Think of a domain name as your online street address. Technically, it is your IP address that will lead a customer to you, but the domain name is the way they can get to you. While the website is like your online shop, people get to find you with your domain name. Therefore, it is the first step to getting your online presence and growing your brand using the internet.
Thanks to the DNS, visitors won’t need to memorize your IP address. They use your domain name instead, and this makes the process of registration to be an important one because it will become more than just a street address; it becomes part of your brand.
Registering a ccTLD like a New Zealand domain name gives you a chance to be both creative and to brand your business better in New Zealand. But it is advised that you don’t concentrate on one extension so that someone else doesn’t go registering a similar domain name (which isn’t suitable for your brand). Here, we will take you through the process of registering one starting from coming up with a .nz domain name.
Choosing an .nz domain name
Choosing your New Zealand domain name can be a bit overwhelming, just like any other kind of domain name. But you can make the exercise easier by following either of the two practices. The first is to use your business or brand name. This method makes perfect sense as it has a lot of SEO benefits since Google favors the brand a lot.
However, if the brand name is unavailable, what you do is to incorporate a keyword that is related to your niche. These are what are referred to as keyword domains, and although they no longer have strong SEO weight as they used to do before, they are still of immense help as strong sources of relevancy signal.
Also, they help in marketing and conversion because of their descriptive nature. For instance, a domain name like smithlocks.nz shows users what you do. That way, you can even have it on your business card, and it speaks volumes about what your site is about and encourages more clicks. Most of the top domain name generators will have you enter just a seed name, and they will generate domain name ideas for you in minutes.
While choosing the name, there are a couple of things to consider:
- Length: best practice is to leave your domain name below 15 characters. People remember them better when they are short. This is why you find some website’s using abbreviations of their business name as a domain name. The key is to figure out which nickname your users will prefer.
- Spelling: if your customers are won’t to misspelling your business name, then while registering your domain name, also register misspellings. That way, you can easily direct the traffic from there to your main site. If you don’t do that, your competition might and cut off half of your traffic.
- Target: it is important to register the domain name of your place of business, and since that is New Zealand, you can register a .co.nz, .org.nz or just a .nz. You can also consider a generic name relating to your business alongside a .nz domain name. For instance, you now have .pizza or .lawyer to choose from. Although, that kind can be counterproductive as they seem spammy.
- Legal: there are lots of big brands in New Zealand, and chances are you might get your hands on an available domain name similar to their trademark. In fact, it applies to even brand outside the country, and registering such domain names can land you into big trouble that can translate into thousands of dollars in the form of infringement.
If you are done picking a domain name, the next thing to check if it is available. The .zn is a very popular country code top-level domain extension and chances are, your preferred domain name might have been taken (haven’t been registered by someone else). There are many tools available to check if your domain name is available.
Apart from being up to 18 years of age, a registrant for a domain name is required to provide the domain name he or she has chosen. However, some registrars have tools on their websites where you search for domain name ideas and then go ahead to register it. The same way most domain name generators allow you to easily register after choosing a name.
You will also need to provide your name. As insignificant as it might sound, it is important you provide your own name and company. Allowing another person to be the registrant of record means that you stand to lose your domain name the moment you fall out of favor with them, or they die or disappear. You will provide some other of your details alongside the technical contact details and administrative contact details.
Other requirements include:
- Name server list
- DD record list
- Registrant preference
- Privacy option
Registrant must also ensure that all necessary fields are filled and with the right format.
Process of registering a New Zealand domain name
Once you have arrived at a domain name idea for your business, it is the registrar’s job to register it for you. Of course, you need first to ensure they are accredited by ICANN. The ICANN website contains information on every registered registrar. There isn’t really much difference in the registrar you end up using and the ones you turned down. However, there are a few differences, and since you are buying a local domain name, it is helpful to buy from someone in New Zealand. Make sure the registrar is accredited by ICANN. Do that by logging onto the ICANN website to see where they published a list of accredited registrars. There are many of them so it won’t be difficult finding one.
If you are planning on launching a WordPress website, then it is recommended you find a registrar who will also provide you with a web server. This saves you lots of time and money, and there are a couple of them in New Zealand. That way, the web hosting service will configure everything from the beginning to the end.
After picking your desired domain name and the registrar who would go about registering it, go ahead and pay for the domain name. PayPal is quite secure and popular in New Zealand so that it will be an acceptable mode of payment between you and the registrar.
Locking in your registration
The idea of locking your domain name after registering it is born out of the need to protect it from human error and any unauthorized activity. Sometimes we can unknowingly make changes to our main domain servers which can seriously impact the website and consequently, our business. You also lock your freshly registered domain name to prevent unauthorized persons from doing such things as transferring your domain to a different registrar or web host without due notification.
To lock your domain name, log onto your account with your registrar and locate the “my domains” button which is located at the top righthand side. Then click on the “padlock” Icon which will show you the “lock” and “unlock” options so you will make your choice. If your account name refuses to unlocked, don’t be so alarmed. This is mostly because of ICANN’s strict rule that once a domain name has been locked, it cannot be transferred to another registrar after 60days of their registration or transfer to another registrar. This is designed to prevent any foul play like fraud, and there is no way your registrar can do anything even if you want it. Fortunately, you can still be making full use of your domain name if it were locked.
How Many Years Should You Register a New Zealand Domain For?
Once you are done registering, you would need to be renewing your .nz domain name annually. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be after just a year of your registration. You can register your New Zealand domain names from Freeparking, for example, for between a year and ten years. But it is recommended you register it for a duration of more than 2years. This will ensure you don’t continue running back in for renewal after just a couple of 12 months although there are also more benefits of registering for an extended period apart from not wanting to go renewing over and over again. At the top of these other reasons is the need to protect your business from falling short on renewal, especially when you have worked hard to gain lots of visitors.
Now you have yourself a New Zealand domain name to yourself. The next step should either be to get a web hosting account to help you launch your website using the domain name you just registered, or you redirect it to an already started website.