Where is the Development Magic Bullet?

For quite some time now I’ve been digging through the different domain development platforms to determine which one is best. Is it Joomla? Wordpress? Or how about Weebly or Wix? What I’ve found is that they all fall short for domain investors.


Developing a domain into a business is one of the four principle business models that domain investors use to extract value from their assets. The other three are monetising domain traffic, selling domains as stock items and selling domains as high value items.

Each of the development platforms are excellent for building a single website but what I've continued to find is they still fall down is when a person tries to build more than one. Although it’s quite simple to spin up another instance in any of the platforms it takes a long time to set them all up…..and time is money.

Anyone that has embarked down the development path learns that building a single domain into a business is a challenging task…let alone many domains. Once you get over the hurdle of building a few websites you quickly discover that there isn’t a simple way to view how each of them are performing in their various business models.

Although Google Analytics provides some insight into your traffic the cost of using it for domain investors can be prohibitive. What are the costs on this “free” product? Do you honestly think that by providing Google end-to-end visibility on your traffic that they won’t take advantage of the data? Let me give you a hint, at its heart Google is an analytics company….. I think Google has enough of my businesses information without handing over the crown jewels for free.

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Guest — Samit
Have you tried WordPress network? It's resource heavy but quite extensible. We're working on JumboCore, to address exactly this p... Read More
20 July 2018
Guest — Andrew Hyde
Interesting topic Michael, after evaluating development platforms years ago I came across DotNetNuke, now DNNSoftware, a CMS that ... Read More
22 July 2018
I think trying to develop a huge number of domains at one is basically impossible and is a pipedream of domains forever. The platf... Read More
22 July 2018
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Part 2 – Why Domain Portfolio Optimisation Works – Development

In this article I will be further expanding on how to develop a domain into a business. This is the first business model that can be applied to domains, the other three are monetising traffic, treating domains as stock-items and the last selling domains at high values.

The first issue for me with any developmental project is working out how the domain is going to make money. This seems like an obvious question but many people approach developing a domain from an aesthetic perspective (ie. pretty website) rather than being focused on the business outcomes.


Generally speaking, all business models hinge on getting not just new traffic to your website but repeat visitors. A repeat visitor is gold as they perceived a value in your site enough that they returned for a second look. It shows that there is something about your business offering that they want.

So here are some reasons why people will return to your website.

Users want to get access to information that you provide. This could be anything from technical documentation right through to an online training course or even an online newspaper.

You and your business has developed a significant enough reputation that people are interested in what you have to say on issues, products and services. Before I buy anything I like to do my research by reading reviews on the product I’m interested in.

For example, when I write an article on the domain industry I try and not just report the news but understand what is happening and provide an opinion.

Google is the ultimate useful tool that allows us to effectively find things on the Internet but there are many, many other tools. How about domain tools, whatsmyipaddress.com or geoipview.com. These are all tools that I personally regularly use.

With the introduction of cloud computing there has been a blurring of the line between a site being useful and one that provides a service….which is our next item.

Users will return to a website because that website provides a great service that they are willing to pay for. A website that is useful is one that often gives their service away for free because they earn money in other ways (eg. Advertising). Salesforce.com is an example of a massive company that provides CRM solutions to businesses all around the world. Businesses can subscribe to their base offering and pay more for additional features. Will your new venture offer a billable service?

Put simply, I’m Amazon and I want to ship you as many physical or digital products as I possibly can. Gaming platform Steam saw the transition to pure downloads and built a whole ecosystem around selling software to gamers. If you have an exclusive product that people want, then they will return to your website to get it.

In many respects a website that is funny is a subset of the information category but it’s so big a segment then it’s worthwhile commenting on it. Websites that are genuinely funny provide content that you find irresistible to pass onto your friends. The good ones often have massive traffic and drive large amounts of cash from being paid pennies per visitor by advertisers. The challenge here is to ensure your website remains funny and not just become old-hat.

A social website is centred on a community where the individual members can share their knowledge and expertise with the wider group. The first social communities were built using forums and Internet Relay Chat. This has quickly expanded to fully functional Facebook like applications that you can instantly install on any Joomla/Wordpress website. Beware, since Facebook is the eight-hundred-pound gorilla in this space, this segment is often a difficult one to crack but if you can then there can be some really big dividends.


There are a lot of other different methods to encourage users to return to your new venture but the above list should kickstart your thinking prior to you spending a whole lot of money. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit of a SEO cynic and believe that if you give people what they want then Google will love you for it as well. So really think about why a person should return to your new venture.

I should mention that when I build an online business, I’ll often do combinations of the above. For example, I may have a social website backed up with regular blogging on topics that people find informative….so don’t think that each of the above items are completely separate from one another.

Whatever you do, pay attention to your statistics and interpret what they are telling you. It’s rare that growth is the answer you want. What most new businesses need is the right type of growth. If at all possible, do whatever you can to engage with real readers/customers as soon as you can as they will tell you so much about your business that you never even thought of.

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Recent Comments
Hi Michael, You may not remember, but I have met you several times in Vegas and I would like to do business with you regarding my... Read More
29 June 2016
Hi Richard, I sent you an email.
30 June 2016
Guest — Jeff Schneider
Hello Michael, " So here are some reasons why people will return to your website. " Surely having a .COM Class Extension has to... Read More
30 June 2016
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