I now have a domain portfolio of 100+ domains. I’ve probably developed less than 25% of them. I also have scores of affiliate sites that I developed for paid search campaigns that are no longer active.
Most of my domains (and even a lot of live sites) just sit around and collect digital dust. Every once in a while I’ll go through my portfolio and disable auto-renew for some of my domains.
In some cases, it’s a no-brainer. In other instances the decision is a little more complicated (thin site + mediocre domain + zero traffic).
This Saturday one of my domains quietly expired. At some point I decided the domain wasn’t worth the $12 renewal fee, so I let it lapse. When a domain expires the registrar will typically hold it for another 30 days just in case you change your mind.
As I’m going through my stats today, I see that the domain I once thought was worthless, generated $40 in commissions over the last couple of days (with no effort). I quickly logged into my Godaddy account and hit the renew button.
I have no idea where these sales came from, but I can see that I’m getting some organic traffic from my logs. This site doesn’t have a lot of rich content, and was never optimized for natural search, but seems to be getting a trickle of traffic now.
Many SEO’s say that domain age is an important ranking factor in natural search. Anybody who has spent time in the Google sandbox would probably agree.
The first thing you should do when you register a domain is setup a quick page with a little related content. It doesn’t have to be quality content – just something other than the registrar’s default parking page. Even if you don’t have an instant monetization plan for the domain, it will start earning a little age rank. When you’re ready to develop your domain you’ll have a running start and avoid some of the problems younger domains encounter.
Hanging on to a lot of old domains can be expensive, but letting them go too early could cost you even more.