One thing I hear from almost everyone entering into eCommce or that wants to become an Affiliate is how do I find a URL to make money or where do I start to pick one. There is no easy answer to this, but there are a few things that can potentially give you an advantage over starting from scratch and other people entering into your niche when starting your first site. Here are three tricks and things that I do when finding a url that I want to be able to rank more easily in the search engines, that could already have traffic coming to it and also potentially make money faster than a brand new one.
1. Search top ten lists from reputable sites.
One thing that I find a lot is that there are a ton of fashion, mommy and other bloggers that abandon their sites after a couple of years and no longer want anything to do with them. Some of them actually built a following and have links from very reputable sites like news blogs and news station websites, newspapers, industry or trade related sites, other bloggers and even commercial shops where they had mentioned them when the URL was live. By doing a search through Google for top ten bloggers in XYZ niche or top ten XYZ sites you can find lists with direct backlinks that can pass authority from the reputable sites. Once you find a few of these lists, go through their list and click through the links. You may end up finding one of the sites that they link to that no longer exists. I found about 5 plus sized fashion blogs and one magazine today that are a perfect fit for the HipsandCurves.com Affiliate program. Some of them had links from blog rolls from active bloggers, links from major fashion magazines and other places that are extremely relevant and could easily get the URL off to a solid start again. I am happy to look for them again and send the URLs if someone wants to know what they are and would like to use them to promote HipsandCurves.com.
2. Find a large and authoritative blog and check the blogroll.
Another way to find a url that could be good is to search through blogrolls from authoritative sites or sites that have a very large and active following. Bloggers forget they have a blogroll a lot of times and you may find some of the sites that they link to no longer exist. This could be a great way to find one that has traffic, has backlinks that are relevant to the content you will place on the URL and can potentially have traffic already coming to them. You do need to try and make sure that it wasn’t a link exchange as that could be a reason the site was abandoned. If Google found a ton of link exchanges the URL could have been hit with an update and abandoned because it no longer had traffic. I come across these sometimes when I am looking at SEO neighborhoods and trying to figure out if we should ask for a link to be taken down or try to modify it so it meets our needs for our clients on an SEO or Affiliate Marketing project.
3. How to evaluate it and see if it has potential.
There are a ton of things that go into evaluating a URL after you find one you think can work. Some things are more important than others, but here are a few of the first things I do if I am thinking about buying a URL that already existed and was abandoned. The worst thing to do, especially if you have to pay a lot for the URL, is find out you have to start from scratch or do a reconsideration request and create even more work for yourself. If you have to go through all of that then it might be easier to actually start with a new URL and from scratch. Here are some of the things you’ll want to look at before buying an abandoned URL that you want to bring back to life.
- Pull a backlink profile for the URL. I already know it has some good backlinks because I found it through one, but I also want to know what links could potentially cause damage or make it harder to rank. If it was abandoned before Penguin started hitting sites and I am going to buy and use it, I want to know what the risk is going to be with it getting hit once it goes live again or if it already got hit and that is why the previous owner gave up. If there are a ton of spammy links or keyword rich blog rolls, blog comments, etc… I am probably not going to buy it unless I can easily pull the links down. If I am going to build out the URL I don’t want to have it instantly hit by Penguin and die on me.
- Check for past content. There are a ton of ways to do this. You can look through the indexes of the search engines, see the design on the way back machine, scan for indexed copy, look for sites that scraped it, used quotes from it, etc… If it was a spammy looking site that got the links because of one or two good posts, I’ll probably leave it alone and not want to deal with it, unless it is easy to fix and make better. If there was good content I’ll contact the old owner after I buy it and ask if they have a back up and how much I could buy it for. If they won’t sell the entire database, take the url of the posts that had the backlinks and at least try to buy those from them.
- Look for social profiles. You may want to look at the major social networks that are related to the URL. If there are already accounts for the URLs, see if something brandable and similar is available. One of the ones I found this morning has a large following on Pinterest and ranks very well for a fairly high traffic term in Google. They have a direct link back to the url from their Pinboards as well. If you cannot recreate the social profiles for it or find a good alternative, you may want to leave the URL alone.
- Check and see if anyone had trademark or service marked them. One thing you don’t want to have happen is find out someone had the URL trademarked or ServiceMarked and now you may lose the URL after you did a ton of work. I have never had this happen to me, but I try not to buy any trademarks or service marks and go for general things instead. I am not a Lawyer and cannot give legal advice so I don’t actually know if they could claim the URL back so you would need to talk to a Lawyer to get a real answer.
- Use a site explorer to look at what urls have links to them, if you can use those links and write copy with relevant keyword phrases and then look for ways to monetize the content. This could be a great way to get started and if the links have traffic coming through them you could potentially start earning money once you go live.
- Ask Affiliate Managers to check and see if they’ve ever had a relationship with the URL and if there is any negative feedback on it. If there is negative feedback left because you had someone using the URL as a front to get into programs or Adsense, when you go to monetize the site, because of the negative feedback you may not be able to get into the programs or be allowed to add adsense to it without going through a long process to remove the feedback.
Tons of website owners get tired of their sites and eventually abandon them. Finding these URLs can be an amazing way to get a site going without having to start with no backlinks, authority or traffic. The main thing you need to do is a proper URL audit to see what the history of the site is and if you may end up with more work if it has a million spammy links or if you have an awesome URL that could potentially rank well and start earning money. There are a ton of abandoned sites out there that have great backlinks and a decent amount of authority. The only thing you have to do is look for them and then do an audit. If you are able to find a good one you could have a ton of the work in getting it to rank already done for you and even some traffic coming through which you can begin to monetize.