As a domain investor there are many aspects of the domain industry you need to get into and get versed about. In order to do your job well and stay profitable either by buying domain names or selling them, you need a right set of tools to do the job. Sure you can do the job manually if you have dozen or two domain names but then you are only a small proprietor not an investor. To have manage hundreds or thousands domain names you need to have the right tools.
First tool you need to be aware and have to look into before you decide to invest in a domain name is keyword research tool. Whether you are going to have a domain name for further development or you are starting a web business with the brand name, keyword research is the first important aspect of domain name you have to look into before you purchase domain name. In order to help you assess the domain name worth for your business the first tool you can use is Google Adwords keyword tool. The Google Adwords account is free to register and you do not have to invest money in Adsense campaign in order to use its keyword research tool.
When you are basing your domain investment funding you also need to be aware of potential of domain names similar to the one you are targeting. To do that you need to do a competitor research. Best tool of the trade for such a research is Yahoo Site Explorer. Once you have researched keywords for your target market using Google Adwords you can use those keywords in various search engines and point out first ten hits for each. Then you can use the URL results from the search engines to do a site research using Yahoo Site Explorer. This will give you a high or low ballpark where your competitors rank and how do they fare on a search engine optimization and backlinks.
Before you invest the funds, next thing you need to do is to research the domain name seller. Internet is a vast space where you cannot be sure with whom you are dealing. To assess seller maturity and seriousness you can start with simple name search in the search engines like Google. Once you see there are no overly negative impressions you could continue on Google Blog and Groups search. Be aware that forums and blogs tend to be not serious and you should not weight too much on those results. Finally conducting a funds and ownership transfer should be done by a serious company with escrow capability like Sedo.com.
Finally once you have transferred domain name to your portfolio you need to do a proper presentation. Even without a content you are interested in a visitors, their country of origin and other traffic statistics. For this you can use AwStats server based traffic assessment tool or you can integrate with Google Analytics, highly popular traffic analytics tool. Companion to Google Analytics are Google Webmaster Tools which can help you see your site from the eyes of the Google robots and correct any inconsistencies it finds.