The second option requires a bit more time and effort than a 301 redirect. You could do a mini overhaul of the site and turn it into a microsite for your main domain. This option is good for exact-match domains for your targeted keyword, and there are other reasons for going the microsite route that Rand's highlighted in his post about root domains, subdomains, subfolders and microsites. This strategy also works better if the old domain has decent rankings for the keywords you're targeting.
The great thing about this is that it’s kind of like a metasearch engine for all the places that you can find expired domains around the web. First, let’s look at deleted domains. Okay? To do that, you go click on the deleted domains button here and then click on any top level domain that you want to get. I prefer .com because it’s obviously the most common top level domain.
Namejet is a domain clearing house (at least that is my term for it). What happens is that people let their domain names expire everyday. Some people just don’t need their domain anymore, some people forget to renew it, some people die, I mean there can be hundreds of reasons why a domain will not be renewed. What the domain registrars want to do is cash in on the domain that someone forgot to renew, so they offer that domain to Namejet to auction it to the general public. Think of it like a storage unit, someone doesn’t make their payment and the storage company hires an auctioneer to come and auction the storage unit to the general public. Namejet is doing this but for domain names. The bid for each domain starts at $69. What I LOVE about Namejet is the process… they let you search through the domains that are coming up for auction 30 days in advance. Whoever places a $69 bid on a domain will be entered into an auction when the 30 days runs out with everyone else who placed a bid. If you are the only bidder than you get the domain for $69. If there are 10 other bidders than there is a closed auction, meaning only you 10 guys can bid now against each other in a 3 day auction with the highest bidder taking the domain when the clock strikes zero. I love this because let’s say there is a great domain and it flies under the radar. If it goes to auction with only 3 or 5 or 7 bidders my chances of winning this domain at a very low price are great. I’ve won domains for $100 which I was able to flip for $2,000. I won a domain for $2,500 which I flipped within 4 months for $7,500. I won a domain for $1,000 which I’ve turned down $5,000 offers on because I think I can get $10,000 for it. The key is to not overpay in order to leave yourself plenty of room to turn a profit when you flip the domain.
Once you have a name in mind, how do you know if the price is fair? I like to use namebio.com to compare the domain I’m thinking about buying with similar domains that have sold. You can enter the keyword and also use some advanced search features to see a list of names similar to yours, what they actually sold for, and when they sold. You can also research current domain sales on venues like GoDaddy Auctions and Afternic. Finally, Ron Jackson issues a weekly report on DN Journal that covers the top public sales of the week. You can use all these resources to help you price your domains correctly.
In order to maintain ownership of a domain, you must renew it yearly. If you don’t, it “expires”. An expired domain goes through several stages before being released again for general registration. The process differs slightly from one registrar to another but it’s more or less the same. GoDaddy explains what happens to domains that expire with them here.
While numbers like those above are impressive, most domains sell for significantly less extravagant prices and are generally in the two or three-digit range. Not long ago, those who were able to secure general terms (like icecream.com or pizza.com) not protected by trademark rights often found themselves sitting on virtual gold mines. The glory days of this boom have long since passed, and those looking for a profit in today’s market needto have a keen sense for coming trends.
They see a domain’s price tag and they can instantly tell whether it’s under or overvalued. This is probably the most important skill one should have in this industry. Neil Patel has an interesting related quote: “The most important thing to remember when buying sites is that you always make money on the buy, never the sell.” In order to successfully do this, you must be able to spot undervalued domains. This is what will ultimately translate for you into a handsome profit margin when you get the opportunity to resell the domain for its “real value”.