Is your church a .com, .org, .net or maybe even .tv type of church on the Web? Were you even aware that this is a big deal these days? Better yet, did you settle for a domain name because all of the ones you wanted were already taken? Well, I may have good news for you—unless you are looking for FirstBaptist.church, which is already taken.
Recently, new top-level domains were released to the general public. What does that mean? It means if you want to buy a domain that doesn’t end in .com or .org, you can now choose things like .agency, .gives or even .ninja. One of the more notable domain extensions for the church as a whole that launched was .church. Yes, you read that correctly; you can now register http://AnyNeighborhood.church if you want to, and it doesn’t have to be a .com. In fact, according to Hover.com, the .church extension has made it into the top 20 generic top-level domain (gTLD) extensions twice already this year in terms of registrations.
Why would you want to do this though? Are there benefits? Well, here are five reasons your church should gobble up a .church URL.
People know you are a church. This may sound simple, but in the early days of the Internet and even today, most everyone is going after the .com as an extension. This causes a lot of confusion. Let’s take the church I attend right now as an example. Is Northpoint.com the domain for the mall or the church? Who owns Northpointchurch.com because it’s for sale? If only there was a way for all churches to be able to tell people where to go more easily. Wait—now there is. It breaks through the clutter of the .com and announces what you are more easily. Now, at least, there is less confusion.
There are more options available now. At least at the time of this writing this, there are more options for your church today than ever before. Now is the time to register one before all of them are taken. Just imagine if you were able to register your domain back in 1990 instead of 2001. There would have been a lot more options and you wouldn’t have a hyphen, 40 letters, or a cc at the end of your church’s name.
.church lets you update your brand. Whether or not you see your church as a brand, I truly believe that your community does see it that way. When people are searching for a church in your town, they are more likely to go to the website before coming to the front door. An updated brand will communicate that you care about the people of today, not just those of yesterday. Change is not always a bad thing, and it just might communicate that you care.
Registration is not that expensive right now. If you are thinking that to change from your current extension to a .church extension would cost a lot, you would be mistaken. The cost to register a .church domain at http://1and1.comis currently $19.95 for the first year. This is very much on par with other extensions like .net or .org. Getting your web hosting service to make the change will cost you a day, maybe two, to change over. So with little money and little time you will be off and running.
Grab your city for Search Engine Optimization. At this moment I could register http://Alpharetta.church if I wanted to. If I wanted to have more fun, I could set up a website that points to all of the churches in the city of Alpharetta and not just my own. Then, when someone searched “Churches in Alpharetta, GA,” I would be one of the top results in the search very quickly. Why? Because I think people who are looking for a church most of the time put in their city and the word “church.” Do all of the other churches in your town a favor and don’t just talk about yours. Who knows, it may just help someone find your church too.
What are some other ways you can see people using the .church extension? Do you think it is a good idea for you to have a .church URL? I would love to see your comments on this.