How To Sell Domain Names: A Beginner’s Guide

By on October 21, 2010
For Sale

In this article I will share a simple, six-step process for selling domains. This quick guide should be useful to experienced and aspiring domain investors as well as those looking to sell their first domain.

The six-steps below will break down some important tips and techniques for evaluating your domains, finding potential buyers, and gaining exposure to your sales.

1. Visualize Potential

This first step is the most crucial and should be done before you register or purchase a domain. What good is a domain name with no potential?

You should have quality keywords that are relevant to a product or service. Alternatively you can find a quality name that would be attractive when used for small business, startup or personal branding.

I often recommend the keyword route as these domains have added search engine optimization benefits. I believe keyword domains are easier to research, valuate, acquire and sell.

2. Appraise Liquid Value

Evaluate the popularity of the keywords in your domain by doing a phrase search on Google. For example, of your domain was HotSauce.com do a phrase search for “hot sauce” (quotes included). Take note of how many pages of results and how many advertisers are targeting your domain’s keywords. These metrics can lend clues to the value of your domain.

Compare similar domain sales and empathize with a potential buyer. What would you realistically pay for the domain if you found it offered for sale? If you can understand the real liquid value of your domain it will make it so much easier to make a sale quickly.

3. Share Your Vision

If your domain has real potential that we determined in the first step of the domain sales process, we want to share that vision with anyone willing to read. Take a few minutes to write a paragraph or two about the value of your domain as you see it.

You can write about who the domain would be perfect for or how it could be used to make money. Write your real vision for a developed website using the name. It’s great to get potential buyers excited about the possibilities.

A few minutes of copy-writing can be re-purposed throughout the lifetime of the domain. It’s extremely useful for use on auction websites, forum posts, social updates, your for sale page and more. It can also be beneficial to use rich media and data that supports your domain.

4. Turn Your Domain On

There are three ways to effectively get the proverbial wheels of your domain in motion.

  • Park – Check out some of the top domain companies for parking services and other monetization solutions.
  • Develop – Install WordPress or you favorite CMS and create blogs posts, pages, articles, etc. Use AdSense and affiliate programs to generate passive revenue. Developing a domain in this simple way can add a small, but potentially significant increase in the value of your domain.
  • Forward – Send visitors to a page detailing information on the domain for sale or directly to a marketplace auction.

Whatever you choose, the most important element is a method of contacting you. Make sure a contact form is present or easily found. You can’t rely on a person looking up your domain’s WHOIS details as many do not know this is even possible.

5. Market to Potential End Users

It’s always possible to sell a decent domain quickly to a Domainer who may turn around and resell the name. So, it doesn’t hurt to spend a bit of extra time researching and marketing domains for sale to potential end-users. It may even be possible to automate the process.

6. Transfer Domain Ownership Quickly

Immediately after an acceptable offer has been made on your domain there are a few things you should do. First you will respond as soon as possible, accepting the purchase offer and requesting payment be made. Also at this time, instruct the buyer to reply with their registrar account username for the ownership transfer.

Completing these two actions (requesting payment and initiating transfer) at the same time instills confidence in the buyer and will bring about faster payments and a more agreeable transaction.

Update: I’ve written a simple guide for transferring ownership of domain names on GoDaddy.

Start Selling

Now that you’ve got the know-how, go out and find some domain deals that have potential and start selling. I’m sure you will find it a fun challenge with sufficient reward.

If you’re looking for a place to start, I’ve recently updated our list of Top 20 Places to Buy Domains in 2010. Coincidentally, these are good places to list your domains for sale as well.

Remember that selling domains should be an active process, so send traffic to your domain sales whenever possible. If you really want to ramp up domain sales you should take advantage of social networks, email and blogging to connect with potential buyers.

If you have any questions related to domain sales, consider asking our Domain Q&A Forum community or leave a comment below.

About Mark Fulton

Mark is the Founder of DotSauce Magazine and a full time web developer, domain investor, SEO and online marketing professional residing in North Carolina, USA.
  • http://www.webdesignability.com/ Terry Dunn

    this is a useful article on a topic that confuses most people. It would be useful to follow it up by demystifying the process of domain transfers, which can be quite complicated.

    Terry

  • http://www.exch.co Will

    Mark, you have more “starred items” in my Google Reader than any other domainer. Thanks for all of your helpful articles.

  • http://www.premiumplugins.org Kyle

    Awesome tutorial for the newcomer, I would add don’t get frustrated if you don’t sell a domain at first because you never know when the end user will come by.

  • http://www.scoliosisspecialists.com/ Spinecor

    I like to make a point that many big companies buy domains and put links and google ads only on them and in my opinion those domains take longer to get ranked once they have had such history on them.

  • http://memphisdomainbroker.com SmokinJoe

    Good Article. End Users are the way to go for sure. I guess if you have been buying names for years and have a great stock of one and two word domains you can wait for the buyers to come to you. But us recent domainers got to hustle the end users and be happy making a few hundred a domain.

