Domain Names – Expense or Investment?

Website issues come in all shapes and sizes, from content creation to technical difficulties to general design. In some cases, clients have accumulated so much web “property,” it’s hard to figure out how everything fits together. Web domains for example, can pile up over the years if you are constantly grabbing URL’s that catch your attention or fit a new direction for your business. So, what do you do with all those web names?

The cost of maintaining individual domain names is relatively low so, it’s easy to justify hanging on to them for, “just one more year” until you get around to using them for their intended purpose.  Over time, however, a long list of domain names can add up to a sizeable renewal bill.  Most people get a renewal reminder and just switch on the auto renewal or simply let the domain name expire without giving it a second thought. There are however, more productive ways to manage your list of URLs.

Once you decide which URL’s are just too valuable and relevant to your online strategies, you should indeed, turn on auto renewal.  Then, you should make sure each URL is pointed to a functioning website. Most hosting companies allow you to do this at no charge.  By doing this, if someone inputs one of your URLs to their web browser, they will be directed to a website instead of getting a generic “not found” or “under construction” message from the host. You can point as many URL’s to a website as you like.

The URL’s you decide are not worthy of maintaining beyond their expiration date should be assessed for possible sale. Many hosting companies offer the service of listing your URL for sale so if someone comes along looking for it, they will see a price for purchase rather than a “domain taken” message. If your host doesn’t offer this service, there are brokers and sites that offer auction solutions to sell your URL. is an example of this type of auction site.

Some URL’s are more valuable than others obviously. Short, common phrases or brand names are more valuable than long, nondescript phrases that don’t reach a specific audience.  URL’s that have been registered for a long time or, are being sold in conjunction with a high traffic website, will also command higher bids. As an example, the domain name was being offered at auction at the time of this post and had a high bid of $12,900. A one year old URL with website ( was sitting at a $20,000 bid as well.

Another criteria that affects value is the extension. Since .com is still the most popular extension, phrases without it are just not as valuable. Nine out of fifteen URLs who had met their reserve the day of our research were .com extensions.

Now, you may not be sitting on a goldmine of URLs but, before you assume there is no value, you might do some research and see if a sale is more sensible than an expiration. Brokers and auction/sales services will take a commission but, compared to simply allowing the domain to expire and receiving nothing, using their services may be a good way to bring in a few extra dollars. OR, who knows, you may find that next URL you just can’t live without and buy it at auction to add to your list!


The founder of Small Business Right, Earl has owned multiple small ventures. He has experience in retail/wholesale, ecommerce, business technology, cybersecurity, business operations, mentoring and all-things small business. Over two decades of entrepreneurial experience has allowed many opportunities to share and learn about business operations in many industries and assist businesses from idea validation to succession.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Web Design

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: