by Ethan Lewis

June 23, 2020

Website 3 min read

Smart .au Domain Alternatives That Boost Your Local Presence Big Time

Think of your business domain name as the physical location of your store. If customers cannot find their way to your store, you will not generate any revenue. Similarly, if your business is in a sketchy part of town, people won’t feel confident in availing your offerings. 

The domain name that you choose for your business website represents its digital identity. It not only helps clients locate your business but also establishes trust in your brand. Thus, it’s crucial to choose a domain name that’s both accessible and credible.  

There are common concerns around domain naming that arise at the time of registration. Should you stick to .com or go for .com.au? If the .au domain is not available, are there alternatives that carry equal weight? Let’s address these concerns. 

What is .au? 

What is .au

The internet is divided into several domain names and domain extensions, with the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) explicitly reserved for countries or sovereign states. In this context, the .au corresponds to the ccTLD of Australia and was first created in 1986. 

The registration and domain name policy for .au is managed and monitored by a not-for-profit organisation, .au Domain Administration (auDA). 

 Second and Third-level Domains of .au 

Second and Third-level Domains of .au

Although the .au domain is reserved for Australia, there was a need for a more granular domain allocation to indicate the purpose of websites clearly. As a result, the .au domain was further divided into second-level domains (2LDs) and third-level domains (3LDs). 

The open (accessible to the public) 2LDs include: 

  • asn.au: for associations, political parties, trade unions, and special interest clubs 
  • com.au: for commercial bodies 
  • id.au: for Australian citizens and residents 
  • org.au: for charities and non-profit bodies 

Domains such as .edu.au or .gov.au are closed to the general public and are only available to educational and governmental bodies, respectively. 

The third-level domains are used by tertiary bodies to distinguish their area of operation further. Typically, the state abbreviation is used as the third-level domain to regionally differentiate the second-level domain. 

Examples of 3LDs include: 

  • act.gov.au/act.edu.au: Australian Capital Territory 
  • nsw.gov.au/schools.nsw.edu.au: New South Wales 
  • qld.gov.au/eq.edu.au: Queensland 
  • tas.gov.au/tas.edu.au: Tasmania 

Aussie Alternatives to .au Domain 

Aussie Alternatives to .au Domain

While it may be ideal to bag your desired domain, the issue of cybersquatting rears its ugly head in the midst. Cybersquatting relates to the practice of registering a domain name with auDA while infringing on a brand’s name or trademark.  

Cybersquatters register such domains for commercial gain to make the domain available at an inflated price or harvest advertisements of competitors. While the auDA is cracking down on such malpractices, webmasters can also check out other Australian domain names that carry equal weight. 

Depending on your business location, you could register against the following geographic top-level domain names that are recognised as ccTLD assigned to Australia. These are:

  • .melbourne: State of Victoria 
  • .sydney: State of New South Wales 

Alternatively, certain Australian territories have their independent ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code domains that are also recognised as ccTLD. These are: 

  • .cx: Christmas Island 
  • .cc: Cocos (Keeling) Islands 
  • .nf: Norfolk Island 
  • .hm: Heard and McDonald Islands 

You can register your business against these domains to gain greater local exposure and make your business highly relevant in the local scene. You can apply for these alternative domains if you: 

  • Have business registration and business interests in the said region 
  • Have business associations with companies in the said region 
  • Are a resident or an Australian citizen with a registered address in the region 

Get creative 

As you can see from above, you no longer have to fight nail and tooth to land your dream domain. There are plenty of .au domain alternatives that let you flaunt your Aussie roots just as well. So, go ahead and register your business website now! 

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