This is the first article in a series, documenting the step-by-step approach I took to turn a $300 initial investment into $10,000 in 3 months, working only a few minutes a day. In a later article, I’ll also share the mistake I made that cost me at least another $8,000 on this same flip.
My heart started to beat a little bit faster and I could feel my palms get sweaty as my double-take confirmed that I wasn’t looking at a typo. There it was on the NameJet pre-release list, with a marvelous “0” in the “bidders” column next to it: BetterParenting.com. Its scheduled release was still weeks away, but it had gone unnoticed so far, and I had no desire to alert potential suitors to its presence. An early bid would push this name out into the spotlight, so I just wrote myself a note: Keep track of this domain.
In Part 1 of this series of how to buy and sell websites, I detailed Steps 1 and 2 of the process. Those steps involved buyers and sellers coming to an agreement and the payment methods that are available to both parties to complete the deal. In part 2, I’ll detail step 3 of the process: getting the domain to the buyer and determining the hosting arrangement.
Step 3: Getting The Domain To The Buyer & Determining The Hosting Arrangement
After the buyer and seller have come to an agreement on a deal and have selected the payment method, the next thing that needs to be done is to get the domain to the buyer and to determine what the hosting arrangement is going to be. Let’s look at the options available to get the domain to the buyer.
Option 1: Push A Domain
This is the most common way to get the domain to the buyer. When you push a domain you are simply “moving” a domain from one person to another from within the SAME registrar. For example, the seller has the domain registered at GoDaddy and the buyer also has an account at GoDaddy. In this example, the seller would push the domain to the buyer within GoDaddy.
Pushing a domain has a couple advantages. For one, it’s free to do. Second, it is a quick and easy process and the “move” to the buyer takes affect almost immediately. There is also no 60-day waiting period like there can be when you transfer a domain from one registrar to another, which I’ll discuss shortly. Here is a video I put together that shows you how easy it is to push a domain:
Option 2: Transfer A Domain
The other way to get a domain to a buyer is to transfer the domain. When a domain is transferred, it is moved from one registrar to another. For example, the seller has the domain registered at GoDaddy but the buyer has an account with another registrar (i.e. NameCheap) and wants the domain transferred there. In this example, the domain will be moved from one registrar to another (GoDaddy to NameCheap).
There are a few disadvantages to transferring a domain and as such, this option isn’t used as much. For starters, the buyer will have to pay to have the domain registered at his registrar, which is usually no more than the cost of registering a new domain. If the buyer’s registrar charges $10 to register a new domain, it will typically cost anywhere from $8-$10 to register a transferred domain. Second, there are more steps involved than there is when you push a domain. Finally, you cannot transfer a domain within 60 days of registering a new domain. For example, if a seller registers a domain to build a website that he’s going to sell within a few weeks, the seller will not be able to transfer that domain to another registrar for at least 60 days. Here is another video I put together that shows you how to transfer a domain:
Should I Push A Domain Or Transfer A Domain?
This is a common question among new website flippers. In almost every case, domains should be pushed. Even if the buyer has all his current domains registered at one registrar, the buyer should still agree to a simple push. It’s free to create an account at the major registrars and it’s free to push a domain so the buyer shouldn’t have any objections. To keep the process as simple as possible, the buyer should agree to a push and then he can transfer the domain to his registrar of choice after the deal with the seller is completed if he wants to.
The only situation where it would make sense to transfer a domain is if the seller’s registrar is an unknown company and “iffy.” For example, if the domain is registered at, Bob’s Super Cheap Domains, the buyer may feel more comfortable having the domain transferred to a more reputable registrar like GoDaddy.
Determining The Hosting Arrangement
Once the buyer and seller agree on how the domain will be moved to the buyer, the domain is actually moved. While the domain is being moved to the buyer, the buyer and seller will discuss the hosting arrangement and get that squared away. I cover the hosting arrangement options in great detail in part 3 of this series but they are:
Option 1: Seller hosts the site via a reseller account
Option 2: Seller “hands over the keys” to a shared hosting account
Option 3: Seller transfers the site to the buyer’s web host
As soon as the hosting arrangement is agreed on, the buyer and seller will act accordingly. This is discussed in great length in part 3 of this series. The main point is that at this stage of the process the domain is moved while simultaneously coming to a hosting arrangement. After the domain has been moved and the hosting has been squared away, the deal is officially done as far as transferring everything to the buyer.
