The Pitfalls of Domain Development

By on December 31, 2012

I can’t tell you how many domains I’ve developed for myself, but I can tell you that the number has slowed significantly in recent years. I’ve learned that domain development can pay off in some cases, but it can also end up being a waste of time and money.

In this article I will compare domain name development to online business development and discuss why I think the latter is a greatly superior investment of your time and money.

Domainers may know what it’s like to have dozens of projects and not much progress. Every domain can’t be developed and ranked well on search engines unless you have a team working for you. I propose that we should invest the majority of our efforts into developing one great domain into a great business.

“Nine out of ten businesses fail; so I came up with a foolproof plan — create ten businesses.” – Robert Kiyosaki

What is the likelihood that your domain development project will succeed? I know that many of my own projects have hit dead-ends and were never sold or generated any revenue. Maybe those types of failures can be avoided.

(Header image via Rogue Life Diary)

Domain Name Development

Domain Development

Here are some questions you might ask before developing your domain names.

How much time will I need to invest?

Remember that you will need to develop, maintain the site and engage your visitors on a regular basis for any serious web presence to succeed. It’s possible to devote countless hours of your life to a project that goes nowhere.

Try not to fall into the trap of popular culture, memes, short-lived trends and the like. Make sure you’re spending your time on something that is long-lasting and worth the effort.

How much money will I need to invest?

Design and development costs can set you back before the project has any resale value. Be sure that if you’re going to invest money in a custom design that you will get a return on the project. Some design projects may not see the light of day.

What type of maintenance will be involved?

Upgrading your website back-end is imperative for security and usability. Websites can become dated, break or be hacked. When developing many domains this becomes a liability.

What is the plan to receive return on investment?

This is a hard, but important question to ask. Think twice about that unique domain, app idea or a plan for an informational or non-business oriented website. Some projects are just not worth developing. There may not be a market for related products or any interest from advertisers.

So, if the website can’t make money through sales or advertising, or if there is no market for re-sale, that sounds like a bum deal to me.

Business Development

Business Development

If you take a brief look at the website sales aftermarket you’ll notice one thing in common with all leading sales, that is, revenue. While it is possible to flip domains and websites for decent sums, an online business generating revenue is immeasurably more marketable.

With ever-increasing competition and tighter SEO restrictions by leading search engines, I think it is more beneficial to spend time developing one domain into an online business, a brand to be proud of, even passionate about. In a way, this simplifies a lot of things and directs focus and energy into growing a profitable business.

In conclusion, developing an online business is a better use of your time and resources than developing out your domains just for the sake of doing so.

How do you decide what domains to develop? Are your priority’s aimed at building an online business? I’ll pass the discussion on to you; please leave a comment below with your thoughts.


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. Visit for information on freelance website development, SEO and consultation services.