Part 1 – Why Domain Portfolio Optimisation Works

Part 1 – Why Domain Portfolio Optimisation Works

I recently had the privilege of conducting a session at Domaining Europe on the topic of monetisation. Many domain investors have fallen into the trap that monetisation is dead and let me share with you that nothing is further from the truth. Domain monetisation is alive, well and thriving.

Escrow.com

What has happened, is like any industry there has been an evolution in technology. Those that have kept up with the technological curve remain successful while those that don’t struggle to remain in business.

This is not dissimilar to the days of the buggy whip manufacturer. During the days of horse drawn carts they made an absolute killing. Then a strange contraption initially known as a mechanical horse came onto the market. This technological innovation was really expensive so the buggy whip makers all laughed at the early version of the motor car and continued to make their whips. The rest is history and other than the handful of craftsman buggy whip makers are no more.

It’s the same thing in the domain industry. On one of my recent trips around the world I was talking to a domain owner that had been in the industry for years and he was decrying that monetisation was dead. I asked him one question, “What are you doing now that you weren’t doing five years ago?”

He replied, “I’m doing the same thing.”

I then said, “So you are expecting a different result by doing the same thing? You do know that’s the definition of insanity, don’t you?”

Of course, he wasn’t insane but how many domain investors behave in exactly the same manner? Five years ago they placed all of their domains with a single company, watch their revenue line fall and then claim that it has nothing to do with their own behaviour but the industry. The problem with these domainers is that they are still trying to make buggy whips rather than innovate.

So in this series of articles I’m going to share with you what I do with my own domain portfolio and more importantly why I do it. Since I’m a numbers guy, as much as possible I’m going to track everything back to facts rather than fiction and gut reaction.

When I think about optimising my domain portfolio I place each asset into one of four main buckets.

1.      Development
2.      Traffic
3.      Stock-items
4.      High value

In terms of development, I have whizzbangsblog.com and after a hiatus of about five years I’m in the process of rebuilding my aviation website downwind.com. Why these two domains? I’m passionate about both sites and I really enjoy engaging with readers. For example, those of you that have left comments here at whizzbangsblog quickly discover that I really enjoy replying to questions and helping other domain investors out in any way I can.

Developing a website that you’re passionate about is really important as it will spur you on to write or work on the site into the years ahead. I was speaking to a domain investor about developing a website into a business and I shared that it was actually really easy to do. In my case, all I had to do was write an average of three articles a week for nine years. Voila! Success :-)

I’m actually really proud of the articles here on whizzbangsblog and I often find myself trawling back through the archives to review how my thinking on a topic has developed over the years. I also find that I do much of my thinking about the domain industry and all of the opportunities within it while writing articles. It may sound strange but it’s my way of relaxing.

Every domain investor should have a couple of projects that they are developing into real businesses. In the case of whizzbangsblog I have the privilege of Escrow.com and Epik sponsoring my blog and this helps fund my time for writing.

I'm really careful about the number of sponsors and who sponsors my blog as I'm tying my own reputation to the services being offered by the sponsors. If their services aren't any good then it reflects badly on me.

With the relaunch of downwind I will be seeking aviation industry advertising as the traffic grows.

What’s really important is that when you develop a domain, develop it into a business. Don’t try and make something pretty because you like pretty websites. Focus on the end goal of how you will make money from the site so that what you develop is sustainable over time.

For the record, it doesn’t take much to get a good website up and running. There’s many different platforms available for managing the content. I personally use Joomla but wordpress is just as good.

If you spend over $1,000 getting an initial launch of a website put together then you’re probably spending too much. Make sure you get your first dollar of revenue in as fast as possible and whatever happens, learn from customer feedback!

In the next articles I’m going to dive really deep into my thinking around the four business models and how they help me optimise my domain portfolio for greater profitability. In the process I also plan on revisiting the series on pricing domains.

Part 2 – Why Domain Portfolio Optimisation Works –...
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Comments

london555 on 27 June 2016
eEconomist.com

Hi Michael-great post so thank you. We own the name eEconomist.com and have thought it would be a great name for a worldclass economist to develop. We're in the hedge fund business so not really qualified but you've given us some great ideas-thank you. J.

Hi Michael-great post so thank you. We own the name eEconomist.com and have thought it would be a great name for a worldclass economist to develop. We're in the hedge fund business so not really qualified but you've given us some great ideas-thank you. J.
mgilmour on 28 June 2016

John,
I'm glad I could be of assistance. Feel free to reach out to me if you want to chat about your domain.

John, I'm glad I could be of assistance. Feel free to reach out to me if you want to chat about your domain.
Guest - Bobby on 27 June 2016

I respect that you will be careful about what sponsors you take on. Some blogs will let anybody advertise, it seems, if their money is green, and have no problem posting press releases as news all day.