I got a great question from one of my loyal readers this weekend that I thought would make for a good post for you newbies out there. The reader wanted to know how to transfer a domain name after he sells his website. He heard you had to wait 60 days after you register a new domain before you can transfer it. How then can he sell his website if it is less than 60 days old?
He’s right that there is a 60-day period from the time you register a new domain before you can transfer it. However, that only applies to a transfer from one registrar to another. For example, you want to transfer a domain from the registrar, NameCheap, to GoDaddy. In that situation, you would have to wait 60 days. There is, however, a quick and easy (and free) way to “transfer” a domain to your buyer within those 60 days.
Push A Domain
The process is called a “domain push” or “pushing a domain,” or simply a “push.” When you push a domain you are simply pushing, or moving, the domain from one person to another WITHIN the same registrar. For example, you want to transfer a domain from the registrar, NameCheap, to your buyer who also has an account with NameCheap.
Unlike a transfer from one registrar to another, pushing a domain can be done anytime and takes just a minute to do. More importantly, the process is free for most registrars and your buyer will have instant ownership of the domain. When you transfer a domain from one registrar to another, however, the process is a bit more complicating, takes a few days to complete, and isn’t free.
How to Transfer A Domain Name
Before I show you a specific example of how to transfer a domain name, I put together this quick video that shows you how to push a domain within GoDaddy or NameCheap.com:
Transferring a domain takes a few more steps and can take up to 7 days to complete. Here are the general steps involved:
1. The current owner of the domain unlocks the domain
2. The current owner of the domain obtains the authorization code
3. The buyer or future owner of the domain initiates the transfer
I put together this video that shows the general steps involved on how to transfer a domain name from GoDaddy to NameCheap.com and vice versa:
In most cases, as a website flipper you will simply push domains and not transfer them. If the buyer doesn’t have an account at the same registrar as the one where the domain is currently registered, just ask the buyer if he would be willing to open an account as it is free to do. The buyer shouldn’t object as the process of pushing a domain is so much easier (and cheaper obviously) than transferring a domain. I have accounts at all major registrars for this very reason and so should you!
When I first got into Internet Marketing back in 2005, I was always told that private domain registration was the only way to go. As a result, it’s the only thing I’ve ever done. Since getting into website flipping, however, I have realized I may have been shooting myself in the foot and will never opt for it again. In today’s post I will explain what private domain registration and then I will tell you why it can work against you as a website flipper.
What Is Private Domain Registration?
When you register a domain with a registrar (i.e. GoDaddy, NameCheap, etc.) you will have the option to register the domain privately. Some registrars include it for free while others charge you a nominal fee for it. When you register a domain privately, your personal information such as your name, address, phone number, and email address is kept out of the public eye.
ICANN is a non-profit corporation that oversees the registration of all domain names. It requires every registrar to maintain a public WHOIS directory for all domains that are registered. That means all your personal information is available to anyone who conducts a WHOIS search. Here is an example of what a public domain registration looks like when doing a WHOIS search:
Here is what a private domain registration looks like:
Notice the difference? With private domain registration, your personal information is kept private. Now before you assume that’s a good thing, think again because keeping your contact information private can hurt your website flipping efforts.
Why Website Flippers Shouldn’t Use Private Domain Registration
As website flippers and Internet Marketers in general, I’ll bet most of you own several domains. And I’ll bet that a large chunk of your domains are parked or have half-baked websites on them. Regardless, your domains and websites – no matter how simple or complex those sites may be – are assets that can advertise for you 24/7.
