If you’re a new webmaster, no doubt you know that it’s quite difficult to get traffic to come to your site. This is because building legitimate traffic takes both money and time. Why? If a webmaster is trying to get traffic through search engines, he or she will need to spend a lot of time on content creation and on link building. If traffic is coming through a pay per click program, a new webmaster might have to invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get the best use of a high-performance keyword. However, another alternative is out there that can allow a new webmaster to get a lot of traffic without having to invest much time or money. What is it? Purchasing expired domain names.

What’s an expired domain name? It’s a domain name that never got renewed by its owner so that it’s out there, ready for use by someone else. This can be true for a variety of reasons, such as that there was no interest in the original website, that the owner ran out of money, or even that the owner him- or herself died. Whatever the reason for the expiration, when a renewal fee is not paid to continue using that name, it still functions just like any other domain name. There’s one difference, though, and that is that an expired domain name doesn’t have a website anymore. Instead, searchers trying to find this page get something to the effect of “404 error” when they come to the site itself.

This is a waste of traffic when this happens; when an expired domain name points to a “not found” webpage, basically, the person searching for the information has gotten nowhere. Many domain name companies have realized this, so many sell expired domain names either through an upfront and direct sale or by utilizing an auction. With either of these methods, sometimes a domain name can fetch anywhere between under $100 to over $1 million. In some cases, these sales also include the original website.

How do you as a webmaster know if an expired domain name is worth buying for your own use? First, check to see the Google page rank of a domain name that has expired. To do this, download Google’s toolbar and type in the website name of the expired domain name. If the page indicator is grayed out, the name itself is worthless because Google has banned it. The rank itself will tell you how popular the page is, although most not banned would be all right. What you really want to look for as a webmaster is for a page rank number between 6 and 10. This means that the website, in its first incarnation, was very popular.

You also need to find out what’s called the “Alexa” rating of a domain name that has expired. This determines how much traffic has actually gone to a particular domain name. If a website has not received a significant quantity of traffic, there will be no Alexa rating. To tell what the Alexa rating for an expired domain name is, go to Alexa.

Finally, you need to see how many websites link to the expired domain name. To do this, go to Google (usually the best search engine to do this) and type in the command “link:” (with no quotes) followed by the URL of the expired domain name (with no spaces between the colon and the URL). If many links are returned, this means that traffic coming to the expired domain name was legitimate and not somehow simply falsely “generated” to give an artificially high page rank.

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 at 3:49 am
Driving Traffic, domains
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