A company’s website is its home online. Social media presence is undeniably important, but a website provides unmatched credibility and trust.
Securing the right domain name is one of the first and most important steps when launching a new website. If a website is a brand’s home online, the domain name is the neighbourhood. For Australian businesses, registering a .com.au or .au domain name is a great way to connect with local customers, build trust and keep your ‘home’ secure. Local domain registry also raises your chances in Google search results.
So, let’s dive into domain registry, including a step-by-step guide on how to register a .au domain.
What is a .au domain name?
A .au domain name is a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) used to identify websites hosted locally in Australia. .au domain registry is different to the globally recognised TLDs you might know:
- .com.au, the most common type of .au domain name
- .net.au, intended for businesses providing internet-related services
- .org.au, an option for non-profit organisations
- .edu.au, used by educational institutions
- .gov.au, reserved for government agencies
Side note: You might see “.au domain” used to refer to all domains ending in .au, including those listed above. In this article, “.au domain” means the direct .au domain (i.e., not .com.au or .net.au).
Direct .au domains were released in March 2022 as a localised alternative address to classic .com.au domains. The Australian Domain Name Authority (auDA) oversees the 4.2m+ registered .au domain names.
Do you need a .com.au and .au domain name?
The ccTLD does not replace .com.au domains. It’s a complementary option to claim your corner of the internet.
We like to think about .au domain names in the same way as business names: registering more than one business name protects your company from copycats or accidental confusion.
Of all domains ending in .au, 74% are .com.au, suggesting that while .au domain registry is on the rise, most companies prefer to keep their established address.
5 reasons to register a .com.au or .au domain Name
- Trust: 76% of Australians are more likely to trust a business if its website is hosted in Australia
- Search results: auDA has a good relationship with Google and other search engines, which means Australian domain names get priority in search results.
- Local visibility: .com.au and .au domain names are more likely to appear in local search results (like “near me” searches)
- Brand recognition: 92% of people associate .com.au domain names with local businesses
- Sales: 60% of online shoppers look for .com.au or .au domains to support local businesses, and 66% seek them out so their purchase is protected by Australian laws
How to register a .au domain name
The eligibility criteria for .au and .com.au domain registration are different. To register for a .com.au domain, you need a registered business name or ABN/ACN registered with ASIC. The domain name needs to match the company name, business name or trademark, or be an acronym associated with the registered business name.
However, .au domain registration rules are a little looser. According to auDA’s guidelines for .au domain registry, “A Person applying for a licence in the .au direct namespace must have an Australian presence ”.
The guidelines also state, “.au direct domain names will be allocated according to the Priority allocation process set out in the .au Direct Priority Rules.”
In short, the Direct Priority Rules outline the process for .com.au, .net.au and .org.au domain owners to claim their matching .au domain. Those domains that weren’t claimed during the Priority Allocation Period are now available on a first-come, first-served basis unless they’re contested by the company.
This can all get pretty confusing. Let’s simplify things.
Domain registry step-by-step guide
- Register your business name or ABN/ACN
- Search for available .com.au domain names
- Register your domain name for just $77
- Renew your domain registry every year
If you have an existing website, registering a .au domain name is almost the end of the process. You only need to transfer domain registration from your old address to the new one or redirect traffic to ensure your visitors can still find you.
For new websites, there are a couple extra steps before your ‘home online’ is ready to receive guests.
A web host is a company that provides space on their servers for your website data. There are many different web hosts to choose from, so it’s worth your time to compare offerings. Essential features include daily backups, redirect domains, large storage (at least 10GB) and hosting on Australian servers.
Build a website
Once you find a web host, you can build your site. Like hosting, there are many website builders available. However, it’s often easier to bundle domain registry, hosting and website building with a single full-service partner like Registry Australia.
Ready to register your .au domain?
Choosing a .au domain name is a great way to connect with local customers, build trust and grow your business.
If you are planning a new website or looking to amplify your presence online, Registry Australia is your one-stop solution. As well as affordable com.au domain registry, we provide 100% Australian web hosting, custom email addresses and a free website builder.
Get the support you need from Registry, Australia’s small business partner.