There are buyers looking for domains and websites for sale all the time – and the savvy ones aren’t looking for prospects at Flippa only. If a buyer stumbles upon your parked domain page or your 5-page mini site you never got around to working on, and the buyer really has an interest in it, wouldn’t it be great if the buyer could contact you easily?
The best way to reach the owner of a domain or website is to do a WHOIS search and then contact the owner via the contact information provided. Right there the buyer has access to your email, address, and phone number. They can contact you directly to see if you are interested in selling. And the potential buyer doesn’t have to be a professional website flipper either. It can be the average Joe off the street or a business owner who must have your domain or website. You never know who might be interested in buying your undeveloped (or developed) asset.
By electing NOT to have private domain registration, you make it easy for anyone – professional website flipper or otherwise – to contact you to make you an offer for your parked domains and websites. I have several decent parked domains and mini websites floating around out there that all have private domain registration on them. Who knows how many prospective buyers I have turned away over the years!
Registering domain names is one of the most important steps in the website flipping process. A lot hinges on it when it comes to how fast you can sell your website and how good of a price you can get for it. While you may be tempted to go with whatever clever or fancy name that comes to mind when building a website from scratch or looking for one you can purchase, it’s worth going over this checklist first to see if the domain name passes the test before registering it.
1. .com, .org and .net TLDs Only
Use your creativity in other aspects of the website but stick to the tried and tested TLDs when registering domain names. People often assume that a website ends in .com, while .net and .org domains are generally accepted too. This is why potential buyers look no further than these three TLDs when searching for a website to purchase. The only exception may be when you are targeting a specific country or region such as using .com.au for the Australian market.
2. Say No To Hyphens and Numbers
For a few particular sites, numbers and hyphens could be worked into a domain name but in most cases, they may bring down the site’s market value. Stay away from these types of domains if possible.
3. Keep It Short and Sweet
When it comes to domain names, long is out and short is in. A long domain may allow you to play around with clever name ideas but if you’ve been doing this for any length of time, you know that short name domains get sold the fastest and command the highest prices. A domain name of 20 characters or less is ideal.
4. Include Keywords
What better way of boosting SEO value than putting a relevant keyword in the domain name. Such a move will help in the search engine rankings and will impress future buyers.
5. Use An Exact Keyword Only
If you can fit the exact keyword into the domain name – nothing more, nothing less (i.e. ExactKeyword.com) – then you’ll hit a goldmine – not only with the search engines by getting a SEO boost but also with future buyers. If you can’t get an exact keyword domain, then revert to rule #4 above and just make sure the keyword is included somehow (i.e. MyExactKeyword.com).
6. Go For Mass Appeal
A generic domain can catch people’s attention more than one referring to a particular market or brand. And understandably, a domain that reaches out to a greater audience would also appeal to more potential buyers. When registering domain names, try to keep them as broad as possible. For example, Cars.com will be more appealing to more buyers than HybridCars.com.
7. Avoid Misspellings
Nothing discourages a potential buyer more than having a misspelled domain. While you may get some traffic from people searching with misspellings, you don’t want to build a long-term asset on a misspelled domain. Save misspelled domains for your feeder sites or domain portfolio but don’t build a website intended to be flipped on them.
8. Avoid Trademarks Like the Plague
Websites that contain trademark words may bring in more harm and controversy (which you don’t need) than actual traffic and buyer interest (which you do need). And that’s not even counting the cease and desist emails that are sure to come or worse yet, trademark infringement lawsuits that could be waiting for you.
9. Look For Advertisers
The more paid ads you see when doing a search for your domain’s keyword, the better the chances of your site getting sold. If people are already paying to be on the front page of Google for the keyword in your domain, they’ll likely be interested in buying a website that ranks naturally for that keyword and has the keyword in the domain to boot!
10. GEO Domains Are Hot
More and more local businesses are making the leap to the web every day, creating a significant demand for local geographical domains. Grab these local geo domains sooner than later and you’ll make a profitable income out of them.
Website flipping success starts with registering domain names that pass as many of the tests above. A good domain can be the difference between a small payday and big payday. Get started on the right foot by applying these guidelines when registering domain names for your websites!