Should you register a .com or .com.au domain?

This is a question I’ve been asked many times so I thought I’d address it here in my blog so I have one place to point people to in future.

It’s a simple question (for Australians) without a simple answer.

Let’s break it down.

Why would you register a .COM domain?

  • Easy to remember (no other “dots” necessary and people are most familiar with this identifier)
  • Global reach
  • You don’t need an ABN or any other identifier
  • Cheaper than .COM.AU (though not by much)

And why register a .COM.AU domain?

  • Signifies to visitors that you are operating in Australia
  • Better search ranking in Australian searches (searches by users in Australia)

What ELSE should you consider when registering a domain?

  • Check that your name isn’t already used in other forms or other identifiers (for example, you want to register johnsmithauthor.com and there’s already a johnsmithauthor.net)
  • If you register .COM but not .COM.AU and somebody else registers the .COM.AU version (or vice versa), it will cause years of pain
  • If you aren’t operating globally, you are honing in on your audience by registering the .COM.AU.

So what’s the answer?

My recommendation would be to register both and have them point at the same website.  As a second choice, I would register the .COM.AU if you are only operating in Australia, as long as you have an ABN.  And my third choice would be the .COM.  You could always consider .NET as well but this can be harder for people to remember.

Either way, don’t sweat it.  Neither choice is going to make or break you. Move on to the next challenge!

How very zen.

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