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It’s Time for a Domain Portfolio Checkup

Domain name investors own a portfolio of domain names that they hope to sell. Some investors have lots of domains and others have small portfolios. Regardless of portfolio size, most investors will agree that some of their domains are better than others.

Many portfolios follow the 80/20 rule: about 20 percent of the domains account for 80 percent of the value.

It’s important for domain name investors to identify and monitor their best domain names, and then make sure the domains stay current. Here’s how to make that happen.

Identify Your Best Domains

You probably have a few favorite domains. Those domains that you believe appeal to a lot of people or have big market potential. But are these really your best domains? Can you name the top 10% of your portfolio?

Start by rank-ordering your domain names based on value indicators such as:

  • Registration date – although many newer domains are worth more than older ones, most great domains were registered a long time ago.
  • Length – All things else being equal, shorter domains tend to be more valuable than longer ones. Same goes for the number of words.
  • Domain extension – .COM is usually best unless you live in a country with a popular country-code domain.
  • Popular topics – Domains related to popular or lucrative topics can have more value

In addition to running your own value screens, use Estibot to filter the good domains from the less valuable ones. 

Estibot assigns a numerical value to every domain name. It uses data such as the number of extensions the domain is registered in, the value of its keywords, and similar domains that have sold to determine this value.

Automated appraisals are controversial because many people don’t agree with their values. You definitely shouldn’t take the values as gospel. However, Estibot is excellent for separating the wheat from the chaff. It will help you identify good domains in your portfolio that you might have thought were just average.

Now that you have a list of your best domains, it’s time to protect them.

reviewing expiration dates for domains

Take Action

You don’t park your brand new car next to a clunker in the parking lot. And you keep your fancy new smartphone in a sturdy case to protect it when it hits the pavement. Likewise, you should take special care of your investment in domain names.

The first step is to make sure that auto-renew is turned on for all of your domains. Auto-renew ensures that your domains are renewed when it’s time to pay the next annual fee. Make sure your payment information stays up-to-date or auto-renew will fail.

Another thing to consider is renewing these domains for many years at a time. In addition to keeping them safe from expiration, renewing in advance can save money. Domain name registries (the wholesalers that charge Namecheap for every domain registered) are expected to raise prices soon. Domains can be renewed today at current prices but will likely cost more to renew in the future. 

Sometimes, renewing domains well before their expiration date can help them sell. Some people interested in buying a domain name will look up when the domain expires. If it expires in a month, they might hold off on trying to buy the domain from the owner with the idea that it will become available to register again soon. (In practice, most decent domains are quickly registered when they expire.)

If you renew in advance, buyers are more likely to contact you about buying the domain because they know the domain doesn’t expire for a while.

Finally, check that your best domains point to the correct sites. If you point your domains to “for sale” landers, make sure these are set up correctly to maximize the chance of a sale. 

Rinse and Repeat

Evaluating your domain name portfolio is not a one-time exercise. Re-evaluate your portfolio at least once a year to account for new additions and changing values. For example, if a domain’s topic has suddenly become popular, it might be worth a lot more than it was a year ago.
Set aside an hour over the next week to analyze your portfolio and figure out which of your domains are best. Consider renewing them early, and make sure they are set to auto-renew. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run, and maybe mint you a nice sale!

And if you have any domains registered elsewhere, why not transfer them to Namecheap, where they’ll be safe and available any time you need them!

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Andrew Allemann avatar

Andrew Allemann

Andrew is the founder and editor of Domain Name Wire, a publication that has been covering domain names since 2005. He has personally written over 10,000 posts covering domain name sales, policy, and strategies for domain name owners. Andrew has been quoted in stories about domain names in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Fortune. More articles written by Andrew.

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