Did you know there are over 300 million registered domain names worldwide? While that may seem like an enormous number, it’s actually unsurprising given domain names are such a crucial ingredient for being discoverable online.
So, which domain names should you choose? How do you register them? And what exactly are they anyway?
Here’s a comprehensive rundown of everything you need to know when it comes to domain names.
What is a domain name?
Instead of needing to access a website via its IP address (which is a long and complex string of numbers), a domain name is a simple and user-friendly way for users to be directed to a website of their choosing. For example, our domain name is itt.com.au.
Through a process known as DNS lookup, domain names are translated to IP addresses so browsers can be directed to the relevant website.
Domain names are also important from a branding and positioning point of view. A domain name should immediately represent what the website is about, for example, a business name. For businesses to stay competitive in the current business environment it’s important they have a domain name which reflects their brand and is easy to remember.
The rules when it comes to choosing a domain name
[Text Wrapping Break]There are limits around what you can include in a domain name. The only characters allowed are letters, digits and a hyphen (-), and spaces aren’t allowed. The domain name should be between 3 and 63 characters long. Domain names are also not cAsE sEnSiTiVe – so ITT.com.au is the same as itt.com.au.
When it comes to domain name extensions such as .com, .net, .com.au, .org, .tv, .au and so on, there are also certain things you will need to consider.
If you’re purchasing a domain name for an Australian company or organisation which only services the Australian market you will want to select options with the com.au and .au domain extension. This will give you better visibility to Australian users via search engines and is better for branding. However, if you offer services globally, you may be better to opt for .com or other global options.
The shorter .au extension (without .net or .com ahead of it) is new as of March 2022. To register for this extension you must have an Australian presence. In order to access the .au extension you will need to also own the associated .com.au and/or .net.au extension.
There are also rules and regulations that apply when registering domain names with the .au extension. To register .com.au and .net.au domains, you need to be a sole trader, business, or company and provide an Australian Business Number (ABN). To register .org.au domains your organisation must be a non-profit organisation or registered charity. To register a .asn.au domain, your organisation must be a non-profit Australian association, club, sporting group or political party.
Registering a domain name
Domain registration is an important step in establishing a website. Domain names are managed by domain providers (like IT&T). For anyone who wants to create a website they will need to register a domain name for it with a domain provider.
To register a domain name in Australia, the process is easy. You simply need to look up whether the domain name you want is available, make sure you’re eligible for that domain name and extension, register and purchase the domain name with the domain provider of your choice and ensure you renew it when required.
If you want to switch to a different domain provider, you do have the option to transfer your domain names from one provider to another. Reasons for this include cheaper rates, better service or the simplicity of managing all domain names in one place.
When you register a domain name it will be registered with your provider of choice for a fixed amount of time, usually between one and 10 years. Once that time passes, the domain name will expire and will no longer be yours. At that stage it can be purchased by another buyer unless you renew the domain. If you forget to renew your domains in a timely manner, this can have serious consequences as you can lose access to your website and email temporarily or for good. This is why staying on top of domain renewal dates and renewing promptly is so important.
Registering multiple domains
It’s a good idea to purchase multiple domain names with different extensions such as net.au or .com so that competitors or other businesses can’t buy up domain names similar to yours. This can dilute your presence online or confuse potential customers. This can be confusing for the user and make it harder for you to rank well via search engines. The best strategy is to select a domain name which is available across many formats and purchase them all.
Looking to register a domain name? Get in touch with us today to discuss your domain name needs.