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Complete Guide to Domain Flipping [2021 Guide]

By Forrest | Last Updated: August 6, 2021

If you haven’t heard of domain flipping yet, don’t worry, many people haven’t. Flipping domains can be an extremely lucrative side hustle capable of making you thousands of dollars per month by acquiring the right domains and selling them for a profit.

Need a reason to give domain flipping a try?? It's EASY! Super easy. And it requires as little as $10 to get started. That's right. For the same cost as your next lunch, you could get started flipping domains.

The process is simple. Just like flipping furniture or anything else, you’ll need to purchase your inventory (domain names in this case) before selling it for a profit. 

In this post, I’ll explain how you can get started flipping domains, how to pick the perfect domain names, how to sell a domain name, and much more. Keep reading to learn how you can start making money with domain flipping in no time!

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What is a Domain?

In simplest terms, a domain is the “name” of a website. Therefore the domain for my website is “dontworkanotherday.com”.

According to Wikipedia, a domain is “an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control within the Internet.”

You can think of domain names in the same terms as an address for your home. Where your home has a street number and road, a domain name uses the same structure to find and locate a website. Similar to your home, there can only be one address. Each domain is unique. Because there can only be one address, this is where domain flipping comes into play.

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What is Domain Name Flipping?

Domain names can be extremely lucrative, and companies (or people) are willing to pay top dollar for some of the premier names. For example, a domain with a name like “sidehustles.com” might be worth significantly more than another domain. Typically, shorter domains will be worth much more than longer domains. More on this below!

Domain flipping is the process in which you purchase a domain and sell it for a profit. The price you can sell your domain for is completely arbitrary.

When flipping domain names, you'll need to put in the time and effort to succeed. You can check out the video below to learn how this person has made great money flipping domains.

If you're looking for something more lucrative, you might give website flipping a try.

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Related: How to Make Money While You Sleep

How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?

Before getting started with domain name flipping, you’ll want to keep in mind your budget. The good news is that registering a domain name can be extremely affordable. You will typically pay anywhere from $10 to $25 per year to register your domain. You can pick up a domain for less than $10 on NameCheap!

Because purchasing a domain is so affordable, domain flipping can be a great side hustle for those without a large amount of money. 

Where Can I Purchase a Domain Name?

There are many registrars available to purchase domain names. Some are less expensive than others. Some of my favorite domain registrars are NameCheap and GoDaddy. Namecheap offers domains starting for as little as $8.88 per year.

Purchase your next domain with NameCheap here!

Some other options include:

  • Domain.com
  • BlueHost.com
  • Name.com
  • Google Domains

How to Flip Domains

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How to Flip Domain Names to Make Money

Now that you know what domain name flipping is, are you ready to get started? Let me show you how!

Find Strong Domain Names to Sell

The first step in flipping a domain is to find the right domain. This can take hours of research and some good old fashioned luck.

To find a domain name, go to any domain registrar and search based on topics you think would be a good candidate.

Some domain flippers have software that helps to analyze a domain name to lessen the time it takes to vet a domain. 

Once you’ve found a good domain name, purchase it with a registrar. It typically costs around $10 annually to keep a domain. Not sure if your domain is a good candidate? Don’t worry, I’ll help you decide below.

Looking to make more money? Check out my complete post on making money online for beginners!

Related: Best Items to Flip

Where to Sell Domain Names

Sell the Domain Name

Selling domain names can be equally as challenging as finding them. There are a few platforms you can consider listing your domain for sale on. One of my favorites is Flippa. They will take a percentage of the sale so be sure to consider that before listing, but the process is relatively easy.

Another option is to sell the domain privately, but this can be more difficult for those without connections. You can do this in a few ways.

The first is by creating a landing page for your domain where you can include your contact info and the price of the domain (if desired).

I highly recommend using a landing page builder to create enticing landing pages so visitors can easily see some of the information about the domain. 

TIP: By using a landing page you can also list any other related domains you might have for sale. This way, even if the buyer isn't interested in the domain they landed on, they might considering purchasing another one from your portfolio.

The second method is to make your WHOIS information public so that others can see who the domain is registered to and some basic contact info.  If you choose to make this information public, you might encounter more spam emails and inquiries, so keep that in mind.

Finally, listing your domain for sale in public Facebook groups could be another way to potentially sell your domain name. 

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How Hard is Reselling Domain Names?

The most difficult part of flipping domains is finding the right domain to purchase. This will often be the most time-consuming step. Once you have a system in place domain flipping can become much easier. 

As you become more experienced with domain flipping, you should get a good idea of what domain names tend to sell for a higher price than others. 

In general, however, flipping domains is relatively easy and can be completed from anywhere making it a perfect low-stress job.

Tips to Find the Perfect Domain to Flip

Below are some tips to help you find the right domain name to make money domain flipping!

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Purchase an Expired Domain

An expired domain is a domain in which the person or company that registered the domain stopped paying for it. After this occurs, the name will become expired and typically goes into an auction. You can then bid on expired domains to purchase.

