What Is Domain Parking and Why Do I Need It?
Once you’ve come up with the perfect domain name for your online business, the next step is to register the name through a registrar – in many cases the hosting service you’ve chosen. Once registered, you’re still not hooked up to the I-net, i.e. you lack any presence on the w3.
To show up at all, you have to park your domain. Parking simply means your domain is registered and has a route to and from the web. People can find you by typing in www.whateveryoursitesnameis.com. The point of parking a domain name? Several.
Search Engine Recognition
When you park your domain on a web host server, it is there. It exists. It’s real, even though there’s no website behind it. Just a few bytes for a single page. However, the simple step of parking a domain will make your domain recognizable to search engines. That’s a good thing. Even though there’s no content, the SE spiders will know your site is there. And being discovered by SE spiders can take time so park it ASAP and get the recognition process underway.
You won’t get any traffic through the natural results of search engine indexing because there’s no content or anything useful to the search engine user – yet. But you can tell all your friends and family to visit your site and start generating some traffic before your website is even started. In the world of ecommerce, every little bit helps – especially when you’re just starting out.
A registered domain name is a commodity. Domains are bought, sold and traded everyday – thousands of them. In fact, there are many domain brokers who will list your site and even put the name up for auction. A lot of people register domain names just to park them and put out the ‘For Sale’ sign.
If you’re interested in domain ‘homesteading’ – registering domains for fun and profit - use the services of a low-cost domain registration service, often associated with low-cost hosting companies. Many of these web hosts will register domains in bulk for as little as $2.95 per.
Do the math. Register 100 exceedingly clever domain names at $2.95 per and your registration costs are under $300. Your potential return, which of course depends on buyers’ interest, is significantly higher than your outlay. Good domain names are hard to find with more and more being registered daily so businesses are willing to pay big bucks for a good one.
Here’s an example. In 1996 a Denver-based publishing company registered the domain name Caboodle.com for the release of a new publication. When the publisher finished with the promotion, he kept the domain name on the off chance that someone might want to buy it.
Offers trickled in at first, usually in the $50 to $100 range. At last check, the publisher had been offered $2,000 for Caboodle.com. And he’s holding out for more. The fact is, he’ll get it because it’s a good name for a number of online businesses.
Obviously, the homesteading model falls to pieces if you have to pay monthly hosting fees – even really, really low hosting fees. Those 100 domain names you registered in bulk could easily end up costing you $600 to $700 a month if you have to pay for server space.
Make sure you get free parking for all domains registered through the host/registrar. Good hosts will let you park them for free so shop around and don’t pay anything for the tiny bit of server space your parked domain takes up.
Provide Contact Information
In the case of a ‘For Sale’ domain, parked on a host server, it’s helpful to provide at least a short form that potential buyers can complete. Good web hosts provide free tools and applications to create a simple, secure online form. Again, never pay for parking or site apps.
At the very least, include an email link so any potential buyer can contact you with an offer.
The most common use of domain parking is for sites under construction. If your site is simple and straightforward, you can be up and running in a few hours. No need for a “Coming Soon” sign.
On the other hand, if you’re creating a complex, deep site with lots of product offerings and a detailed back office, it could take several weeks to get everything just right before you launch. But that doesn’t mean you have to remain invisible to the public or to search engines. Go public with your site even as you’re building it.
This is a good idea because you can actually generate “type-in” traffic, SE acknowledgement and public curiosity. You may not get 10,000 hits a day while your site is in development, but you’ll get some. More importantly, you’ll be picked up by search engine spiders faster – before you launch.
Remember, look for a host that registers domain names in bulk at a low per registration price. Shop around. You’ll find registrars who will register a domain for one year for as little as $2.95. Some even offer FREE domain registration when you sign up for hosting services for 12 months. It saves a few bucks.
Your web host should also provide free parking for your domains registered through that host. If the host you’re considering charges a parking fee, keep looking. You can get it free.
If you’re domain homesteading, provide contact information on each of your parked sites so buyers can reach you to discuss terms. Find a host that gives you free tools and applications to create a contact information page for each site on the block.
And look for other hosting services and features. You want security to protect your digital realty, 24/7 tech support and lots of freebies. The hosting industry is hard-edged competitive so companies have to offer more for less all of the time.
So, take your time to find the right host, even if you’re just parking.