Moved your business online during COVID-19? Remember these domain name tips

COVID-19 has accelerated the move to online shopping, driving many brick-and-mortar stores online in the process. Business owners have quickly transformed their business models to take advantage of the e-commerce boom.

For many, this is the first time their business has operated online. Data from .au Domain Administration (auDA) shows that in the six months from April 2020, registrations of new Australian domain names increased by 31 per cent compared to the same period last year – an additional 80,000 new registrations.

Building an online store from scratch and at speed is a major project. Maintaining it is, too. Unfortunately, amidst the user experience and design decisions, some business owners overlook the DNA of their site – its domain name.

Here are our top tips in this area for business owners that moved online during the pandemic (or those considering it!).

Accurate contact details are essential

An essential aspect of domain name registration is keeping your contact information up to date. Most providers (registrars and resellers) use email to contact you and to send out renewal notices.

Unfortunately, from time to time businesses forget, or neglect, to update information such as email addresses; and not all providers attempt to use alternate means to contact those businesses.

To avoid missing out on important communications from your registrar or reseller, make sure you’re vigilant in keeping your details up to date – including the email address you use for your registration. If your domain name ends in .au, you can check your email contact details via the WHOIS service at: https://whois.auda.org.au/

You’ll need to renew your domain name

The length of a registration can span one to five years. Your registrar or reseller will send you a renewal notice but it’s helpful to set a calendar reminder for around 90 days before its expiration date so you know the renewal is coming up.

Keep in mind, if your domain licence expires your website and associated services such as emails will stop working. Your licence will also become available to other eligible applicants.

The impacts of this on your business can be significant – ranging from some temporary downtime of your website to losing your domain name to another business.

If that happens, it isn’t always possible to recover your original name, which is why it’s important to stay on top of your renewal.

Assuming your email address is up-to-date and you have a domain name ending in .au, you can confirm its expiry date via the retrieval tool at: https://pw.auda.org.au/

The type of domain name you have matters to customers

Now more than ever, Australians are looking to buy local when they shop online, and we know from research that the most common way online shoppers identify a local business is by the com.au domain name.

Businesses using com.au also twice as likely to have their website considered trustworthy and secure than businesses with other common commercial domain names.

So, if you haven’t yet registered a domain name for your business or your licence is coming up for renewal, consider a com.au domain name, which is trusted, reliable and a great option for Australian businesses.

Check out auDA’s website for more resources.