What You Can Do with Unused Domain Names (Full Guide)
You might have many unused domains because you intended to use them for different projects. The issue with the domain names is the renewal price you need to pay each year. So how you can cover that cost or use those domains in a productive way?
Here are some things you can do with unused domain names:
1.) Create a cheap but quality affiliate website
There is not a better usage for a domain name othen than creating a website. Nowadays you don’t need any coding skill since you can use platforms such as WordPress. Even with 2$ – 3$ dollars per month you can host unlimited websites! Many web hosting providers offer this opportunity.
If you are interested in that option you can check my previous post about the web hosting provider I currently use (click here). You can start blogging for a subject you like (ex investing, outdoor activities) and earn money from ads and affiliate links. Although this process demands commitment it is a proven way for an extra income. At least you can cover your domain’s and hosting costs!
You can also try out free hosting as an experiment if you wish. I have written a detailed post of how you can set up a site like that: How To Host Your WordPress (Or Other) Website For Free (Step By Step). If you see that your site is getting traction then you can upgrade to a premium plan.
Another option is to use Github for free web hosting but it can work mainly for static pages. https://help.github.com/en/github/working-with-github-pages/creating-a-github-pages-site https://45royale.com/blog/wordpress-github/ .The process is a bit more complicated here.
2.) Sell to different domain marketplaces such as Afternic
Selling to different domain marketplaces is a good approach but you need to be patient and have quality domains. Depending on the style of your domain name you can choose where you should list it. If it is a common keyword or a combination of 2-3 keywords max then you can list it on Afternic. If you opt-in for fast transfer and set a buy-now price then your domain would have exposure to 8 of the top 10 domain registrars in the world.
This includes big names such as Godaddy or Namecheap. So for example, if you own the domain carinsurance.com and someone types that in Godaddy he will see that the name is available for a certain price and he can get it fast.
In that case, you receive the previous amount minus the commission (20%). For example, for a sale of 1000$, you will get 800. There are other similar marketplaces but Afternic seems to offer the biggest exposure (with the fast transfer option).
Other good alternatives are sedo.com and dan.com. If you are not sure how you can price your domain you can take some ideas from previous sales. Here are 2 sites that you can check for previously reported sales: https://namebio.com/ https://www.namepros.com/threads/report-completed-domain-name-sales-here.83628/ .
If your domains don’t contain keywords but they are catchy phrases or made-up words then you should consider listing them in different marketplaces. There are many brandable domain marketplaces that specialize on selling this kind of names. The downside is that you need to pay upfront for listing and also they charge a commision around 25-35%.
The reason is that domains without a certain meaning, it is harder to sell. Imagine if some years ago you had a domain such as twitter.com or google.com. How would you sell this kind of domain? So here are my suggestions for brandable domain marketplaces: Squadhelp, Brandbucket, and Brandpa.
3.) Outreach to potential buyers
Usually, even if you list some domain names on marketplaces it will take some time to sell them or you might sell none. If it is clear that your domain name is associated with a certain industry you can try outreach. Be prepared to send a lot of emails and mention on your email why the particular domain is valuable.
For example if you own the domain name californiarestaurants.com then it is pretty clear where you will send your outreach emails. If you have domains name that are more catchy and they don’t have particular meaning you can choose a different approach.
You can try to reach out to people that are related to venture funding. Usually, these persons acquire or suggest domain names to recently funded startups. By using LinkedIn, twitter, angel.co, or crunchbase.com you can these people and reaching out to them.
If they don’t list an email or they don’t have a blog/website you can try services such as rocketreach to unveil an email.
4.) Leasing instead of selling
You can make things easier for potential buyers if you introduce the concept of leasing domains! You can list your domain with the option of leasing in addition to the sale option. For example, if you have set a price of 1000$, the buyer can have the option to pay 5 installments of 200$ or 10 installments of 100$.
Dan.com , Squadhelp, and Brandpa offer this kind of option. If the buyer chooses the leasing option then they hold the domain until he pays all the installments. They do the necessary domain settings updates if the buyer wants to create a website or create a professional email. If in some point one installment is not paid the domain will return to you and you don’t need to return the previous installments! It is like renting a house.
5.) Redirect to an existing site or social media page
Some domain names receive type-in traffic even if you haven’t created a developed site. You can redirect that traffic to an existing site or a social media page that you want to promote. Try to find the “forward” option from your domain name registrar. Set up a permanent (301) forward type, wait a bit of time and you are ready!
6.) Parking the domains for ad revenue
Parking a domain used to be a great way to monetize in the past. Especially if you owned a domain name with common keywords. Nowadays it is harder to earn money that way but still works for some domain names. People visit the website via a search engine now (ex. Google) instead of typing directly the domain on the browser bar.
Google also doesn’t rank parking domains highly and prefers to rank developed websites. If your current unused domain name used to be a developed website then there is a chance that it is still receiving web traffic.
The parking company cooperates with advertising partners and shows ads on your domain based on its keywords or the previous searches of the online user.
If the user clicks some of these ads then you take a cut from the ad revenue. The income depends on the ad type. If it is related to commercially more valuable industries such as finance, insurance, health, real estate, and others you will receive more money per click.
Here are some parking services so you can explore more your possiblities:
There is a long thread on namepros where you can find all the tips and tricks about domain name parking:
7.) Use the domains for professional emails
Last but not least you can use your domain names for professional emails. It is much better than using free services such as Gmail or Hotmail. People take more seriously the email addresses with custom domains instead of free ones.
You can use Zoho forever free plan https://workplace.zoho.com/orgsignup.do but it is only for one domain and I don’t know how much this offer will last. I believe that the best option is just to get a cheap hosting that offers unlimited websites and email hosting. As I said there are many that charge you only 2-3$ per month but you just need to pay upfront (for a year).
You can also use the professional email for doing outbound marketing. For instance, when you want to approach potential buyers for your domain names.
I hope that the post was helpful and you found enough good ideas for your unused domains. Please share on social media since it would be a huge help for me, thanks!