Have you ever used one of those online domain worth calculators to see how much you could get for a website?
Whether you want to buy or sell a domain or are just curious to see what your site could sell for, keep in mind that most of these sites serve little more than entertainment purposes.
Most Website Worth Calculators Get it All Wrong
If you have put an effort into building up a website or a blog, you may have been tempted to find out how much the site is worth. Even if you are not planning on selling your site, finding out it's potential worth puts a tangible value to all your hard work. Who couldn't use a nice pat on the back (or on the other end, get some motivation to build up areas of the site that are weak)?
But after personally experimenting with some of these sites, you may want to take any results you get with a grain of salt. Here are three of the biggest problems I've found:
1. The statistics are often inaccurate. For those of you who have actually plugged in your URL on any of these sites, if you pay attention, the statistics they come up with are often inaccurate. I've noticed for my own domains that typical statistics such as the age of the domain, traffic information, the number of quality backlinks, the number of pages indexed by the major search engines, and the estimated amount of income generated from the site, can often be way off the mark on any given website worth calculator, and as I'll explain below, these are some of the key factors that go into determining a site's true value.
2. Long domain names automatically devalue the site. The general rule of thumb is shorter is better when it comes to domain names. Your site may also receive negative points if the name includes various symbols, such as hyphens or underscores. This certainly makes sense in terms of ascetics and ease of typing (how much value would you really attach to a site named goodlegalbusinessadvice_4u.com?) But sometimes a longish name can be both professional looking and catchy, and thus easy to remember, such as ducttapemarketing.com and toiletpaperentrepreneur.com.
The owners of these sites built up a brand, so the length of the domain name matters less. Which brings me to my next point...
3. The more subjective measures of value fall through the cracks. Online calculators that claim to appraise the value of your website, often fail big time when it comes to measuring things like online reputation, brand value, demand for the domain, and commercial potential. Computer programs just can't be subjective no matter how sophisticated they get. These are measurements more suited for humans.
And a final point... While there may be some ways to concretely measure a site's expected sale price, often the value of a website will be determined by the buyer, not the seller. For example, let's make up theoretical niche site, say, hamradiogeeks.com. We'll give it some statistics:
- Page rank: 3
- Unique visits a day on average: 500
- Domain Age: 2 years
- Income: $100 a month from Adsense and the like
You get the idea...
The owner of this site thinks it's great and so do its users. There's a pretty active forum and a blog with unique content, and not surprisingly, it attracts people who love to talk about their ham radios. If the owner of the site decides to sell it, the amount of money he receives could differ dramatically depending on who he sells it to:
- A loyal user or fan may purchase the site for a few thousand dollars.
- The founder of a new national ham radio club may like the catchy name and the current group of followers and be willing to offer tens of thousands for the site.
- An established electronics corporation decides it wants the brand and the domain name for it's next line of products and would offer as high as a hundred thousand dollars.
Though this is an extreme example, things like this can and do happen in the world of Internet real estate.
So How Does One Determine the Value of a Website?
If you are itching to know how much your site is worth, aside from turning to an online site worth calculator, you could hire the assistance of human website appraiser. The fee may be worth it especially if you believe you could get a significant amount of money for the domain.
But if you don't want to spend the money, then realize that your site's value can be determined by any combination of the following factors (in brief):
- What is the length and make up of the domain name as well as the domain extension (i.e. .com and .net do better then .info or .org)?
- What is the cost and the amount of effort required to maintain the site?
- What is the online reputation, brand, and social presence of the site and its owner?
- What is the amount and make up of the traffic to the site? How do they get to your site?
- What is the number and quality of backlinks to the site?
- What is the current income generated from the site?
- What is the commercial potential. Can you get well paying advertisers on the site? Can the site be used to sell something directly?
- Is there search rank visibility? Are pages of your site indexed? What page rank does the site and its pages have?
- What is the quality of the current content on the site? Will it be included with the sale?
- What is the anticipated buyer demand for such a site?
In short, if you want to know the true value of your website then realize though you may reach an estimate, at the end of the day, it is really in the eye of the beholder.