So, you want to sell your domain name. The good news is that the process is a lot simpler than you think. There’s a whole industry of people who buy and sell domain names. Who knows? After you sell your first domain, you might just get bitten by the domain-flipping bug. Keep reading to learn the best places to list your domain and the actual steps involved in selling your domain.
Table of Contents
7 steps to sell your domain
- Figure out what your domain name is worth
- Update your plugins
- Choose how you’re going to sell your domain name
- Check the WHOIS directory to make sure your information is public
- Prepare your domain listing
- Use an escrow to get payment
- Transfer your domain
1. Figure out what your domain name is worth
Some domains are worth millions, but not every domain is going to sell for such a tidy sum. You never know, though. You may be sitting on a domain name that’s more valuable than you’d ever imagined. But how do you figure out the worth of your domain name?
How to figure out the worth of your domain name
Fair warning: Domain valuation isn’t an exact science. Sometimes, you can tell that you’re sitting on a valuable domain, but sometimes, a short, generic domain name unexpectedly sells for literal millions. Knowing the ballpark value of your domain at least helps prevent you from selling an enormously valuable domain for two pence. Here are some ways to figure out just how much you might be able to get for your domain name:
Does your website get a lot of traffic?
Even a domain that gets literally no traffic might be tremendously valuable to the right seller. But if your website does get lots of traffic, this will hike up the price. A seller will be more willing to pay for a website that has an audience. A high-traffic website also helps with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which is also attractive to buyers.
What’s your domain extension?
A domain name that ends in .com is usually more valuable than one that ends in another extension.
Does your domain name contain keywords?
A domain name that has keywords does wonders for SEO strategy, so buyers are willing to pay a higher price for these domain names. (That explains why www.cars.com sold for hundreds of millions.)
Is your domain brandable?
A brandable domain name is catchy, trendy, and rolls right off the tongue. (Think of a few popular social media sites, and you’ll see what we mean by “brandable”.) Buyers will pay more for a domain name that inspires them to create a brand.
Is your domain short and easy to say?
Remember: The principle here is that domain names are better when they roll off the tongue. A longer domain might have potential as long as it’s easy to remember and easy to say, but if your domain name is unpronounceable and stuffed with numbers and hyphens, you can probably expect a lower price for it. All of these tips are great for doing an evaluation of your domain name, but if you really want to have a good idea of how much your domain is worth, you’ll want to check out Domain Name Journal, where you can see the highest reported sales of domain names within the month.
2. Update your plugins
Another thing you need to do before you sell your domain name is to update your plugins. People who sell domain names for a living know that buyers pay more for a secure domain. And, short of choosing a more secure hosting option, updating your plugins is one of the easiest ways to keep your website safe. So, update your plugins if you want to be able to sell at a higher price.
3. Choose how you’re going to sell your domain name
Once you know the likely worth of your domain name and you’ve updated your plugins, you need to figure out how you’re going to sell your domain name. Here are some of the websites that are favoured by people who sell domain names frequently:
4. Check the WHOIS directory to make sure your information is public
You probably already know this, but WHOIS is an online publicly available directory that lists the contact information of domain owners. If you’ve been keeping your WHOIS information private, this is probably the only time you’ll hear us recommend that you publicly list your contact information. Here’s why:
If someone tries to buy a domain name, but they get a message saying that it’s already owned, they’ll be able to contact you if they can see your information in the WHOIS directory. If your information isn’t listed, they’ll probably just try to buy another domain name.
Publicly listing your WHOIS information is an easy way to get sales from people who may have missed your domain listing.
Speaking of your domain listing…
5. Prepare your domain listing
You could just list your URL and hope it’s attractive enough to get buyers, but if you want to speed up your sale, you might want to put in a little extra work. Show off all the things that make your domain name worth buying:
- Is it brandable?
- Does it already have a huge following?
- Does it have loads of backlinks?
If your domain name is highly coveted, you’ll hardly have to put in any work to get hordes of customers crowding your inbox, credit cards in hand. But any decent domain name can sell for a good price, as long as you market it strategically.
6. Use an escrow to get payment
A domain name escrow is an independent third-party company that acts as an intermediary between you and potential buyers. The escrow agent will connect you to a potential buyer to make sure that nobody gets ripped off. It’s a way of ensuring that you get your payment and the buyer gets a legitimate domain name.
The escrow will also do things like verifying that you’re actually the legal owner of the domain name (and therefore authorised to sell it), as well as preparing any documents that need to be written up in order for the sale to have legal effect.
7. Transfer your domain
How you do this will depend on how you’re selling your website, but this usually involves unlocking your domain (if you haven’t already done so) and transferring the authentication code to your seller. (You can ask your domain registrar for your authentication code, if you don’t know it offhand.)
Aside from reseller hosting, selling domain names is one of the easiest ways for beginners to enter the tech industry. People who sell domain names find it to be a satisfying, surprisingly rewarding venture. Even if you just want to sell your domain name to get it off your hands, don’t rush the process. Your domain name might be worth more than you think!