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Setting up a business domain

The Australian domain registration rules will change this year. If you have a product or own a business that currently doesn't have a domain name, you need to secure it now.

Even if you don’t need a website, having your own domain name protects your brand, adds credibility to your business and flexibility to your Internet access.

A domain is the bit after the www or @, as in, the domain name is

Having your business email coming through your own domain means you are not tied to one Internet provider. If you change providers, or your provider goes bust, you can take your name to another business.

Setting up a domain is fairly straightforward. You can do it yourself, or get your Internet provider, IT consultant or web designer to do it for you.

Registering your domain

The first step is to register your domain. There are a whole range of addresses from the ubiquitous .com and through to the less common, all of them have different criteria and charges.

Your Internet provider, computer consultant or web designer can deal with this for you. Just make sure that you get all the registration details and that you are the registered owner and administrative contact.

The easiest to get are the dot-com addresses. They are so easy to get that most of the good ones are already taken. If you are selling overseas then a dot-com is probably the best option.

There are hundreds of companies that can register these for you, but it is best to deal with Accredited Registrars. Expect to pay between 25 and 50 USD per year.

Australian addresses cost around between $60 and $160 for two years. You have to be able to show your business has a close connection to the name you want. The Australian domains are sold by accredited registrars.

When you register your domain name you will be assigned a NIC-handle and registry key. Keep these safe because these are your password or PIN that allows you to change details of your registration. If someone else has this, they can change your details.

Hosting and delegation

Now you have an address and Internet access, you need to tell the Internet where to send your mail and look for your website. For a small business this is best done by someone like a hosting company or your ISP.

Delegating a domain means your Internet provider directs e-mail and web traffic to your address. For example, e-mail to gets redirected to Web traffic to goes to

Delegating is a very cheap way of keeping your name on the net, it can be done for as little as $5.00 a month. The downsides to this is things get cumbersome if you have more than a couple of employees.

A hosting service looks after your website and e-mail. All your internet traffic goes to the space you rent on their server, you collect your mail from them and upload your web site to them.

Your Internet provider may do it and there are specialist companies that will do it for you. The plans available vary according to your needs, basic web and e-mail hosting costs around $30 a month.

Once you’re up and running

Once you have your domain organised you need to get the message out about your new e-mail addresses. Get them on your letterhead and business cards, and tell your customers and suppliers. Don’t cancel your old e-mail addresses for a few months to allow people to get used to your new address.

If you are setting up a website then the work has only just begun. We normally recommend a web designer to small businesses. Life is too short to spend learning this stuff. Get a good professional in, your website will look better and it will cost you less to get it done properly.

Having a domain name is becoming almost essential to small businesses. As well as looking professional it gives you control over your e-mail and web addresses. Even if you don’t need a website, at least protect your business by claiming your domain name.



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