The landscape of Internet domain names is changing. There are literally thousands of new top-level domains (TLD) being released into the wild world of the Internet over the next few years. You may be more familiar with these being called ‘domain extensions.’
Each new TLD represents a new option to the right of the Dot. Until now, our options were limited with the most recognized being .com, .org, .net, and .TV. While there were other options, these were the TLDs that were recommended for churches to purchase.
Of the thousands of new TLD that are coming, you need know how the new .CHURCH domain will affect your church, the important dates that you need to mark on your calendar, and what actions you should take.
2 Reasons You Should Register .CHURCH
Protect Your Name
I have worked with several churches recently who lament not registering the more popular top-level domains (TLD) for their church, and as a result a less than reputable person registered the other domain(s) that match their name. Without naming specific churches, here are some examples.
- A church named “Our Church” registered “ourchurch.org” and has used it successfully. However, someone else registered “ourchurch.com” and pointed it to an immoral website.
- Still other churches who did not take their church onto the Internet early were not able to even get the .org TLD for their website.
Since .CHURCH is the most “industry” specific TLD for churches, I recommend you go ahead and register your church's domain with .CHURCH now…before someone else does.
Expand/Refine Your Online Strategy
Replace your current domain
If you do not like your current domain, this is a good opportunity to get a new one.
Keep your current domain, add .CHURCH to your current website.
You can keep you current domain, but go ahead and get the .CHURCH name for your church to protect it. You can point the .CHURCH domain to also go to your website.
Use your new .CHURCH domain as an additional online resource.
This will allow you to set up a website in addition to your main site. This could be used for outreach or non-members who are searching for a new church home.
There are three phases to the roll out of .CHURCH
- Sunrise Period: July 8, 2014 to September 6, 2014 – This period is designed as a protection phase for the roll out of .CHURCH. During this period churches can submit a preregistration request, and these requests are reviewed to ensure that not just anyone can register someone else’s church name. You should take advantage of this time and preregister your name now. The cost of domains during this period are around $35 and will be required to renew annually like all other domains. Note that once you are approved and you have registered during this period, you will not be able to use your new .CHURCH domain until September 17, 2014, but you can rest easy because it will be yours.
- Early Access Program: September 10, 2014 – 16 September 16, 2014 – During this period anyone with deep pockets can register your church’s domain if you have not already done so. There will be a sliding fee scale that starts from ridiculously expensive on September 10 down closer to normal on September 16. If did not register during the Sunrise Period, a very wealthy and unscrupulous could snatch your domain.
- General Availability: Begins September 17, 2014 – Once we get to General Availability .CHURCH domains can be registered on a first come basis at the regular price. Once we get to this date, if you have not already registered your .CHURCH domain, you may be too late. If you missed the Sunrise Period, be sure to mark September 17 on your calendar and try to register your site very early in the day.
How To Get Your .CHURCH Domain Name
Unfortunately, you may not be able to register .CHURCH through your normal domain registrar. Check out DJ Chuang’s website where he has a great list of resources on .CHURCH as well as .BIBLE. There he has a list of places where you can begin the process to register .CHURCH.
Looking for ideas on how to market your new .CHURCH domain? Read my post How To Market a .CHURCH Domain Name.
How will you use .CHURCH to expand your online strategy?