Whether you’re a blog, a small online startup, or a large corporation with vast internet services, domains apply to you in a very real way. You can save loads of money or lose loads of money depending on how you handle your domains. When you first launch your new website, you’ll have to purchase a domain to stake your claim on the World Wide Web, which costs money. In addition, if you already have a domain, you will have to maintain it—regardless of your domain’s function, it will expire at some point, forcing you to renew it.
Fortunately, a great way to save money is by purchasing expired domains. Millions of domains expire yearly when their owners either can’t or won’t renew them. Instead of those domain names chiselling themselves in internet stone forever, they are auctioned off and recycled, often cheaper than buying a new one. Follow a few simple guidelines, and you’ll be able to reap the benefits of purchasing expired domains.
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The Experience of Expired Domains Buyers
For those new to purchasing expired domains, the process can be filled with costly learning experiences. In the early days of acquiring expired domains, many buyers make mistakes out of inexperience – purchasing domains with toxic backlink profiles and low-quality history. With trial and error over hundreds of purchases, seasoned domain buyers learn how to thoroughly vet domains and avoid ones likely to do more harm than good.
For example, an expired domain containing an exact match commercial keyword and decent Domain Authority may seem attractive initially. However, before purchase, if the domain bounced between several low-quality affiliate sites linking to spammy pages, Google may penalize any new site using that domain for manipulative practices. Despite the buyer’s best clean-up efforts, the entire endeavour could result in financial loss – a tough lesson on properly vetting a domain’s history.
Over time, successful buyers develop a strict due diligence process, using tools like Wayback Machine, Ahrefs, and DomCop to evaluate a domain’s past content, backlink profile, and any toxic history. This leads to greatly improved success rates and profits from flipped domains. With the right expired domain purchase, redirecting it to a new high-quality site can generate tremendous value.
The key lessons experienced expired domain buyers emphasize are – to move slowly, thoroughly vet every aspect of a domain’s history, and invest the time upfront to avoid larger headaches later on. Patience and diligence are essential when navigating this complex domain aftermarket!
Why You Should Buy Expired Domains
There are two reasons to buy expired domains: time and money. While purchasing a new domain will allow you to start from scratch, you can actually save a lot of time in the long run by buying the right domain. Domains that already exist already have Page Rankings. If the expired domain you’re looking to buy has a high Page Rank value, you might save yourself a ton of marketing effort. According to Prchecker.net, “A company that buys such a domain will not have to work so hard on website promotion and backlink-building techniques.” Getting a great expired domain is like buying a bicycle with assembled parts. In addition, you can save yourself some search engine penalties since all your preexisting backlinks won’t be on a fresh domain.
And, of course, expired domains can save you money. Prices vary greatly from site to site, but many fantastic domains can be purchased for only a few dollars. This is a fantastic deal combined with preexisting work done to the domain.
Where to Buy Expired Domains
There are many sites dedicated to auctioning off expired domains. Each has its unique qualities and availability. Here are two great ones for starters:
- Expireddomains.net. The best part about this site is that it’s free to create an account, and you don’t even need one to check out some of its great features. If you look at the deleted domains on Expireddomains.net, you’ll see millions of hits come up. Fortunately, you don’t have to wade through that all at once; you can set filter upon filter to get the exact results you want. You can set a filter to show those results whether you want .uk, .org, .net, or anything in between. You can also choose only to see sites that don’t have any fake PR results and sort your results by domain pop and the number of backlinks they have. The filters are endless; some people even make tutorials teaching you how to narrow down your results.
- GoDaddy Auctions. GoDaddy.com has one of the best and most popular domain auctions available. This site feels a little more like eBay and a little less like a computer coding class. When you visit the site, bloggerideas.com notes that “all the possible expired domains are listed along with the number of bids already placed, the market price, traffic, valuation and a box where you can place your bidding offer to buy the domain.” GoDaddy is one of the most preferred auctions simply for its easy access and straightforward layout.
There are many additional sites where you can purchase expired and deleted domains, such as Dropping.com, DomCop.com, NameCheap Domains, and FreshDrop.com.
