Is Domain Real Estate a Dying Investment – Pro’s and Con’s of Site Ownership

Hey Everyone,

What is a domain and how can it become an important entity to your online business?

For some, this question is very elementary and the answer is quite obvious.  But really, after being in this business for close to 10 years now, I truly believe the purpose of a website has shifted drastically and the way people build businesses online and the reasons have also taken a major shift.

A domain is becoming more and more a real estate.

The power of domains in Google

Although Matt Cutts, a software engineer at Google that relays a lot of information about the biggest algorithm changes (including the recent Panda update), states that domains do not play a significant role in the ranking algorithm, the results clearly state something completely different.

Before I share some results, let’s look at this from a “common sense” standpoint.

Say you have a brand, example, Walmart.   If you type in the search term “walmart” into Google, you would hope that the specific brand Walmart would achieve the top rankings.   It is their “branded” keyword and the keyword rich domain for that brand Walmart.com should take the #1 spot.

Sure enough, it is.  If you look at some of the other top brands, you will see this as well.

Check out “street articles” or “wealthy affiliate”.  Thess both hold the number one rankings, and why shouldn’t they, it is the keyword rich, branded URL.

Here is where it gets cool…

How can Google know what URL represents the brand, and which URL is simply a keyword rich domain.  One that someone has bought with the attempt to “buy up the keyword”.

They typically don’t.  So simply through buying a keyword rich domain, you can pretty much assure yourself a good positioning within the search engines.

I ran a couple of tests with a few silly domains:

muppetbabiessong.com targeting the term “muppet babies song” (720 global monthly searches)
dexterbobblehead.com targeting the term “dexter bobbleheads” (880 global monthly searches)

I quickly set up a WordPress blog using WP Express at Wealthy Affiliate, and added a few simple pages of content to the homepage.  I let them sit for a couple of weeks. Now if these get ranked without any work, then this proves that keyword rich domains have “pull” in Google, does it not?

Here are the search results in Google for “muppet babies song”:

website-muppet-babies-song

Seriously.  I spent less than 20 minutes from start to finish setting up this domain, and it has a #6 ranking in Google.  Not bad and results that we as marketers should not overlook.

But how about good ol’ Dexter.  Here are the Google search results for “dexter bobblehead”

dexter bobble head google rankings

Ah ha…a #5 ranking in Google.  Again, little to no work.   Just threw together a site in Wealthy Affiliate, put one page of content on there, and then let it MARINATE in Google.  Two weeks later, it was ranked #5 overall.

Now although these are not #1 overall, they are rankings that many people would pay for.  These are also sites that now carry real, tangible value.  They get traffic (approximately 100 clicks per month on average each), and if I spent some time, I could easily generate some revenue from that.

I could also build on the traffic by writing and submitting a few relevant articles to StreetArticles.com or another authoring site.  I could optimize my blog….

I am not going to get into the marketing side of things, I purely wanted to prove the benefit of buying domains with keywords…and the instant value that can be realized by throwing a quick website up on them.

Free Websites, a Thing of the Past

Yeah, cool….click a few buttons, choose a template, drag and drop a few things around, and BAM, you have a website.

Weebly, Blogger and WordPress are among the best free website builders out there.  Here is what a website would look like that is created on these free website services:

http://yoursite.weebly.com

http://yoursite.blogspot.com

http://yoursite.wordpress.com

The fact you can build a website is great.  However, the fact that you don’t own this website and have very limited control of it, can present a bit of a problem.

Here is a just a quick list I put together of some major problems that CAN exist when you build a blog on another domain….

(1) It is very difficult to get ranked
(2) You have very little control of the ways you can optimize your site
(3) Any “free site” is a poor way of branding yourself as a business.
(4) These top level domains are riddled with poor content, hurting your own “free” site

The one positive, it is FREE.

In saying this though, the costs of building a site have come way down over the years.  Space is cheap, bandwidth is cheap, and owning your own domain is a very small investment (about $10 per year).

