Web domain names are easy to register. They don’t cost much money, and they’re fun to own. However, once you’ve bought a domain name, what do you do next? You could purchase web hosting and start a personal or business website on your new domain. Unfortunately, what you’re most likely to do with your new domain name is nothing. There are hundreds of thousands of domain names that are registered but do not have a website attached to them.
One thing you might be able to do with your new domain is to sell it. While most domain names are worthless, you never know, yours could be the exception. Maybe there is someone willing to pay money for a domain name you registered one day for fun. Maybe you’re sitting on a goldmine. After all, the Expedia group paid $11 million for Hotels.com. The person who registered FB.com had no idea that Facebook would later pay £8.5 million for that domain name.
Let’s delve deeper into how to find out if your domain name has value. Then, we’ll talk about what to do next.
Why might someone pay for your domain name?
If you own domain names, think about why you bought it in the first place. Was it for a business you were setting up? Was it actually your name?
Whatever the reason, there is a chance that someone else thinks the same way as you. They have thought of a name for their business, but when they went to register the domain, they found it was already owned, by you. They could have their heart set on owning that domain and will pay you for the privilege.
What makes a domain name valuable?
A domain name is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. However, there are certain attributes that might make your domain name more valuable.
- Length – Shorter domain names are easier to remember and easier to type into a browser. They tend to be worth more than longer ones.
- Number of words – One-word domain names are the most valuable of course, but the trend for combining 2 words to make business names (LinkedIn, Facebook) means 2-word domain names could be worth something too. 3 words? Forget it!
- Correct spelling – While some big brands like to buy up domain names that a similarly spelled to their main domain name, to make it easier for their customers to find them, your domain name will be worth more if it’s correctly spelled.
- Domain name age and activity – Domains that have been live and operative for a long time will have built-in SEO attributes. This means they are valuable, as whoever buys the name won’t have to work as hard to get it showing up on search engines.
- TLD – Your top level domain (TLD) is extremely important to the value of your domain name. This is the suffix to your domain name, the bit that comes after the dot. Of course, .com is the most valuable. It will cost more than .org or .net. More niche TLDs like .pizza might not be valuable at all.
How to find out if your domain has value – for free
If you still think your domain might be worth something, it’s time to find out. There are many domain name appraisal services online, and most of them do not cost anything to use. It’s important to remember that the values these services place on domains are educated guesses, so try and get a few different opinions.
The first one you can try is from GoDaddy.
Simply enter in your domain and press the ‘VALUE’ button. You’ll receive a valuation straight away, backed up by reasons for its valuation.
If you like what you see, you can list your domain name on GoDaddy’s native domain auction service.
Another one to try is Free Valuator. This works similarly to GoDaddy, plus they will introduce you to a professional domain name value assessor if you are looking to sell your domain name.
Finally, you can try Estibot, which uses mathematical models to calculate the value of a domain name. However, there is a limit for daily free searches per IP address.
What to do next
Once you have checked the value of your domain name, you have 2 options.
If the valuation you receive piques your interest you might want to sell it. You could put it on a domain auction site, like the one at GoDaddy. However, you might want to contact a professional domain name broker, who has the knowledge and connections to get you really big money for your domain name. This is the best course of action if you think a big brand might want your domain name.
You might be happy with your valuation, but think it might go up further in the future. You could sit on your investment and do nothing. Alternatively, you could take steps to improve the value of your domain name, such as purchasing web hosting and adding content to your site, boosting its SEO value.
Whether your domain name is worth $5 or $5 million, owning domain names is interesting and fun. What is worthless one day could be a goldmine the next. Enjoy the experience.