Before You Develop Domain Names
If you are like many other domain investors, you probably have quite a few domain names with an idea of how to develop each of them – or a thought about what type of website each could become. As mentioned on this blog and on other blogs, development is difficult. If you are strongly thinking about developing (and not just contemplating), I would like to offer a few suggestions to help you decide which name(s) to develop and how to plan it out.
1) Review your portfolio and identify your best domain name – either the category killer name or a great niche name. Determine whether you think this name is worth spending between $5,000 – $100,000+ for a functioning website (depending on how well-functioning you want it). IMO, to spend money to develop a domain name, you either need a great new idea for your website to attract visitors or your domain name is the category killer name that people type-in expecting to find information on the subject. Honestly, if you don’t have either, you probably shouldn’t spend a lot of money developing the name. Don’t fret – just spend the extra money to buy one of these names instead of 500 fresh registrations!
2) Write an outline of how you see the finished product. Get granular in your plan and include all of the details. If you think there should be a forum supported by Adsense skyscrapers, put it down on paper. If you think it would be cool to do xyz, write it down. These ideas were what got you to register the name in the first place, and you need to harness them to make your website a success. This will also give your developer an idea of what you want, and just like a contractor needs blueprints and building plans, your developer will need this.
3) While revenue generation might not be the most important thing to consider at first, you should have an idea of how the finished website will generate revenue. Eyeballs don’t automatically equal dollars, so you will need to have a plan for generating a return on your investment. Whether it’s a directory site using eDirectory where businesses pay for listings, or whether you choose to use Adsense for your main revenue stream, you need to have a plan.
4) Research the topic of your domain name using tools such as Keyword Discovery and Wordtracker, and use a parking company like Fabulous to see where visitors are clicking and how they arrived at your domain name. You may think you know what visitors to your site want, but this research can give you more in depth information and can give you ideas about what to put on your developed website. Getting a visitor to click on a banner or support a paying advertiser is as easy as providing information visitors are looking to find on your website.
5) Maybe the most difficult part of this process is finding a partner or developer to implement your ideas. There are tons of options, but since many of the best programmers speak a different language (both figuratively and literally), it can be tough to find someone trustworthy and capable. I suggest using a referral from another domain investor who is willing to share his network, or your could try a place like Sitepoint or eLance. Trust is very important, so make sure your potential partner has references and you trust your gut feel.
Developing a website can be expensive and time consuming, but it can turn your domain name into a much greater sustained revenue stream.
Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Google + | Facebook | Email