Staying Sane Whilst Domaining
Domaining can be a strange beast. Combining in equal parts hobby, gambling, entertainment, creativity and world domination, you can very quickly end up spending all your time in worlds you mightn’t originally have planned.
A typical domainer, except this guy gets fresh air and exercise
Here are some tips and guides to staying sane, and to getting where you want to with domaining.
Before we start sharing ways to find available domain names, here’s some basic advice domainers usually give people starting out.
•As you can see here, it is ridiculously easy to fake any sort of domain stats. Stick to trading with people with good trader ratings, that you know somehow, or protect yourself by using services such as Escrow.com.
• Only buy a name that you yourself might pay $500 for (if you wanted to make a site in that area). Even if you are $200 out in your calculations, it will still stop you making a lot of bad speculations. Checking to see if you are comfortable paying three years’ registration fees for a name is another valuable trick.
• Try to sell before you buy too many names – after all, how will you objectively “test” you are on a profitable track? Selling helps with calibration and is the key to most successful domainers. Also, if you buy a name in one area, consider trying to sell any lesser names in that same field to fund your growth. This keeps your portfolio condensing down to an ever-improving quality selection of names.
• Specialize. We can’t all be experts in all areas, and if we try to stay on top of a dozen fields, we will be beaten by those who pick their battles wisely. Find something you are better than others at (an approach, a sales strategy, or an industry area), and repeat it as often as you can.
Tips to Everyone – Limit Your Spending
It is said that humans have a natural ‘safety valve’ for gambling, that is, we feel safe betting with 10% of our available income. This is still a large amount of money! For others this safety valve can be a leaky thing, at best.
It is a wise practice to put a limit on what we wish to spend on domaining in advance, perhaps as a yearly figure. Keep in mind that renewals are usually an annual ocurance, and often more expensive than the initial “buy” price. Your annual domaining allowance will hence probably require sales for any purchases beyond the first year. Having a separate credit card with this amount on it is a good way to separate your domaining expenses.
To know how much we are spending, and if our domaining is a pipe dream, or a sound business prospect, we need good reporting. There are many good programs (and domainer built Excel documents) out there to help with this. If you know of any recommend them below, and I will link to them here.
You should take hourly mini breaks, of five-10 minutes each. If not a complete break, then you should at least stat away from the computer for that time and do some other type of work. Set a computer alarm to remind you, for instance on the hour. Get plenty of fresh air. Always have at least one day a week off from work.
Remember that internet addiction (and work obsession generally) are among the most common addictions there are; both have real health and personal repercussions. If you feel you may suffer from an internet addiction – or want to test to see if you might have – Obsess Obsess is a great place to start.
It can be very easy to jump straight into big goals, such as earning all of your yearly income from domaining or website developing, or to make your first $100,000. But such goals will necessarily come after a long period of trial and error, and gradually.
Generally, a slow and steady will produce better results than a get-rich-quick mindset. If you are having trouble selling, why not drop your prices until you find your market. There is plenty of time to increase your prices later – there will always be names to purchase (and often with a wiser eye down the track). Moderate aims, such as selling a name for $80, or to develop a site that gets 14 unique views a day, can be helpful starting goals. Once you reach this level, you can gradually replicate or increase it, one small step at a time.
Also, it is not necessary to immediately get the best possible name for all your interests or areas of specialization in a hurry. There will be plenty of time, and allowing names to accumulate, as inspiration, opportunities and new extensions are brought out, will maximize the quality of your portfolio.
Stick To Your Interests
There are as many ways to make money on the internet as there are ideas in your head. For this reason, it is unnecessary to develop sites and names that have little interest for you, or involve subjects you don’t want to be involved with.
If you are a keen snowboarder, for instance, it would make much more sense developing a directory of snowboarding stores, or a simple site of youtube clips, rather than a site selling air-conditioners or giving advice on shares. A snowboarding related site would capitalize on your own knowledge, contacts, promotional opportunities, networks, and desire to learn, update, and promote your site.
On the other hand, sites and names can be used to extend your knowledge into areas you would like to, or need to, know more about. They can also be used to extend or keep links, texts and resources you may store on your computer anyway, and can be made also useful for (and hence supply revenue from) the wider public.
Going solo – as domain spotter, promoter, developer, and promoter – can be a lonely and difficult business. Besides the many skills one must develop, you cannot be expected to do all of these better than others out there. Consider outsourcing one or more aspects of your business, to focus on what you yourself do best.
Similarly, many of the best domain developers promote partnerships as the best way to develop their large portfolio of names. Skip Hoagland is an excellent case in point. I often go one step further and find people with specialist interests I can use, and buy and develop names with them as partners in mind.
Here are some Namehugger ethics I find helpful to follow:
- Never mislead (or defraud) a buyer – always leave a buyer happy
- Avoid parking or developing medical and other ‘serious’ topic names, such as names for serious diseases, unless you plan on giving website users real value. Such activities have to bight you – and us – somehow in the future.
- Always give real value to viewers of any of your sites
- Always follow the terms of service (TOS) for advertisers and affiliates
- Avoid trademarks and typos of companies (especially if they are known to sue) or for non-profit organizations
- Report names, sites and information contributing to serious crimes, such as abuse of children or advocating racism or other hatred. Help “retire” such domain names if possible.
- Have a certain amount of your names and development for non-profit, purely enjoyable, or community benefiting ventures. Good for the soul and for sharing your skills.
Do you have any domaining lifestyle tips? Share them here!