Building a strong domain name portfolio is crucial for any business looking to establish a powerful online presence. Your domain name is the foundation of your brand and website, and can make or break your ability to rank in search engines, drive traffic, and convert visitors.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore proven strategies for building a robust domain portfolio that supports your business goals. We will cover how to:
- Brainstorm relevant, brandable domain names
- Research availability and pricing
- Evaluate quality and potential
- Register and acquire the best domains
- Diversify your portfolio
- Redirect domains for optimal SEO
- Monitor and protect your domains
Follow these best practices, and you will assemble a domain name inventory to maximize your visibility and success online.
Brainstorm Domain Names
The first step in building your portfolio is generating domain name ideas. You want to brainstorm a long list of potential domains that represent your brand, products, services, and keywords.
Start by listing out all the keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business. Target important search terms you want to rank for. Include misspellings and related variations as well.
Then create domain name ideas around those terms. Come up with short, memorable, and brandable domains that accurately describe your company.
You can mix and match keywords with:
- Your business name
- Industry terms
- Product names
A creative brainstorm will produce extensive options to then research and evaluate further.
Here are some brainstorming tips:
- Use domain name generators like LeanDomainSearch, DomainHole, and Wordoid to spur ideas.
- Study competitors for inspiration but don’t copy their domains.
- Try different extensions like .com, .net, .org, .biz, etc.
- Test splitting keywords across domains like bestproducts.com and products.net.
- Make domains short, simple, and easy to spell and remember.
- Use hyphens, numbers, and uncommon extensions to uncover available names.
- Consider alternative spellings like using “z’s” instead of “s’s”.
Invest time up front coming up with a wide pool of domain name candidates to then assess for your portfolio.
Once you have compiled a robust list of potential domain names, the next key step is to research availability. You want to check which of your ideal domains are currently available for purchase versus already registered.
Start by searching for your domain ideas one-by-one in a domain registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap. See which come back as taken and which are available.
You can also utilize domain name search tools to check availability in bulk:
- Domain Name Generator
These tools will return domain suggestions and instantly indicate availability. Look for the green checkboxes next to domains that are unregistered.
When searching, remember to try alternate extensions beyond just .com. Industry-specific extensions like .tech, .store, or .blog can often still be open. Also test misspellings and hyphenated versions.
Narrow down your list to the domains that are actually attainable and weed out the ones that aren’t viable or already owned.
Evaluate Quality and Potential
With your list of available domains in hand, now evaluate each one on quality and potential. Assess which align best with your brand and have the highest chance of driving relevant traffic.
Key factors to examine:
- Brand Fit – How closely does the domain name match your brand identity and messaging? Will it resonate with your target audience?
- Memorability – Is the name short, simple, and easy to remember and tell others? Avoid overly complex or confusing names.
- Spellability – Are the words easy to spell and type out? Misspellings will lose traffic.
- Search Volume – What are the monthly search volumes for the keywords in the domain? Higher is better.
- Competitiveness – How saturated is the niche for that domain keyword? Can you realistically outrank established sites?
- Positioning – Does the domain name optimize your visibility for key search queries?
- Extension – Does the extension (.com, .net, etc) impact credibility and search rankings?
- SEO Value – Does the domain contain high-value SEO keywords that will drive organic traffic?
- Trust – Does the domain look and sound authoritative, credible and professional?
By scoring each domain name on these criteria, you can identify the best candidates with the highest quality and value. Combine research with your own informed judgment.
Register Your Domains
Once you have thoroughly evaluated all your domain name options, it’s time to lock down the best ones by registering them.
You generally want to register domain names for at least 1-2 years initially. Longer registrations of 3-10 years are common as well to secure the domains long-term.
A few key tips for registering domains:
- Speed – Move swiftly to register your desired domain names before someone else does. Don’t delay.
- Privacy – Use domain privacy services to protect personal details like your name, address, and phone number.
- Registrar – Choose reputable registrars like GoDaddy, Namecheap, or Bluehost. Compare deals.
- Dates – Align renewal dates so multiple domains don’t all expire simultaneously.
- Accounts – Consolidate domain management under one account for convenience and bulk discounts.
- Lock – Enable registrar locks and protections to prevent unauthorized transfers.
- Documentation – Keep thorough records of all account and login details, invoices, and purchase confirmations.
By properly registering your curated selection of domains, you can then develop them at your own pace with peace of mind.
Acquire Additional Domains
In addition to registering newly available domains, you may want to consider acquiring existing domains that are already developed. Mature domains with age, history, and authority can instantly boost your domain portfolio.
