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 dont 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 firstname.lastname@example.org,
the domain name is joebloggs.com.au.
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
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 .com.au
through to the less common .asn.au, 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
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
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 Joe@joebloggs.com.au gets redirected to email@example.com.
Web traffic to www.joebloggs.com goes to www.yourisp.com.au/~joebloggs.
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 youre 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.
Dont 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
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 dont need a website,
at least protect your business by claiming your domain name.