Richard Quilley sends some tips and free advice for freshman and sophmore domainers.
At the risk of sounding precocious, I thought your readers might like to share the following tips. I'm at the beginning of the learning curve (6 weeks) and have made plenty of mistakes, so I know what it's like to be starting out with little money.
* Organise domains using Treepad Lite (free). Create categories as you go along - health, alternative health, etc. Highlight important domains by putting stars**** in front of them. The longer the row of stars, the more important the domain. You can then scan the page and see them; you can sort them using TED Notepad (free) and everything with a star in front wil then be at the top of the page
*Cream off the important domains into a separate category to buy.
*Use Domain Name Analyzer (free) to scour through domain names. It's brilliant. Upgrade when you can afford it. Set it up to search for the TLDs you value. It bypasses middleman registrars, so reduces the chances of sniffing.
*If you ever get a complete mess of domains with extensions, and want to sort them by extension, use TED notepad (free). Reverse the text - the extensions are now at the front. Sort. Unreverse.
*Overture and Google Keyword have their place. However, the list crunchers have taken nearly every .com of value. Use O and GK to get ideas. For example, a new technology comes out. Find a similar technology, then use GK and O to see what phrases are of value in that similar technology. Then use those phrases with your new technology. (***FS*** ie. Enter WAP keyword into overture and replace newer phone standard into results where it makes sense)
*.Net of a short snappy name is more valuable than .com of a long name. GolfTips.net is more valuable than AllYourGolfingTipsHere.com. The short snappy name is more memorable and can be used across a wider range of PPC adverts
*Browse the net. Go where you go. There's SOO much stuff out there.
* After a while O and GK seem too slow. A shorthand way is to look at the top of the Google Serps and how many documents cite your phrase. Now glance at the right hand side of the page, at the adverts. (There are adverts, aren't there? If not, it's usually best to leave that phrase.) Now go to page 3 or 4 of the SERPS. Still adverts? Good sign. Decent adverts, as opposed to Ebays dynamic insertion of your keyphrase? Even better. Is your search phrase still appearing in the SERPS? Excellent!
*Different domains have different values. Your made up brand name won't earn you anything right now - don't buy too many of them at once or you'll suffer a cash flow crisis. (Yes, that's me).
*Park at NameDrive - it's SOO easy to join, compared to some of the dinosaurs. Or DomainTools when they come out of Beta. Use your Parking not for revenue (that's a bonus) but to get an idea of which domains are getting type in traffic. In other words, have you got a feel for what is of value. It's great feedback. It also inspires you to set up a site on those names that are getting a trickle of type in traffic. The real value will come from development.
* There's more, but I'm keeping it quiet for now. Hope this helps someone!
Great blog, and thanks for starting me out on this! Richard""
***FS*** You are most welcome Richard... Thanks to you for some outstanding tips and advice!~