I respect that you will be careful about what sponsors you take on. Some blogs will let anybody advertise, it seems, if their money is green, and have no problem posting press releases as news all day.
Guest - Bobby on 27 June 2016

I really appreciate that you are going to vet your sponsors. Some other domain blogs are less discriminating and then will go ahead and post press releases as news all day, too.

Good post! Working on some development tonight!

I really appreciate that you are going to vet your sponsors. Some other domain blogs are less discriminating and then will go ahead and post press releases as news all day, too. Good post! Working on some development tonight!
mgilmour on 28 June 2016

It's easy to say yes to money and then realise that you've made a BIG mistake.

It's easy to say yes to money and then realise that you've made a BIG mistake.
whizzbang on 28 June 2016
Agree!

What’s really important is that when you develop a domain, develop it into a business. Don’t try and make something pretty because you like pretty websites. Focus on the end goal of how you will make money from the site so that what you develop is sustainable over time.

If you spend over $1,000 getting an initial launch of a website put together then you’re probably spending too much. Make sure you get your first dollar of revenue in as fast as possible and whatever happens, learn from customer feedback!


Yes! This is so right on Michael.

I've worked with people before on websites and they've blown thousands and thousands of dollars getting the platform built for all the features they want. Also to make it look pretty as you say. When all is said and done they have a nice looking website with ZERO articles or content. What good is that?

Start-off small and see where that takes you. If the site has traffic and revenue potential that is when you invest money into it. If you don't know what you are doing, don't spend so much money getting a website built.

Regarding passion I think it really depends. I've seen many people make their passions a business and then it begin to hate the passion. Why? The passion needs to be something not about money, business is about making a profit.

[quote]What’s really important is that when you develop a domain, develop it into a business. Don’t try and make something pretty because you like pretty websites. Focus on the end goal of how you will make money from the site so that what you develop is sustainable over time. If you spend over $1,000 getting an initial launch of a website put together then you’re probably spending too much. Make sure you get your first dollar of revenue in as fast as possible and whatever happens, learn from customer feedback![/quote] Yes! This is so right on Michael. I've worked with people before on websites and they've blown thousands and thousands of dollars getting the platform built for all the features they want. Also to make it look pretty as you say. When all is said and done they have a nice looking website with ZERO articles or content. What good is that? Start-off small and see where that takes you. If the site has traffic and revenue potential that is when you invest money into it. If you don't know what you are doing, don't spend so much money getting a website built. Regarding passion I think it really depends. I've seen many people make their passions a business and then it begin to hate the passion. Why? The passion needs to be something not about money, business is about making a profit.
mgilmour on 28 June 2016

I agree with you about passion....what people who look at developing should really ask is whether they are developing a website to extend their hobby or developing a business. Both are more than acceptable outcomes.

I agree with you about passion....what people who look at developing should really ask is whether they are developing a website to extend their hobby or developing a business. Both are more than acceptable outcomes.
Guest - Jeff Schneider on 28 June 2016

Hello Michael,

Webmasters overemphasize Web Design and make the mistake of using non.COM address destinations. Spending their cash burn on visuals and completely ignoring the .COM Channels Massive Traffic flows. Instead of employing .COM-Centric Marketing they miss out by leaving the Lifes Blood traffic flows to Google-Centric SEM Admen, where their owners experience Massive outflows of Economic supporting Traffic. This has been going on for a long time, and as we have advocated for some time now, the worst mistake your fledgling Startup can make starts at an Advertising spiel about the flawed Marketing Strategy called Google AdSense. Like it or not its foolish Online Marketing Strategy. JAS 6/17/16

Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master https://www.UseBiz.com

Hello Michael, Webmasters overemphasize Web Design and make the mistake of using non.COM address destinations. Spending their cash burn on visuals and completely ignoring the .COM Channels Massive Traffic flows. Instead of employing .COM-Centric Marketing they miss out by leaving the Lifes Blood traffic flows to Google-Centric SEM Admen, where their owners experience Massive outflows of Economic supporting Traffic. This has been going on for a long time, and as we have advocated for some time now, the worst mistake your fledgling Startup can make starts at an Advertising spiel about the flawed Marketing Strategy called Google AdSense. Like it or not its foolish Online Marketing Strategy. JAS 6/17/16 Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master https://www.UseBiz.com
mgilmour on 28 June 2016

Completely agree with you Jeff. I think that you can ignore the .com at your peril!

Completely agree with you Jeff. I think that you can ignore the .com at your peril!
whizzbang on 28 June 2016
.com

Having a .com is vital to brand perception and presence.

Little is known about the unconcious part of our minds, but like many things in branding, including the name and the letter formations, a dot com adds to making the consumer 'do something', 'think something' and 'relate something' to your brand.

The power of a .com is undeniable. Unfortunately some people just don't get that.

Having a .com is vital to brand perception and presence. Little is known about the unconcious part of our minds, but like many things in branding, including the name and the letter formations, a dot com adds to making the consumer 'do something', 'think something' and 'relate something' to your brand. The power of a .com is undeniable. Unfortunately some people just don't get that.
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