There are a number of things that make a church website successful, from aesthetics to load time to ease of use. But the most important thing about your website comes before the page even loads: your domain name.
Your website domain name is one of the most important marketing tools that your church possesses.
It’s your welcome mat.
The way people get to you.
The first thing they notice.
Not only do your church attendees want to find you online, but those outside the church are [also] likely to be looking for you, too.
In today’s world of branding clutter, your domain name needs to be easy to remember and quick to find.
For a similar reason why we serve good coffee on a Sunday morning: to help break down barriers. In the Search Engine Journal, Gillon Hunter tells organizations that the best domain name is “unique, clear, short, meaningful, catchy, and inspiring.”1
We’ll go one step further and share our rules for choosing the best domain name for your church:
- Keep it short
- Make it memorable
- Keep it relevant
Keep it short
Reduce user errors caused by spelling mistakes and name confusion by keeping your domain name short.
Recently, one church influencer warned marketers about acronyms. In some cases, it can read easily and make sense, but in a lot of cases, it’s only clear to your local audience.
Clear name: Harvest.Bible (for Harvest Bible Chapel)
Unclear name: EBCC.org (for a hypothetical Evangelistic Bible Community Church)
Keeping your domain short—as opposed to something like secondbaptistchurchofdowntownhouston.net—goes a long way in making sure people can find you again after the first Sunday they visit, or after they’ve passed your building while driving 45 mph, or when they’re searching for local churches online.
Statista reports that more than half of website usage is from mobile phones, and we can safely assume that number is only going to rise. Shorter domain names are the most friendly to mobile users.
Make it memorable
Your website has to be memorable to be used. Digital real estate is a bit crowded these days, but there are now over 1500 new players on the top-level domain (TLD) playing field—from .BANK to .BIBLE (our favorite, obviously) to .GURU. These new TLDs make it easier than ever to find your memorable name and place.
Ken Bitgood at Find.Bible, a directory of biblical resources in the 6000+ languages of the world, chose the .BIBLE top-level domain for this very reason.
“Having a short and meaningful domain name like Find.Bible has helped people to more easily remember our web address. People are getting it because it just makes sense!”
Online visitors need to remember how to get back to you whether it’s a second-time visitor or a person in your congregation who wants to find ways to get more involved. If they can’t remember your web address, that’s a big problem.
Keeping your website name as close to your church name as possible is a good way to make your website memorable.
Keep it relevant
The right domain name helps people connect who you are and what you do. With over 1,500 TLDs, make sure you pick the right one for your church. The new TLDs are categorized by the top search engines exactly as the earlier .COM, .ORG, and .NET domains.
If you’ve been stuck with a long domain name or one you don’t like—it’s not too late to make a change. Many groups are choosing to leave the old for something better that provides clear branding.
We recently put together a case study report of three well-established organizations [that] decided to rebrand with a new TLD despite any temporary friction or costs that might have been experienced. They all made the leap because of the strategic nature of the three benefits we highlighted above. You can access a copy of the report here.
Finding your place
Here is a startling statistic—more than 40% of the 330 million domain names in existence are a dot-com. Obviously, this can make it difficult to get a short URL or even the domain name you want.
But you don’t have to sweat it anymore. New top-level domain extensions like .BIBLE provide instant association, communicating your connection and commitment to the Bible—even in your domain extension.
Make the most of your digital home on the web by getting a quality domain name that quickly communicates who you are and what you do. In a fast-moving world, the advantage goes to the one who can be the most effective the fastest.
You don’t just have to take our word for it. You can download our free case study report and hear from three other organizations who put their website to work for them.
Guest writer Scott Wennermark is the Director of Strategic Advancement for the American Bible Society. He is the founder of the .Bible top-level domain (www.get.bible), which is helping to shape the future of the internet by creating a trusted space for Bible-inspired content. In addition to pioneering new initiatives, Scott loves to go on adventures, bike, and spend time with his wife and daughter.
- Hunter, G. How to Choose a Domain Name That Will Stand the Test of Time. May 28, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/how-to-choose-domain-name/252285/