Do I Need A .com.au Or a .com For My Aussie eCommerce Website?

The question comes up from time to time; “Do I Need A .com.au or a .com For My Australian eCommerce Website?”.

The simple answer is that if you’re targeting Australia you should have a .com.au.

Want to know why? Read on!

website tld banner for australian ecommerce store

Okay, Matt. That’s great, but hold on just a sec… What is the difference between a .com and a .com.au?

I’m so glad you asked! 😉

Let’s take it back a notch and see what the ‘.com’ is.

A .com, .com.au, .net and so on are what’s called a top-level domain (or TLD). The ‘com’ is taken from the word commercial, which was originally intended for use by commercial organisations.

A .com.au is what’s known as a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) which, if you haven’t guessed it, is a TLD reserved for use for those within that country code.

For us Aussies, a .com.au is just for us. This means that all .com.au websites are owned by an Australian individual or business.

Why do I need a .com.au?

Well, there are a few reasons that you’re far better off buying the .com.au than just the .com for your eCommerce website (or any Australian website for that matter).

But if for any reason you don’t want to use a ccTLD like a .com.au you’ll still be able to make sales, your store will still work just fine. It just won’t have the benefits that come with using a .com.au.

The Two Main Benefits of Using a .com.au for your Australian eCommerce Store

Why .com.au is important to SEO

Image credit: pcmag.com

Benefit 1 – Your store will rank better in the SERPs (search engine results pages) for your target country, Australia.

Search engines such as Google have one job – to show the most relevant results to the searcher based on the searcher’s query.

For example, say I’m in Melbourne and I search for “buy stand up paddle board”. Every result on the first page has a .com.au TLD because they are the most relevant results to me based on where I am geographical.

google screenshot search for “buy stand up paddle board”

How does Google know this? Because Google knows I’m in Melbourne, Australia as I’m signed into Chrome as my internet browser plus my IP address is coming from Melbourne as well.

Therefore Google concluded that showing me results from Australian websites (with a .com.au) are the most relevant to what I’m looking for.

By giving as much information to the search engines as possible about your business you’ll have the best chance of getting in front of the right audience that’s best suited to your products.

Benefit 2 – Your customers will resonate with a com.au business more so than a .com, feeling it’s more ‘Australian’.

Customers will never buy from your store if they don’t trust you. Period. No if’s, but’s or exceptions.

So of course you’re going to want to do everything you can to gain the trust of your customers and turn them into buyers.

Some reports suggest that a person browsing a website will decide whether or not they trust the website enough to buy within the first few seconds.

By having a .com.au TLD you’re showing your customers that your business is Australian and suited to them.

Customers will never buy from your store if they don’t trust you. Period. No if’s, but’s or exceptions.

What about .net.au?

Each year Google’s algorithms get better and better at doing their job: finding the most relevant results for the searcher’s query.

Whether you opt for a .com.au or a .net.au is becoming less and less important in Google’s eyes as to whether one hold more value than the other.

Keep in mind though that “.net”, being short for “network” was originally used for internet service providers and as we discussed before, .com was intended for “commercial” or business websites.

Also, as with a ccTLD like .com.au, people generally know and trust the “.com” or “.com.au” more so than they would “.net” or “.net.au”.

In some cases, the .com.au domain name you want will be taken. If so, the .net.au may be your next best option.

Moral of the story? Stick with the .com.au.

Can anyone register a .com.au or .net.au?

Nope. Aus Registry, the official wholesaler for all .com.au and .net.au domains, set certain rules in place to ensure only appropriate websites are created.

Aus Registry, the official wholesaler for all .com.au and .net.au domains, set certain rules in place to ensure only appropriate websites are created.

Here’s what they say:

“All Australian businesses, whether a company, business, registered body, owner, applicant of a registered trademark or simply own a registered business name are eligible for a .com.au and .net.au Domain Name. You can get as many as you like.

The eligibility policy which underpins the .com.au and .net.au Domain Name can be found on auDA’s website.”

Basically, that means you need to hold an ANB or ACN number to be able to register a .com.au or .net.au domain TLD.

(Pssst! look out for details on how to register for an ABN in future blog posts.)

Hey Matt! I’m ready. Where do I get my .com.au (or .net.au)?

I highly recommend using a reputable domain name provider such as Crazy Domains (who I personally use. And yep – if you use my link I get a little kickback commission for referring you 🙂 )

The reasons I like Crazy Domains are:

  1. That they are among the cheapest places to register a domain;
  2. They have local servers meaning that your website is hosted close to your customer base which is good for site speed and SEO;
  3. Their support team is open 24/7 so if you’re up at 2 am getting your business launched and need help with your domain (as I did when I was starting), you’ll have the help you need;
  4. And shopping carts such as Shopify and email clients like G Suite have how-to instructions and integration guides making it easy to get everything connected.

What about all of the extra add-ons? Do I need them too?

Only a few, if any.

Domain registrars are a business just like any other. Upselling is a great way to increase the value of you as their customer by getting you to buy more things.

Domain registrars are a business just like any other. Upselling is a great way to increase the value of you as their customer by getting you to buy more things.

You may be offered things like WHOIS guard protection, domain listing, SSL certificates, Traffic Booster and a plethora of other “Add-ons”.

Depending on your desired outcome you may want to opt for some of these add-ons.

Generally speaking, you’ll only need the WHOIS guard to help protect you from the endless front of spam emails that come when you don’t get it and also to protect you from copycats that may be out to copy your store.

Note* Be sure to turn ON Auto Renew and Domain Lock to prevent anyone from stealing your domain – you don’t want that happening!

crazy domains domain information

Connecting your .com.au or .net.au to your website

Don’t worry if you’re not at all technically minded. It’s easier than it sounds thanks to modern technology.

Plus if you get stuck you can always call Crazy Domains support or Shopify support to help a bro (or sista) out.

If you’re using Shopify like me, connecting your domain to your store is as easy as it can be. Simply follow this easy guide from Shopify.

Done!

Congratulations. You now have your very own Australian specific website, ready to bring in targeted and trusting buyers. Crack open a stubby, chuck on some Barnsey and get ready to celebrate.

… or something like that.