For many years now, domain development has been looked at as an option to help domain investors diversify or add a revenue stream to help pay for domain renewals, new acquisitions, and even make some additional profit. It was also looked at as a way to improve a domain’s marketability.
In the past, around 10 years ago, mini-site development was the rage. Mini sites where small websites with around 5 to 10 pages of content with ads from an ad network placed in strategic areas of the pages. The sites were built fairly quickly and cheaply, thus allowing for the development of large number of domains for a relatively low cost. Some small businesses were launched dedicated to just building mini sites, aka domain development. This worked. But only for a while.
Google took notice as their index became filled with many thousands of sites with low quality content. Their subsequent algorithm updates sought to fix the problem. First, sites with low quality links were penalized. Next came a number of updates that tackled low quality content. In what seemed to be an instant, all the mini sites were either removed entirely from Google’s index or where ranked so low that essentially were impossible to find.
This led domain investors to conclude that domain development is dead.
The reality is that domain development is not dead. The definition of domain development must be changed to meet current standards.
Today, Google has the power to make or kill websites because they are the de facto search engine used by majority of people. Therefore, in order to make domain development work, you have to abide by the rules set by that search engine.
Here are some tips for successful domain development today:
Think of each domain you want to develop as a brand. In effect, today domain development is brand development.
When you have this mindset it will affect the way you go about developing the domain.
First, people are passionate about brands. If you are not passionate about the domains you want to develop, don’t even start.
Here is a video from Moz.com that talks about how having the mindset of brand development will help in improving ranking.
High quality content is half of your SEO, if not more.
Focus on content that would compell people to link to.
The ideal topics that would attract links is content that the writer has intimate knowledge of and can offer unique or lesser known tips.
Ideal quality content count is 100+ pages. 30+ pages should be considered the minimum. Pages should contain 400+ words. 600+ is ideal.
Getting high quality links is very important. Today the number of links is not as important as the quality of the links.
You want links from established sites like blogs and news sites.
There are different ways to get quality links.
You can directly ask site owners to link to specific pages that are relevant. You can offer to write guest posts. You can submit a press release. But the best way is to create the type of content that people will want to link to.
Do basic SEO.
Research the keywords that rank well for the domain you are developing.
Ensure that all the meta tags, alt tags, file names, and the main content target those keywords.
Make sure that pages load fast and the images are optimized.
Use headings in a correct way.
Utilize social media.
If you consider each domain as a brand, then the ideal would be that each domain has its own social media account(s).
However, this may not be reasonable for hundreds of domains. So you should consider creating an umbrella brand or a number of smaller umbrella brands for your network of domains. It’s not as effective as having individual accounts but you would still benefit from traffic from social networks. And it would be easier to update the accounts.
These basic 5 tips show that domain development today is much more complex than in the past. Although they don’t cover all the aspects, which depend on time and budget, they cover the essential things you should consider in your domain development.