Why You Need To Register A .au Domain Name For Your Business

The highly-anticipated opportunity to register an Australian domain name has finally arrived but you only have until the middle of September to make a priority claim over a ‘.au’ domain name.

After that date, it’s open to the general public and if you haven’t lodged your priority claim, it may go to a competitor.  In other words, don’t waste time!

Remember, once you own a domain name, no-one else can use it.  And while this article outlines plenty of reasons why it makes good commercial sense to use and promote a ‘.au’ domain, there’s no harm in owning one and simply parking it.  In any event, both addresses will point to the same website.

Who can make a priority claim over a ‘.au’ domain name?

If you currently own a domain name that ends in ‘.com.au’ or ‘.net.au’ or ‘org.au’, you are eligible for a priority claim over ‘.au’ direct.  This domain is also known as a second-level domain.

Bear in mind that others can also apply for this priority claim and competing claims could be lodged. Any dispute would have to be resolved according to the rules of the ’.au’ namespace which is managed by the au Domain Administration (auDA) on behalf of the Australian Government.

Who can use the ‘.au’ domain name?

Eligibility isn’t restricted to Australian citizens or residents, but applicants are required to have a presence in Australia.  The easiest way to do this is to have a registered trade mark in Australia that that matches your domain name exactly.  Commercial entities may also be able to provide proof of their Australian presence to the auDA by way of their Australian Business Number (ABN), Australian Company Number (CAN) or business registration number.

Applicants can be businesses, individuals, families, organisations etc.

Why is a ‘.au. domain name so important?

A domain name is really important for any business, regardless of the size or nature of the operation.

It not only gives the business a unique identity and helps people find your website, it’s also essential for building credibility, authority, trust and professionalism.  Plus it plays an important role offline as well as online, reinforcing your brand identity and amplifying your marketing efforts.

This innovation to the ‘.au’ namespace is the most significant since ‘.com.au’ was launched in 1986 and it opens up a whole lot of opportunities for businesses.  For example, the ‘.au’ direct means your website address will be simpler and shorter, making it easier and more straightforward for customers to remember.  Promoting the brand and building a reputation will also be easier.

Many other countries have introduced second-level domains including the UK, New Zealand, China and Canada.  You probably have already seen websites that look like mybusiness.nz or bestcompany.uk.  The introduction of the second-level domain in Australia will give Aussie businesses a leg-up in the competitive global marketplace.

The shortened version is also easier to type!  For those organisations which engage with customers via smartphones should be falling over themselves to secure this new domain, as it will make their customers’ lives so much easier by helping to eliminate mistakes and frustration.

How do I register a ‘.au’ domain name?

You can register your new name through an authorised registrar, but it’s worth doing your homework as costs and services can vary.  You’ll find a list of accredited options on the auDA website or we recommend using VentraIP.

Who should register a ‘.au’ domain?

Existing registrants

Remember, if you have an existing ‘.com.au’ or similar domain name, you need to lodge your priority application before 20 September 2022.  If you don’t, some savvy business owner may jump ahead of you or grab the ‘.au’ direct when it opens to the public in September. And that could mean that your customers end up on a competitor’s website thinking it was yours, and you’d be powerless to do anything about it.

New businesses

If you’re starting a new business, this is a great opportunity to create a memorable (and shorter) web address.

Both existing and new businesses should consider registering multiple domain names in order to protect their brand from copycats and avoid any customer confusion.

Some quick tips for registering AU domain names

  • Check that the domain name is available by searching the WHOIS database.
  • If the one you want is unavailable, consider contacting the owner to see if they’re prepared to sell it to you.
  • Make your domain name short and memorable
  • Avoid confusing people with weird spellings
  • Don’t use numbers or hyphens in your domain name

A last word on why you need to register your AU domain name

If you don’t register your brand’s ‘.au’ domain, you could be putting your business at risk.

Someone else may secure it and trade from that website which could be extremely confusing for your customers and detrimental to your bottom-line.  It could also scupper some of your hard-earned SEO gains in terms of your Google rankings.

Karen Dauncey

Karen Dauncey has been working in SEO since 2003. She specialises in helping businesses get found online through Google using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Karen's wealth of SEO knowledge and practical digital marketing experience comes from running her own SEO and Google Ads agency, Blue Cherry Online Marketing since 2008. Karen has optimised over 1000 websites, managed millions of dollars' worth of spend on Google Ads and has a solid understanding of the constantly shifting industry of digital marketing and SEO. This gives her a unique advantage when it comes to being able to recommend the right online marketing strategies for your business.

She is the founder and creator of The SEO School an online SEO Course to help teach business owners how to do their own SEO. She regularly delivers educational programs for both Local, State and Federal Government and was an advisor for the ASBAS Digital Solutions Program. Karen’s passion and commitment to help small business owners get found online is the driving force behind her online school, making SEO advice accessible to all with free resources and online courses.

Karen has attended search engine conferences in London, Stockholm, Adelaide and Sydney, and was also invited to attend a pilot Business Coaching Course at Google’s Head Office. She has a Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK.

She is also the co-owner of the Digital Experts Directory, an online directory for female serviced-based businesses to promote their business (with a great backlink for SEO).

To keep up to date with the latest in SEO, join her Facebook group The SEO School Community or follow her on Facebook
or LinkedIn.

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