Doctor Digital, do I need a .com.au or a .au domain, I'm confused, what's the difference?
Doctor Digital Says
Australian businesses with an ABN have been able to purchase a .com.au URL for a fair while now, it was what gave us a geographic distinction, and signaled to our customers and the world where we were located. The need to have an Australian ABN also legitimised the website for Australian business, giving confidence to purchasers.
Recently, there has been the introduction of a .au only URL or domain extension for Australian businesses to get online. It's marginally shorter, which is always a bonus for people having to type less (we're a lazy mob at heart who love to shorten the names of everything). If you want a .au domain for yourself or your business, you’ll need to provide a physical address and permanent residency to prove you call Australia home, or be a Sole Trader, Partnership, Company, Charity, Association or Trust with a current ABN or ACN, or be a foreign business with an Australian trademark application or registration.
This protects Australians with a legitimate local business from getting their .au domain taken by a person or company who’s doesn’t have a real presence in Australia, keeping legit, rinky-dink, ridgy-didge Aussies and their brands safe.
The cool part about this additional .au option is that because it doesn't need an ABN, it means that hobbyists, crafters, side hustlers and others who want to signal their Australianess, but were held out because they didn't have an ABN can now get all oi oi oi with their websites and even sell to adoring crowds rather than having to use sites like Ebay or Etsy.
If you already own a .com.au, .net.au or other second-level .au domain, you might want to get the matching .au domain to keep someone else from using it and squatting your brand - and potentially taking a chunk of your traffic with it. The good news is you have priority allocation over that name - so if you were doctordigital.com.au you will get first dibs on doctordigital.au
If you don’t already have a second-level .au domain, it's a good idea to have one to make sure potential customers know that you’re a local business when they support you, which can be a surprising incentive to purchase local, especially post COVID when it became so important to support our people and their communities. The other incentive (did you need any more) is that the .au extension will rank higher in local searches, helping more people find you first.
Purchase of the .au domain extensions are available through the usual sales sites - make sure you use an Aussie one though :-). For advice on how to get the best from your website and domain extensions, our digital coaching team are here to help, you can make an appointment here.