Businesses and individuals no longer have to pay $1,000’s to put together a site nor do they need to be a “techie” to accomplish putting a site together.

Websites are now cheap, and in my opinion, a required aspect if you are looking to build any sort of business online.  And this leads directly into my next discussion, site value.

How do you calculate the value of a Website?

If you are using a free site, you may be able to sell access to it based on a percentage of the revenue.  The “value” model may look something like this:

Your sites earnings x 3 months

However, people will still be reluctant to buy a “free” site because you really are not the owner of it.  It guess I would say that it is similar to subletting a home that you are renting for more than you are renting it for.  You don’t really own it, but there is a slight chance you will be able to profit from it.

Whereas if you own your own website, people are much more willing to pay not only for the revenue, but the work you have invested in setting it up, building content, and getting rankings.

Even if your site is earning $0, it is still worth something and can be easily flipped at places like Flippa.com or the SitePoint.com Marketplace (which I will explain shortly)

We are also in a day where we are seeing high valuations for websites with large user base or high earnings.  Facebook is a pretty extreme example but it has been valued at 50 times its yearly earnings.  A typical established website will typically fetch 3-7 times its yearly earnings.

So if you had a site that was generating you $100 per month in positive income on a consistent basis, your valuation may look something like this:

$100 x 12 x 3 = $3600

One thing that we all need to remember….

A domain is a $7 investment. SEVEN BUCKS!

There are now services available like WordPress Express that allow you to throw together as many sites as you’d like, and it only takes a few minutes to set-up a site.  It is like being able to build a new house whenever you like, for $7.

Online real estate is very similar to plots of land in a way.  They are not making more “desirable” land in the same way as they are not making any more .com domains.   Once you buy it, the domain is yours and it will only go up in value.

Buying, holding, and selling domains is a huge business opportunity.

Two and Three Word Domains Bringing in the Cake

Historically, top level domains (.com) that were one word were the only ones fetching the large sums of money on domain auctioning sites.  However, we are in a new age.  Domains are in limited supply, thus two and three word domains are gaining more and more value.

My prediction…

In 2015, quality 4 word domains will be hard to find.  The marketplace for 3 word domains is going to be depleted and people are going to be paying lots of money for 3 word domains and the buying frenzy is going to push many of the 4 and 5 word URL’s out of the market.

Here are some recent examples of sites that have sold for good money:

Undergraduate.com sold on SEDO for $22,000
iVideos.com sold on AternicDLS for $16,800
Cacao.org sold on MediaOptions for $15,000
Misjuegosdebobesponja.com (huh?) sold on Sedo for $14,000

Domains without a website are earning people considerable amounts of money.   What a lot of people domaineers do is throw up a simple wordpress site and let it marinate… meanwhile Google and other search engines will see it, rank it, and it will further increase the value of the domain.

Want some examples?

Here are some “websites” that recently sold on Flippa:

www.realestatesuccess.com sold for $12,000
techspott.com sold for $2,500
onlygirlsgames.com sold for $16,000

OK, these sites are somewhat established.  Some of them don’t earn revenue, but some of them have a decent monthly revenue.  Maybe a fair-upside investment for the buyer.

What about those sites I mentioned that simply have been set-up and are “marinating” with a couple pages of content.  Here is an example site that just sold for a good penny:

www.auditionofthedayclassifieds.net sold for $2,500  ($0 revenue, created in Feb 2011)

What about mobile?  Is this going to have a negative impact on website ownership?

Yes and no.

Think of the way people search.  Think of the way people will search a few years from now.

People are always going to be hungry for information.  Information is going to always be delivered via websites, the only thing that may be different, is the way it is presented.

If anything, websites are heading in the direction of becoming “longer tailed”…meaning that the more niche and targeted the site is, the more relevance it is going to have.

The older generation for the most part still search regularly, even if it is from their smart phones.   If someone is looking for a solution to their problem, then they are going to do a quick search in Google.

