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I have been buying domains from Matt for many years now. Very professional and quick service, always with a great selection.Gary Taylor (@garyptaylor)
The question is; why bother with premium domain names? Why not just go and register any old domain name?
After all, you’d potentially save yourself thousands. And, that cash can have an enormous impact on the long-term success of a business, especially a start-up.
In 2002, there were roughly 40m websites online. By 2008? Over 160m.
And now, in 2017, we’re looking at a sea of over 1 billion websites.
A premium brandable or exact match domain name helps to separate your website from the crowd.
Have a think about it. Have you ever clicked on one Google search result over another, just because of the title? What about the domain name?
What Are Premium Domain Names?
Premium domain names are domains that are already registered. They usually consist of words or phrases that have commercial value, making a website address easy to remember.
1-word and 2-word domains are the most common format for premium domains. But, on very rare occasions (but usually only for .coms) a 3-word phrase could be considered premium.
Checking the age of a domain using a tool like Whois will determine when it was registered. A domain registered in the last couple of years, is unlikely to be classed as a premium domain. If it was, another domainer or business entity would have most likely snapped it up for themselves to re-sell.
The best domains tend to be registered before the dot-com bubble and are nearly 20 years old. Unless the owners let them lapse, forgot to renew them and PremiumDomainNames.co.uk was able to snap them up!
What Do Premium Domain Names Cost?
At the lowest end of the spectrum, you’ll see premium domains priced at £200-500. Unfortunately, unless you’re a domain hoarder, it’s unlikely to be the one you want.
Prices for the very best .UK domains can be as much as £600,000.
If you are looking to acquire a domain for your business, setting realistic price expectations is crucial. Typically, .UK premium domains that are not absolute category killers will tend to sit in the £1,000-5,000 range.
And, they come in two different forms; exact match (or category killers) and brandable.
Exact Match Domains (EMDs) and Category Killer Domains
And of course, there was Gold.co.uk that achieved a whopping £600,000.
It became apparent that Google and other popular search engines gave much more weight to keyword or EMDs. So, a site with less content and less links than another (but using an EMD) would outrank competitors with ease.
As a theoretical example, “plumbersinessex.co.uk”, even a relatively new site, could outrank a long-standing plumber from the area that might be named “Bobsplumbing.co.uk”.
Of course, search engines quickly partially-closed this loophole.
Nowadays, the value of an EMD is not in long-tail searches, but instead, with valuable product or service domains like the Gold.co.uk and Cruise.co.uk mentioned above. EMD premium domains are almost never more than 3 words.
Brandable domain names have become increasingly popular. These names are not necessarily related to a product or service. Take Very, for instance. They’ve created a short snappy brand out of their domain name.
But, some brandable domains have an obvious use. They are crying to be used for just a handful of products or services. Take a look at this thread on Acorn Domains which shows Fetch.co.uk achieving a very reasonable £17,500.
The obvious uses for this domain would either be a courier company (that collects), or a pet store. Ocado have incorporated both into their premium domain name, Fetch.
Premium Domains, CTR & SEO
The studies are few and far between. But, let’s just talk common sense for a minute.
When Google realised people were stuffing keywords in a page to rank higher, it changed its algorithm.
When Google realised people were building blog networks to create 100s of links to rank higher, it penalised them.
It’s common sense. Google wants everything to appear natural. Which is why there’s been more and more blog posts in the SEO industry covering page engagement, rather than links & SEO domains. And, one of the most important for SEO is click-through-rate (CTR).
If you’d ranked 10 websites manually, based on numerous factors such as links, how do you improve the rankings? One obvious way would be to see how the masses engage with your results.
Previous searches and clicks will show what the average CTR for each position is. There’s quite a significant difference in the average CTR for each position.
When a website CTR is higher or lower than usual, it makes sense to move it to the appropriate position.
And, this is where certain types of premium domains can really help.
For instance, Electricbicycles.co.uk was 15% higher than Yourbikes.co.uk in an AdWords test. This could have huge repercussions in terms of search engine rankings and bottom line.
Creating Your Online Brand
Consumers need to resonate with your website, and that means something that doesn’t just sound trustworthy, but something that’s easy to remember. Premium domain names offer both characteristics.
Remember the example of Very.co.uk?
They’ve made a conscious effort to brand their company around their domain name. In fact, many of their adverts are not branded “Very”, they are branded “Very.co.uk”. And, that’s an important footprint to leave in a consumer’s mind.
