Welcome back! You may be a bit groggy this morning, but shake it off. We’ve got work to do and a lot of it. It’s time to get back in the swing of things and back to the normal week-to-week life.
We’ll get things kicked off today with 9 domaining actions that I religiously perform when I end and start a new year. I’m certain the ideas and thoughts to be discussed will help you tremendously.
You may already perform some of the domaining actions. If you are, then you’re reaping the benefits of increased profits, reduced costs and less stress with more succinct organization.
If not, then today’s your lucky day. This is fair warning that this guide is a lengthy read of nearly 2,200 words, but hang in there, it’ll be well worth the read.
Using these 9 domaining actions, I give you quite a bit of insight, and tips and tricks for how I successfully manage my domain portfolio from year to year.
Let me know if you have questions and please do share ideas by leaving comments below.
And last but not least, don’t forget to purchase your copy of my latest ebook: Local Domain SEO.
I wish you well in operating an efficient and profitable domain portfolio as your read this content. Now let’s get started whipping our domain portfolio’s into shape.
1. Decide which domains to drop
Other than selecting a domain to buy, deciding when to drop a domain is one of the most thought provoking actions a domain investor can find themselves deep in thought about on a consistent basis.
This process in its entirety is one of the most time consuming activities, because it involves so much thought and data review. I personally track my domains using a few methods I’ll soon discuss.
First things first. I start by listing each domain by it’s expiration date. This allows me an opportunity to always stay ahead of the curve, and not make permanent decisions based on temporary data.
Have you ever allowed a domain to drop or expire only to find out later that it sold for thousands of dollars?
I’ve had this happen before. I was so bent on reducing costs that I deleted a domain early in the year that didn’t expire until the latter part of the year. Experiencing this on more than one occasion caused me to change my method to only delete names within the current month.
Hopefully, you get the point. But I digress. Onto the questions I raise.
Does the domain have parking revenues?
One of the first methods I use to determine whether I drop a domain is based on domain parking revenues. I verify whether or not the domain is parked.
If the domain was parked, I review parking revenue. If the domain can cover at least 50% of it’s cost, then it stays.
If it doesn’t meet parking revenue criteria, then I delete immediately if within the same month, or if I’m on the fence about the domain, I’ll disable auto renewals for the domain.
Does the domain have type-in traffic?
The second method is using a home grown type-in tracker software that allows me to view non-bot and non-spider traffic right down to the minute within a given day.
Essentially, I’m reviewing type-in traffic reporting, or said another way, reviewing the number of times people type a given domain into a web browser and bypass a search engine.
My home grown report color codes each recorded domain based on it’s traffic for each day and month of the year. Domains that are in any shade of green make the cut and are renewed, while I can decide to immediately delete or disable auto renewals for domains that are not green and don’t make the cut.
Is the domain a trademark infringement?
The third method is verifying whether or not a domain is marked with either a service mark, trademark or registered mark.
Although I have hundreds of domains in my portfolio, I manually check each domain to ensure that it does not infringe upon a trademark.
Should a domain infringe upon a trademark (i.e., including exact product name, company name, or a service mark of any type), then I immediately delete the domain from my account.
Personally, I don’t have time for WIPO and UDRP cases. In instances where I have found blatant trademarks within my domain portfolio, I’ve personally transferred the domain to the person/company at no charge (no matter how much I have invested in the domain).
Does the domain have inquiries?
The final method for each domain is reviewing the number of inquiries for those in question of being dropped.
On the rare occasion, I sometimes contact individuals that have previously inquired about purchasing a domain before I disable the next auto renewal.
You never know what might happen. You just might make a sell that you otherwise would not have received. But I digress.
I track inquiries using the same homegrown system that I use for tracking type-in traffic. The simple rule I use is does the domain have inquiries over the last 3 years. If the domain doesn’t have an inquiry, then I disable auto renewals.
In some cases, I’ve disabled auto renewals only to have a few months pass and I receive an inquiry. Once I receive an inquiry for the domain, auto renewals are enabled until the next review.
Does domain have a substantial amount of Whois requests?
This is a bonus action that I review when I’m on the fence about keeping or dropping a domain. I collect and store the number of Whois requests, provided by my Registrar, for each domain.
My minimum limit is 10 requests per month for me to keep the domain and renew it. I don’t renew when requests are less than 10 for the latest 6 months.
2. Consolidate domain renewal dates, and pay and alternate monthly or annually renewals
One action that has helped me quite a bit with managing my growing domain portfolio is consolidating domain renewal dates. There are some domains that I know are quite valuable and I don’t want to lose. I tend to set these domains to longer renewal periods (e.g. 5 and 10 year renewals). I suggest you do the same with your “no-brainer renewal” domains.
Do your domain expenses cause you daily stress? Personally, so that I don’t have domains due every day of the year, I like to renewal my domains a month at a time. In addition, I alternate a 1 year and 2 year renewal plan for the months.