Data aggregating services may have an adverse impact in terms of people looking for news, but for people looking for a solution to their problem or looking to find something quickly (rather than it fall on their lap) they are going to continue using search platforms in one way or another.

And websites are not going anywhere.  If anything, there is going to be an explosion of new traffic from developing countries and people without Internet in first world countries are going to continue to become more active users.

People are more connected than ever and INTERNET traffic is continuing to grow exponentially.  Instead of people searching solely from their laptop or house, they are now searching via their tablet computer, the e-book reader, or their smartphone (or all of them).

People are also making more and more purchases via these devices.  All advantageous for website owners.

Benefits of having your own website…

Outside of the “real estate” value that domain names have (and are only going to continue to appreciate),

having a domain is going to allow many advantages over not having a domain at all or utilizing a free website service.

There are FIVE major advantages to becoming a website owner:

(1) The power of self SEO – When you have your own website you have the ability to benefit from your search engine marketing efforts.  This can include getting relevant back-links, writing relevant content, implementing ongoing dialogue via your visitors, and incurring social status and rankings.  This is much more difficult to do if you are piggy-backing a free site as you are typically a sub-domain of the larger site which has likely been penalized in one way or another because of associated (other user) sites that have been doing erroneous SEO activities.

(2) Building your brand, building your purpose – A website is a brand.  Once you create a brand, people will share your site, talk about your site, remember your site, and frequently visit it.  Branding is powerful in any business, regardless of whether or not you are an affiliate based business, offline business, or offer your own online service.

(3) Improved analysis and testing - Analyzing website data and metrics can lead to improvements in the user experience and ultimately website revenue.  By having full control over the website technologies you can use, it is very simple for you to incorporate various types of split testing, and services like Google Analytics which provide full data reporting.

(4) Integration and “shareability” of your website content –  Like, Tweet, Share, and now Google +1.  These are all social aspects that the search engines are now taking into consideration and can help improve your rankings.  It is very easy to integrate these into your own website and can drastically increase the traffic and search engine visibility that you get.

(5) Ability to become a “source” - The  more value you provide on your site, the greater respect you will earn as a “source” of information within than niche.  A website creates that sense of legitimacy that visitors need to respect you as a subject matter expert.  Provide regular quality content, and before you know it you will have a following.

As your website grows, so does your website value.  One of the most critical aspects of any web success is traffic.  Everything surrounds traffic, like an offline business, if you have no feet walking past your “space”, you have no revenue potential.

A high traffic website will also be worth significantly more.

So…

What is the best way to get traffic?  What is the quickest way to get it for free?

Utilizing StreetArticles.com to Increase your Domain Value

Street Articles is the latest “content authoring” spot on the Internet and is the latest brainchild by Carson and street articles - article directorymyself.   Although at first glance, it may appear as just another place to put your articles, it is well on its way to becoming more than that.

Our goal with SA is to provide authors that write “quality” content a place to submit their unique articles and to quickly be rewarded for their hard work.  It is also a place that you can build your brand, your following, your online credibility, and engage people in conversation.  This will lead to your content getting shared, talked about, and increase traffic to your website.

It is a nice addition and very complimentary to writing on your website or blog.

Here are some reasons why YOU need to pay attention to what is going on at Street Articles and how it can benefit your business:

(1) Get a following – the following will continually be visiting your profile, your articles and ultimately your items

(2) Traffic generation - Article traffic will generate you website revenue and inflate the value of your site.  For example, I currently have 56 articles within my account and have over 30,000 article views in the last 2.5 months.  Pretty powerful for a limited amount of work.  This traffic comes solely through search engine rankings and people sharing my articles.   I could expect to pay close to $15,000 for this traffic if I was using PPC.

(3) Your work will be shared – This means your social value increased, and your voice will become a greater leveraging point.  I have many articles that have shared in total 50+ times without a lot of effort (other than offering value to the reader).  Quality content is king…and quality content gets shared in our social Internet age we are living in.  Street Articles will continue to stay on top of the social trends and continue to provide features that benefit article shareability.

