7 Things To Consider About Buying Seasonal DomainsPosted: November 25, 2011 | |
Generally, when looking at online markets you can enter, you look at industries and then niches within those industries. Most of the time, whatever size the industry or niche you target, you can make money from it 365 days a year. People might not normally buy thick coats in the summer, but they could.
With seasonal domains however, your vision is specifically honed on a certain time frame. Rather than making some money all year with more possibly at certain peak times, seasonal domains look to make nearly all their money during those peak times.
Many seasonal domains are related to winter, specifically the holiday season. Many consumer-targeted industries flourish during this time of year, and some like the Christmas tree industry only exist this time of year. Now with Black Friday becoming an event rather than a mere busy shopping day, the holiday season build-up now starts much earlier than it used to.
The question is – are seasonal domains a good idea to get or not? The short answer is it depends.
Here are some things to consider about buying seasonal domains:
1. They will make practically nothing when “out of season”
Just like Christmas trees don’t sell in April, that seasonal domain of yours won’t attract much traffic during other times of the year. Even if you’re the “cream of the crop” while in season, your traffic will drop off substantially once the season is over.
Black Friday sees a particularly strong drop-off as it centers around limited-time deals. The Alexa graph of BFAds.net illustrates this well.
2. They’ll likely attract more traffic “in season” than non-seasonal generic domains
The primary reason people buy seasonal domains is the traffic they can produce “in season”. For the money you can spend on domains, for the “in season” traffic they can get, seasonal domains cost much less than non-seasonal.
Black Friday gets searched an enormous amount during the lead-up to Black Friday and the day itself. Here’s 2010 Google Trends, Black Friday vs. laptops (a commonly purchased item on Black Friday). To illustrate laptops are searched for more during the holidays, here’s Google Trends on laptops.
3. Less time for opportunity
The benefit of running a year-round business is that a breakthrough may happen at any time. You might get a top Google ranking you’ve SEO’d for, or a marketing effort might go viral. When your year is effectively shortened to just a few months, there’s less time for those opportunities to happen.
4. Higher risk involved
Because of the limited time you have to work with, one setback could mean a entire “year” for your seasonal site down the tubes. With a year-round business, the setback might only cause a delay or a temporary dip, with a sooner opportunity to bounce back.
5. Outside influence is magnified, quick reactions needed
Outside factors like the economy and major industry news can influence how your business does. Those factors are magnified in a seasonal setting. Being the first to react to something major can bring huge rewards. Likewise, being the last to react could have your visitors ditching your site and going to competitors in a hurry.
6. Cost-effective to buy before the season
The good thing about a year’s worth of business crammed into a few months or less is that you can get that year’s worth within a year of buying the domain. Sellers of them charge more leading up to or during the season. You might be best off buying a little before then to get it secured for less and also have time to develop on it before the season comes.
7. Be aware of visitor intent
Traffic from seasonal keywords may have different objectives than traffic from non-seasonal keywords. Black Friday traffic for instance aren’t simply looking for things to buy for the upcoming holidays – they’re looking specifically for good deals. Holiday buying may be motivating some of them but most may be buying things for themselves given the heavy discounts.
Also understand how that intent might shape what they do or would want to do. With much press about Groupon’s negative effect on small businesses that partner with them, it’s evident that “deal” traffic needs to be handled different than “buyer” traffic.
Seasonal domains, like other high risk/reward domain areas, have somewhat of a gambling nature to them. With that in mind, they should not be your ONLY strategy. Putting all your eggs into one very risky basket can lead to disaster.
That said, don’t rule them out entirely. They can certainly supplement your other domain strategies and help get you a nice boost of revenue for the season. Amazon for instance registered many generic Black Friday domains pertaining to different categories of products they sell.