For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of starting a new business is to register a domain name. They know that in order to have a website — and every business needs one — they’ll need a domain name to use as their web address (e.g. Jbhifi.com.au). But how much do domain names cost?
For Australian businesses, the .com.au domain name extension is a must. It’s what Aussies will assume is on the end of your web address, so why not make it easy for them?
There are also other Australian domain options like:
- .org.au (for charities)
- .net.au (originally promoted for IT-based businesses)
- .sydney (for businesses located in or around Sydney)
- .melbourne (for businesses and groups in Melbourne)
Those are the standard options, but there are also some that are a little more fun:
- .wtf (this extension says “You have to see this!”)
- .style (great for lifestyle blogs anywhere in Australia)
- .ninja (perfect for anyone who’s good at what they do)
What you put before the dot is entirely up to you.
When to opt for .com
If you’re looking to target a U.S. or even a global audience, then you will want to register a .com domain. Get a .co.uk if you’re targeting a UK audience, and so on. At the time of this writing you could register them for between $5 and $10 per year, but check the links above for the latest domain name costs.
Then of course we have the creative option. For example, a clever physiotherapist might register bestphys.io for their web address. One live example that I know of is the food truck location business Wherethetruck.at.
What makes a good domain name?
First and foremost, a good domain name should be easy for people to remember. For an Australian business, it should end with the .com.au TLD — these tells Aussies you’re right here at home.
For the rest of your domain (i.e. what goes on the other side of the dot), it may be easier to point out what you should avoid:
- Don’t make it too long. You don’t want people having to Google your business (“fish and chips on Main”) because they can’t remember your looong web address.
- Avoid hyphens and numbers. They are complicated to remember — no one ever puts them in the right place.
- Don’t stray too far from your brand. When your audience thinks about your business, you want them to instantly recall your web address. Don’t make them think too hard.
Type a name in the box below to see what’s available right now
What if my preferred domain name is already taken?
So you’ve realised someone else has already registered the name you want. You now need to be prepared to:
If the .com.au domain you want is parked (i.e. not being used for a website), then you may have the option to put it on backorder.
Essentially, you pay the fee (typically the same cost as registering) and the registrar will register the domain for you when it becomes available (in other words, when the owner doesn’t renew their registration).
However, this may not be a viable option for you because you really can’t put a timeline on its availability. The best option is to find out if the person who owns it is willing to sell it.
I wouldn’t recommend this for a newbie — if the owner is a professional domain investor, you could be eaten alive.
Use a domain broker instead. Yes it will cost you a little extra, but the broker will give you a better chance of securing the domain and paying less in negotiations.
How much does a domain name cost exactly?
While you can expect to pay around $20 per year for an unreserved .com.au domain, the most expensive .com.au domain ever sold (Money.com.au) went for $400,000.
Although owning a domain is often likened to owning property, the fact is you don’t have the same volume of comparable ‘domain properties’ to anchor the value. Instead, a domain name’s value is much more dependent on what someone is willing to pay for it.
If you’d like to know how much a prospective domain name is worth or if you want to check the estimated value of one you already own, check out GoDaddy’s domain valuation tool.
Beyond that, there are a few factors that will influence how much a domain name costs.
If the domain is memorable, users will be more likely to go directly to it by typing it in instead of via a search engine (where they may find themselves ending up somewhere else).
To demonstrate the value of a memorable domain, look at the biggest .com.au domain sales on record:
Certain domain names are more expensive simply because they’re considered more valuable.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Google and other search engines still index the web via URLs; they use links from other sites to URLs as an influential ranking factor.
So when you buy an existing domain that’s been used for a website, you will be buying a potential treasure-trove of inbound links coming to your domain. This should (in theory) give you a head start in establishing your business’ visibility in search results.
There are metrics that SEO professionals use to assess the value of a domain — the most popular metric is one called Domain Authority. If you want to check a potential website for this metric (and many more) to get an idea of its SEO value, check out the shortlist metrics tool.
It’s a great idea to stick close to your business name when choosing a domain name, not just because it makes it easier to recall but also to protect your brand. You don’t want others snapping up YourBusinessName.com.au and sharking your customers.
For example, if a big brand has long-term plans of moving into new markets, then they will register the specific TLDs for each market. If they are looking at expanding services, then they’ll also have a range of different domains specific to the service. So while these domains may not be being used for existing businesses, they will still be valuable.
Whether you’re starting a new business or rebranding, you will always have domain name and TLD options. Buying an available domain is definitely the cheaper way to go in terms of upfront costs.
However, if you can’t find a memorable domain name that contains your business name or brand, keep an open mind about buying an already registered domain. Understand what value it will provide in terms of your audience being able to recall it easily, if you will receive any SEO benefits or if you are ultimately protecting your brand.
The information contained in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an endorsement or advice from GoDaddy on any subject matter.