Metrics to Look for
When buying expired or deleted domains, there are certain metrics you should be looking for to get the best bang for your buck:
- Page Rank
- Citation Flow
- Trust flow
Buying an expired or deleted domain with a solid Page Rank is obviously in your best interest. The older the domain, the more likely it is to have a decent page rank. However, determining the age of an expired domain can be tricky. Sometimes, domains have been registered but had no websites created, meaning the registration date may not matter to some search engines.
According to domcop.com, “Citation Flow is a metric between 0 and 100 that predicts the value of the domain based on the backlinks to it. This could be used to compare the backlink data between different domains. This would be similar to page rank and Moz domain authority.” Backlink data is very useful in determining value.
The site continues regarding Trust Flow: “Trust Flow is a metric between 0 and 100 that measures the trustworthiness of the domain based on which websites link to the domain.” The higher the number, the more trustworthy the domain. This is another crucial metric for determining value.
Everyone with little experience with the internet knows that keywords play a huge role in a website’s popularity. Many people pay good money trying to find the best keywords to help keep their website relevant. Pay attention to how many keywords the domain you’re looking at buying currently ranks for—the more, the better.
Common Pitfalls to Avoid
Everyone makes mistakes, and it can be easy to make them when you’re new to buying expired and deleted domains. Pay attention to these common pitfalls Morgan Linton highlights:
- Violating trademarks. “This is #1 for a reason,” says Linton. You might get stuck paying hefty legal bills for this.
- Buying a domain which was used for a scam. Scam artists use domains like their disposable cell phones.
- Bad backlink profiles. “I have also seen this happen several times,” says Linton. “Someone buys a domain, pays to have some blackhat SEO company build a bunch of backlinks and then gets de-listed from Google.” You’re better off double-checking the backlinks. Even a new domain is better than one with bad backlinks.
Don’t feel foolish if you’ve made one of these mistakes before; they’re common for a reason. Doing your research is the best you can do to avoid making mistakes when buying an expired or deleted domain. Being thorough in your research will pay off handsomely.
Other Money-Saving Options
You may also find that you can save significant amounts of money by transferring domains, redirecting domains, or finding a host that offers a free domain name. All options will depend on case-by-case needs. Redirecting is a great option if you are doing so to a relevant domain. It is not recommended, however, to redirect to any domain that is not currently relevant to yours. Always take your time when researching the most cost-effective way to obtain a domain. There are many options out there for anyone who looks.
Step-by-Step Guide for Buying Expired Domains
Based on my extensive experience, here is a comprehensive 7-step guide to finding and purchasing high-value expired domains:
- Generate domain name ideas – Target keyword phrases related to your business and use online generators to find expired domains containing those words. Also, browse lists of recently dropped domains.
- Preliminary vetting – Run domains through a quick initial vet to identify any obvious issues. Check spam score, traffic levels, backlink profile health, and page rank. Discard any suspicious or low-quality options.
- In-depth history analysis – For remaining candidates, use Wayback Machine to evaluate the domain’s historical content and any changes in direction. Review backlinks and traffic graphs.
- Check legal history – Use WhoIs API to identify previous owners and determine if the domain was seized, used for spam/abuse, or subject to marks against it. Discard risky domains.
- Value assessment – Estimate value through paid valuation tools like Estibot. Consider potential traffic levels, ad revenue, and the importance of keywords. Set the maximum bid price accordingly.
- Domain purchase – Submit bids through a preferred marketplace like GoDaddy Auctions. For very valuable domains, negotiate directly with sellers or brokers. Use escrow services for large purchases.
- Post-purchase review – After securing the domain, thoroughly audit its backlink profile, on-page elements, and past anchor text distribution. Clean up any issues.
I always tell clients to move slowly and carefully at each step, thoroughly vetting every aspect of a domain’s history before purchasing. The time invested upfront saves far larger headaches down the road!
Benefits and Risks of Expired Domains
Expired domains can provide shortcuts to ranking gains but also come with inherent challenges (Anson, 2021):
- Redirect immediate equity and traffic
- Leverage existing backlink profile
- Gain instant authority and trust signals
- Prior toxic history and penalties
- Redirect errors and traffic loss
- Diluted relevance and page authority
The Different Types of Expired Domains
There are several different types of expired domains, each with its own unique benefits and drawbacks.
- Generic domains: Generic domains are short, easy-to-remember domains that are not specific to any particular industry or niche. Examples of generic domains include .com, .net, and .org. Generic domains are often the most expensive type of expired domain, but they can also be the most valuable.