For instance, I might renew all domains that qualify for renewal in January on a 1 year plan, and all domains in February on a 2 year plan. I keep alternating renewal plans for the remainder of the months in a year. This consolidation and alternating renewal plans allows me the opportunity to have months where I don’t have to concern myself with renewals.
And because I’m renewing quite a few domains at bulk, I pressure my domain account manager for additional discounts, making them work hard to keep my business. I reap bigger savings renewing month by month at bulk while giving myself peace of mind in knowing that I don’t have to worry about the current or next month’s renewals.
Currently, I’m at least 2-3 months in the future with renewals. Personally, my goal is to get to renew the entire portfolio on Jan 1st of every year.
Then, I don’t have to worry about renewals for the year, and I’ll probably lower bulk renewal costs substantially and increase my margins quite a bit too.
3. List non renewing domains in auction
One lesson I’ve learned over the years is to not immediately delete domains from my account until they are up for renewal. It took a while for me to learn this lesson.
However, on a whim, I decided to test a theory of listing non-renewing domains in auction since I was not going to renew it. And what do you know, guess what happened?
That’s right, I started selling non-renewing domains. The good thing about this is that I was emotionally detached due to disabling the domain’s auto renewal. This led me to put a lower than normal starting bid price. In some cases, the low bid price spark a few bidding frenzy’s on names that I never would have given second too.
In short, I end up making money, even if it’s nothing more than upgrading a domain name to a more valuable name.
I encourage you to give this theory a shot with a few of your domain names that are not as valuable in comparison to your domain portfolio at large.
4. Verify Whois information is current
One of the first things I do as I close out a year and begin another year is ensuring that the Whois information for my domain portfolio has the correct contact information.
Might I suggest you review each domain manually. About 2 years ago, I ran into a Pending Whois Verification issue that caused my domains not to be auto renewed, and said domains were going to be suspended or deleted at worst. Read more about this incident.
In addition, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to sale a domain name because a buyer can’t contact you due to your Whois information is outdated and incorrect, and .
5. Verify payment methods are not expired
There’s nothing more costly than losing domain names because you’re payment method expired or you were never notified of a renewal issue.
Be certain that the auto renewal feature is enabled for domains. Also, verify that email notifications are turned on in your account for automated renewal billing and notifications.
In addition, if you operate affiliate accounts, be sure payment methods and account information are valid and up to date for each account. The worst thing that can happen is to be making money and not able to receive payment for all of your diligent work.
6. Check that name servers are valid
One of many things that can cost domain investors looking to make money with domain parking is not setting the correct name servers.
Personally, I’ve had this happen to a number of times transferring domains, buying expired domains, or just plain ole’ fat finger problems.
It’s not until I have a mid-year portfolio review that I realize I missed the last 6 months, or more, worth of parking activity and revenues for a domain.
7. Set your intent for each domain you own and stick to it
If you don’t have a plan for each and every domain in your portfolio, then you are simply wasting time and money.
Simply put, you’re better off putting your money in a bank or under a mattress when domain investing without an intent for each domain.
Personally, I blew through at least $6,500 when getting started in domain investing. This was before I got a plan in place that worked for me and my portfolio.
Today, I have certain groupings for my domain portfolio. I have some domains that are my sit-and-wait-until-the-million-dollar-offer arrives much like Rick Schwartz’s 20-year plan.
Next, I have others that are based on the geo location of the greater Austin Metroplex. These domains locally focused and are typically city + industry .com domain names. I call these my business-in-a-box domains, because I have the business acumen to build out the website and operate the business successfully. I just don’t have the time money to really devote 100% undivided attention each domain needs to be a profitable success.
Then, there are a handful of 3, 4, and 5 character domains.
I also have brandable domains in my portfolio much like the names offered at BrandBucket.com.
And last but not least, I have quite a bit of exact match or partial match keyword domains that I’ll hold forever and a day.
Nevertheless, with each of the groupings, I know the lowest price I’ll sell. More importantly, I know my intent for each domain and how long I’m willing to hold on to it. Knowing this makes my life so much easier when an offer arrives. It’s a quick yes or no based on my intent for the domain.
If a domain doesn’t fit into those groupings, then I know it’s time to either delete or disable auto renewal.
8. Retire websites or domains no longer used
Since I host my own sales landing pages for select domains, I have to make sure that I remove domains that I no longer own from my hosting account. If not, my hosting account will become a management quagmire of outdated domains.
In addition, I use this opportunity to review websites and domains I’ve developed and no longer use. It’s pretty simple. Either it’s making money or it’s not.
I typically give an idea at least 3 years to make it on the web when I build out a domain. Using web analytics, such as GWT and GA, if a website is at the same spot that it was when launched, then it’s time to kill the website and maybe the domain too.
9. List and remove domain marketplace listings
If you use 3rd party websites to sell domains, then be sure to remove domain listings from those websites when you allow the domain to expire or no longer own the domain.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased an expired domain only to find that it was listed on multiple domain marketplaces due to the last owner not keeping their operations organized.