(4) Inbound links to your website (from author bio and right within your articles) – These will improve your website rankings.  Relevant content leading to another relevant page counts as a quality back-link.   Although not as critical as they once were, these can definitely make the difference between 1st page and 2nd page rankings.

(5) 15 Minute Rankings - If you want to take advantage of a timely news event or you simply want to get your articles indexed and ranked quickly, you can count on StreetArticles.com.  You will typically find your site gets ranked within 15 minutes of approval, with our personal moderation being very quick.

(6) It is FREE. If you want to get your free StreetArticles.com account, you can do so here.  See for yourself.  Test a few articles and compare your results to other directories here.

Utilizing content authoring sites like ours to drive additional, free flowing traffic to your site will only increase the value of it.  Traffic leads to revenue, revenue leads to higher “domain real estate value”.

These are my current thoughts on the domain industry.   In my opinion, it is not going anywhere anytime soon.  You may agree.  You may disagree.  Either way, I would love to hear your feedback and your own personal insights or story into this topic.

Cheers,

Kyle

Kyle
Member of WealthyAffiliate.com
Author at StreetArticles.com

PS. You can now follow us on twitter at:

@kyleandcarson
@streetarticles

How to build a website for LONG term success!

Whew…long term success

Sorry, I just got back from a journey through success using this “thingy”!

What kind of success you ask?

  • One where I built a website in 32 seconds.
  • One where I built a site that Google is already french kissing.
  • One where I built a site where I don’t need to know a lick of programming.
  • One where I got listed in Google in under 12 hours.
  • One that will change the way I do online business.

What is this?

OK…before I get into what this “thingy” is, I want to explain how the Internet has changed, and how it has not here in 2010.  I also want to give you a vision into what is probably going to take place in 2011 and beyond for us marketers.

Lastly, I am going to explain how I think I can help you out, save you time, and earn you a lot more money.

We cool?  Alriggggghty.

How the Internet Has Changed!

Since late 2009, the Internet has made a major shift.  Google has shifted.  PPC has changed.  SEO has changed.  Affiliate marketing has changed.  The way you are allowed to represent your own “voice” has changed. Article directories has changed the way they allow people to do business.

With so many changes, how do you overcome this to create success online.

First and foremost, you need a website.  This is a scary word for MANY people, but it is the truth.  Google will not touch your “direct links” with a 10 foot pole, YSM and Bing don’t really like you if you don’t have a website.

This is a good thing for those of us that “did things right” to begin with and bad for the lazy cats out there that simply direct linked…not because it was the right way, but because it was the easy way to do things.

A website has always been the best medium to offer people information, help them, and ultimately pre-sell any affiliate product or your own product.   So I can honestly say that without a website now, your chances for success are shrinking by the day.

Moral of the story.  YOU NEED A WEBSITE!

OK, you have a website.  Things are peachy right?

Not entirely.

I don’t want to be the grinch that stole your early x-mas, but just having a site is no longer enough either.

How you create your website now matters!

To understand this, you need to understand people.  I think you will find this very easy to do because, well, you are a person.  You need to also understand how Google has built their business and exactly what they truly care about.

Google does not care about advertisers.  Sure,they bring them billions of dollars per year…but without “PEOPLE” using their search, they would not have a business.  And for every person that decides to use another search engine for their daily searches, Google loses money.

There will always be advertisers, but there will not always be users unless Google understands and creates a quality user experience.

In order to create that experience, they push us marketers around based on their findings.  If they want a relevant landing page because they feel that it is going to give their users a better search experience, guess what?…they are going to make you create relevant landers.

If they find multi-page sites attract the best experience, they are going to make you do that.

If they like current and regularly updated content, guess who has to abide…YOU, the advertiser.

So let’s be clear here.  Google does not give a rats about you.  They only care about you when you are a searcher.  Their business is search, not advertising.

So how do you master creating websites for success?

Become yourself.