- Brandable domains: Brandable domains are domains that contain a word or phrase that is associated with a particular brand or company. For example, the domain name apple.com is a brandable domain. Brandable domains can be very valuable, especially if they are associated with a well-known brand.
- Niche domains: Niche domains are domains that are specific to a particular industry or niche. For example, the domain name shoes.com is a niche domain. Niche domains can be very valuable if they are relevant to your industry or niche.
How to Use Expired Domains for SEO
Expired domains can be a great way to improve your website’s SEO. When you use an expired domain, you are essentially inheriting all of the backlinks that the domain has built up over time. This can give your website a significant boost in the search engine rankings.
Here are a few tips for using expired domains for SEO:
- Choose an expired domain that is relevant to your website’s topic.
- Make sure that the expired domain has a good backlink profile.
- Redirect the expired domain to your website.
- Update the content on the expired domain to make it relevant to your website.
How to Use Expired Domains to Build a Website
Expired domains can also be a great way to build a website. When you use an expired domain, you are starting with a domain that already has some authority and trust. This can give your website a head start in the search engine rankings.
Here are a few tips for using expired domains to build a website:
- Choose an expired domain that is relevant to your website’s topic, and that has a good backlink profile.
- Redirect the expired domain to your website.
- Update the content on the expired domain to make it relevant to your website.
- Promote your website so that it can start ranking in the search engines.
Case Studies of Successful Businesses That Have Used Expired Domains
Here are a few case studies of successful businesses that have used expired domains:
- Namecheap: Namecheap is a domain registrar and web hosting company that has used expired domains to grow its business. In 2010, Namecheap acquired over 1 million expired domains. This helped Namecheap to increase its traffic by 20% and its revenue by 30%.
- Flippa: Flippa is a marketplace for buying and selling websites and online businesses. Flippa has helped users to sell expired domains for millions of dollars. For example, in 2015, a user sold the expired domain name Insurance.com for $3.5 million.
- Empire Flippers: Empire Flippers is another marketplace for buying and selling websites and online businesses. Empire Flippers has helped users to sell expired domains for hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, in 2016, a user sold the expired domain name Loans.com for $250,000.
A List of the Best Websites for Finding and Buying Expired Domains
Here is a list of the best websites for finding and buying expired domains:
- ExpiredDomains.net: ExpiredDomains.net is a popular website for finding and buying expired domains. ExpiredDomains.net offers a variety of features, such as a domain search tool, a backlink analysis tool, and a domain auction.
- NameJet: NameJet is another popular website for finding and buying expired domains. NameJet offers a variety of features, such as a domain search tool, a backlink analysis tool, and a domain auction.
- GoDaddy Auctions: GoDaddy Auctions is a popular website for buying and selling domain names, including expired domains. GoDaddy Auctions offers a variety of features, such as a domain search tool, a backlink analysis tool, and a domain auction.
To mitigate risks, Thorton (2023) recommends…
(LSI Keywords) domain drops, domain aftermarket, drop catching, domain back ordering, domain tasting, aged domains, domain authority transfer, redirect domains, domain appraisal, domain escrow, holding domains, domain parking, domain investor, domain marketplace
Further reading before we conclude our article. If you are interested in purchasing expired domains, want to know how to save money buying a domain or what a domain strategy should be for your online business – do reach out. Additional reading:
- Wix Blog Tutorial: Adding a Blog and a Bookings Section
- Your First WordPress Blog: A Guide to Getting Started
- Affiliate Marketing: The Best A-to-Z Guide
- How to Do a Competitive Analysis for Digital Marketing
- What is Domain Authority?
- Tips for Extraordinary Brandable Domain Names
- How to Save Money by Purchasing Expired Domains
- 123Reg- The UK’s Best Domain Review
- GoDaddy- Domain Review
- NameCheap- Domain Review
- Name.com- Domain Review
- Emoji Domains- Are They Relevant?
- Gandi- Domain Review
- Hover- Domain Review
- HostGator- Domain Review
A whole virtual world of expired domains is out there for you to explore. Purchasing deleted domains can save you loads of money in the long run, especially if you have numerous domains in your possession. Considering that some people make a living flipping domains, there is certainly an opportunity for you to save money and get some extremely structured domains by buying them at auction.