Whether you’re a large international business expanding to Canada, or a Canadian entrepreneur who wants to target local customers specifically, deciding to register a .ca domain may be exactly what you need for your business. In this article, you’ll learn how to register a .ca domain, and also why it is important to consider local TLDs in the first place, and such a decision can affect your business.
1) How to register a .ca domain
Registering a .ca domain differs a bit from some others. For starters, in order to register a .ca domain, you will have to to meet at least one of these criteria:
- Your business or organization is registered in Canada
- You’re a Canadian trademark holder
- You have Canadian permanent residency
- You’re a citizen of Canada, or
- You qualify for other Canadian Presence Requirements (find the complete list of requirements here)
Once you proceed to a CIRA-certified registrar such as CanSpace and start the .ca registration process, you will be asked if you meet the above criteria.
Please note that you can have your domain revoked if any ownership information you’ve entered is not correct.
The question we get asked a lot by new business owners is: “Should I first pick a domain name, and then build a website, or another way around?” Our recommendation is to start with a domain, and then, move on to website building.
Search for the best domain name
Moving on to the actual steps you’ll need to make when you want to register a .ca domain! Once you’ve decided on a perfect domain name for your business, head to our easy-to-navigate domain search page. If your desired .ca domain is not available, feel free to make slight modifications or try out some of the suggested alternatives, until you find the one you like.
Another option – if your mind is set on a particular name – is to contact the current domain owner (using the WHOIS information), and negotiate a purchase.
Either way, rest assured that it matters where you’ll buy a domain. Not only will you get the domain for a very affordable price, but you’ll find everything you need here at CanSpace, to build, host, and secure your website. Which leads us to…
Where should you buy a .ca domain?
Here are a couple of factors to consider when choosing a domain name (and hosting) provider:
- Try to consider all related costs, not only the price of the actual domain. Do the research on products and services such as hosting, website building tools, emails, and similar. These are all costs that will affect your budget on a yearly level. Usually, the cheapest option out there is not the best one in a long run.
- Choose the provider whose customer service is exceptional and well-rated by customers.
- Particularly important for .ca domains – pick Canadian providers, especially if they bill in Canadian dollars (as we do), and are certified by CIRA (as we are).
Do not worry if your .ca domain is currently registered by the provider you’re not satisfied with. You can easily transfer your domain to CanSpace – a small fee associated with this action would pay off in a multitude of ways. Note that, for newly registered domains, transfers are not possible during the first 60 days.
Register your .ca domain
Well done, as you successfully picked the perfect domain name, as well as your perfect provider! Now, how could you register a .ca domain – properly?
Our first tip is to consider registering your domain for 2 years or more. Extending your yearly registration is a wise move because:
- It is usually a cheaper option
- No need to keep a memo to renew it every year
- This option lowers the risk that your website will not function temporarily if you miss the renewal date by any chance.
Protecting your .ca
Finally, let’s make sure your website with the chosen .ca domain and a reliable provider, is also safe:
- Do not let any third parties register your domain for you (example: a marketing agency). Always conduct this process yourself, to make sure you’ll have full access to the account.
- Set a strong password – a unique password will further secure your domain name. Also, do not give it to third parties, and change it regularly.
- As already mentioned, make sure that all information you provided while registering a domain is accurate and up to date. You’d want to receive the expiry or renewal notices, critical to your .ca domain name.
- Is your company or product often misspelled? If that’s the case, consider registering a couple of variations (alternate domain names). Next, forward these domains to your main business website. By doing so, you’ll protect your brand online, but also make sure that even if a name is misspelled, your potential customers can always reach your site!
- For French-speaking Canadian companies – consider registering a .ca domain with French characters, such as é, â, ô, ü, and similar.
- Do not miss an important update about your .ca domain – sometimes anti-spam software filters out important messages about your domain, coming from your provider and other related services. Whitelist all these services in your email account.
- Your private information should stay private – some domain providers charge more for privacy protection, but we include this option for free. We know how important it is to stay safe online.
2) Why should you register a .ca domain?
As you learned, certain steps need to be covered so your domain name is properly registered and secured. But in general, the process is not that difficult!
Now, take a look at how having a .ca domain can benefit your business:
- The .ca domain makes it easy for Google to position you properly. Your local Google ranking will improve, as a .ca domain clearly signals your business is relevant to Canadian searchers.
- Area targeting, especially for local businesses can be further improved with a .ca extension, but also with including your city into a domain name (something like OttawaGlassRepair.ca)
- Not only will your business be perceived differently by Google.ca, but it will be easier for potential customers to find you – which could have a large impact on your traffic and business.
- Along with a .ca domain name, you can benefit from a Canadian hosting as well. It is much more affordable than usual US options, and it could provide faster loading for visitors on your website.
- By paying in Canadian dollars, you can save the money that would otherwise be spent on currency conversion. For a single purchase, that doesn’t mean a lot. For recurring services such as domains and hosting, the cost might easily add up.
If Canadian market is on your radar, make sure to grab the best of it with a .ca domain name. And we hope you’ve found out how to register a .ca domain in this post. In case of any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are always online, ready to help you grow your business. So, hurry up – your perfect .ca domain is waiting for you!