Why would you want an expired domain name?

A few reasons. The first benefit is the name itself. It's possible to find high-value domains that are expired.

The second reason you might consider purchasing an expired domain is because of its SEO value. Just because a domain name is expired, doesn't mean the links pointing to that domain disappear. These links can be extremely powerful in terms of SEO. By redirecting the domain to another URL, you will pass a significant portion of the “link juice” to the new domain.

How can you measure the amount of “link juice” for an expired domain?

There are multiple tools you can use that all have metrics to determine the SEO value of a domain. Two of my favorite tools, Moz and Ahrefs both have scores that are associated with a domain rating how much “link juice” they have.

Moz first founded the term “Domain Authority” that aims to depict how easy it will be for your website or domain to rank in Google. The rank is on a 100 point scale with 100 being the highest rating available. The rating considers several factors including backlinks, domain age, and more.

So what is a good domain authority?

This answer is completely subjective, but I believe that a domain with a domain authority of 20 or higher would be an excellent candidate to flip. This domain should have a good ranking potential in Google and other search engines.

Word of warning: it’s not perfect.

While Moz and Ahrefs have done a great job of measuring a domains' “rankability”, you should use it with caution. Some domains could rank high with these tools but be banned from Google with a manual penalty or contain many toxic backlinks. These should be avoided.

You'll want to analyze the backlinks to the domain with these tools. If you find that the domain has strong links from authority sites like CNBC, Kitchn, or other well known sites, this is usually a very good sign the domain has significant value. 

Purchasing expired domains to flip can be a great way to increase your income potential and diversify your domain portfolio. 

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Look for Short Domains

Shorter domain names are inherently worth more.

Why?

Because they're easier to type in and easier to remember. With that said, you might find that these domains are more expensive up front, so you'll want to determine how much you might be capable of selling it for before making your purchase.

If you're capable of finding a short domain name, it's best to purchase it before someone else does. These domains can be scooped up in a matter of seconds, so it's worth a shot.

The majority of short domains have already been acquired under the “.com” extension, however as other extensions become more popular this provides tremendous opportunity. 

For example, a short domain like “sidehustles.co” could be a top tier domain even though it doesn't end with “.com”.

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Acquire Local Domains

Local small businesses popup all of the time. By acquiring common domain names for these businesses, you’ll be capable of selling them to local small business owners looking to get started.

For example, a domain like “houstoncleaning.com” might be a great domain to purchase because of its’ local aspect and it is super easy to remember. 

Local domains tend to work well for SEO because it tells search engines where your business is located without having to analyze the page for its content. 

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Find New Untapped Domains

Another great way to find a domain to flip is by searching what’s available. Sometimes you might land on a goldmine of domains. Recently, I purchased the domain “savecashfast.com”. While I haven’t sold it quite yet, I do believe it might be worth a nice chunk of change considering I paid less than $10 for it.

Sometimes you just have to get lucky when you flip a domain. By purchasing a domain name that has no current value, you might be surprised how much it can increase as domain names become rarer. 

Opt to Purchase .COM Extensions

Today you can purchase many different kinds of website extensions. If you’ve ever seen a website end in “.co” or “.net”, these extensions are usually purchased if the “.com” extension has already been taken.

By purchasing a .com domain name, you’ll be much more likely to sell your domain and make money.

The downside of these domain names is that they tend to be more expensive when purchasing through an auction. However, whenever you flip a domain with a .com extension, you're likely to be more profitable. 

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Purchase “Brandable” Domains

Some domains are easier to brand than others. For example, a domain titled “iHeartLifting.com” would be easier to brand than a domain with random letters and numbers like “hsuw.com”.

These brandable domains are perfect for flipping. When buying domains, try to find ones that are easily brandable as a business or service.

These domains tend to be slightly more lucrative if you can find the right one. You can think of this method as “high risk high reward”. Although at the end of the day, you're only risking $10 per year.  

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Absolutely! There is nothing wrong with buying and selling domains for a profit. There are many domain flippers who make a full-time income buying and selling domains.

The only legal trouble you could face is if you purchase a domain that is obviously related to a current business. 

For example, if for some reason Apple forgot to renew their domain name, I could purchase the name although because of UDRP laws, I could face a legal battle that could cost a fortune. 

Ultimately, you won't face any legal trouble as long as you don't purchase a domain name that has obviously been copyrighted.  

How Much Money Can You Make Domain Flipping?

Some people have made hundreds of thousands of dollars flipping just one, yes ONE, domain! Domains such as z.com, toys.com, and slots.com all sold for over $5 million, just for the domain name!

Now, there’s a good chance you won’t run into any of these domains in 2021, however, the ability to make money still exists. Even if you can purchase a domain name for $10 and sell it for $100, that’s a $90 profit. Multiply that by 100 domains and you can easily make an extra $9,000 annually from this side hustle.

Domain flipping can be as profitable as you can make it. Every time you flip a domain name you can then reinvest your profits and buy another domain to flip.

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Tips to Make More Money Flipping Domains

Here are some tips to help boost your income buying and selling domain names.

