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When setting up your online business, registering a domain name is a crucial step. If you want to set up your own store website or use an eCommerce platform, you need a domain name so that your customers can find you. However, if you are a physical business deciding to try eCommerce or you want to move your store from an online marketplace, this can be a tough decision to make. This article will go through how you would use a domain name for your business and whether you should register one.

How Do Domain Names Work?

Your business’ domain name is the unique URL your customers will use to find your business online. It is like the address that customers would use to find your physical business. There are two parts to a domain name, the:

  • ‘second-level domain’, which is the name of your business; and
  • ‘top-level domain’, which is the domain extension, like .com or .nz.

For example, ‘LegalVision’ is a business name, and .co.nz is the domain extension, combining to make https://legalvision.co.nz/.

Your domain name will lead to your business’ website, which you can set up for various purposes. These could include:

  • setting up online ordering for your physical store;
  • starting an online shop;
  • providing a source of information about your business for your customers;
  • displaying a showcase of your products or services; or
  • publishing reviews and testimonials about your business.

Should I Register a Domain Name for My Online Business?

Your domain name/website will be the face of your business and lets your customers know who you are. If you solely operate online, registering a domain name should be one of the first things you do. 

Even if you do not sell products online, it is generally a good idea to set up an online presence for your business. Nowadays, the first thing people will do is search for your business online. If you do not take advantage of this, you could lose potential customers. If someone else registers your business name as a domain, they could be taking away potential revenue. 

Your website does not need to be complex. Even if your domain name leads to a simple site with a couple of pictures of your business and your contact details, this gives potential customers more reason to engage with your business than if they had found nothing in their Google search. 

How Can I Register a Domain Name?

How you register your domain name will depend on the kind of domain extension you want, and you will likely have to pay a regular fee to maintain it. Think about the kind of customers you want to attract and where you can send your business. If you want to attract international customers, then you should register a global domain like .com. In this case, you will use a global domain registrar. Many online eCommerce platforms will provide this service.

If you are selling to local customers, then register a .nz domain name. NZ consumers are more likely to trust local providers, but local domain names are typically more expensive. The NZ Domain Name Commission (DNC) has a list of authorised registrars on its website. Compare different registrars and what they charge for the services they offer. Choose one that suits your goals and needs.

Tip: Some registrars will have an email function to create business email addresses using your domain name. Customers will see this as more credible and professional, so this may be something to consider.

Choosing a Domain Name

You want to have a domain name that is unique and easy to remember. Ideally, it should be the same as your business name. You can use the ONEcheck tool to see if anyone else is using your business name as a domain name. Your domain name should:

  • relate to your business;
  • be unique;
  • have no special characters like ! or ?;
  • be easy to read and type; and
  • be short, ideally six to ten characters.

Domain Name Disputes

If you find someone else using a domain name that you want, you may be able to use the DNC’s dispute resolution service to challenge their usage of that name. You would only be successful in this if you could prove you have used that particular name for your business for a long time, or it is your intellectual property. 

Key Takeaways

Most businesses have some kind of online presence now, and you would be missing out on potential customers if you did not do the same. Therefore, you should ensure that you register a unique and distinctive domain name so that customers can find your business online. If you would like more information or help to register your domain name, contact LegalVision’s New Zealand IT lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a domain name?

A domain name is the website URL that people type in to find your website. It is the website address for your business online and one of the main ways people can find you on the internet.

What is the difference between .com and .co.nz?

.com is a global domain extension, whereas .co.nz is specific for New Zealand websites. Consider who you want your website to reach, and decide which domain extension you want accordingly.

What is a domain name dispute?

A domain name dispute refers to when one party uses a domain name that another claims they have a better right to use. Intellectual property rights may come into play here.

How can I register a domain name?

You can register a new domain name by finding an authorised registrant for the kind of domain you want to use. They will have payment plans available for what you need.

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