Your domain name is special. It’s your website’s signature; a name that you chose and that no one else can have. With that in mind, you may be wondering why registering for a .au domain matters, or even if it’s worth your time.
What’s changing and when?
A new type of direct domain name has been introduced in Australia by auDA (.au Domain Administration Limited). Now, your domain name can end with a .au. From 24 March to 20 September, existing domains can register to become a .au domain. After 20 September, the new domains will be available to other organisations (registration requirements still apply).
What’s the difference between .au and .everything else?
.au functions the same as any other domain, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t differences. For example, a .au, versus a .com.au, is shorter than alternative domain names. Also, not just anyone can register for a .au. Domains like .com are more freely used, but .au is reserved for entities that reside or are registered in Australia.
What are the benefits of registering for a .au?
The changes may not seem like a big deal, but they are to your customers.
Think of a good acronym or nickname. What do they have in common? They are short, they tell you something about their namesake, and they are easy to remember. .au offers a shorter URL for your customers to remember and type. Typing URLs is more frustrating on mobile devices, so shaving off a few letters here can really improve your customer’s experience.
.au also tells them you are focused on the Australian market. Australian customers will naturally feel more comfortable supporting Australian products and services. With a .au, your consumers know you are a trustworthy brand before they even click the link.
So while it might seem like a small change, a couple of different letters in your URL can have a huge impact on your customer before they have even seen your site.
Also worth considering, by getting a .au domain and becoming a member of auDA, gain access to special members-only benefits.
What are the downsides of not registering for a .au?
Most importantly, your existing domain will keep working after September 20. You can also continue to register for domains like com.au, net.au, gov.au etc.
Like the benefits, the downsides are not immediately obvious, but you should be aware of them.
First, remember how your domain is like your signature? Well by failing to register, you risk someone else taking a similar domain name.
Imagine another site having your exact title, but yours ends with .com.au, and theirs ends with .au. Your customers could now accidentally be directed to the other site. By securing your brand name in the shorter domain, you should net more traffic than your competitor.
You can check to see if someone has registered a domain name that matches yours. auDa has a helpful tool that you can use.
Second, an updated domain name is an investment for the future. New direct domain names are continually being introduced. Likewise, people are always updating to newer versions. Because of this, old, redundant domains run the risk of being associated with an outdated site. Rather than waiting until your current domain name is a red flag to your customers, take the opportunity to set the trend instead.
Can I register for any .au domain?
Not yet. The period from now until September 20 is only for eligible holders of existing domains within .au, such as .com.au, .net.au, .org.au, etc. This means that you can register your existing domain name early, and then expand to other names once the registration period ends.
Should I register for a .au domain now or can I wait?
You can wait if you like, but it isn’t advisable. This is especially true if you have a .com.au, .net.au or .org.au domain where someone owns the other variation. In that case, there will almost certainly be a conflict about who should get the .au domain. You need to register your interest now so you don’t miss out.
How can I register?
To register, you do need to apply. If you know where your domain is hosted, you can do it yourself. Some common registras are:
If you are unsure, you’ll need to contact your domain provider. If all this is too confusing, or if your registrar is unsure how to help you, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Oddball Marketing. We can help you figure out where your domain is registered, but we also offer our own domain registration services.
So that’s everything you need to know about .au domains and their exciting benefits. Register today to secure your place in this exciting new wave of Australian internet real estate!