There are multiple options for obtaining established domains:
- Buy Expired Domains – Expired domains that have dropped can potentially be purchased and restored. Use services like ExpiredDomains.net to uncover possibilities.
- Make Offers on Parked Domains – Approach owners of parked domains to see if they are interested in selling. Negotiate a fair price.
- Buy from Domain Marketplaces – Sites like Sedo, Afternic, and Flippa have marketplaces for buying and selling domains. Peruse listings for domains relevant to your niche.
- Private Deals – Network with other domain investors to exchange domains or make private offers on domains not publicly listed.
When assessing existing domains, examine their history closely – be wary of any red flags. Quality domains with strong backlinks and positive association to relevant keywords can be worth reasonable offers.
Having both fresh registrations and established domains creates a balanced, credible portfolio.
Diversify Your Domains
A strategic domain portfolio should include diversity across multiple dimensions:
- Keywords – Register domains targeting a variety of relevant keywords, not just your brand name.
- Extensions – Use a mix of extensions like .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, etc.
- Registrars – Distribute domains across multiple registrars to avoid any potential account suspensions.
- Names – Vary domain name length, structure and complexity. Include numeric domains.
- Domains Per Site – Don’t put all domains on one money site. Spread across different sites/properties.
- Niches – Cover different niches, categories and verticals relevant to your business.
- Types – Compile a collection of exact match domains, keyword-rich domains, geo-domains, etc.
- Age – Blend newly registered domains with aged domains for diversity.
Diversification adds protection if any one domain has issues and also expands your reach to attract a wider audience.
A diverse domain portfolio has strength in numbers and flexibility for future initiatives.
Once you’ve assembled your domain portfolio, the next step is to redirect domains to optimize SEO visibility.
Choose one primary money site domain as your main hub. Then redirect other domains to point to your main domain to funnel link equity and ranking power.
Each redirect method has pros and cons:
- 301 Redirect – Permanent redirect passes link equity but shows new URL in search.
- 302 Redirect – Temporary redirect passes less equity but keeps same URL in SERPs.
- Domain Forward – Forwards all traffic but doesn’t pass link signals.
- Domain Masking – Shows main domain URL in search but actually loads different site. More complex.
- IP Redirect – Redirects at web server level before routing traffic. No linking value passed.
Take time to carefully set up redirects for each domain to maximize SEO benefit. Monitor search performance and tweak as needed.
You want your portfolio to work cohesively to lift your core domain in rankings, not compete against itself.
Monitor Your Portfolio
Ongoing monitoring and maintenance is crucial for a healthy domain portfolio. You need visibility into issues, renewals, and new opportunities.
- Use domain management tools like ExpiredDomains.net to track renewals and expirations. Set calendar reminders.
- Monitor traffic across domains using analytics to assess performance. Identify low-value domains to replace.
- Set up Google Alerts for your domain names to receive notifications of new mentions.
- Periodically search for your domains across social media to check discussions.
- Review server and DNS records regularly to ensure domains are resolving properly.
- Check DNS propagation using tools like DNSChecker to confirm global DNS resolution.
- Watch for new domain opportunities and regularly brainstorm fresh, relevant ideas.
Staying on top of your domain portfolio will enable you to spot any problems early and capitalize on new possibilities over time.
Protect Your Domain Assets
Your domain portfolio represents a valuable asset and competitive advantage for your business. Be sure to adequately protect your investment in domains:
- Enable domain locking and theft protection with your registrar.
- Use registrar accounts with strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication.
- Keep contact information private or use proxy/privacy registration.
- Set up auto-renew on domains to prevent any accidental expiration.
- Point nameservers to reputable DNS providers like Cloudflare or Amazon Route 53.
- Regularly back up domain account details and purchase records.
- Monitor WHOIS data for unauthorized changes.
- Acquire related trademarks to strengthen legal protections.
- Pursue Legal action against cybersquatters or infringing domains.
Proper domain security will help shield your portfolio from threats like hackers, scammers, and competitors. Leverage all available measures to keep your domains safe.
Building a robust domain portfolio is a smart long-term strategy for growing an authoritative online presence. Follow the proven steps of brainstorming names, checking availability, registering domains, acquiring aged domains, diversifying your portfolio, properly redirecting domains, closely monitoring your holdings, and adequately protecting your assets.
With these best practices, you can amass a domain name inventory tailored to attracting your ideal audience and achieving business goals. Your domain portfolio is your foundation for success online, so invest wisely and continue expanding your holdings over time. The rewards will be well worth the effort.