Did you know that your website’s actual address on the internet is just a series of numbers and decimals? A domain name is a keyword that points to that address. It is a word or phrase without spaces, followed by a “.com”, “.net”, or other suffix. For example, the domain name of this website is “evangelismwebsites.com”. Without a domain name, it would be difficult for visitors to find your website, so we give websites domain names to make them easy to navigate to.
What domain name comes with my website?
SermonView uses a standard domain name for all of our customer websites, “ourchurchlife.org”. This domain name is owned and maintained by SermonView, and we add the first one or two words in the name of your church to the front of it as a subdomain for you to use if you do not have a domain name of your own. For example, if your church name is “Prairie Adventist Community Church”, your subdomain would be “prairie.ourchurchlife.org”. The reason we do this is that most churches do not have a custom domain name, and we want to give them a way to easily share their website with people that describes what the website is about. Remembering “prairie.ourchurchlife.org” is easier than remembering a series of numbers.
Why should I change my domain name?
You are free to keep using “[CHURCHNAME].ourchurchlife.org” for your website as long as you continue renewing your subscription with SermonView. However, we strongly encourage you to choose a different domain name. The reason for this is search engines and ads perform better in directing visitors to your website when it has a unique domain name, and “ourchurchlife.org” is not unique to your website. Furthermore, it is easier for people to use a domain name that is more concise. For example, “prairie.ourchurchlife.org” would be better as “prairieadventist.org”.
Another good reason to change your domain name is to set up an email service for your church that has the same domain name as your church’s website. You could certainly use the default Gmail email addresses, like “firstname.lastname@example.org”, but something like “email@example.com” would maintain brand consistency and inspire trust. This indicates to your email recipients that you are a real organization and not a scammer. You would not be able to set up email with “ourchurchlife.org” because that domain name belongs to SermonView and is used for other websites. Instead, choose a domain name that matches your brand that you can use for email.
What kind of domain name should I be looking for?
You can simply use the short name of your church as your domain, as long is it is available on the market. However, some churches have found more success by using words that are more aligned with the message your church is promoting. For example, Prairie Adventist Community Church’s mission statement is “A community of faith that loves God, cares for each other, and brings light to the world. We are a group of disciples of Jesus seeking to live out His Great Commandment and Great Commission.” What are the most important and most appealing parts of this statement to a visitor? Probably themes of community and bringing light. So Prairie church could search for a domain name that communicates this, such as “bringonthelight.org” or “caringincommunity.com”. Putting on-brand keywords in your domain name may improve search engine performance.
A common mistake that we see when people choose their domain name is using acronyms, hyphens, abbreviations/codewords, and jargon. If you are promoting your church to the surrounding community or visitors online, it is important to avoid these things because you want your domain name to be something people can understand. Seventh-day Adventist churches often use the acronym “SDA”, but that does not mean anything to a person who is new to the church and it just becomes a series of letters that they have to memorize. Some conferences even have policies against using this in church domain names.
Your church website order comes with two standard domain names. These can be domain names that you already own and wish to transfer to SermonView to use with your website, or they can be new domain names that you choose for your new website. We strongly recommend using your two domain name slots to cover different suffixes with the same keyword. For example, if Prairie church wanted “bringonthelight.org”, we would recommend that they use their second domain name to get “bringonthelight.com”. The reason for this is people often forget the suffix or just assume that it is “.com” and end up going to the wrong website. This way, both versions would direct to your website.
How do I find a new domain name?
To find a domain name, we recommend using a domain search tool at a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy. This will allow you to search for as many different domain name combinations as you wish and figure out what you like best, and it will also tell you if that domain is available or already being used by someone else. The domain names slots that come with your website are for “standard” domains, which is basically just a difference in cost. Standard domain names are under $20. GoDaddy will tell you if the domain name is “Premium”, which would mean it is not standard and would not be available with your website package.
What should I do once I find the domain name I want?
Once you find two domain names that you wish to use that are available for purchase, contact SermonView at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know which ones you have chosen. We will purchase them on your behalf and apply them to your website. Be sure to include in the email which domain name you want to be the primary one. This just means all other domain names pointing to your website’s address will be redirected to the Primary Domain Name. For example, if Prairie church’s primary domain is “caringincommunity.com”, but they also wanted to buy “prairieadventist.org”, if a visitor types “prairieadventist.org” into their web browser, it will change to “caringincommunity.com” automatically. If you already own your domains, simply initiate a domain transfer from your domain registrar to email@example.com. If you use a registrar different than GoDaddy and they do not allow you to transfer that way, you may have to send a pass code to initiate the transfer (every registrar has a different process). Our support team is happy to walk you through this if necessary.
A domain name is an essential part of your website and can be leveraged as a powerful marketing tool. Since a custom domain name comes with your website, why not use it to its greatest potential? Don’t be intimidated by technical wording about domain names. SermonView has simplified the process and we will take care of all the technical aspects of setting up your domain name. All you have to do is decide on a domain name that you want for your church.