Buying expired or expiring domains can be a goldmine for online entrepreneurs, especially if you know how to find, buy and sell them for a profit, and it can be a great side hustle or even a full-time business.
Considering that over forty percent of expired domain names are left to expire, you can see the potential for making a profit if you know what to look for.
In this article, I will cover everything you need to know to help you get started and show you how to make money with expired domains, from where to find them, how to evaluate them, and how to make a killing in the after-market.
Guide To Making Money With Expired Domains
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is simply a unique address for a website, much like the address of your home! Generally, the most common and the best ones end in .com, .org, and .net, although many more endings are becoming available, like .ai and .io.
The best one for the purpose here is a .com site, which has the best authority and is the most well-known.
While domains other than .com are perfectly legit, many are associated as less serious, and some are even spammy looking. So it is always worth waiting for a good .com to help build your authority and for the potential for more profits later on.
What Are Expired Domain Names?
Expired domain name registration is the domain name registered without renewal from the current owners. If it expires after its expiry date, it will be sold at auction once that period ends.
Redemption periods allow owners to reactivate the domain after the domain expired before transferring them to public sale and resale. Although most registry offices operate in different ways, a general auction process occurs on the registry website for seven days.
Domain names expiring are popular with online businesses due to their potential SEO values or their prior position in search engines (SERPs) and often will be out of the dreaded Google sandbox, unlike a new domain.
Why Should I Buy an Expired Domain Name?
One of the best reasons for buying expired domains is to get instant traffic from the previous owners’ SEO and link-building efforts, as long as they are high quality. As I have detailed below, there are many ways to earn money from them, and with more practice comes more profit.
This is also a perfect side hustle you can do in your spare time from your main job, requiring minimal investment up front.
How Much Do Expired Domains Cost?
Generally speaking, you can get one for as little as $10 -$30, which is paid yearly. These are often forgotten or discarded domains and can have a lot of potential, as many people don’t realize their value. If you have the budget, you can seek out some more expensive and lucrative sites, once you know what to look for.
Personally, I use Namecheap or GoDaddy to buy mine, but there are many others to choose from.
How To Find Expired Domains
There are many ways to find these types of domains:
Search domain name registrars that offer expired domains. These registrars typically keep a list of the domains that have expired. This can be a great resource and gives you access to an extensive database of potential options.
Look for domains on sites like :
- GoDaddy Auctions
You can also search for an expired domain in directories and search engines:
- Look on web directories like Yahoo! Directory or DMOZ
- Search for an expired domain on any search engine
These site host auctions for expired domains, allowing you to bid and potentially win some valuable domain real estate. As they are so competitive, research before you buy an expired domain, so check out how to evaluate them in the next section.
How To Evaluate Expired Domain Names
Before buying, you should do a few things to make money from expired domains.
I like to check out the history first to ensure the domains have a good background and that they aren’t spammy sites, adult content sites, or potentially sandboxed by Google.
All new sites are normally in the Google sandbox for six to twelve months, while Google checks out your site as it is an unknown entity! Expired domains help you to avoid the sandbox and get traffic almost immediately, as long as you do your due diligence first.
I also like to check the domain rating (DR) in a tool like Ahrefs, which shows the overall authority compared to other sites, and the amount of traffic it’s getting, and the quality of that traffic.
Remember, just because a site has a lot of traffic doesn’t mean it’s a safe bet. As Google gets smarter by the day, it’s vital to know that the traffic is genuine and organic and not created by underhand or blackhat techniques.
GoDaddy also has an excellent domain value appraisal tool that helps you gauge the correct market price. If you feel you would be paying too much, this tool can help you negotiate a better price.
Also, check the quality and amount of backlinks to the site, as good ones take time to acquire, and low-quality ones can harm your potential rankings and profit.
If you buy expired domains with a high DR, it can help you to sell for a good price later, and often, sellers aren’t aware of the DR or how important it is in Google’s eyes!
Next, evaluate the expired domain name itself; here are a few things to consider:
- Is the name short and easy to remember?
- Does the domain name have good keywords that help with SEO?
- Is it relevant to your business if you are using it for SEO rather than flipping (selling) it later?
- Is it a .com
Taking some time to analyze potential sites using the above criteria can save you a lot of pain and wasted time if you only find out later that the site has a potentially harmful background – always do your research first and thoroughly!
If you get positive feedback from the above, then you most likely have an excellent potential investment. Next, it’s time to find the best method to monetize the site.
How To Monetize the Domain
How to make money from the domain depends on your goals, so here are some options for you:
Parking the Domain
Park the expired domain and earn revenue from advertising. When someone visits the site, they will see ads, and you will make money each time someone clicks on them, known as pay per click (PPC).
This can be a good source of passive income and a simple way to earn from your site, but only if it receives decent traffic.
Holding the Domain
If you feel there is potential value in holding onto the site and flipping it later, this can be a good investment. There is a risk it will not rise in value, but a good-sounding and relevant name, with quality backlinks and good authority, could increase in value considerably, especially a .com
By redirecting your expired domain, you can automatically send visitors to another site, where you can have affiliate offers, for example, and earn money that way.
Or direct to your main site to help build domain authority, as long as the niches are similar; otherwise, it could have the opposite effect.
Build up the Site
This takes more time and effort, but the results are worth it, and it is my preferred method to make money with expired domains, as you can build authority sites.
This involves building out the site using the best SEO practices, acquiring genuine links and quality content, and monetizing the site with affiliate offers and/or ads. You could set up an e-commerce site, using one of the many platforms or an affiliate program.
These tools, along with Ahrefs for the latest keyword research, can help save you time and get the best out of any new content. In addition, they are great for updating and improving any existing content.
Later, when you come to sell the website, you can expect 24-36 times the monthly revenue after expenses by selling domain names on sites like flippa.com and empireflippers.com.
Making this a full-time business is also possible, especially as you get more experience buying and selling these expired domains.
So as you can see, there is a lot of money to be made buying and selling domain names, and many options are available.
As with any business or side hustle, my advice is to start small and gradually build up, gaining market experience as you go, before parting with too much money or spending too much time on a domain name that will not return a healthy profit.
Remember to keep going, as persistence will always prevail, even if your first attempt is unsuccessful.
The competition is growing as more people learn about this type of business, but if you follow these guidelines and do your due diligence, you can make handsome profits.
I hope you found this guide helpful and that you now feel more equipped to understand how to make money with expired domains.
For more side hustle and business ideas, check out my blog article for the best side hustles.