Yeah, really.  If you are marketing to someone, look at your site your pages through their eyes.  What makes a good site and what do you enjoy about good sites.  If you typed in “make my dog breakfast”…what would you want?

You would want a site on how to make a dog breakfast…maybe some recipes, maybe links to some cool breakfast bowls, doggy blankets, and as a bonus, a guide on how to make your dog walk on it’s hind legs if you bought something.

If you visit your site through a “visitors” eyes and you like the experience you are receiving, then chances are Google will like it to.  Be honest with yourself…or better yet, get a friend or family member to review your site for you.

So there you have the big bad Google.  In a nutshell…do what they say.

What about article marketing directories?

As for the article directories and the other aspects…they just follow Google’s rules.  So if you see a top level change at Google, you are likely to see a ripple effect down the chains of command.

This goes for a lot of the other Internet entities out there.  When Google makes a swift change to their algorithm, it causes a broad knee-jerk reaction across the industry.

Everything is not so bad though

In spite of everything I have said, many principles have remained the same and will remain the same going forward.

For example, relevance is the “rock” that allows campaigns to run profitable for years.  I still have campaigns running from 2005 that I have not touched and team “make life difficult” at Google have not slapped.

There are also articles that still are ranked from years ago.  There are blogs that have been up under terms like “make money” since 2007.  There is some interesting things that we can take from the “longevity” aspects of my business and others that will lead to your long term success.

I guess what I am saying is build your site for PEOPLE from the get go.  Don’t be a trend follower and use the latest black hat technique.  If you rely on these techniques, your business is always in jeopardy and one little shake up at Google and your business has collapsed.

To build these “PEOPLE” sites, sites that will last, sites that will succeed, and sites that will have longevity I would recommend nothing else than WordPress.

WordPress sites are great because they follow the RULES that make a site good for SEO, PPC, Email marketing, Articles, and ultimately appeal to Google.

These are:

(1) Easy to add Content
(2) SEO friendly (tags, page titles, directory structure, sitemaps, etc)
(3) Multi-paged and relevant content

These are the core principles of a quality website and will equate to success.

A example of a site I just created

Here is the website that I built using our latest system at WA.  This is a WordPress driven application that allows you to create as many blogs as you like.

The Website: CraftyContent.com
Total time taken to set-up this blog: 32 seconds
Total time to write the content: 1 hour
Total natural search listings: 10+
Total plug-ins installed: 6 (comes with each install)

Within one hour I have a pretty nice looking site, with content, and already attracting the search engine spiders.  How cool is that?

An absolute newbie could set something like this up using WordPress Express, our latest and greatest system included in the Wealthy Affiliate membership.  Once you have that site in place that Google will adore, the sky is the limit…now I can focus on making money from this site.

Next blog post I am going to discuss some of the techniques you can leverage to earn money from your WordPress Express sites.

Have a great day!

Kyle

Kyle
Wealthy Affiliate
www.wealthyaffiliate.com

PS.  I would love to hear your feedback.  Please leave your comments below.

If you would like to get Instant Access to WordPress Express, CLICK HERE!

Why does google love my junk websites?

I really suck at building websites!Kyle @ Wealthy Affiliate

Honestly, I do.

Looking back over the years (wow, almost 8 years now…I am getting up there), I have built some of the funkiest, stinkiest looking websites around.

Graphics…bah.  A waste of time right?

A fancy template with lots of bells and whistles…I had no need for that.

An ugly (by conventional rules), bare looking “homemade” website with quality and relevant content. That is what I was interested in creating.

I didn’t enjoy creating graphics and good thing…I would have likely sabotaged my sites!

I know Carson spoke to you last week about the importance of a website in this day and age.  To be honest with you, I think it has always been important.  What is not as important is how it looks…sites that I created in 2003 are still effective.

In fact, sites without any “template at all” are still effective.  Flat white background with a small border around it with good sales copy, and relevant pages within still work.

