101 Tips / Truths for New Domainers

I was having lunch with an old friend a couple weeks back.  The type of friend you see just a few times a year.  We were catching up on things and he asked me “If I wanted to start domaining, what tips or advice would you give me.”  I explained that my definition of domaining includes flipping, longer term investing, and developing.  That said, my reply was “I could easily come up with 100 tips for you.”  So, he held me to it.  In the spirit of sharing, here are 101 tips and truths for new domainers.  This list could easily be doubled, but it’s a good start.  There are probably a few reminders in there for experienced domainers as well.

  1. Read domain blogs
  2. Subscribe to Domaining.com
  3. Heed the advice of the experts
  4. Draw your own conclusions
  5. Research before you buy a domain
  6. Research before you sell a domain
  7. Network with other domainers
  8. Find a niche
  9. Read forums with caution
  10. Make mistakes
  11. Learn to negotiate
  12. Learn about sales
  13. Don’t burn bridges
  14. Don’t buy more domains than you can afford
  15. Keep renewal fees in mind
  16. Don’t rely on automated estimation tools
  17. Stay away from trademarked names
  18. Familiarize yourself with domain laws
  19. Diversify, invest and develop
  20. Have a contract when selling a domain
  21. Have a contract when buying a domain
  22. Learn to use the Google Keyword Tool
  23. Review past sales data
  24. Understand that a domain is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay
  25. Buy domains that interest you
  26. Find email examples of effective sales letters
  27. Experiment with email sales letters to find what works best
  28. Pick up the phone
  29. Utilize a broker when appropriate
  30. You  WILL get discouraged.  Keep going
  31. Set Goals and a clear vision
  32. Don’t register a name just because it’s available
  33. Get creative with ways to reach end users
  34. Buyers don’t have to be one time customers
  35. Learn a little html
  36. Learn a little graphic editing
  37. Find a reliable hosting service
  38. Learn about WordPress
  39. Hire a developer if you build a full site
  40. Don’t let other domainers discourage you
  41. You won’t get rich from parking
  42. Realize most of your domains suck
  43. Understand SEO
  44. Avoid duplicate content
  45. Familiarize yourself with Google Trends
  46. Social Networking is important
  47. Experiment with affiliate programs
  48. If you feel strongly about a name, don’t accept a low ball offer
  49. Before buying a domain, think about how else the money could be used
  50. Try selling on Craigslist, eBay, and other means
  51. Use Twitter to network, not to make a tweet a sales pitch
  52. Even sucky names can have high global monthly searches
  53. List your names at Sedo
  54. Understand brandable vs generic
  55. Model what works well for others
  56. Don’t quit your day job… yet
  57. Never go back on your word
  58. If you’re serious, then form a legal business
  59. Attend meetups when possible
  60. Take lessons from other industries
  61. Keep meticulous records
  62. Stay connected with new TLDs, even if you don’t invest in them
  63. Don’t use Hotmail when soliciting buyers.
  64. Backup your developed sites.
  65. Be prepared to develop or drop any domain you purchase
  66. Learn how the drop process works
  67. Understand domain taxes
  68. Know what your minimum acceptable price is for each domain you own
  69. Find partners for development
  70. Be willing to work HARD
  71. Search feverishly for opportunity
  72. Great domains with poor content = crap
  73. Look to domain suggestion tools for inspiration
  74. Read, listen, process
  75. Know when to give up on a project
  76. Know when not to give up
  77. Help and teach others, it’s the best way to learn
  78. Focus – work on one idea at a time
  79. Don’t expect to get rich quick
  80. You don’t have to have a huge portfolio to be successful
  81. Find free, inexpensive resources.  They’re out there
  82. Even though some things are free, sometimes it’s worth paying for better
  83. Know that most end users wont understand the value of a good domain
  84. Domainers won’t pay end user prices, neither should you
  85. You can’t do it all alone
  86. Find an attorney in the industry before you need one
  87. If you ask for advice, you’ll probably get it
  88. Not all advice is good advice
  89. Your friends/family don’t understand what you’re doing.  That’s fine
  90. Don’t waste time wishing you bought names in the 90’s
  91. Buy what you can afford and add value
  92. If you can’t write content, hire someone who can
  93. Most of your ideas won’t get off the ground
  94. Make the few that do get off the ground count
  95. You’ll get better with practice
  96. There are no shortcuts, only faster runners
  97. The best domains maybe taken, the best ideas are not
  98. Don’t get emotionally attached to a domain
  99. Don’t believe everything you read
  100. Keep a separate bank account for domaining
  101. If you don’t enjoy it, then stop doing it

39 Comments 101 Tips / Truths for New Domainers

  1. chris

    I have no idea how you did it – but those are some great tips.. How long did it take you to come up with 101??

