Selecting a domain name for your business is a crucial decision. Unfortunately, some of our clients often find themselves limited by what already exists. This is particularly the case for those wanting to obtain one of the popular .com domains. A .com domain is not limited to a group, anyone can make a .com domain - the trick is to first decide what you want and then secure ownership as quickly as possible. A lot of alternative domain extensions can have limitations. An example of this is that anyone applying for a .au domain needs to have a business registered in Australia. Understanding the significance of a domain name is the first step to setting up a successful website for your business. If you already have a website don’t be afraid to explore other domain name options, you may find something that is more accurately aligned with your business values and strategies.

Domain name registration in Australia

So you want to register a domain name for your Australian business. The question is what are your options and why would you choose a particular domain name over another? Here we will explore generic top level domains (gTLD) and Australian country coded second-level domains (ccTLD) to help you decide what is best for you.

Generic top level domains

gTDL Why choose this extension? Who can register this domain?
.com This is the most widely used domain extension on the internet due to its lack of governance. If you can secure your domain name as a .com it is worth registering as it is generally the first choice when a user attempts to guess your domain name. This is the least governed and controlled domain. Anyone can register.
.net This domain is the most generic domain second only to .com. This is generally preferable if your business is not location-specific enough to justify a ccTLD or your preferred domain name is unavailable as a .com address. This domain was originally created for organisations in network technologies; however this domain is now available to anyone.
.org This gTLD is also not governed, It is open to anyone however, its association with non-profit organisations is still reasonably prevalent and it may be a better choice for you than indicating your business is a company. Originally created for non-profit and non-commercial organisations however this domain is now available to anyone.


Australian country coded second-level domain

All .au domains are restricted to use by individuals, organisations, or companies registered and/or residing in Australia. During the registration process, you will be asked to supply an Australian Business Number (ABN), Australian Company Number (ACN), State Business Number, Trademark Number or Incorporated Association Number to prove your eligibility. A .au domain is perceived as more trustworthy in the Australian market than a .com or equivalent top level domain. Another benefit is that geo targeting (as used by Google) is more accurate because your website’s locality can be easily established rather than simply basing it on your server’s i.p address. One issue to consider is whether your different ccTLD domains will serve the same content or whether you will take on higher maintenance costs to maintain separate localised websites.

ccTDL Who can register this domain? Australian sole traders, businesses or companies. Australian sole traders, businesses or companies. Australian non-profit organisations and registered charities. Australian associations, clubs, sporting groups, political parties and similar groups. Australian individual citizens or residents.


Why select an .AU domain over a generic top level domain?

Creating any .au domain name is the first step towards developing an Australian web presence and getting your site noticed within local search engine results so if your service/product is local to Australia then an AU domain is going to be the most beneficial for you. However, if the top level domain name is also available then it is worthwhile purchasing this domain as well and setting it up so it redirects to your local domain to ensure you capture those users who forget to add the location extension.

Keywords VS. your brand in your domain name

Generally, your domain name should be the same as your business name as this is what is most memorable for your customers. Keywords are potentially useful as they can strengthen the ranking of your website on search engines for the targeted keywords. However, keywords should not be used in domains for search engine optimisation alone.Particularly if they compromise the memorability of the domain name. Also it is important to note that hyphenated names should be avoided as the hyphens are easy to forget and difficult to type.

Why select an .AU domain over a generic top level domain?

It’s hard to say where a business may be in the next few years but if in doubt, purchase additional domain names that may be relevant to your business both now and in the future. This is particularly important if your product or service is location-specific and you would like to tailor content based on locality.

If you are interested in exploring domain name options read the Butterfly Domain Name and Hosting packages or get in touch with Butterfly to explore your domain name options – simply submit a quick quote or call 03 90099610.