Over the last year or so I have purchased a couple of aged domains which I used to redirect to other websites to grow those faster. This move was definitely a smart one as those sites are doing very well.
But, I had never had the chance to build a website on an aged domain. So, when Sumit Kumar Bansal, the owner of SerpNames, reached out and offered the opportunity – I of course jumped. He offered me a domain of my choosing in return for this aged domain case study.
This is the first post in what will be a series of posts over the next 12 months about the domain I chose and what work was done each month.
One thing that will be different about this case study is that it will be a bootstrapped project. I do not have a ton of money – or even time – to invest, which is like many people that are interested in doing this. So, this case study will be one that most people can relate to.
I do not have 10 hours a day to invest. I do not have any contractors I can use. I do not have thousands of dollars to put into the content.
So, how does one grow a site when all of these things are against them? Well, hopefully, I can show you!
So, let’s get started!
What Is An Aged Domain?
Are you scratching your head asking “what the hell is an aged domain”?
You are probably not alone! So let me clear that up before I move on.
An aged domain is a domain that was used before but the owner may have let it go. It might be that someone let their domain drop by accident, a business closed, or someone passed away.
But they will usually have backlinks that make them valuable assets to website owners and investors. You can use them to power up your existing website with a 301 redirect or create a new website on it. A good aged domain can rank very quickly if it is used properly, and that is what this case study is about.
Aged Domain Case Study – Domain Acquisition
Below are the metrics of the domain on 4/21/22 when it landed at my registrar. Oh, wait – I did not tell you the domain did I?
Well, you are on it! ZenSpill.com is the domain I chose to do this case study with. I know, it is dumb to release the domain and niche, but I am willing to do that to have transparency.
- Domain cost: $3,499 on SerpNames
- Niche: Blogging
- Ahrefs DR: 28
- Referring domains: 188 (hubspot.com, nbcnews, neilpatel, and entrepreneur are some of the top ones)
- Backlinks: 1,770
The prior owner used the domain to help bloggers with marketing and social media advice to grow organic traffic.
Why I Chose This Domain
I kind of liked the name for one – and it rhymes with mine so I can do the whole “ZenSpill with Jill” brand. I know corny – but catchy right? Thought I could with the idea of “spilling the SEO tips to live a more zen life” type thing.
Hey, don’t judge – I am an SEO, not a brand expert!
I had been looking for a new domain to use to start delivering SEO-related tips and tools and this one fit what I was looking for. From how to do keyword research with Google Console to the best Free SEO tools, this site will be a fun place for bloggers to hang! I had previously started a site on a new domain called seotoolview.com (which no longer exists) – but decided to migrate all that content to this website as well which was a big reason for picking this one.
Of course, I took monetization into the decision as well – so let’s talk about that.
My goal is to have this site making at least $1,000 passive income per month within 12 months and $3,000 in income per month from consulting.
So, within one year I would like to have this website making $4,000 per month in revenue. Can I do it?
Here are the monetization types I will be working with:
- Affiliate. No Amazon at all, just direct partnerships with different companies.
- Ad revenue. Once I hit the metrics I will add Mediavine ads.
- Consulting. I will offer SEO consulting services to bloggers and small businesses.
- SEO Audit. I am creating a DIY SEO audit and training program that will be launched sometime in the summer.
Oh, and if you are wondering who the hell is this girl that thinks she can do SEO consulting, you can learn more about me here. But in short, I have been at this for over 15 years and have built and sold many websites over the years.
Now, my own personal goal is to up my game and get higher valuations, and improve my affiliate game!
I did not find any real issues with the domain. The only downside is that there was not a ton of old content on the site and traffic was never really that great. I know SerpNames does a great due diligence process, so I felt confident that the domain was a good one.
I did a quick check on archive.org to ensure it looked good and did not have any spam issues going on. I also looked in Ahrefs to check for bad anchor text and backlinks. Everything looked good.
The website originally went live in 2012 and looks like it only recently dropped before SerpNames grabbed it. So the fact that there was no real downtime was a good one.
I did not do as in-depth of a review process as I would for a domain I had to put money out for, so do not use the above as the only things you should check! There are a lot more checks you should do before buying an aged domain.
End of Month 1 Metrics
Below are some important metrics and data about the website for month 1.
The website officially launched on May 5, 2022.
- 13 posts were added from the old website and 3 new posts were added (for a total of 16 posts)
- 79 SEO tool posts added (from seotoolview.com)
- 28,500 words published in posts
- 16,774 words published in SEO tool posts
- Google Search Console showing 222 keywords as of May 26, 2022
There was no revenue made for the month of May.
I had no expenses for month 1. Remember, if you need to hire someone to build your website or write your content, you will need to account for those expenses.
Work Done In Month 1 (May 2022)
I received the domain in late April and started rebuilding the website in May 2022. Below are the exact things that were done in May and the baseline metrics.
Built Out Website
The first step was to create the website and get it all ready. Since I am a developer there was not cost for this. If you are considering using an aged domain for a new website you will need to include development costs if you cannot do it yourself.
- Custom built with GeneratePress
- Hosted on Cloudways
- Using ACF Bock Suite, ACF Pro, Easy Table of Contents, Generate Blocks, Happyforms, Lightweight Social Icons, RankMath, wpDataTables
Added Old Content
When doing an aged domain website you need to match the content as closely as possible to revive the link juice. The original website only had 13 articles on it, so I moved all of those to my new website.
At this time I did not change the content and added it as it was.
In month 2 I will go through and start improving and updating it. All of the articles were found on archive.org.
Added 301 Redirects
Doing 301 redirects are critical for keeping link juice and traffic flowing to your new website. Once I moved the content over, I added 301 redirects for any URLs that were different on my site than the original website.
If there are a lot of pieces of content to move, it can be cumbersome
The process was as follows:
- Analyze AHREFs “Best By Links” report for the aged domain
- Pinpoint a shortlist of old URLs that are relevant and have backlinks
- Recreate the pages as best as possible by writing new content
- Perform a 301 redirect using a WP plugin
Month 2 Roadmap (June 2022)
Here is what I am planning for month 2:
- Add another 12 new low competition articles
- Edit and update original content that was moved to the website from the old domain
- Create custom call-to-actions (CTAs) for posts
- Add popup subscribe functionality to grow a newsletter
- Start internal linking
And that is all for this month! If you have any questions about anything please do not hesitate to leave a comment below! I am doing this for YOU so go ahead and get involved!