Domainers and Development: Tight Budgets or simply Bad Taste?

I’m often amazed at the type of content slated as “development” with the usual tags of “minisite”, “stores” and “portals”. Often a euphemism for graphic headers slapped on an interface that lacks intuition, those design atrocities are presented to domainers as money-makers that would beat parking and PPC revenue.

Stop for a second and thinkwhy would any visitor click on the AdSense content you flaunt in those “minisites” when the rest of the content is so poorly and distastefully done?

Are domainers truly on a shoestring budget, or is it because nobody has taught them better?

The subject of taste in everything is related to one’s background, education and exposure to alternatives. When you’re shown a bunch of poorly done skeleton sites as the cheap, better alternative then you’re getting what you’re paying for.

Having been a web and graphics developer for the past 15 years, I simply shake my head at the acceptance of poor quality as a quick, economic solution to domainer needs. Quite often, domainers fall flat into the pitching trap of fly-by-night individuals with no design credentials, no portfolio and no ethos; because whoever tells you that money will be flooding your pockets when you slap that “minisite” onto your long-tail domain, is lying through their teeth.

What is the solution to this disease permeating through the domainer halls?

Simple: choose the top 5 domains from your portfolio and hire a professional for the job. Invest in a true design that delivers not just the eye-candy but also incorporates an intuitive user interface, effective call to action images and custom-written copy that wasn’t ripped off Wikipedia.

Lose the bad taste, gain from the experience of true developers that live and breathe what they do.

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  1. I believe domainers do this because they believe _any_ development is better than parking when the truth is bad development is not only a waste of money but a waste of domain. Hopefully people grow to realize that nothing compares to a good business plan (or site plan) and careful execution. You can’t effectively monetize a site on hope alone so be careful!

  2. I would have to agree that taste is relative to someones knowledge and that most domain investor are on a shoe string budget when it comes to development. But you would also have to agree with me that even “true developers” are only as good as a budget allows. A $5,000 development budget would not be as good as results from a $10,000 or $20,000 budget etc.. etc..
    Most domain investors are just trying to get by with what they have, a sign of the times, perhaps. But even to try and develop top 5 domains can take up a lot resources.

  3. Visitors have instincts. They know if a site is truly offering good content. Even if a parked page peaks their interest in a link, they will follow it. Think of it as a lemonade stand. It looks better is someone is at the stand answering questions. The lemonade looks better with new ice in the pitcher. Doesn’t have to be too elaborate and the presentation works. We know what we are looking for as buyers and the same applies for us as sellers.

  4. You make some solid points regarding the value of professional-quality development. However, I seen often where developers place a similar disregard for selecting quality domains for their websites. As part of my link-building efforts I see all kinds of PR2/3/4 sites with domains I wouldn’t acquire reg fee.

  5. Leonard – The flip side of the coin definitely exists, some developers are not domainers. Domainers that are developers by profession are often hard on themselves first.

    Michael – Obviously, I’m referring to these sites that are created to be self-serving, without offering any real value to the visitor. While monetization is a primary goal, if it’s shoved in the face of a visitor then it does not work as well.

    Dan – As a developer, I don’t cut corners to a project; however, it’s true that a budget needs to be realistic. Quality work has a price.

    Tia – That’s the reason why I restricted the number of domains slated for development to a realistic “5”.

  6. I was thinking today that we run out of terms after parking and minisite…

    Development can be anything from ‘slightly better than a minisite’ to!

  7. Paul – indeed, development spans a broad spectrum of online creations, however there is bad and good development. The idea is to educate domainers to avoid the pitfalls of quick and dirty development.

  8. Well said.
    BTW a minisite is a minisite, no matter how hard you try to pimp it up 🙂

  9. I think a lot of this depends on the individual and their particular goals. If someone has an adequate budget for quality development and has properly researched and planned for the project great things can be achieved with 1 site alone OR the same bottom line can often times be achieved by repeating simple/cheap in mass quantities.

    In order to make the 1-5 site plan effective we are talking about proper development, marketing budgets, professional content creation, site management and a slew of other items that a full time domainer might not have the time (or desire) to tackle. It’s definitely not a “one size fits all” process.

    As a full time developer with a few hundred domains sitting around I understand both sides of the issue, I personally prefer proper development over the “quick easy” but I also understand the need/want for the more affordable alternatives, not everyone has and extra $15K in a coffee can buried in their back yard – Those who do, feel free to contact me 😉

  10. Crappier content = more clicks on ads.

  11. John – That’s a fallacy a lot of domainers fall for. Crappier content means hitting back on the browser or back to

    Jesse – Very good analysis, the idea is to get the domainers off the sticking mud of “minisites” and quick scraper portals that offer little to them and the rest of the Internet.

    Kate – Some known pimps have been mocked heavily – check out 😀

  12. Great article! I am interested in attracting attention to my domains. I have a few that I opened 6 weeks ago that immediately generated traffic. receives over 800 unique visitors per month.

    I won in an auction a few months back,, which also receives around 500 unique visitors a month. The domain used to be a web site. On Alexa, it was ranked at 1,200,000. I would really like to increase the value on this domain.

    I also have 300 other domains that fall within loans, jobs, travel, writing, products, services and others. I continue to be rejected from Sedo’s auctions, which is frustrating. I would like to share my domain inventory to possibly determine which ones I can turn into strong domains I can auction later this year.

    I have,,, loanjobs,net, grantwritingjobs,com,,,,,,,,,, and many others.

    I think is a good place to find unregistered domains, but it seems to balloon the prices of many domains. My was worth $16,000 and now dropped to $6800. Sedo appraised it for over $10K. I’m not sure what to think.

    Should I pick 5 domains that have the most unique visitors. Some of my domains that have less traffic generate more clicks. I would appreciate any feedback.

    Is there any way to hire someone to help build value into domains? I’m sure they would know which domains have potential. Also, any ideas how to get into an auction? Thanks in advance for any advice.

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