How to register a domain name in Australia

If you wish to register a domain name in Australia, this page provides useful information on what to consider and do.

Types

You probably will have noticed domain names often end in something like .com, .net,.com.au. The way a domain name ends determines the type and is sometimes called a domain name extension. A domain name extension that contains .com denotes the website represents a commercial entity. One with .au provides a country code telling you that the website it represents is Australian. The type of domain name you choose can have an important effect on the success of your website.

For Australian businesses primarily serving customers within Australia

If you require a domain name for a website that will represent an Australian business that primarily serves Australian customers, you are advised to register a .com.audomain name.

  • Search Engine Benefit – Search Engines (like Google) are thought to favour websites with .com.au domain name over other commercial websites, for searches conducted within Australia. This means that with all other factors being equal, a.com.au website is likely to appear higher up in Australian search results than a.com.
  • Familiarity Benefit – Because most Australian business websites have .com.au domain names, Australians are more familiar with typing .com.au than .net.au. Mistakes of memory are considered to be more likely if your domain name deviates from the usual.

To register a .com.au or a .net.au domain name you must possess an Australian Business Number (ABN), an Australian Company Number (ACN), a State Business Number, a Trademark Number or an Incorporated Association Number.

For businesses serving customers world-wide

If you want your website to represent a business that serves international customers, the choice of a .com is probably better than .com.au. Because a .com doesn’t have a country code, it is an international domain name and more likely to feature higher up in the search results of other countries than if it had the .au country code. It is also familiar to people all over the world making it easier for them to trust and remember.

For fun

If you want a domain name for a fun website, it probably doesn’t matter greatly what type of domain name you register as long as you are eligible to do so.

Making it unique

As well as the type of domain name, you also need a string of characters to form a unique name for your website. You may use your business name, brand name, type of business, locality, product, service or a combination of any of the above. Allowable characters are letters (a-z), numbers (0-9) and the hyphen or minus sign (-). You cannot use spaces or any other characters. It is probably best to try and avoid using hyphens as they are somewhat difficult to communicate verbally and invite the increased likelihood of mistakes being made by potential customers.

You don’t want the inconvenience or embarrassment of registering a domain name that has a spelling that is not quite correct.

In terms of search engine success, it can be useful to do keyword research before you decide on your domain name.

One thing to be careful about is not to infringe someone else’s trademark.

You also have to check that what you want is available. If it isn’t available you will need to try for something else.

More info

Contact Steve on (02) 4227 6630 if you need any further information on registering a domain name in Australia.

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