Your church website is the front door to your church. It’s the first thing people will check out before they decide to attend a service. But what you choose for your church website domain name will play a major part in whether visitors even find the door.
But before we dig into the details of why a custom domain name matters, let’s clarify what a custom domain name is.
Think of your website like your church building and your custom domain name like its address. When someone types the physical address of your church into Google, they will get a map and directions to its location. The same is true of a custom domain name. When someone types in your domain (firstchurchbellingham.com), there’s only one for servers to find and send people to—yours!
Here are three main reasons you need a custom domain.
1. To establish your church’s credibility and authority with visitors
People are wary of scams and have a low tolerance for websites that look fishy. When your website is on a subdomain, it can cast doubt on its legitimacy. Visitors recognize a website with a customized web address as one that is credible and authoritative. Using a free subdomain can tarnish your church’s reputation and possibly deter potential visitors from entering your church.
No one wants any visitor to turn away because of something as simple as a domain name.
2. To give members an easy-to-remember address to share
Part of being a missional church means making it as easy as possible for your members to share about their church. The easiest way to do this is by sharing your website. A custom domain improves how simple it is to share but also makes it easy for people to find when searching the internet.
Would you be able to remember and share https://firstchurchbellingham.faithlifesites.com without errors? Probably not. However, remembering firstchurchbellingham.com and sharing that with friends and neighbors wouldn’t be a problem.
When your congregation regularly shares your church website, or visits it to read blog posts or listen to your sermons, traffic increases. This activity triggers search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to pay attention to your website. The attention is amplified when other sites start linking to your custom domain. When you link to your church website from your social media pages or a member of your congregation shares your church website on social media, your website will start showing up in searches for things like “churches near me.”
3. To build your own web presence
If your church website is on a subdomain, it implies you are a part of the organization you share the domain with. The problem with sharing a domain is that you want people to search and find your church directly. Without a custom domain, it’s not going to happen. You’ll share the “search limelight” with the rest of the domain owners.
Ultimately a custom domain name provides the foundation for your website. It’s a necessity if you want people to find your church online and see new faces from your community coming in through your doors.
Don’t settle for free subdomains when it comes to your church’s website.