If you have an idle domain, and you are not putting it to good use, chances are you could be leaving money on the table. Have you considered parking the domain name?
What is a parked domain name?
You may have landed on a webpage that had some ads but did not provide the content you sought. That is an example of a parked domain. Parked domains are not popular among online users, but they offer web “real estate investors” an opportunity to make money off them until they (investors) are ready to use them.
According to Brendan, Digital marketing analyst at Discount Domains, the amount of money you make depends on how well your ads are targeted.
“Some of our clients target audiences abroad by showing country-specific ads, this increases the volume of their international traffic and thus the revenue the make,” he says.
A typical parked domain will have many keywords underlined for visitors to click on. The underlined phrases are often related to the words you typed into the search engine.
1. 404 Redirect pages
If you have ever removed a page from your website, you will notice it becomes a 404-error message. Savvy website owners showcase some clever 404 pages that point visitors to other webpages on the site. A lost page can be disappointing for your web visitors. To alleviate their disappointment, you can add some humour. Here are some cleverly designed 404-error pages.
But if you are more of a businessman than an SEO comic, you can link the error page to a parked ad page. This way, you can gain some income from the idle page.
2. Expired domain name
Every expired domain has a grace period of a few days, after which the owner can no longer claim it. You can take advantage of that opportunity to monetize it as a parked domain. Instead of letting your domains expire, you can park it and leave a backorder link. With this link, you can reclaim the domain whenever you want it.
The ads on the page will be specific to your domain’s geographical location. For example, if your domain’s URL is London, the ads displayed will be for London-based services. You may wonder why it is better to park your domains rather than let them expire? Older domains tend to rank better on Google because they are deemed more valuable than newer websites, provided the backlinks are ‘healthy’.
3. Redirecting domains
You can redirect a new domain to a chosen page on your website. Or monetise it via a parked domain. Conversely, if you would rather boost your website’s incoming traffic, try pointing it to the relevant page. For example, someone who sells shoes can optimise the page for keywords such as “shoes” or “running shoes” so that people searching for those terms can land on your page and be directed to your “running shoes” site.
You can also redirect it to your ad domain anytime you want. This allows you generate income each time a user clicks on the ads. Ensure you have a backorder link so you remain in control of the domain.
4. Sell ‘traffic’ to existing businesses from parked domains
You can make money with your parked domain by selling traffic to existing websites. Some domains are well-optimised to receive good traffic numbers and web owners pay to have these sites redirect the traffic to their own existing website.
If your parked domain is one of such websites, consider selling the traffic to other web owners for a fee. The popularity of your domain name can determine how much you will charge. Naturally, the more valuable the domain, the higher the traffic. This automatically results in higher redirecting fee.
5. Buy traffic from parked domains for your business
On the reverse side, you can decide to buy traffic from highly optimised parked domain. Have them redirect their traffic to their existing website. The benefits of this are long-term, but every good entrepreneur understands that success doesn’t come overnight.
The mechanism is simple, identify a high-performing parked domain and agree on a fee to have them point their site towards your own. Ensure they use keywords relevant to ads for your business. As targeted traffic comes to your website, the engagement and conversion rates will improve, so will the SEO performance.
Be careful however, the keyword is “targeted traffic”. Otherwise they will bounce off your website and you will have paid for nothing.
6. Buying a domain name
One way to earn substantial income from domain names is to become a domain name ‘merchant’. In the same way real estate investors buy and sell property, people also deal in domain names. In the online space, valuable domains are regarded as the “property” and sold for a profit.
First, identify a domain name(s) that shows promise for the future. You can target a specific upcoming industry. For example, the smart car market is billed to become big in the coming years. Buy several domains in that sector and wait for the ‘rush’.
7. Selling a domain name
Trading domain names is not for the impatient. Domains markets are slow but when done right, the results can be rewarding. In 2010, Insurance.com was sold for $35.6 million, and the year before, Internet.com was sold for $19 million.
Before selling a domain name, ensure you perform a thorough valuation of that domain to determine the selling price. If it has a rich linking history, it will fetch an attractive amount. The online space is designed to carry out domain trades without necessarily meeting the buyer.
Simply, apply for an auction, put up the domain name and a prospective buyer will contact you. In some cases, an ad placement on your parked site asking people to buy is equally effective
A domain name is usually an overlooked source of income. Most people turn to affiliate marketing, blogging and other traditional ecommerce schemes because the gains are instant. A domain name might not promise quick income, but when it pays, it does so substantially.