The following content is paid for by the .ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA).
Only 46% of small business owners have a business website, according to the 2018 National Small Business Survey.
Entrepreneurs who do not have a domain name registered for their businesses are missing out on possibly getting business from a global market, warns Angel Selebano, Communications and Awareness Coordinator at .ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA). “An online presence creates easy worldwide access.”
ZADNA is a not-for-profit organisation that manages and regulates the .ZA namespace. Its mandate includes to administer, regulate and issue licenses in terms of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (2002).
According to Selebano, an online presence is essential for businesses’ marketing and branding efforts because it enhances their online identity, brand visibility and exposure.
“It is very important that SMEs have an online presence, because internet users search for products and services daily. If a business does not have a digital footprint it stands a good chance of missing out on the above-mentioned factors.”
She adds: “A name online gives you a unique identity such as web ID and email e.g. www.mydomain.co.za, firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The benefits of having a dedicated website
Selebano says digital opportunities presented by the .ZA domain is the .ZA Domain Name Registrar-Reseller training program which is a countrywide development program for local startups and SMEs.
“The objective of the program is to unlock the economic potential of local SMEs in the domain name registration business, accelerate the creation of new players within the Internet Service Provider (ISP) industry, to support and nurture existing .ZA Registrars and Resellers,” says Selebano.
According to Selebano, with a dedicated website, businesses also get dedicated email addresses, depending on your chosen hosting package. “We have over 500 .ZA accredited registrars which can be contacted for .ZA domain name registration inquiries, herewith a list and contact details of .ZA accredited registrars: https://www.zadna.org.za/za-registrars/
“As a domain name holder, you have the advantage of showcasing your products and services as prescribed by the Registrar/Registrant domain name registration agreement.”
Some of the common .ZA domain name categories are:
– Basic: (this is a registered domain name with no website. The domain name owner registers the name, parks it while conceptualising the web creative or look and feel. The domain name holder will then have to pay an annual fee for their domain name to avoid deletion of the name on the .ZA zone.)
– Average: (basic website)
– Advanced: (eCommerce site)
Selebano says the following should be kept in mind when it comes to your business’ domain name.
1. Register a .za domain name
It is a South African online identity. Everybody recognizes that you are South African and have some presence in South Africa, unlike a non- South African domain name that cannot readily tell the world where you are in the online world.
– A .ZA domain name registration contributes to the South African economy.
– A .ZA domain name registration is automated and is therefore fast.
.ZA has a proven alternative dispute resolution (ADR) against cybersquatting and intellectual property abuse in co.za, net.za, org.za and web.za domains. The system allows trademark and brand owners to prevent cyber-squatters from registering names that are similar to their trademarks and brands and that may potentially mislead internet users.
More information on the .ZA accredited ADR Providers can be obtained here.
2. Register early
It is highly critical for a business to secure its domain name as early as possible to prevent online brand identity theft. A domain name gives your business digital presence and accessibility moreover, it enables a business an online brand establishment.
Domain name registration should be part of your trademark protection process and it is for that reason that ZADNA has partnered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) to enable businesses to register their domain name and business name simultaneously. This domain name registration method is not only limited to new business registration but is an option that is available to all CIPC registered businesses/account holders.
More details about the CIPC domain name registration here.
3. Test that your domain name is legitimate and secure
When registering your domain name, businesses should:
– Check if it is an accredited .ZA Domain Name Registrar as per the list provided above or by contacting ZADNA on 010 020 3910 or via email email@example.com
– Pay special attention to the following when doing business online: a legitimate and secure domain name, like zadna.org.za, will have HTTPS on the URL and a lock icon.
Below are more ways to legitimise your domain name:
- Test the contact details displayed on the website to see if they work.
- Check if the business is legitimate and if is a registered business.
- Check if the location/address exists.
- Look for spelling and grammar mistakes on the website.
- Find out how long a website has been in business.
- Test the Contact Information that is on the website.
4. Beware: domain name scams are on a rise
Scammers are constantly creating domain names that are misleading to the general public and in most cases, the intent is to defraud a potential customer. Domain name scams is on a rise and fraudulent domain names pose a threat to brands and the community at large. For example when fake news is spreading about a particular brand/business that has a huge impact on the brand’s reputation resulting from online reputational damage. Reputational damage may have an impact on the brand’s image resulting in loss of customers and monetary loss.
5. Avoid domain name disputes
When registering your domain you should be listed as a domain name registrant for your domain to avoid domain name disputes. When running an ethical domain operation, you should do the following:
– Avoid content that violates any human rights and content that is offensive.
– Do not conduct criminal activities with your .ZA domain name.
Abusive domain name registration is prohibited and internet users can report abusive .ZA domain names to the authority.