Do Your Research

As I’ve mentioned, ensuring you purchase the right domain is critical to making money flipping domains. You should carefully analyze any and all aspects of a domain before you decide to purchase it.

One thing I always do before purchasing any expired domain is looking at its' history using the website WaybackMachine. This website offers a digital archive of just about every domain registered. You can access screenshots of the domains' history to get a good idea of what content was previously hosted on the domain.

Check for Penalties or Bans

Before purchasing any expired domain, you'll want to ensure it isn't banned by Google as this can crush its value.

You can check to see if a domain is in trouble using isbanned.com or bannedcheck.com.

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Give it Time

One common mistake when flipping domains, is selling it too early. Make sure you give your domain some time before selling it for a small profit. You might be surprised

Depending on the popularity of your domain, it might be wise not to take the first offer and instead get multiple offers before deciding to sell.

Consider Investing in a Tool

If you’re interested in purchasing an expired domain, there are several tools you can use to quickly browse many different auctions and domain stats. These tools will offer an easy way to view the domain authority of many different domains, their cost, and several other factors worth considering.

If you’re planning on becoming a high volume domain flipper, these tools can become essential to grow your side hustle.

Don't Forget About Taxes

As with any side hustle, Uncle Same will certainly want his portion of your profits. If you buy and sell a domain name for a profit, remember to set aside some money so you don't incur a large tax bill at the end of the year. 

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Consider Turning Your Domain Into a Profitable Website

Sometimes you might come across a domain that is a great option to build a profitable website on and instead of flipping it, you can choose to build a business out of it.

Whether your goal is to start a blog, build an e-commerce business, or grow various other types of websites, it's important to remember that it's okay to NOT flip a domain just because it may be profitable. You may have the possibility of making significantly more money by keeping the domain and growing a business with it. Once your business and website have grown, then you could consider selling it to cash in on your efforts.

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Run Your Business as a Business

While you might not think of domain flipping as a business, it certainly is. And for that reason, you'll want to run it just like any other business – keeping track of your income and expenses. 

As you acquire more and more domain names, your expenses will start to rise and you might start becoming less profitable. Try to keep your expenses low and cash flow positive to grow your business.

If you are working your business as a side hustle and don't have a significant amount of time, you might consider hiring a VA to help you find valuable domain names.  

Is Domain Flipping Risky?

As with any business, there is some slight risk to domain flipping. But here’s the good news: your losses can be extremely small. Because a domain name only costs roughly $10 annually, that’s the amount you can lose.

With that said, if you end up purchasing hundreds of domain names, those annual renewal costs can become costly so you’ll want to ensure you have a plan for each domain.

Dome name flipping can be as risky as you make it. 

Why I Recommend Domain Flipping

As with any side hustle or business idea, there are several benefits and drawbacks. Below, I’ll give you some of the top reasons I recommend flipping domain names to make money.

Low Barrier to Entry

As previously mentioned, getting started with domain flipping can cost less than $10 making it a great option for almost anyone. Because you can purchase a domain name for so cheap, you can easily scale your business.

Unlimited Income Potential

The amount of money you can make flipping domains is virtually limitless. If you're capable of scaling your business, you could even hire someone to complete the research step in purchasing domains, one of the most time-consuming pieces. This will help you to flip more domains and make more money.

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Low Risk

Because the barrier to entry is so low, your losses are somewhat limited. A failed domain flip will cost you somewhere around $10 to $20, depending on how long you’ve had the domain name. When you compare that to the amount of money you could make, domain flipping is a no brainer!

Low Competition 

Because domain flipping is a relatively new concept, your competition is not as stiff as other businesses or side hustles. When you flip domains, you'll mainly be competing against others similar to you. 

Work as a Nomad

The flexibility domain flipping offers can be a major selling point for those looking to start a side hustle. You can flip a domain from anywhere with a computer and internet connection. That's right, you could work on the beach and still make money each time you buy and sell a domain name.

If working remotely is valuable to you, I'd definitely recommend you try flipping a domain name or two. 

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Easy to Get Started

Anyone can start purchasing a domain name and selling it to prospective buyers. There is no special education required. 

Domain flipping can be the perfect side hustle for anyone with a little time and desire to make money. 

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Final Thoughts on Making Money Flipping Domain Names

Flipping domain names can become an extremely profitable side hustle for anyone with a computer and internet connection.

To get started, you’ll first need to find a domain name to purchase at a good price. Then, you’ll need to find potential buyers to sell your domain. You can sell domains a variety of ways including auctioning them on websites like Flippa or you can choose to sell it privately. Many domains can be sold in less than a few weeks, making it a quick way to make a few hundred dollars each month. 

Domain flipping is a great low-risk side hustle for just about anyone and I would 100% recommend it for anyone with even the smallest amount of technical skills.

Have you ever flipped a domain name? Comment your experience below!

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Forrest is a personal finance, entrepreneurship, and investing enthusiast dedicated to helping others obtain life long wealth. He owns several different blogs and is also passionate about health and fitness.