.church TLDSince the new gTLD domain naming system went live, much of the focus has been on how businesses are purchasing and using website addresses. But new figures suggest that churches are also keen to get in on the act.

According to one website domain registrar, .church addresses now occupy eighth place in their top twenty most popular TLDs – higher than any other of the new gTLD options. Churches in the US appear to be particularly keen to get on board with .church, seeing the new addresses as a good way to boost their local search visibility with a view to increasing congregation numbers in the long term.

“Churches absolutely must have a strong online presence,” said Pastor Wesley Sanders of the Brookhaven United Methodist church. “Visitors don’t just show up on Sunday morning anymore; they first look at the church’s web site or Facebook page, and they often want to listen or watch sermons to get a feel for the church.”

The true success of .church website addresses will be judged by whether demand continues at similar levels, or whether the early rush peters out over time. There are undoubtedly more church websites that there are .church address registrations, so it remains to be seen how many of these sites migrate to new addresses or register an additional gTLD to accompany their existing websites.

The good news is that the .church example proves that gTLDs can appeal to organisations and individuals – not just big businesses.

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