I see this type of thing discussed quite a bit on forums and blogs so thought it would be a good idea to write a post about how I go about making this decision.
Type in traffic is essential
The first thing to say is that I always buy descriptive .com domain names with some type in traffic.
I reckon that the best way to start any race is with a head start. That’s why type in traffic is so important and for that reason I wouldn’t consider making a minisite unless I had some to give me a little free traffic up front.
If you’d like to know more about type in traffic levels and what to expect, click here.
Monitor the domain performance
Once I’ve parked my domain (using my DIY Domain Parking template) I will monitor its site traffic over a period of 3 months. This is easily done by logging into my ad account each month and checking.
As a general rule I like a domain to be getting at least 2% site traffic as a percentage of monthly exacts for me to consider it further. In addition to this I’m looking for at least 10% CTR from the ads on the parked page.
The above points are really important. You don’t want to waste your time building out a minisite if you’re not achieving these visitor levels because in the event your minisite doesn’t move up the rankings your work will have been in vain. Not a good use of your time!
Is the domain ranking naturally on Google’s first page?
This is the biggest crossroads for me when deciding on whether to create a minisite. Most of my domains are quite niche and the bonus of this is that every now and then one will rank naturally on the first page of Google.
This was the case for a domain of mine in the furniture niche with 1,600 monthly exacts. After 3 months it was settled in 8th place on the first page of Google and earning me about £2 per month in revenue. After turning it into a minisite it now ranks around 4th place and brings in £10 per month on average. Seeing as this domain requires minimum upkeep going forwards that’s a ROI of 19 per year – I’ll take that.
Run some calculations. Is it worth the hassle?
If you’re hitting these site visit and CTR targets but only getting £0.05 CPC it’s probably not worth going after more revenue by way of a minisite. You need to do a few calculations and see if it’s worth your while. I have a lower limit of £0.50 CPC when buying domains which I stick to as a rule.
Let’s look at an example calculation based on these lower levels –
Monthly exacts = 1,300
Site traffic = 2% (of monthly exacts)
CTR = 10%
CPC = £0.50
1,300 x 0.02 x 0.10 x £0.50 = £1.30 monthly revenue from type in traffic (ROI per year = 1.6)
Granted, £1.30 per month is not particularly exciting but remember that this is currently being achieved by just parking the page. If you could increase this monthly revenue five-fold by building out a minisite you’d be looking at £78 revenue per year for the domain (ROI per year = 12).
Check out the competition
Another massively important step in the assessment process is to see who you’re up against. There really isn’t any point trying to move from 8th to 1st place if your competition are authority sites with tons of unique content and relevant backlinks – it’s just not going to happen so move on to your next domain if this is the case.
The easiest and quickest way to assess your competitors is to use either of the Market Samurai or Long Tail Pro keyword tools. Using Market Samurai as an example, here is a quick explanation of how to use it to check out your competition.
I’m not going to go into specifics on this post but it’s all about making sure that the colour coding on the ‘SEO Competition’ section is mainly green and yellow as in this example –
Rather than a sea of red! (as in this example) –
Looking at the green and yellow example – don’t be put off by seeing strong red blocks in just the Index Count (IC) column. Look at the domain in 5th place that is nestled in among those strong IC count sites. This is one of my parked domains that I’m just about to turn into a minisite. If it can rank 5th without any effort I’m sure I can move it up a place or two by adding some unique content by way of a minisite.
That’s it. If you’ve got this far and cleared all the hurdles then you’re good to go.
Let’s briefly summarise the key things to consider when deciding on moving a parked page to a minisite..
- Type in traffic
- Monitoring visitors and CTR
- Current position on Google
Remember that there are no guarantees with Google rankings and they can be temperamental at the best of times. However, if you follow these pointers before developing a minisite you will give yourself a much greater chance of moving up the rankings and increasing your ROI – and that’s what domaining is all about after all!
If you’re ready to build a minisite but not sure of the quickest and easiest way to do it, check out my next post.. 8 Steps to Build out a Minisite..Fast.
See you there.
main post image by onewaystock