Having a high-performance website in the digital era is essentially non-negotiable. But it can be challenging to wrap your head around the ins and outs of building, maintaining and hosting a website.

That’s where we come in. As digital marketing experts specialising in SEO and web development, we know what you need (and don’t need) to ensure your website performs well, loads fast, ranks on Google and gets maximum quality conversions. We also want to ensure you are doing what’s best for your brand.

One key aspect of SEO and online brand protection is your website’s domain name. You will probably be aware that most businesses in Australia have registered a .com.au Australian domain name. Even organisations, education institutions and government sites in Australia will be followed by .au (e.g. .gov.au.edu.au.net.au and .org.au). This is designed to be a quick and easy way of letting your customers know you are an entity with a presence in Australia.

However, as of March this year, the way we register domain names in Australia has changed. Now, shorter and simpler domain names are available with the introduction of direct .au domain names. So, instead of your local ice cream shop website being icecream.com.au, now it can be icecream.au.

So what’s involved in securing a .au domain? Read on to find out!

How to Qualify for an Australian Domain

To be eligible for a .au domain, you must have a valid ABN and also be one of the following:

  • an Australian registered company
  • an Australian partnership or sole trader
  • an owner of an Australian registered trade mark
  • an Australian registered charity
  • an Australian registered political party
  • a trust where the trustee is an Australian citizen
  • a foreign company licensed to trade in Australia
  • a permanent Australian resident or citizen (not supported at the time of launch)

If you currently have a domain name ending in .com.au, and you registered it before 24 March 2022, the matching .au direct domain has been placed on a 6-month priority hold for you – meaning that you have the first choice to register it.

Claim Your Domain

After 20 September 2022, the .au domain will become available to the general public on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

So if your business is iceream.com.au, and you haven’t claimed the shorter icecream.au domain, someone else could take it, which can wreak havoc on your brand authority and security both on and offline.

For this reason, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) recommends that all Australian businesses with existing domain names register the .au equivalents.

Before the priority period runs out, you should:

Apply for the exact match of any existing .au domain name you are the registrant of. If there is more than one claim to the same domain, such as the registrants of com.au and icecreamshop.net.au both applying, these names will be allocated according to priority.

Register new .au direct names that are not already registered in the .au registry (i.e. names are not registered in any existing .au namespace such as au or org.au etc.)

You can reserve your .au domain name through your existing domain name registrar or by visiting any auDA accredited registrar such as GoDaddyCrazyDomains or WebCentral.

Once your application is approved, you should be able to complete your registration and start using the .au direct domain shortly after that.

Why Opt for .au?

In the same way that we recommend clients register the different extensions of their domain names, such as the .com and the .com.au versions, clients should also apply for the new .au domain.

Even if you don’t plan on using the new .au direct Australian domain, registering it now ensures you have access to it in the future. This will also help you safeguard your business domain from others wanting to use it and protect you from possible fraud and cybercrime.

In addition to protecting your cybersecurity, shorter and simpler domains can be a great value add for branding and marketing, making them more memorable to your customers and clients.

What’s the Cost of an Australian Domain?

auDA lists the wholesale price of a shorter Australian domain at $8.67 per year, including GST. Registrars set the retail price, so it’s worth shopping around to find a registrar with a competitive price and whose services meet your needs.

You should also be aware that the initial registration price may change or increase when it comes time to renewing.

Generally, you can register a domain name for between one and five years, with extensions available if you continue to meet the eligibility requirements for the domain.

Need help? Give our digital marketing specialists a call today and see how we can get your Australian domain names sorted. Call 80/20 Digital on 0400 677 202.