With your business name now registered, paid for and confirmation received. It’s time to focus on registering your domain name.
“What is a domain name?” I hear you ask!
A domain name is simply your address on the internet – your website address, or what tech-savvy people refer to as your URL. Quite simply, it’s the way your customers find you online. These days, an online presence is vital to the success of most small businesses.
Having said that though, domain registration isn’t compulsory. So, if it doesn’t resonate with you, then there’s no need to go down this track at all. However, unless you have some superpowers and can look into the future and know you’ll definitely never want to take your business online, I would, at the very least, register and hold a domain name, just in case.
My first tip is to do your research before you start this process. Look around at the different domain name providers, what they bundle, and what they offer to a new domain owner. Most will be happy to bundle domain name registration with hosting, for example, and some will even offer discounted website building etc. As with everything, do your research, find the bundle that you need and once you’ve chosen your business name, go to your preferred provider and start the registration process.
Be warned: there’s a difference between registering a domain name, and registering a business name. Domain registration simply secures the URL. In Australia, you must register your business name if you want to trade using that name . That’s why it’s always best to pick and register your business name first. You can then consider trade marking your business name for further protection.
It’s always tempting to outsource this process, but registering your domain isn’t difficult, and doing it yourself will save you money.
Should I register .com.au or .com or both?
If you’re running an Aussie business, then I’d definitely consider registering both the .com.au and the .com extensions for your business.
The .com.au extension identifies you as an Australian business, which builds trust with the local audience. It will also rank higher on local search engines. There is a catch though: Aussie businesses can only register the .com.au extension if they meet certain requirements.
According to the Australian Domain Name Policy, in order to be eligible to register a .com.au extension, registrants must be one of the following:
- An Australian Registered Company;
- Trading under a business name in any Aussie State or Territory;
- An Australian sole trader or partnership;
- A foreign company that is licensed to trade in Australia;
- The owner of, or applicant for a registered Australian Trade Mark;
- An Australian commercial statutory body.
You can now register .com.au extensions for a minimum period of one year and a maximum of five years, so shop around. The .com.au is usually more expensive, but it’s worthwhile making that investment if you intend to operate a business within Australia.
You never know what the future will bring, so it’s also a good idea to protect your IP and your business future by registering the .com extension. Even if you’re not currently planning to sell overseas, you might one day decide to expand, so it’s good to know that a potential competitor cannot acquire your domain and the receiving any benefits that may come with owning it. Occasionally, you hear sad stories of people who left that step too late – and lived to regret it.
For more information on domain registration in Australia, complaint resolution, or finding registered domain providers or resellers, check out auDA, the administrator of the .au domain space in Australia.
Hopefully your business name and domain name align with no issues. If they don’t, however, or if you’re still in the process of choosing a name for your business and domain names, then consider this:
- Your business and domain name should represent your brand;
- Make sure whatever you choose is easy to understand, spell and pronounce;
- Avoid dashes, underscores and symbols; Just. Too. Hard!
- Ensure your name is short and preferably unique.
Next step, let’s get your socials registered!