“A well-intended volunteer stepped forward to set up our church website. At first, they were totally responsive and information was updated the same day within hours. After a few months, the updates would happen less frequently. I would send them emails with what to place on the site and it would be posted within weeks. Then emails and calls to the volunteer would not lead to any updates at all. Our church website is now static and is still advertising last summer’s festival. It’s been a year and we have no way to update it.”
Or worse yet, you want to visit the homepage and it’s not the church website anymore.
I have heard this story many times before. Raise your hand if you’ve been the storyteller! There is no doubt that volunteers are necessary to help our various ministries thrive. When it comes to your domain name though, make sure of two things:
- The church should own the domain. Not sure who owns it? Go to the ICANN lookup to see the identity if the owners. However, if the domain is protected through a privacy service, that will show up instead of the owners personal name.
- Renew you domain name on time. Some domains are enrolled in an automatic renewal service. However, if it isn’t and you forget, the domain can go to auction. You may be able to get it back, but it could cost you. Google gave $12,012.26 to purchase their domain name back! Odds are, your church’s domain isn’t in quite as high demand, but it never hurts to be careful.
If your church is in the market for a new domain, selecting it should take a little though. After speaking with our developers and support here at Liturgical Publications, here are four tips for picking a domain for your church website.
- Use keywords if possible. Using a keyword will help your website show up more often in search results. Think “www.StMarksChurch.com” or “StMarksCatholic.org” instead of just “StMarks.”
- Keep it as short as possible. The longer the name, the more likely someone will mistype or misspell it. My home parish is www.hanb.org, short for “Holy Apostles New Berlin.”
- Look at domain extension options. There are many options out there for domain extensions, but stick to the two popular ones – “.org” and “.com.” A “.catholic” domain exists, but only the Vatican has rights to it.
- Keep it to alphabetical characters. Hyphens and numbers can be confusing. People typically forget to add the dash or put it in the wrong place. Numbers also need to be clarified. Is it numerical – “3” or spelled out – “three”?
You can search for domain names here and purchase the one that suits your church best.