Since starting to work for myself, I launched a couple of websites, thought about hundreds of ideas and ended up buying quite a few domain names in case I want to implement these ideas. As you can see, I have a problem of coming up with too many ideas and having a hard time to focus!
Domain names with SEO in mind
The idea of picking a domain name with SEO in mind is not that the domain name has to sound good or clever, but just that the words composing the domain name itself are searched by a lot of people on google. That’s important because that property (called exact match domain or EMD in SEO terms) provides a nice boost in Google rankings. So, let’s say you want to start a website about gardening tools and “gardening tools” is heavily searched in Google, it makes more sense for SEO to register gardeningtools.com rather than gardenspecialist.com for example. In that case you will get a nice boost in rankings for people searching for “gardening tools”. Of course you can still buy gardenspecialist.com and rank well for “gardening tools”, but it will just take more time
I’m going to list all domain names I’ve bought in the last 5 months and what I plan to do with it. I segmented that list in separate areas of concern:
- initial idea
- trying new things: little experiments in a few niches
- software as a service
- a few potential ideas for ecommerce
- miscellaneous software ideas
- exploiting profitable niches
- exploiting current events
- one last idea
As I went to spend 5 months in South-East Asia to work and travel, I wanted to work on a project that would not be too involving, while learning at the same time how to make a website, market it, rank it etc.
That was my initial project that I started in february centered around the idea of providing gift certificate templates to businesses. It is a nice learning experience, but have not brought sufficient income to be able to live off it, which is why I’m refocusing my energies on other projects at the moment.
Trying new things: experiments with a few niches
I implemented this idea (“travel insurance comparison”) and I wrote a few articles a few months ago, but I haven’t got around making it successful, doing the marketing, building backlinks… I saw a need for such a tool in France and I’m pretty sure it could be quite successful, but I guess I’m just not that extremely passionnate about travel insurance! On the other hand, I guess nobody really is
I’ve made this one recently, it’s about calculating your BMI (Body Mass Index) online. It’s a very simple tool but I did learn a few things along the way like how to build links manually by finding potential link partners, requesting links, following up… If you want to know more about it, check my post about Creating a Small Website to Earn Passive Income: Second Attempt.
Software as a service
- partagedefichier.com: Dropbox for small businesses
That’s actually the one idea I’m going to focus on now: doing a software as a service solution for small businesses to help them with file sharing. “partage de fichier” means “file sharing” in french and it was, strangely enough, still available even though there are 2900 exact match searches on Google per month (that means, 2900 people look for exactly this keyword on Google). I’ve done some research on the business and have looked up a few competitors, especially www.yousendit.com, www.sharefile.com and www.smartfile.com. The idea is then to provide a simple file sharing solution for businesses: you open an account, and you can upload files and share with people you give access to, for example your customers, partners, suppliers…
All following domain names don’t have a website at the moment, so if you type the URL in your browser you will get a nice error message
A few potential ideas for ecommerce
- acheteripad.fr: affiliate store to sell Ipads
That’s a exact match domain for 5400 searches in France (“buy ipad”). I thought about doing an affiliate store: it would be like an ecommerce store but instead of handling the sale myself, I would hand it off to Amazon and get a commission when the visitor ends up buying something. I would have used WordPress with a custom ecommerce theme to power that website. The problem is, I’m not so much passionate about ipads so I don’t know if I could do that in the long term, even though I toyed with the idea of buying an Ipad for some time now
That’s the same kind of idea as the ipad but for a newer product, the Samsung Galaxy S2. That’s a exact match domain for 20000 searches in France, so there is quite some traffic to get if you get on the top spot of Google. The problem is also the same as with the Ipad project.
That’s another online store that I could put together about “cheap ink cartridge”. More than 14000 exact match searches, but it looks like quite a crowded market. I guess selling ink cartridges online is a very profitable business!
Software related ideas
This is again a french website, meaning “available domain name”, with a exact match count of 2900 per month. I was pleased with that idea for a couple of days, since it involved at least a little bit of software, in comparison to the other content-heavy ideas. There’s one strong competitor of this one in France, and I preferred to go for other ideas.
In english it would be “mortgage calculator”, which is heavily searched in France, and the .info was available for something like 2 euros, so even though I had not though much about it, I just bought it and I’ll see what I can do in the future.
“Convert PDF to Word”: doesn’t need many explanations, it’s something that would require a little bit of software so it might be more interesting to do than other ideas, but still not really earth-shattering.
“Disposable email” was an available domain name with 5000 exact match count and a potentially interesting tool to make. I stumbled upon the monetization issue. That’s still not that much potential traffic and I wonder how to monetize users that would come to the website only to check an email and leave. There’s a guy on Hacker News who commented that he made a decent revenue out of it for a website in that market(in english though, 10 minute mail) so I might give it a shot at some point.
Exploiting profitable niches
It’s actually quite amazing that “online car insurance” domain name for France was still available for 3600 exact match searches and an Adwords CPC of more than 10 euros/click! I’ve registered this one recently, “just in case” but if I end up doing it, I would pay people to make articles and doing the backlinking and such, it would just be way too boring to do it myself…
“credit request on line” just seemed like a pretty easy proposition when I registered it, but after trying to rank my first websites i decided it was not worth the hassle to do something as boring as credit requests.
Exploiting current events
After reading a post by Viperchill about buidling sites around current events, I did some brainstorming around future events and came up with this one, meaning “olympics games 2012″. OK it’s a .eu extension but it’s still an exact match and there’s going to be a massive amount of traffic regarding next olympic games coming up next year. I haven’t really thought about this one but I guess it would have to be quite content-heavy to be successful.
Also based around the idea that current events attract lots of traffic with low competition, I registered this domain name based on the 2012 french open, that will take place in May 2012. I used to be a moderately competitive tennis player some time ago, so that’s definitely something I’m familiar with.
- sondagepresidentielle2012.fr : online poll for french elections of 2012
There are a few online poll websites that seem to work well, and I stumbled onto this domain name doing keyword research. It came up with 6000 searches per month, I registered the domain. There are two problems: how do you overcome bias in an online poll? Indeed, it seems that other online poll websites are an outlet for extreme right-wing sympathisers to express their opinions: on one website, 60% of all votes go for the extreme-right wing candidate. I don’t really want to make the extreme-right wing gain further publicity, that’s one problem. The other problem is how to make money with an online poll website. I guess you could place some amazon affiliate links for books from candidates, but it doesn’t strike me as a potential way of earning decent income…
“How to make a website”: this one is pretty sweet, with a 10.000 exact match count, and not too much competition. Plus it’s something I can see myself do, which is definitely a plus! Maybe something I’ll get to do, with tutorials on how to make a website, how to select a hosting provider, how to do the SEO and marketing etc.
Changing my target market from the whole word to my own country
At the beginning, given that I can write half-decent english, I decided to go after the english-speaking market since it’s simply enormous compared to the french-speaking market. However, I’ve changed target at mid-course and have decided to focus on the french market now: the market is much smaller but there is also much less competition. I realized when doing my initial website (giftcertificatefactory) that it was quite hard to market to people I don’t know on a different continent and from another culture, and not speaking their language natively. I think it makes more sense for me, especially given that it’s my first business, to focus on things I know a bit more.