101 Tips / Truths for New Domainers

Domain Name Investors

101 Tips / Truths for New Domainers

The post you are about to read is one that I wrote over 8 years ago.  I made some minor updates and added about 10 additional tips to the list, bringing it to 111 tips / truths for new domainers.  While you and I have surely changed, not much has changed in 8 years as far as the fundamentals go.  

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. Stay ahead of trends
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, forums, domain actions 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 or spamming looking ail when soliciting buyers.
64. Back up your 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 only
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 quality
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. Don’t look up domains you let drop, it will only piss you off
102. Don’t think you have to register every TLD for a name, that’s just madness
103. There are ways to accelerate your learning… find them
104. A great domain still requires lots of work to be successful
105. Make sure the TLD is appropriate for the name
106. Keep up on technology
107. Never sell based on panic
108. Never rush into a purchase
109. Your reputation is everything
110. If you don’t make money but you enjoy it, keep doing it
111. If you don’t enjoy it, then stop doing it


Have any favorites from the list?  Any additional items you would add?  Post them in the comments.

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Comments (39)

  • chris Reply

    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

    December 18, 2010 at 7:47 pm
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      @Chris, not long. I could (and might) come up with 101 more 😉

      December 18, 2010 at 9:33 pm
  • DR.VEGAS Reply

    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?

    December 18, 2010 at 9:25 pm
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      @Dr.Vegas, Hotmail is often interpreted as spam. Try your own domain for email if you have one. A company name comes across with more credibility.

      December 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm
  • Adam Strong Reply

    Great list Mike. I’m sure each of these could likely be it’s own post too

    December 18, 2010 at 9:30 pm
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      @Adam, thanks. I was thinking the same as I wrote this. You may see some posts pulled from this in the near future.

      December 18, 2010 at 9:36 pm
  • Uzoma Reply

    How does one overcome #90 after seeing Domain King Schwarz’s portfolio?

    December 19, 2010 at 12:10 am
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      @Uzoma, there is nothing you can do about missing that opportunity. You have to focus on not missing the current opportunity.

      December 19, 2010 at 12:14 am
      • Sidekick night garden watcher Reply

        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.

        December 19, 2010 at 12:28 pm
  • Rich Reply

    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

    December 19, 2010 at 12:47 am
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      @Rich, That would be cool. Maybe we could get a few people from the area together sometime.

      December 19, 2010 at 5:16 pm
      • contact@zoop.co Reply

        If there is ever a meet – I’d sure like to be a part of it!

        December 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm
    • Steve Reply

      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.

      January 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm
  • Tommy Butler Reply

    Great List Mike

    December 19, 2010 at 5:31 am
  • trickytobeat Reply

    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

    December 19, 2010 at 5:51 am
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      @trickytobeat, I can’t say I know for sure. Some would say .CO, others might say development or longtail keywords. IMO, you need to decide and make your best effort at it.

      December 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm
  • Duras Reply

    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!

    December 19, 2010 at 7:02 am
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      @Duras, feel free to suggest it to your favorite sites 🙂

      December 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm
  • Richard St Cyr Reply

    Hi Mike,

    All of those tips were excellent. By the way I enjoy the interviews you have with different people who created websites.

    Have a great Christmas,
    Dick St Cyr

    December 19, 2010 at 7:16 am
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      @Richard St Cyr, I love doing those too. So much good information from people actually doing something with their domains.

      December 19, 2010 at 5:22 pm
  • jezza Reply

    I like 89…I’ve been struggling on this one for years 🙂

    December 19, 2010 at 7:48 am
  • Bigred who loves Successclick.com Reply

    Now there are 102 things to do as a beginning domainer…

    Read this list by Sully. I’m copying your link and sending my clients to it. All domain ebooks should do an update and put this link (or ask permission to copy) to this list.

    good job!

    December 19, 2010 at 7:57 am
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      Thanks, inspires me to hear that you’re passing this on.

      December 19, 2010 at 5:23 pm
  • Joey Starkey Reply

    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.

    December 19, 2010 at 8:26 am
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      @Joey, great to see you’re staying diverse. Keep it up!

      December 19, 2010 at 5:25 pm
  • Tim Kissane Reply

    Thanks for a very useful list! My favorite is #30: “You WILL get discouraged. Keep going.”

    December 19, 2010 at 9:50 am
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      @Tim, one of mine too. There have definitely been times when I wondered what I had started.

      December 19, 2010 at 5:27 pm
  • TeenDomainer Reply

    A great list so many of the tips are easy to forget and overlook. But with hard work and determination you can do well.

    December 19, 2010 at 11:25 am
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      @Brian, thanks… I bet you have some to share too.

      December 19, 2010 at 5:28 pm
  • Brian Null Reply

    great list, Mike. you are a machine.

    December 19, 2010 at 12:06 pm
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      @Brian, as a great man once said, “heh heh”

      December 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm
  • Andy Lehrer Reply

    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,

    December 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm
  • DR.VEGAS Reply

    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.

    December 19, 2010 at 12:55 pm
    • Mike Sullivan Reply

      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.

      December 19, 2010 at 5:32 pm
  • kandyan Reply

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

    December 19, 2010 at 11:15 pm
  • Nima.Co Reply

    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!

    December 21, 2010 at 2:06 am

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