A growing number of Canadian businesses are recognizing the importance of having a website, even if they don’t conduct digital transactions. Having an online presence provides information and reassurance to consumers in this country and around the world. In fact, six in ten Canadians are more likely to do business with companies who have a website.
Domain Name Registration in Canada
Knowing what our Canadian peers and competitors are doing can be especially useful, no matter what point we’re at in our digital transformation. Those who boldly went online before us have learned things that can accelerate our own progress and increase the odds of success.
Canadian data is always scarce, and information about domain registration in Canada is no different. If you Google domains in Canada, you’ll find little more than providers. Thankfully, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) does provide data about our country’s domain extension, .ca. We can get a good snapshot of Canadian domain registration as a whole, based on information provided by CIRA in their quarterly reports.
Canada’s .ca domain extension is the 12th largest country-code, top-level domain in the world. It’s been 32 years since the first .CA domain was registered, and now there are now more than 3 million .CA domains under management. Add that to the number of Canadians who registered domain names with one of the other hundreds of extensions (.com, .net, etc.) and the total is quite impressive.
Searching for the Perfect Domain
Canadians have a lot to consider before they register their domain name. Factoring into the decision are target market location, language, domain name availability, and trademarks.
For example, the length of a domain name is important. About half of currently registered .ca domain names are between five and 12 characters long. Really short domains (less than five characters) are often considered to be ideal, but they’re really tough to find since most have been snatched up by now.
A little creative customization is sometimes required when availability is an issue. You can overcome that challenge by adding keywords that further describe your business, but don’t overdo it! Stuffing keywords into your website address is never a good idea.
Consider the most popular keywords searched for in Canada and start brainstorming for your own digital address.
Popular keywords used in searches for a .ca domain name for ecommerce purposes included:
Community connections are also a theme in recent searches:
Location keywords that show up often are:
So, if you want to register Widgets.ca and it isn’t available, you could try adding a location like WidgetsCanada.ca. If that isn’t available, you could try ShopWidgetsCanada.ca.
Speaking of locations, Ontario has the most .ca names registered at 47 percent. Almost one in eight British Columbians have a .ca domain name.
If the domain name you really want is taken or there are no other viable options, you can consider purchasing an existing domain instead. Do a search and see if the person who owns the domain is using it, or go through brokerage website like Buy Domains to find something suitable. Even .ca domain names come up for sale quite often and you shouldn’t have to pay much for them. The most expensive .ca domains usually run from $5000 to $10,000 CAD.
How to Register a Domain Name in Canada
I recommend registering your .ca domain name with a Canadian registrar. American registrars and hosts may not have a good grasp on the .ca registration process and it can cost you your domain name. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way. For other domain name extensions, the location of the registrar is much less important.
Following are the best Canadian domain registrars we’ve worked with that provide Canadian-friendly domain registration, including the .ca option.
HostUpon (Based in Canada)
HostPapa (Based in Canada & Canadian currency)
We’ll update this post as new Canadian information becomes available. Please follow us on social media to be notified of updates and other new content.
Discuss domain name registration in Canada and other online business topics in the Online Business Canada Facebook group!
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.