It’s building a business that doesn’t rely on search engines for revenue.
Free Direct Traffic
Remember the example of Gold.co.uk? By using Google’s Keyword Planner, we can estimate the cost per click if we were to run adverts for certain keywords.
In the instance of Gold.co.uk, we’d be looking at keywords like “bullion investment” and “gold”.
There are 100s of different searches consumers will use to find websites to research gold prices and invest in gold, and they all tend to average between £2-£10 per click.
That’s big money.
Here is the cool thing.
Notice at the bottom we have “gold co uk”. We can see the estimated volume of searches for that exact phrase. These people (who are looking for “gold”, “bullion investment” and so on) are simply hoping Gold.co.uk has what they are looking for.
And, as most people type web addresses (rather than searches) directly into their browser (rather than a search engine), we could expect Gold.co.uk to be getting 10,000-100,000 hits a month. This is traffic that is simply as a direct result of the category killer domain name.
With a cost per click (for adverts) of around £4, that’s over £40,000 per month of free traffic.
So, it’s easy to see how someone could pay £600,000 for this premium domain name, even if they are not in the gold business.
Premium Domains as An Alternative Investment
Not all people looking for premium domains are looking to start a business. Many premium domain buyers are looking to start or expand a portfolio as a way of alternative investment. And for some, this has become a very lucrative business.
Since the recession, investors have been clamouring for alternative investment opportunities. Well, premium domains names are certainly a candidate. Up until 2014, the Internet Domain Name Index was an active force of data for domainers.
Although at its last update, the overall profit would have been higher simply investing in the NASDAQ, there’s one significant difference between the two investments; volatility.
Investors putting their money into premium domain names would have seen their investment grow steadily, and during the recession, the % drop was much lower than that of the NASDAQ. The lack of volatility makes premium domains a great investment.
And, this doesn’t count for the fact that top tier domains would have earned plenty of cash during this period, simply by hosting a simple affiliate site, or a site producing revenue from adverts.
Keys to Premium Domain Investment
There’s no shortage of domains to invest in. And, it’s easy to get caught up buying all the wrong domains. These tips should ensure you stay focused during the process of building up your portfolio.
Specialising in certain types of domain will help your chances of success. As you develop relationships with other domainers, you’ll become the go-to-guy (or gal) for “x” domains.
It will also mean that you focus all your research on a set of domains. You’ll understand what’s going on in that niche, and understand when a potential gold mine presents itself.
After setting your sights on just one niche, you’ll have a clearer idea of where to list and sell your domains. One of the best ways to sell top tier domains is to add a domain for sale page to the site and leave the domain open to offers.
Just knowing a niche inside out, and having a reasonable sales outlet isn’t enough. If you don’t have the right domains, you’re in no position to succeed. And, the key here is liquidity. Some names will naturally be more liquid than others. The more regular offers a name gets, the more liquid it is going to be.
For this reason, focus your attention only on premium domain names in your niche. Even if domains seem cheap, remember, they are racking up domain renewal fees for every year that they don’t sell. This cuts into profits!
Unless you are incredibly experienced, try to avoid anything that might be at risk of a suit due to trademark infringements.
This isn’t just because of the legal battle that might lie ahead. The party that owns the trademark will likely be the best target for a sale. If they haven’t bought the domain already, what makes you think they will at all?
Circumstance and Price
Circumstance has a lot to do with both purchase and sale price. If you are looking to purchase a domain from a seller that’s looking for a quick sale, there’s going to be plenty of room for negotiation. And, every penny you negotiate is extra profit.
On the flip side, domain investing is usually for those that are not dictated by circumstance. If it’s likely you’ll need quick sales for funds, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to achieve top dollar for your domain; and that means missing out on profits. In many cases, you’ll be lucky for break even.
Premium Domain Names For Sale
Our short and memorable domains for sale allow your business to stand out from the crowd, establishing itself as an authority in your niche.
Due to our competitive prices, we regularly sell domains to domainers building their portfolios.
I have worked with Matt for almost 10 years now on various different projects across digital marketing, I have bought domains for multiple clients for SEO purposes and different premium branded domains.
There is often an element of trust and apprehension when buying a domain, the buyer trusts that after transferring the money (if escrow isn’t used) that they will get the domain..
I can say that I never had this issue with Matt, communication is great, on time and to the point, which leaves me with a feeling of trust – which is what you need when doing business with multiple clients, great guy to deal with.Jason, Warrington