If you’re thinking about getting your church online with a new website, CONGRATULATIONS! Studies show between 75% and 90% of all church visitors will look you up online first, so it’s important for your church to have a web presence.
One of the first steps in getting your church online is to buy a domain name; this process is called domain registration. Your church’s domain name is important because this is the address potential visitors to your website will type in to find you online. Ideally, the domain name for your church website needs to be memorable, as short as possible, and easy to spell. Unfortunately, with over 329 million domain names registered as of the fourth quarter of 2016, finding a domain name for your church website can be difficult. We’ve put together 6 tips that will make it a little easier for you to find the perfect domain name of your church website.
Before we begin, the general guidelines for domain names on the Internet are pretty simple:
- Domain names can contain letters, numbers, and hyphens (BUT before you register a domain name with a hyphen in it, see tip #5 below).
- Domain names are NOT case sensitive. This means secondstreetamechurch.org is the same as SecondStreetAMEChurch.org.
- The maximum length for a domain name is 63 characters (not including the www part or the letters after the second period).
1. Choose the most likely option for your church’s domain name.
Start your search for a domain name with the most obvious choice — that’s the domain name that has your church’s name in it. If your church is Second Street AME Church, see if secondstreetamechurch.org is available to register. Starting with your church’s name as your domain name is a great choice because it’s likely the web address a potential visitor to your church website will enter first when they try to find your church website.
2. Make your church’s domain name local.
There could be more than one Second Street AME Church on the Internet, so it may be necessary to make your domain name local. If you’re located in Georgia, you could try secondstreetamega.org. You might also try to localize your domain name by adding the city name or abbreviation to it, for example, secondstreetameatlanta.org or secondstreetameatl.org.
3. Reference your church’s mission in your domain name.
If you’re hoping to do a better job identifying your church with its mission or focus, you might consider adding a keyword from your mission statement to your domain name. If your mission statement references your church’s desire to guide people to Jesus, you might register your domain name as guidesecondstreetame.org. If you choose to include a keyword from your mission statement in your domain name, be sure to to include some portion of your church’s name so people will easily identify the web address with your church.
4. Try a different TLD for your church’s domain name.
A TLD, or top level domain, is the last part of a domain name — the part that appears after the last period. If secondstreetamechurch.org is unavailable, try a few of the popular TLDs like .com or the newer TLD, .church. Keep in mind that people who are unaware of your church’s domain name would be most likely to look for your church website at secondstreetamechurch.org or secondstreetamechurch.com, so look for either of those domain names for your church before you search for less popular TLDs like .church, .net or .us.
5. Try a shortened version of your church’s name.
If secondstreetamechurch.org is not available, you can also shorten your church’s name for the domain name to secondstreetame.org or even secondstreetamec.org. In the case of Second Street AME Church, you could even try to abbreviate the word STREET in the domain name like secondstamechurch.org. This is helpful because shorter domain names are easier to remember. One important tip to keep in mind — though a domain name can be up to 63 characters in length, consider that the longer your domain name is, the more space it will take up on your worship guide or event flyer.
6. Avoid hyphens in your church’s domain name.
In our general guidelines for domain names, we learned that hyphens are allowed in domain names. While secondstreetame-church.org may be available, it’s best to avoid a domain name with hyphens in it. When people sit down at their computers to type in a domain name, the hyphen is easily omitted, and your visitors could end up on the wrong website.
7. Get creative by trying any combination of the suggestions above.
You can also try secondstreetameatl.com or secondstreetatl.com if you find that secondstreetamechurch.org is not available for your church’s new website address. Using the tips above, try a few different combinations; eventually, you will come across a variation of your church’s name that’s available.
Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to search for a domain name for your church website, click here here to get started on Namecheap with your domain registration. We register all of our domain names through Namecheap, and we also use the website to manage our clients’ domain names too. They have great deals on domain names, and the website is easy to use.
When you are searching for a domain name to register for your church’s website, it’s also smart to look for your social media usernames at the same time, so you can make the usernames the same as your your church’s domain name. This will make it easier for your members and the community you serve to find you on social media. We use a tool called Namechk to see if a domain name is available and check if the username is available on social media platforms at the same time.
Have you registered a domain name for your church website? If so, what did you learn about domain name registration? How many domain names did you have to try before you found one that was available? If you haven’t registered a domain name for your church website, why not? Tell us in the comments below, or jump over to our free Facebook group, the Connected Church Community™, so we can help you do it!