The following is a guest post by Andrew Knibbe, the Marketing Manager at Flippa. You can read Andrew’s full bio at the end of this article.
2,500 years ago the ancient Greek playright Aeschylus wrote that “From a small seed, a mighty trunk may grow”.
If Aeschylus were alive today, he may have instead suggested that from a small domain, a mighty website might grow!
Why? Because as domainers become increasingly interested in unlocking the value of their domains, many are turning to developing them into websites as an alternative to selling them at possibly lower prices.
Our experience at the Flippa website marketplace indicates that this can be a successful and rewarding experience when done correctly. However, there are a few important factors to consider when turning your domain into a website.
Compared to owning a domain, owning a website will however take a little more technical and commercial nous to be successful.
The technical components are well documented on a range of blogs and forums: hosting, wordpress/CMS considerations, SEO and the like.
On the commercial side, it is most important to remember that your domain is now a brand – something that is carried through from your logo and interface to your content and social media activity.
Predictably, our experience on Flippa indicates that websites perform much better when they are run by people who are passionate about the niche they operate in. Our research also shows that 20% of website buyers rate the site’s subject areas as the most important reason for purchase. It is worth considering this when selecting which domains to take to the next level.
Two key concepts a website owner needs to be actively across is traffic and monetization. This is also supported by our website buyer research which indicates that almost 40% of respondents considered revenue and traffic to be their largest consideration when purchasing a website (PageRank was only most important for 8%).
While domains may typically rely heavily on type-in traffic to obtain usage, website traffic sources can be diverse. As a website owner, it is important to know where your quality traffic is coming from. This allows you to identify opportunities to grow this even further. For all its alleged flaws, Google Analytics remains a great and easy-to-use tool for starting this.
For example, if analytics told me that someone blogging about adventures in domain investing was providing Flippa with highly engaged users, I might look at contributing to said blog with a post that the readers would value and might pique further interest in the Flippa website marketplace (hypothetically speaking of course!).
In terms of monetization, there are range of options for generating cashflow from your website. These include adsense, display advertising, affiliate programs and subscriptions just to name a few. Again, there is a wealth of information about this on numerous blogs and forums. How well these methods perform depends heavily on the type of website you have and the niche you exist in.
Remember that multiple monetization streams are a good thing however be sure they do not drive away your audience!
As much as we’re all mortal, so too is our interest in any given website.
The time comes where other interests are competing for your time, you’ve taken the site as far as you can take it, or you just want to cash in on your efforts.
Regardless of whether you sell it yourself or decide to list it on a dedicated website marketplace like Flippa, it is worth considering a few key differences between domain buyers v website buyers. These include:
- Revenue: as mentioned above, our research shows website buyers rate revenue as the most important factor when evaluating a site. Bidding for your website will go higher if you are able to provide evidence of long-term revenue.
- Traffic – website buyers will want traffic stats – the more history you can provide on this the more effective your sale will be.
- Related Metrics – there are a range of website specific metrics such as pagerank, alexa rank, pages indexed in Google/Yahoo/Bing, backlinks, keyword performance etc. which website buyers will also use a part of their evaluation
- Website buyers are also typically looking for a story in the website listing.
It is well worth considering these differences when starting turning a domain into a website to optimize your chances of success down the track. Be assured that the criteria for a good domain continues to be important when buying websites.
“It all Sounds Too Hard”
While the skillset and mentality for owning a website may represent a shift from domains, it is worth remembering that domainers already have a better understanding of this space compared to most. Especially if you’re aware of these differences and don’t expect to be able to run a portfolio of websites in the exact same way you might own a portfolio of domains.
If the skills gap is too big, you may also consider sourcing specific services from places such as sitepoint market (sister site of Flippa) or otherwise outsource the entire process using services such as LintonInvestments (sister site of someone else you may know …)
Whichever path you choose, it will ultimately be a rewarding experience as you take the seed that is your domain and grow it into a living and breathing website – something of which Aeschylus would no doubt be proud …
Author Bio: Andrew Knibbe is the Marketing Manager at Flippa – the #1 marketplace for buying and selling websites where buyers and sellers trade around $2 million worth of websites and domains each month. Over 150,000 bids were placed on Flippa website/domain auctions in 2010 across nearly 20,000 successful auctions and private sales. The most notable of these included Mark Zuckerberg’s Facemash.com as well as Retweet.com, s9.com and Qwitter.com.