The internet has turned us all into digital wizards. Now, almost anyone can make money online if they have the tech-savvy chops to navigate the system and the dedication to learn then take the time to implement what they learn.
From side gigs and freelancing to full-time e-commerce work, there are myriad ways you can turn your laptop into your ATM, and your living room into your office.
Think this kind of earning potential is reserved for computer savants who code or great-looking influencers making millions on advertising spots?
There’s another way to generate substantial passive income from your keyboard: domain names. When you choose new domain names to buy and park, build new websites on or flip for a profit, you’re one step closer to achieving this goal.
If you’re an experienced domainer, you already know the earning potential that this opportunity holds. Yet, are your names optimized for visibility and sales?
Today, we’re sharing a few tips on how to purchase ones that can ramp up your income and help you see a return on your investment.
Why Does the Domain Name Matter?
Domain parking involves purchasing and registering an internet domain name without putting a website on it or associating an email address with it. While there are some cases in which the web page in question will remain empty, most domainers will allow advertisers to display ads on the space.
In other words, your page becomes a billboard.
Do you have ads on yours? If so, you know that you earn a small fee when someone clicks on them.
Yet, until you drive traffic to your site, those ads are sitting there inactive. They aren’t earning you anything, nor are they helping out the advertiser.
Click here for an example of a parked domain page which is a sale page that also has ads running on it.
The way to make money through this process is to lead as many people as possible to your parked domains. This explains why many domainers park hundreds of domains at a time, as it increases their odds that someone, somewhere will find them.
As modern web users become more wary of how their information is shared online, this is becoming more difficult to do.
In fact, according to a recent study, 86% of internet users have taken strides to make themselves anonymous online. When pressed as to why they took that action, a top reply was “to hide from advertisers.”
The takeaway? Few people will click on a link that they know is taking them to an online advertising hot spot. If your name sounds legitimate and high-quality, however, they may be willing to explore.
That said, let’s review three routes you can take when you’re ready to buy a new domain, as well as tips for choosing a domain name that’s as clickable as possible.
1. New Domains
Most domain parking activity centers on buying expired or misspelled domains. However, in some cases, you may have the option to buy or create a brand new one.
Think you have a creative and innovative name for a domain that doesn’t exist yet? You could succeed in this sphere and beat the competition to it, but good luck.
The risk of doing so? You don’t have the advantage of name recognition.
A top piece of domain name advice is to buy and park ones that people already trust. If you’re unable to do that, you can come up with one on your own, though it’s vital to make sure that it sounds professional and credible.
Research shows that 52% of people are more worried about their online privacy today than they were one year ago. They’re thinking twice before sharing their personal data or clicking around on the web. Reports such as this one claim that 20% of Facebook links lead to viruses, which doesn’t do much to help quell this concern.
If a new domain looks too offbeat, suspicious or fraudulent, odds are low that someone is going to risk exposing themselves to malware or a virus by clicking on it.
Use normal, everyday terms that won’t raise eyebrows, avoid polarizing jargon keep it as general as possible. If you’re looking for a new one rather than making it from scratch, use the same criteria in your search.
2. Misspelled Doman Names
One of the most common approaches to take when choosing a domain name to park in hopes that people attempt to to visit it directly is to look for ones that resemble well-known sites, yet include slight misspellings. You do, of course, have to be careful of the potential legal kickbacks in some cases.
The hope is that someone will type in the name of the authoritative site, slip up on a keystroke and wind up on your page instead, then click an ad.
The Power of Plurals
The quickest way to succeed in this realm? Focus on plurals. For instance, instead of purpleelephant.com, register purpleelephants.com.
While you can get by with adding an “s” to the end of a term, you can also check into words with plural forms that are misspelled on a regular basis. For example, “analysis” becomes “analyses” though not everyone knows this rule.
You can also leverage words that have difficult spellings in general. This list of the 100 most commonly misspelled words is a great place to start and an ideal resource to keep on hand.
The good news? A recent report revealed that more than half of Americans are bad spellers. Add to this the fact that autocorrect has made us all lazier with our language, and odds are high that even the most well-established websites are misspelled more often than you’d think.
Find websites with high Domain Authority (DA) and traffic levels already. Then, see how you can tweak the spelling in a creative, unassuming way to appeal to users who aren’t used to double-checking their work.
