Some people get a business idea, purchase a domain name, and ultimately never end up using it.
Others decide to close down their website due to unforeseen circumstances and get stuck with a domain, unsure of what to do with it. Whatever the situation, though, one thing’s for certain: you don’t have to let those domain names sit there collecting virtual dust. Instead, you can do the exact opposite and even earn some extra cash while you’re at it. In fact, there is a whole career in this field where savvy internet users (called domainers) sell domain names for profit.
Even though domain selling has become a lucrative business over the years—even a hobby for some people—it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to do and there’s no guarantee that you’ll sell your domain for a lot of money. You will most likely have a number of hits-and-misses before you do it right, so it’s safe to say that you should prepare yourself for a possibly lengthy challenge. Not to mention that there are plenty of things to consider, from determining the value of your domain and places where you can put it up for sale, to actually figuring out how to transfer the domain to the new owner.
Don’t let this discourage you—it can be done, and today we’re going to cover what you need to know if you want to sell your domain successfully.
What Makes a Domain Name Valuable?
If you’ve ever visited a website that sells domains, you’ve probably noticed that some domains come at a price of just a couple of dollars, whereas others can be sold for thousands. You might have also heard stories of certain domains selling for millions of dollars. So, why are some domains more valuable than others? And how do you even determine that value?
Here are a few questions that can help you figure this out with more ease:
- How long is the name? The shorter, the better. Everyone wants a short domain name, because not only are they easier to remember, but also far easier to type out. People really don’t want to waste hours trying to remember lengthy website names or figuring out how to write them. So, if your domain name is short, you can be sure that it will sell a lot better than any long one out there.
- Is it a .COM domain? If yes, then the chances of you selling it for a good penny are much higher. Domains ending in .COM are always more expensive than the ones ending in .NET, .BIZ, .EDU, etc. as they are considered to be more prominent and widely known. Plus, .COM domains are regarded as the most trustworthy ones out there, given their ubiquity.
- Is it memorable enough? As we already mentioned: if people can easily remember a domain name, they will pay more for it. However, the length is not the only thing that will make a domain name memorable. If you want people to remember a website name, you want it to be as creative as possible and not generic—as most names are. Additionally, it’s good to keep a name simple, without any hyphens or numbers.
- Does it have any “worthy” keywords in it? Domain names that contain some common or widely used words and keywords are marketed as premium, as well, and tend to be more expensive. Why? Because the more familiar people are with these words, the easier it is to remember and brand them.
Selling Your Domain Name in 5 Simple Steps
Now that we have a better picture of what makes a domain name valuable, we can move on to the steps you need to take in the process of selling your domain name.
1. Determine the Value of Your Domain
There is a reason why we talked about all the things that make a domain name valuable. Having your domain appraised is the first and most crucial step on your domain selling journey, as it will set the course for the rest of it.
Appraising a domain name on your own can be quite challenging and often leads to people overpricing their domains or selling them for much less than they’re worth. So, if you are planning to do this all by yourself, make sure to do your research—check out the prices of similar domains, compare them, and go from there. There are also plenty of tools available that can help you out and give you a general idea about the price for your domain.
The most important thing? Be realistic. Unless your domain is really sought-after, chances are you won’t sell it for a lot. And it’s better to sell it at an okay price, then not sell it at all, right? In case you realize that you can’t appraise your domain name yourself, you can always enlist the services of a professional appraiser (i.e. Sedo), who will help you figure out the best price for your domain, given the current state of the market.
2. Let Everyone Know That You’re Selling
One of the best ways to announce that your domain name is up for sale is to put a “For Sale” sign on your website. So, whenever someone lands on your site, they will know that it’s up for grabs and they will have a way to contact you:
Creating a separate landing page is also a good way to attract buyers to your domain. When searching for a domain name to purchase, potential buyers will often type the name directly into their browser to see if it is available or check what the existing website is about. With NameSilo, you can create a customizable ‘for sale’ landing page for your domain which will provide buyers with all the information they need. You also get to choose the type of template you’d like to use, background and font colors, and how much text you’d like to add to it.