    Keep up the good work you have one of the best blogs that I read.

  • http://www.dotsauce.com Mark Fulton

    As long as a domain is not black listed, the website contains good content and receives backlinks from related websites it will be OK.

    Any domain can rank competitively even after being parked with advertisements.

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    Really nice post Mark! this is the first time I’ve seen your site on the web so I visit it. Well, the effort I put into it is very worthy as I find your site really substantial and useful as well. I thought selling domain name is pretty hard but with this guide I know that at least I’m already oriented. Thanks for this and hope to see more post. Great!

  • http://www.pchealthadvisor.com pc health check

    Really nice post Mark! this is the first time I’ve seen your site on the web so I visit it. Well, the effort I put into it is very worthy as I find your site really substantial and useful as well. I thought selling domain name is pretty hard but with this guide I know that at least I’m already oriented. Thanks for this and hope to see more post. Great!

  • http://twitter.com/cfnerd Bret

    Great post full of some basics that are actually more overlooked that most might think.

    A lesson I learned the hard way…Don’t transfer someone a domain before they have paid for it. Make sure you have the money in hand/account. Try to use an escrow service for any really valuable domains. The vast majority of domainers are great people, but as in any industry there are people that will try to take advantage of a noob, so make sure to protect your investments.

  • http://keepupwiththeweb.com Sherryl Perry

    Mark, Ileane Smith amplified this article and I am extremely glad she did. You have some excellent suggestions here. I have several domain names that I don’t see continued value in keeping but they would definitely have value to someone who is marketing to a very specific niche customer. I’ve been thinking of putting them up for sale but I didn’t have any sort of strategy to market it. You’re simple suggestion to install WordPress and create some articles along with AdSense ads is the perfect suggestion for me. Thanks!

  • http://www.salestrainingstrategy.com Free Sales Training

    Thanks Mark for sharing your wonderful views on selling domain names as a beginners.
    I have heard about making money by investing in domains but never invested.After reading your post now I am more confident to invest in domains.

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    Wonderful article Mark.
    It helps a lot to the inexperienced domain sellers

  • http://tutorialisme.com Mitracom_gaveri

    very inspiring…

    im new to this world, selling website as like in flippa?

  • http://13yearoldmarketer.blogspot.com James paterson

    Great guide to domain selling – Thanks 4 the share!

  • http://www.agadir-location.com Elbaz hicham

    thank you for the explanation you gave, indeed some thing you just said it can walk

    but in time especially now that the site based on referencing the chosen domain name is not important

  • http://mycreditreportcheck.com/ Nick P

    Nice article. I would say that you have covered all of the steps for setting up and selling a domain name. I think that the most important step here is the first one you outlined. It never ceases to amaze me how many webmasters do not do keyword research in picking the name.

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    Thank you for this post. I will try to market my domains to end users. Sounds like a plan. Thank you Mark.

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    Brilliant tutorial for the beginner. Keep up the good work.

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    I keep on looking for this post and now i got it

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    You always comes up with a unique idea … Thanks for all your high quality blogs..

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    good clear article on a very confused topic… Nice post

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    Its a top guide for beginners a must buy

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    Great guide This
    is truly a great read for me. I hope to see more articles from you.Thanks to sharing ……

  • http://www.register-web-domain.in Domain registration

    This is wonderful guide It’s great stuff. I learn domain related information through your blogs
    only i have sharing this information to mu friends

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    What a wonderful tutorial? Really you have done a good job. I agree with you. Everyone has a different opinion about blog even me too. You are also described differently about blog.

  • Mike

    Great Article! Only one question though, can I just purchase/register a domain under a 1 year term and leave it up to the potential buyer to extend it OR do I need to buy “lifetime” in order to sell?

  • http://coolfamilygames.com Shannon

    Thank you. I’m in the process of selling one domain privately and have two more to sell, being relatively new to this your article is helpful to understand how I can bring value to the other two and get them sold to someone who benefit from them more than I.

  • raki

    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for the wonderful article. I am new to domains. I have question after buying domains, do i have to buy web hosting?…what if i just i buy domain & install wordpress & bring the traffic & sell it?..appreciate your help. Thanks.

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    Very nice article. got some good information, thanks for the update.

  • Pauca

    Hi Mark, Im a newbie in this field and I have one question: I sell my domain name but there is also a website connected with good traffic to it that made that domain more valuable. Do I have to sell the domain name including the website? Or how does that work?

  • jm

    I have been contacted by a company with a VERY similar URL as mine and they are expanding and wants to buy it. I have not put is out for sale but they contacted me. The problem is I have no idea how much to ask for it. It is like I said VERy similar and they are both .com . How can I know how much to ask for it?

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    You have suggested a very good tips for selling domain names.. very usefull topic and thanks for posting..

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    A very useful tip for me in the future. I will bookmark this. Thanks for sharing!

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