How to sell your domain name for what it’s really worth

Plenty of people don’t necessarily buy a domain name to start their own business. In fact, there’s a whole industry around buying domain names to sell them on for a profit to someone who will use them for their business. It works like any type of real estate – you have investors and ‘buy to own’ markets, and most people are interested in one or the other, but in some cases both will appeal.

For the domain name investor types, you’re going to need a clear and coherent strategy to sell your piece of prime real estate if you want to make a profit. With that in mind, take a look at the things you can do to prepare a domain name for sale, so that you’re in the position to get the best possible price. These 8 tips include a few basic technicalities that you should keep in mind too.


1)    Buy the right domain name

This involves doing some investigation into the keywords people are searching for that include the domain name you have for sale. You will need to use tools such as Google AdWords, and it will be worth speaking to an SEO consultant and/or domain name broker, like us here at dtrade, to properly determine the value of any domain name you own. The number of searches including the name each month, as well as some simple variations of the name will give you part of the picture, and should be researched before committing to any price.

2)    Understand and market the potential of the domain name

You will need to develop a short, simple pitch, aimed at investors, to summarise exactly what the potential is for the domain name you have available. Tell them why it’s a sought after term, what it could be turned into, and how it could be marketed with a clear, unique strategy or message. List specific ideas to spark people’s attention and have them saying to themselves ‘I could do that’.

  • The perfect blog name,
  • A hub for certain niche information related to the words in the title, or
  • Good social media strategy ideas – competitions, newsletter titles, ideas for products to link in and sell

Are a couple of ways to frame the pitch. Demonstrating that you know how the domain could make money will impress any potential buyer, so spark their imagination and make them think that they are the right person to develop the idea.

3)    Get a realistic expected value

You can find this by looking up your domain name, and others like it, on any reputable domain name auction site, such as GoDaddy for example, and see what it sells for. This will give you and any potential buyer an idea of the dollar value they can expect to earn with the domain name.

Review the full range of prices that other similar domains are listed for and try to work out a reasonable average, or understand why there is a great deal of variation if you can. Work out the reasons and explain clearly why this will or will not be the case with your domain name.

Factor in expected spend to develop the ideas in (2) above to provide the full picture of income, expenditure and profit, as well as revenue. Again, you may want to consult an expert for help with this too.  

4)    Build a custom page combining the information and strategy

Build a unique web page that clearly lays out your strategy from (2) and (3) above, and direct traffic to that page. This is like a sales pitch that anybody could come across when they search for the term. You want it to appear clean and clear, and present your sales pitch in the most attractive way possible, preferably without any additional material for Google Ads – the sale will generate enough revenue without having to resort to that.

5)    Don’t get your hopes too high unless it’s really premium

Anyone who actually has an inventory of domain names will already know, but it’s worth repeating here, if your domain name isn’t the premium type – that is 1-3 words, easy to spell, English language and .com – be realistic about how much you can expect to sell that domain for. It’s incredibly easy for anyone to do a google search and find out which domains are popular, so you won’t fool anyone for long about how many thousands of dollars your .biz or offbeat domain name is worth. The best thing you have to work with is a plausible marketing stragegy, as laid out above.

6)    At least consider fixed price selling

It may be tempting to say ‘make an offer’ under your marketing message and hope for the generous buyer who sees even more value than you do in the name you have available, but a lot of people might actually be put off by the idea of haggling or negotiating, and if you want a quick, fuss free sale, work out a base value that is acceptable to you, put a fixed price around that and get the job done. It can still be perfectly fair, and you can change your strategy if it really doesn’t work out, but it is worth a try.

7)    Add the ‘for sale’ information to the WHOIS directory

This is kind of a no-brainer, but easy to forget to do. Make sure you update the WHOIS entry for your domain name with new sale information – as your buyer might find you there, and you want it to look like everything is kept up to date. The domain IS for sale, so there’s no point trying to make people dig around to find that out, make it obvious from the outset and you won’t regret it.

8)    Also remove privacy settings from WHOIS

Many people won’t know how to contact you if you have the WHOIS privacy service activated. It’s ok if you use it to keep spam mail at bay, or avoid identity theft etc, but when you’re ready to sell, have it removed so that you are contactable through the database. Respond promptly to inquiries too to let people know you are serious about selling and avoid time wasting.

dtrade are domain name experts specialising in Sales, Acquisitions, IP Services and Consulting.


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