Some sellers also recommend to make your contact information available on the WHOIS directory — if people can find you there, then they’ll be able to contact you directly and make you an offer for the domain name in question. However, important to note that this may also mean your WHOIS information could end up in the hands of spammers and you start to receive endless emails and phone calls. Rather, a better suggestion may be to use an anonymized email on which interested buyers can contact you. And if you start to receive predominantly spam, you can simply change the private address or shut it off altogether, without worrying about your contact information ending up on spam lists.
3. Choose a Domain Marketplace You’ll Entrust with Listing Your Domain
A marketplace presents a good way for your domain to gain exposure and attract the buyers that you need, so it’s a good idea to look into one that fits your needs.
NameSilo offers a domain marketplace of its own, where you can list and sell your domain. It is a full-featured and completely safe place for you to go through with your sale – from start to finish – with fairly low commission rates (between 3.0-7.5%), which won’t make you spend half of your money just for using a marketplace in the first place.
In addition to marketplaces, you can also use auctions and auction sites, where you’ll let people bid for your domain name. A good thing to keep in mind is that most buyers that participate in auctions are domain name investors who plan to resell your name later at a higher price, so if that’s something you’re not comfortable with, you can skip this part entirely.
The best solution would be to combine domain marketplaces, auction sites, and person-to-person sales, as this will give you better chances of finding the best possible buyers for your domain name. But an important note – you should use only one marketplace or auction site at a time to list your domain. This helps avoid the potential issue of selling your domain in multiple places and avoiding the ensuing headaches involved with canceling the unwanted sale. These kinds of cancellations typically involve penalization of some kind from that marketplace or site, usually a ban.
4. Get Ready to Actually Sell Your Domain Name
Once you’ve appraised your domain, set the price, and listed your domain, it’s time to actually go through with the sale!
When you list your domain on the NameSilo marketplace, the entire sales process becomes smoother, making it easier and faster for you to sell your domain. Some of their benefits include:
- Secure payouts via either PayPal, Account Funds, or Wire Transfer.
- Optional payment plans (you get to define the maximum length and minimum down payment).
- Deciding whether to sell via either an online auction or offer/counter-offer sale.
- Using a password for a private sale.
- Selecting precise end dates and times for your sales.
Still, it’s also good to mention that people who use different services also opt to use an escrow service during the sales process in order to avoid being scammed or tricked by a buyer. An escrow service basically functions as an unbiased mediator whose purpose is to safely process your funds, i.e. they don’t allow the buyer to receive your domain until you have received full payment for it.
How does it work?
- Both parties (the seller and the buyer) sign an agreement, detailing the terms of the sale.
- The buyer then puts the money for the domain into an escrow account.
- The escrow service delivers the money to you.
- Once you receive the payment, you get in touch with the domain registrar and transfer the domain to the buyer.
- The buyer then lets the escrow service know they received the rights to the domain via a written confirmation.
In case something goes wrong, the escrow service is the one that has all the details of the transaction that can serve as evidence.
5. Transfer Your Domain to the New Buyer
After you have sold your domain name, you will need to transfer it to the buyer. The transfer process will depend on the domain provider, as well as how you decided to sell your site. So, if your domain selling went through a marketplace, the marketplace will often assist you in transferring the domain.
Here are some general steps just to give you an idea of what a domain name transfer looks like:
- The seller unlocks their domain and submits an authorization code.
- The buyer initiates the transfer through their marketplace or registrar using the provided authorization code.
- The seller verifies the transfer through an email they receive.
- The buyer waits for the process to complete at their new registrar (this can usually take a couple of days or less if the seller can verify the transfer out from their existing registrar).
The sale is completed once the domain is transferred to the new owner’s account and they register their WHOIS information in the domain registry. If you choose to use NameSilo for your marketplace/escrow service, the transfer will be handled directly by us and usually, for most of the sales, buyers will receive the domain immediately.
Although selling a domain name isn’t as easy as it might seem, it is possible to make the entire process smooth and ultimately earn additional money for all your unused domains.
Hopefully, this post has made it easier to figure out how the entire process works, and which details you should pay special attention to during the process. And remember: don’t get discouraged if your first domain sale doesn’t go as planned. Try again and in no time at all, you’ll see how financially rewarding it can be!