The domain (or website name) name is the address people type into their browser to visit your website (e.g. www.pogostick.co.nz).

Your domain name doesn’t have to match your business name either. Obviously, if you have a well-known business name, such as McDonalds, then you will go with that, but for many small businesses a domain name that relates to their industry (e.g aucklandcleaners.co.nz) can sometimes be a better choice.

Here are some other things to consider when deciding on your domain name:

  1. Short – Try to keep it short; this makes it easier to remember (and easier to fit on the side of your van, or for people to type in your email address).
  2. Right TLD – If you are a local NZ business focused on the NZ market, we recommend sticking with a .co.nz domain (non-profits may opt for .org.nz instead). If you are looking to go global, try for a .com. .nz domain names haven’t really taken off – we don’t recommend them unless you have a specific need for one. You can register multiple names and have them redirect to one website.
  3. Relevant – Include a word that relates to your industry e.g. joesplumbing.co.nz. Think of your website showing in the Google search results, and consider what domain name would a potential customer more likely click on?
  4. Easy to Spell – Make sure it’s easy to spell; it’s more likely your customers will reach you.
  5. No Copyrighted Words – Don’t infringe on copyrighted words (or any words that might be controversial, offensive or too generic). In most cases, a registrar will disallow the name anyway.
  6. Stay Away from Hyphens or Underscores – There’s no need for them and it makes it harder to remember your domain name. For that matter, don’t worry about uppper or lowercase, they don’t make any difference (e.g. ThePlumber.co.nz and theplumber.co.nz are the same thing).
  7. Not too Similar – Avoid choosing a domain that is very similar to an existing website, especially one that is registered to a competitor e.g. if your competitor is joesplumbing.co.nz don’t register josplumbing.co.nz or joesplumbing.net.nz.

Now that you’ve got a shortlist of suitable candidates, it’s time to see if they’re available to be registered.

Domain Registration – FAQs

Who has the cheapest domain registration fees?
There are many domain registrars selling NZ website names and prices can vary wildly so shop around (especially since there is no benefit in paying more than you have to for a domain name). We have reviewed domain prices and feel we’re still the cheapest domain providers in NZ. We charge less than $20/year for a .co.nz or .nz domain (some registrars charge over $120!).

Do I need to register all variations of my domain name?
No, you can stick with just one e.g. .co.nz. It’s no problem if you do want to register other versions (e.g. .com, .nz, .kiwi etc) as we can redirect them to your website.

What is the difference between www and non www?
Essentially, nothing. They are not separate domain names, and if your website is setup correctly they should both go to the same place.

Do I need other features such as domain privacy?
No, anything other than just the domain registration cost is optional.

What’s my domain password (UDAI)?
The UDAI (pronounced you-dye) is your code if you want to transfer to a different registrar. You should keep this safe.

How do I transfer my domain name between registrars?
It’s easy and you can do it all online – learn how.

How long should I register my domain name for?
It’s entirely up to you but one year is perfectly fine. There may be some small SEO benefit in registering for longer (the maximum is currently 10 years).

How do I make sure my domain doesn’t expire?
It’s important to renew your domain to avoid any disruption to your website or email service. We send out reminder emails when it’s due for renewal, or you can switch on automatic renewal when you register your domain (or update your account details).

Who do I contact if I have a problem registering my business name?
For any issues you have registering your business name as your domain (or similar, legal-type conflicts), contact the Domain Name Commission (DNC) of NZ for assistance.

7 Tips on Choosing a Good Domain Name