There’s a number of reasons why a .com.au web domain makes sense, writes Lisa Shannahan.
If you’re setting up a website for your business, one of the first things you’ll need to sort out is your domain name. For Australian businesses, this invariably leads to the question of whether you should register a .com or a .com.au domain. What’s the difference, and does it matter which you choose?
When it comes to the price difference, these days it’s not really a big deciding factor. While originally a .com.au domain was significantly more expensive than a .com, from most domain registrars now they are either the same cost or else there’s a difference of only $1-2 per year – not really enough to tip the scales either way.
While anyone can register a .com domain name, according to regulations issued by auDA (the Australian Domain Name Authority), only registered Australian businesses or similar can register a .com. au. When you apply to register a .com.au domain name, you will need to provide an Australian Business Number (ABN), Australian Company Number (ACN), State Business Number, Trademark Number, or Incorporated Association Number to prove that you are eligible.
This process can improve consumer confidence in your business as an additional step towards proving you are a legitimate entity, as it can be viewed as validation that your business exists and is registered. It’s unlikely to be the only factor that plays into their decision-making process, but every little bit helps.
Search engine companies like Google put a lot of thought into how they can provide searchers with the most relevant results possible so they will keep using their service. With the internet being the size it is, with a huge number of different companies listed online for every conceivable service, they make a point of attempting to narrow search results down for you based on location (and a number of other factors). What this means for your business is that registering a .com.au domain name for your Australian business helps to tell Google that you are based in Australia, and may mean your site displays higher in search results for Australian consumers searching for products or services like yours.
It doesn’t have to be either/or!
When it comes down to it, you don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other. Many businesses choose to register both the .com and .com.au versions of their business domain and direct both to the same website. With the cost of domain registration usually sitting at less than $20 per year, this is a perfectly viable option if you just can’t decide.