One quarter of a billion domain names have been registered in the last couple decades. Not surprisingly, it is often difficult to get the name you want today. It can be a challenge even for churches since there are hundreds of thousands of churches in the world and many have the same or a similar name. Even if the desired domain name is available, is it memorable?
It is important that a church’s domain name be memorable and easy to type so that potential website visitors don’t get lost. There are certain things that make a domain name easy to remember such as keeping it short and using a popular extension (also called a Top Level Domain or TLD). Losing people before they get to your church’s website shouldn’t happen.
Here are five tips to help you find a domain name for your church when the desired name is taken. These tips will also help you determine if the name your church has its sight on is a practical choice. Memorable is practical. Your domain name is the entrance to your website and your website is a pathway to your church. Choose carefully.
1. Stick with popular domain extensions
Extensions that people are used to typing in all day, every day are memorable. This especially means .com and to a lesser degree, .org. Go with a .com name when possible. Otherwise, choose .org or the new .church extension which is not popular but is memorable due to its absolute relevance. It will become more common for churches with time. Even if you go with .org, some people are still going to type .com out of habit so definitely avoid obscure country-code extensions like .cc, .ws and .co.
2. Use a short version of your church’s name
If your church’s name is Taylor Memorial Baptist Church, don’t choose taylormemorialbaptistchurch.com when taylormemorial.com or taylorchurch.com is available. Either is more memorable. This is not to say you cannot register two and redirect the longer to the shorter, however (in case someone tries the full name).
Bonus: A pastor pointed out to me that another benefit of a short name is with printing. For example, a smaller font size may be necessary to make a long domain name fit on a sign. A shorter name shown in bigger letters is easier to read.
3. Include your city’s name in the domain
Now let’s pretend that your church’s name is Cornerstone Church. Needless to say, cornerstone.com and cornerstonechurch.com are already registered. The .org and .church variations are taken too because there are many, many churches with “Cornerstone” in their name. What should you do? One thing you can try is adding your city’s name to form something like cornerstoneorlando.com. I just checked and this domain is available.
Bonus: Including your city tells people where your church is. This is especially useful to people searching for a church on Google. They instantly know you’re an option within reach.
4. Only use well-known abbreviations
Abbreviations can also be useful when trying to find a short name that has not yet been registered. Keep in mind that some abbreviations are known to the general public while others are mostly known in church circles. Only use abbreviations understood by the general public. Here are examples.
- FBC means First Baptist Church but most people don’t know that. Instead of fbcnewark.com, try something more memorable like firstnewark.com.
- I bet you know what NYC means, especially if you live in New York City. redeemernyc.com would have been a good alternative for Redeemer Presbyterian Church if they couldn’t get redeemer.com (you would likely pay thousands of dollars for a name like this today).
5. Never, ever use hyphens in a domain
It’s tempting to separate words with hyphens when the desired domain name is taken. Pretend hyphens are invalid characters. Use the tips above to find an alternative name instead. Hyphens are just not memorable. Many will remember the name but type it in without hyphens and end up wondering where the website is. Also, say “Visit our website at vineyard-baptist-church.com” out loud and you’ll discover another reason to avoid hyphens.
What do you think?
The domain name your church wants most might be taken but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for eastbrook-tabernacle-of-praise.cc. It’s likely you can find a short, memorable variation that will help people get to your website and ultimately visit your church to hear the Good News preached.
Let’s talk about this.
- What do you think makes a memorable domain name?
- Would you use the new .church domain name extension?
Read How to Pick a Domain Name for Your Church Website for a more in-depth look at this subject.
[Cover screenshot via GoDaddy.com]