Other Grammatical Elements
In addition to misspellings and plurals, you can also add strategic punctuation marks and other elements to your domain while otherwise keeping it similar to a more popular one.
To begin, you can separate words with a hyphen or even multiple hyphens. Or, you can abbreviate longer words, as well as lengthen shorter ones. For example, an alternative to “Litstudies.com” might be “LiteratureStudies.com.”
Adding numbers is another way to go. Not sure where to start? Don’t start typing them onto the keyword at random, as this can signal a red flag.
Instead, use the ones above your QWERTY keyboard as inspiration.
Does the website you’re seeking to emulate end in a T? Remove the “T” and add a “5” or “6” to the end instead, as these are right above that key. Anyone typing in the address in a hurry may click those numbers inadvertently.
3. Expired Domains
One of the safest and most proven approaches to domain name parking is to buy websites that were once up and running, but have since expired.
In many cases, these once had traffic and a following, which you can leverage as a domainer.
Before you take the leap and make the investment, however, it’s worth doing your due diligence.
Run the domains through a tool such as Alexa that can provide you information on its estimated traffic. There are also more sophisticated software solutions that can provide you an even more detailed report on the site’s historical performance.
Why is it worth it to take these extra steps to verify and validate an expired site?
You could find that you’re about to press “purchase” on a site that only saw two visitors last year. That equates to a $0.00 income potential for you, as it reveals that no one is typing the address into their search bar or accidentally landing on it.
In other words, it’s lost in the abyss and it’s not worth trying to draw traffic that isn’t there.
General Domain Name Advice
Whether you opt to purchase a new domain or go after a misspelled or expired one, there are a few best practices you can follow to make sure you’re setting yourself and your site up for success.
Let’s take a look at a few.
The Issue of Extension
Your best bet will be to find a domain that ends in .com or .org. These offer an appearance of professionalism and can encourage clicks in your direction. In fact, .org was originally intended to be used solely by non-profit organizations and this association increases trustworthiness.
Today, these two extensions are the ones most commonly associated with commercial or organizational entities that don’t scream “spam.”
The catch-22 with investing in a .com site? While you’ll have the advantage of traffic and visibility on your side, it will come with a hefty price tag.
This is why it’s refreshing news for domainers that new domain extensions are somewhat breaking through. In fact, a report by the Domain Name Association (DNA) reveals that there were 27.6 million new domain names registered in 2017, demonstrating a year-over-year growth of 145.4%. Some top examples include .today, .online and .club.
As these are still new, you may have a difficult time finding your desired domain with these extensions, but expect them to grow in the coming years.
Stuck between two domains? In many cases, though, you may find that the .com extension of your desired domain name is taken, though .net and .info are still available. In this case, .net is a more solid bet than .info.
Finding a Niche
It can be lucrative to buy and park domain names that center on a popular niche that’s trending at the moment. A real-world example would be the CBD oil craze that’s sweeping the nation.
Why is this a smart route to take? Though your parked domain won’t appear in search results, it’s plausible that web users can type it into their browser as they seek more information on the subject.
If your domain name includes the right keyword, you could hit gold, at least for a while.
According to Google Trends, web interest in the term “CBD” has risen at a steady pace since this time last year. The tool ranks the popularity of search terms from 1 to 100, which 100 being the most popular. In April 2018, “CBD” had a popularity ranking of 60. In April 2019? It’s 100.
Thus, if your domain includes “CBD” at all, you could get a portion of this traffic, which doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.
One thing to keep in mind: While traction might be high on a particular term for a while, these aren’t usually evergreen.
Need proof? If the modern internet had been around back in the 1970s, top domains might have included the keywords “bell-bottoms”, “eight-tracks”, and “pet rocks.” Consider the long-term potential of any fads before you invest your time or money in them.
Choose New Domain Names Wisely
Domain parking requires focus, commitment, and dedication to research. It’s not an effort to enter into half-heartedly or without direction. Yet, when you approach it correctly, you could stand to make passive income from your efforts.
The key to succeeding in this space? You have to put forethought into every step and consider the actions of your target audience.
What are people searching for? What keywords are trending? Which established sites can you adjust to capitalize on potential misspellings and grammatical missteps?
As you choose new domain names, keep these considerations in mind. Then, you’ll be one step closer to generating the visibility and traffic that you need to stay afloat in this competitive space.