    There is tons of great advice here and I def will use alot of them in 2011

    Reply
  2. DR.VEGAS

    All great advice.I’m printing it out now.
    My only question is why HOTMAIL is a bad idea for contacting prospective buyers.(?)
    What would you suggest as an alternative?

    Reply
      1. Sidekick night garden watcher

        I think “living in the past” is more common in domaining than other industries, since it looks more opportunity-based. Yes, one could easily be $Ms rich by having a 90’s domain, but then who’d knew they would worth that much one day? But this is essentially the same for any disrupting new idea 😉

        Many items in the list apply to anything in life, thanks for the great list, Mike.

        Reply
  3. Rich

    Mike, thanx for the tips,my fam. sure dont understand domaining but at least i’m not alone.If you want to go for a cup of coffee let me know,i’m in Park Ridge

    Reply
    1. Steve

      Once I actually broke it down for my family/close friends then showing them Sedo, Namejet, Afternic, DnJournal Sales reports, and basic tools, they all have been trying to jump on board. I am sending this list to them right away, nice read. My father though keeps telling me to get out, but that won’t be happening anytime soon.

      Reply
  4. trickytobeat

    Hello Mike Sullivan,
    Thank you for the 101 tips. You posted “You have to focus on not missing the current opportunity.”
    What are the current opportunities in domaining?
    Robert McLean

    Reply
  5. Duras

    Thank you, Mike
    A great analyse on what domaining is. Every forum, blog etc about this business must have that tips-list limed on their homepage. Waitin the other 101 tips…
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Reply
  6. Joey Starkey

    I am going to print this list out and hang it on the wall in my office.

    I’m fairly new to Domaining but with a strong sales background feel I am doing fairly well.
    I Develop, Do Enduser Sales, and am building a holding of names for investment.

    I like these 3 tips:

    #9 Read Forums with Caution. (Not everyone is an expert that is writing in the Forum.)

    #40 Don’t let other Domainers discourage you.
    (Not Everyone is your friend.)

    #89 Your Family/Friends don’t understand what you are doing. (No matter how hard I try my wife is lost on this one.)

    Thanks for the list.

    Reply
  7. Andy Lehrer

    Mike,
    Congrats on compiling a superb list. With just a little imagination and tweaking on the part of the reader, this list applies equally well to pretty much any business or occupation – from math teacher to motivational speaker, carpenter to CEO, artist to author. And, most importantly, it’s an excellent list for living – thanks for putting “pen” to paper.
    Kind regards,
    Andy

    Reply
  8. DR.VEGAS

    Should I learn HTML…or Dreamweaver? Is HTML basically the same these days as it has always been? If I pay some coder a 4-5 figure sum to flesh out a site that I think has potential…am I now “married” to that coder when I need to make basic changes? Would learning HTML lessen my dependency on the coder should I need to make some changes? Yeah..too many questions.My bad.

    Reply
    1. Mike Sullivan

      Learning basic HTML will help you with mini sites or tweaking sites that a developer has designed for you. Dreamweaver will make it easier for you. Hope it helps, feel free to email if you have more questions.

      Reply
  9. kandyan

    This list applies to pretty much every business…
    Especially Domaining… Thanks very much for the reminder right in time for the New Year…

    Reply
  10. Nima.Co

    I have to commend you for the time you put into this blog post. #78 is a Gem: “Focus – work on one idea at a time”. I watch so many people take on more than they can handle and at times I fall victim to this as well. Focus is monumental to ones success and with that accompanies a concise strategy. Thanks for a great blog post! Keep up the good work, Mike!

    Reply

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