Basic Checklist for Domaining Noobs

I've got to thank a fellow co-worker for the idea for this post.  He works a similar job as I do, has two kids with a third one on the way, and has overheard me and the other domaining co-worker share our success stories.  In the past, he's inquired about domaining but stayed away because of time committed doing other things and money.
Well, with #3 in route in a few short months and hearing me celebrate two domain flips for $500 each this week and my first successful attempt at brokering a sale worth $112.50 to me - he said he might have to take another look at this domaining thing.  But he had some reservations...

  1. He was concerned he didn't have the web design skills to do it right away.  Hell, you don't even need those to get into domaining.  If you want to design and monetize your own sites in the future - sure, then learn some web stuff or buy Xsite Pro like I did. <-(We'll discuss this in future posts for sure!) But for right now, forget html, xml, or lol!  I'll tell you what you need to buy your first name shortly.
  2. He was also concerned about cost.  Domaining can fit into just about any budget, especially hand reging.  A hand reg domain costs about $8 on GoDaddy ... that's cheaper than 2 mocha frappe grande lattes from Starbucks.  I made that drink up, but you get the point!  I recommended he start by registering and attempting to flip one name per week or three a month.  That's $24/month, gets his feet wet in the domain pool, and sets a routine up with an allowance to miss a week.  I've found keeping a buy and flip routine to be critical to the limited success I've experienced so far.  You've got to keep buying, marketing, and selling - and refining your skills.  I've found that when I go for a few weeks without domaining, my skills become rusty and I become easily frustrated with poor performance.  I now make sure I do a bit of domaining every week.  While I'd love to do it everyday as my career, right now I have a full time job, 2 great boys and a wonderful wife, so domaining takes a backseat to all of that.
Plain and simple, here's what you need to get started:
  • A brain - to come up with niche ideas, industries, services, anything that a website might make sense for.
  •  A Google account to use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. It's better than having to write the captcha code again and again.
  • $8 to buy the domain name on GoDaddy.
  • A SmartName account to park your domain.  Remember, this makes your domain look slightly better than those canned GoDaddy pages AND actually pays you some money should people, potential buyers even, click on the ads.
  • A Paypal account. This is how you'll invoice the buyer.
So a brain, 8 bucks, some free accounts.... oh and of course, a computer, web browser, and email - but I'm assuming those are a prerequisite to you actually being able to read this blog!
I would recommend anyone that is interested in dabbling in domaining to follow the steps I've outlined here at Rookie Domainer (more to come!) and before you buy that first hand reg - shoot me a quick email to see if it's worth your $8.   My first year, I bought a lot of sh!t - sorry, but that best describes it.  Let my experience save you a few bucks.  And as always, feedback and questions are greatly appreciated!


Admin Team said...

Hi Herb

Excellent advice. I think that hardest part is finding buyer for for hand reg domains. I love to hear your ideas on this.

Herb said...

Great question, simple answer! If you've vetted the domain name you bought - meaning, you made sure there is several companies website descriptions and ads using that word (phrase), then you've already identified potential buyers. You google the phrase and start contacting people. This is the short answer, long one coming in a future post and video.

Chelle said...

"A SMARTNAME account to park your domain. Can you please elaborate on this? I.E, what is the difference between your godaddy name and what does the SMARTNAME account do to change that?

Herb said...

Good question, as a lot of this can be very confusing when you're just getting started. So GoDaddy, is where you register the domain. They also offer hosting and parking services but they charge for that privilege. When you initially register (create) a name with GoDaddy, you'll see it as the generic GoDaddy parked page with ads. If you click on those ads, GoDaddy makes money - YOU DON'T! Unless you pay them for the privilege to share their ad revenue. With SmartName, you sign up for a free account, add your names which they host, and they share the ad revenue with you for free. You just have to point your domain name from GoDaddy to SmartName. In summary, your domain is still registered with GoDaddy, but points to SmartName which hosts (or parks) the domain.

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