So, if technology has produced so many killer ways to build websites with a lot of flare and a lot of graphics, why hasn’t the way people view websites changed?

Think about this for second…

If you were searching for a solution to “change your dodge caravans spark plugs” in Google and were taken to a revolving door to your solution, what would you HOPE for on the other side.

CONTENT on how to change your spark plugs.

If the content is of quality, you could care less about the picture of the caravan in the banner, the moving image on the right, the beautiful detail that went into the table layouts and graphics….YOU WANT CONTENT.

People search Google for content.

And marketers that deliver the “sought after” content are those that succeed.  And that leads me to the idea of…

The Backwards Website Model

What if you were to build a website in reverse, based on what works (meaning, what earns you money).

Where would you begin to start?  What lead to all your conversions?

For those of you that have been able to achieve success online, you are likely putting your hand up right now and shouting out the answer.

The answer is:  THE CONTENT, THE STORY, THE SALES COPY, OR THE OFFER

All of these relate to writing, and none of them relate to graphics.   If you reverse engineer any successful website out there, the graphics would be the last component to come.  The content would be the first as the content is what leads to success.

And so goes the QUALITY of the content…

Ethics are still important.  Content is only content if you are doing it simply for displacing money.  IE, earning money without offering adequate “stuff” in return.  That leads me to the fact that although websites are key, you need to think of the bigger picture when creating your content….who is reading it?

BUT…Aren’t Websites Important?

Yes, websites are key.  Google no longer has love for people that direct link  They don’t care for people that do redirects.  In fact, they don’t even care much for affiliate link.  The reason being is there is a huge gap they are seeing a need to fill between their paid advertisers and their top search engine optimized sites.

The content quality has always been much better for “natural listings”.  Just a few years back, Google implemented what we call the Quality Score algorithm to try to increase this quality.   I remember back in the day seeing things like an ad being listed under a a keyword like “weight loss” that was for “making money online”.

Now, this was not cool for someone doing a search within the search engine that was faced with getting an irrelevant result for their search.  In order for Google to sustain their search market share, they needed to improve this.

So Quality Score came.

People then learned to “game” Quality Score.  Creating relevant pages, with little or no content Quality.

What marketers would do is simply stuff in a couple of relevant keywords, and then drive their traffic to click affiliate links…in which they would earn a commission from.  It worked…and people made a ton of money.

But Google Caught On!…

They found this loophole within their own Quality Score calculation and have recently stuffed a massive hole in these marketers game.

Stuffed a hole to the tune of anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 Google Adwords accounts being shut down without warning.  To the tune of advertisers losing all their Quality Score rank and having their sites red flagged.  To the tune of million dollar marketers completely losing their businesses overnight!

Google now wants, really, what it should want.

Quality content. Relevant content.  Enough content. AND no greasy salesmen.

Google basically wants their user experience (people searching for stuff) to be the best possible.  Google wants marketers to have their own website and to put some thought into the content they write…for it to be unique, and for it to be adequate enough for a decent experience.

So, the rules of the NEW AGE are:

(1) Having your own website (a must)
(2) Having adequate content
(3) Having relevant content
(4) Having unique content
(5) Not trying to trick Google by stuffing keywords in your site
(6) Not being a smoke and mirror salesperson

You follow these rules, you are cool with Google and your are cool with me.  What worked for me worked back in 2002 when I was starting out.  Not because I knew some secret strategy then, I always put myself in the “searchers” shoes and aimed to make the search experience as good as possible.

BTW, I have ad groups that I have not touched for the last 6 years and are still effective.  They follow the convention and if you work forward using the “user experience” model,  you will have a safety shield from any major Google slaps, dances and punches.

The Internet has changed, but the ideology of website success has not.

Let me say this again in another way…

The Internet has NEW RULES, but the SAME OLD WEBSITE STILL PREVAIL!

Take it easy,

Kyle
Wealthy Affiliate
www.wealthyaffiliate.com

PS.  I love to get feedback…so if you have any comments, please feel free to leave them below.