually preparing the site for sale. Two key points that many sellers tend to ignore are spelling/ readability checks, as well as link audits. Consider your website from the perspective of a buyer: would you invest in something which was poorly written or had hundreds of broken links? Of course not — but if you did, you would want to spend less money on it.

The domain name landscape is changing. While many domainers are staying the course, others are considering their options. Flipping domains for big profits is still possible, but you’ll need a website on the domain to really make it big. Follow these steps and in a few short days your portfolio will be lighter and your wallet a little thicker.

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