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How to Value a Domain Name

Buying and Selling Domains

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If you are considering bidding on a domain name or you want to put your domain name up for sale, you should get an idea of how much it is worth. Keep in mind that the true value of any domain is how much a buyer will pay for it. If you have a domain for sale, you can ask a large amount of money for it, but unless you can find someone who will pay that price, that is not what the domain is worth, it’s just what you’d like to receive.

Many people, when they want to sell a domain name, immediately go to an appraisal site. There are a number of sites you can use to get an appraisal of your domain. I like to get an appraisal from several, so I can see if there is a lot of variation and this can give me an idea of what I might expect from selling a domain. Some free appraisal sites include:

These appraisals are just guesses, they are not a guarantee that a domain will sell for the price they list. Remember too that it can be tempting to believe only the appraisal site that gives the highest value, but the reality is that if you can run an appraisal on your site domain, so can your potential buyers. And they will want to spend the least amount of money they can.

What Makes a Domain More Valuable

There are some rules of thumb about what makes a domain more valuable. Most people who are looking to buy a domain want to buy one that is already successful, and most people on the web define success on page views and customers. A site that is already proven, even if it changes ownership, will carry some of those previous users over to the new site.

Some of the things you should look at when trying to value a domain include:

  • The length of the domain—The shorter the domain is, the more it will cost.
  • How many words are in the domain—Similar to the length, domains with very few words cost the most, so a one word domain is the most valuable.
  • How long has the domain been live—Domains that have been around for a long time rank better in search engines, and so this increases their value. However, most sites that have been around for a long time aren’t for sale, so convincing the owner might take even more money.
  • Spelling and use of the domain word(s)—A domain that is a common word (or words) and has a common spelling that is easy to type and remember is going to cost more.
  • Domain extension—The best extension for a domain is the .com extension. This is because it’s what most browsers default to, and most users assume that is the name of the domain. So the same domain name with a .com extension is going to cost more than the domain at .net.

What Can You Do to Improve Your Domain’s Value?

The great thing about this question is that what you do to improve the domain value is the same as what you do to improve your website’s value right now before you sell the domain. Specifically: get more customers visiting your website. The more popular your site is, the more valuable the domain will become. Things like:

  • Improve your SEO—If your customers can find the site in search they will visit it more often.
  • Write more content—The more content you have on your site, the more pages there are for people to visit.
  • Market your site—Get your site out there by marketing in appropriate venues, using social media, and letting people know that it exists.

But there are a few things that you either can’t change or require simply waiting to affect the value of your domain.

  • Domain age—The older a domain is, the more it will be worth, but the only way to improve that value is to keep maintaining the domain for a long time. While it’s possible to set up a page on a domain and then just leave it up for years to get an older domain, this could actually hurt your domain value, because there is nothing there for customers to visit.
  • Domain usability—Domains that are hard to spell, have non-alphabetic characters, are extremely long, or are otherwise difficult to type in are not going to be as easy to sell as short, easy to spell and type domains. Of course, you already own this domain, so you can’t change it now.
  • Domain extension—Just like the usability of the domain, the extension or top-level domain (TLD) like .com, .net, .org, etc. can’t be changed once you own the domain.
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