Making money by selling domains

I’m currently earning money through AdSense adverts on my niche sites and also through the Amazon affiliate scheme which combined earned me £500 in February but there are other ways to earn money online which have crossed my mind.

1. Sell niche sites.

2. Sell domains

I know there are other ways too but these are the ones I’ve been thinking about. I’ve discounted selling websites though for the moment as I wouldn’t want to sell a site that was earning me money on a monthly basis as I’d rather have a continuous stream rather than one lump sum. I would obviously consider selling a site that wasn’t making money but then again who would buy that? I have seen sites for sale on Flippa with zero income and rankings but these are ones that are churned out and I wouldn’t bother with them.

This gets me onto the second option of selling domains and it is something that I would like to get into. I have been buying quite a few domains, some of which I have built sites for, some of which I will build sites in the future, and some of which are just good domains that I think could have value to someone else.

It’s all a bit speculative but with UK domains costing around £7 for a 2 year period it’s not a massive outlay or gamble and gives me 2 years to sell them on before renewing them. If they don’t sell then I will see about monetising them myself.

So taking a leap into the unknown I put my first domain up for sale

I’ve seen some domains listed which have absolutely no value whatsoever so when I bought this domain I did the research as if I was going to build a site on this domain myself.

“Fitted Wardrobe” gets 1,000 exact UK searches a month and has a average CPC of £2.12 for Google AdSense so there is definitely some worth in the domain.

The domain is listed on DomainLore, a site specialising in .uk domains and has a starting price of £50 which is the standard starting price for sales on the site.

A 10% deposit is required to sell on DomainLore, so in this case £5, but if the domain sells then this is refunded. It’s a great way of doing business as it means only valuable/sell-able domains are listed as it’s not worth advertising rubbish domains.

I’m interested to see if this gets any interest as it’s my first auction but let me know what you think of it in the comments below. Let me know if you sell domains and how do you appraise how much value it has.

Selling domains isn’t for me

In my last post I told you how I was looking into whether selling domains could be another source of income for me, and after some thinking I don’t think it is. I’m being honest with myself and think I will be sticking to developing niche websites instead as I can add more value to a domain from that.

When you see domains selling for hundreds or thousands then it’s quite easy to think ‘how hard can that be?’ but you would be wrong in assuming that it’s an easy thing to do as your domain has to have some very real pulling power to sell or even get any interest. I’ve come in pretty late in the game and most of the good quality or even domains have been registered so what I’m left with are domains that just aren’t in high demand or have already been passed-over by other domainers. If I had more money to spend then I could look at buying better domains that are already registered and trying to flip them but this doesn’t interest me as I don’t want money held up in domains not earning me anything and me relying on ‘potential’ future revenue if  I can sell it at a later date.

I started a thread on Acorn Domains for advice on how to sell domains and the feedback echoed the same thing: “There is no trick, you have to own domains that other people covet, and for which they will pay.”

People do not covet my domains but I know that I can make money from them by continuing to develop them as niche sites as when I bought them I did my research into the amount of keyword searches they get and the amount of AdSense CPC then average and so they are still perfectly suited for me to make websites for and hopefully start getting some income from. In the end that means no harm done and I now have a portfolio of 36 domains, all of which I have some potential. Some of these are already earning, and some will be developed in the near future. It’ll certainly keep me busy!

Once the sites are earning money then I there is a chance to sell them and I know they will be more attractive then, but at that stage I will probably rather hold onto them for the continuous revenue rather than a one-off payment.

Do you trade in domains? What’s your biggest sale so far?

March 2012 Niche Site Income Report

I usually have my Income Report out on the first of the month but I’ve been away on a short break and arrived back today so here we go:

Another record month

Let’s start off a the best part. This month I’ve made £560.34 from Google AdSense and £37.14 from Amazon Associates taking my monthly total for March to £597.48 (US$948)! I was so agonisingly close to the £600 milestone but I can’t really complain can I?

march-niche-earnings-5059831As you can see I’ve been able to increase my earnings again, even though I thought they would plateau and this is due to the creation of a couple more sites and also the improvement of some older sites and every little bit helps. You will also notice that I’ve been doing this ‘hobby’ for almost a year and I think it’s going pretty well if I do say so myself, but I know that the rug could get pulled away at anytime…

Google Update

When Google puts out a new update to their search algorithm then I’ll admit I’m always a little worried about what it’ll do to my rankings. I shouldn’t really be worried I guess as I play by the rules and have been very organic in how I’m creating my sites but when the rules keep changing then I can’t always guarantee that what was fine last month is not fine this month.

Panda 3.4 is the 14th major update in the last 12 months and it seems that these updates haven’t always been great for some websites and this latest updates effect 1.6% of searches. That doesn’t sound like much but Google is BIG and so that means 1.4 billion queries each month.

How 3.4 affected me

Nada. Which is pretty good I think. Actually I think it’s helped my sites as it’s removed lower quality competition. I did see my main Amazon Affiliate site (the one that actually earns me money) drop completely off the rankings from #2 in the SERPS but I’ve managed to make a few changes and get back up to #4. How did I do that?

  • Improved Content – I combined and rewrote several articles.
  • Improved Theme – I had been using Chris Guthrie’s Azon Theme but felt that a change to a more original theme not used by 1000s of others might help.
  • Added Graphic Logo – Previously the site had a plain text logo, but with Google’s focus on ‘brands’ I made my own graphic logo.

All in all these changes Google is making are improving sites and site content but I still get the feeling that they are still favouring the big name companies which doesn’t always mean the best content websites are #1 and I think we all know that people will always find new ways to get around the rankings system.

Local Listings Authority Site

I’m earning money from small niche sites but I would also like to make a website that I feel proud of and that has genuine return visitors who comment, share, and get real value from it, and so I’ve start work on a new listings site for the town I work in.

I’m aiming to make a site that Google will love, and visitors will love. I want to create a ‘brand’ and I think this site will achieve this (hopefully) but know that it will take a long time to get anything back from this. I’ve already written a couple of articles but want to get lots more content on there before going public with it.

Watch this space for more updates…

What am I doing with the money?

The first thing I’ve been doing for the last couple of months is putting half my earnings into a savings account. I will be paying tax on all my earnings although I’m not sure yet how much it will be, so putting half away will cover me for that and also the previous months where I didn’t save anything. I’m not sure how much tax I will have to pay but know that saving 50% will more than cover it and hopefully avoid any surprises and leave me with some savings at the end.

As for the rest of the money I’m earning, I’m enjoying life and not worrying too much and spending it. On my recent break I was able to pay for the majority of it with the remainder of my earnings and not have to worry about not having enough money in the bank. What’s the point of earning extra money if I can’t spend it?