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3 Ways to Increase Engagement with Beautiful Web Links


Let's talk about different ways to use domain names in marketing and communications. Is there more than just a link that goes to a website? In today's episode of the Church Online Podcast, Kenny Jahng and DJ Chuang talk about 3 ways to increase engagement with beautiful web links. You'll hear about DJ's pet peeve about short cut links and what's the better alternative for your church.



.church is a top-level domain name used by tens of thousands of churches like www.canvas.church and www.life.church to connect and engage with visitors online. As part of the Identity Digital portfolio, .church domain names come with added security and phishing protection.


Search for .church at www.name.church or your favorite registrar. Use the promo code INCREASE ENGAGEMENT at www.name.church for a discount offer made available to CTT community members.


Bit.ly: https://bitly.com/

TinyURL: https://tinyurl.com/app

Rebrandly: https://www.rebrandly.com/








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The following is a machine-generated transcript of the audio. We've been testing the NueralText online transcription service. Now, as you know, Machines < Humans so these transcript notes won't be 100% accurate. Probably more like 80-95% accurate. Hopefully, this will help you scan the episode content to get the gist of the conversation. Enjoy!

[00:00:00.130] – Kenny Jahng

Hi friends. It's set time again. My name is Tanny Zhang and you're here for the Church online podcast. Today we've got a fun show, very practical. We're gonna talk about three ways to increase engagement with beautiful, beautiful web links. My co host and conversation partner today is DJ Chuong. Welcome to the show, DJ.

[00:00:21.770] – DJ Chuang

Hey, it's great to be back. Thank you for having a beautiful conversation.

[00:00:26.390] – Kenny Jahng

Yes, absolutely. Now, before we get there, I just want to do a shout out to our sponsor, Identity Digital, who brings us the church top level domain name, which is used by tens of thousands of churches like Canvas Church or Life Church to connect and engage with visitors online. Now, as part of that Identity Digital portfolio, church is a domain name that comes with added security and phishing protection. You can get your own church domain name at Name Church or your favorite registrar online. So DJ, we are going to be talking about beautiful web links, which I know is a popular topic on the web for aesthetics. But more importantly, practically speaking, we're going to make that connection between beauty of that URL and increasing engagement. Right? So that's one of the things that we're going to dive into today. So let's talk about today. Let's talk first about the different ways to use domain names, like in marketing and communications. Is there just more than a link that goes on a website?

[00:01:37.550] – DJ Chuang

Well, it's a link that goes to a website, or it could be a link that goes to any event page registration, call to action response, sign up for a newsletter, go to social media, all kinds of things. Websites or domain names can also be URLs that go to an app. So it's a very succinct way to draw someone's attention and focus and to do something because just having images or text scroll by and people are scrolling by, so much information, so much content, so many distractions, bombarded by thousands of messages a day and what is it that's going to grab someone's attention and take action? And it is a beautiful web link that draws attention and we're humanly wired to things that are attractive and beautiful. So when I saw this paisley shirt in the department store the other day, I was drawn to it and I had to get it because it's orange and it was on sale and it was unique. And those of you that are watching this on video can see it. Those are just listening. Audio cannot see it. But if you were to see the video, you would notice that my shirt is more interesting.

[00:02:59.690] – Kenny Jahng

It certainly is a beauty. DJ, the fact that it's orange is one of the things that makes it so beautiful. So one of the things we talked about, all the different uses, it was promotional use of links. I want to camp out on that just a little bit. So can you talk through for me what's the advantage of using a promotional URL versus just a standard URL? For example?

[00:03:24.650] – DJ Chuang

Yes. So for example, every church, or certainly churches listening to the Church Tech Today podcast have a home page and hopefully a domain name. I've also come across some churches that just have a Facebook page or just have an Instagram and search their small community just fine. But having a home page is good for kind of the first impression and we've talked about that on a previous episode. But there are other things that you want people to do than just going to the generic homepage that serves the generic population. There are people that are attending your church that you want them to have a specific response after the message and I'll mention one of those in the next question. And then there are those that you want to direct someone to a special event or to register. You don't want to have people wade through the home page trying to find the button or the link or the menu. You want them to go right there and take action because people are distracted. People need every bit of help to do the right thing that you want them to do. And a great frictionless experience serves people well.

[00:04:46.990] – DJ Chuang

And at the end of the day, that's what we want to do is we want to serve people well so that they engage more and don't waste time doing.

[00:04:56.690] – Kenny Jahng

I will say I do get a message from you now and then, either a voicemail or text or an email whenever I use bitly links. Now usually I'm using bitly links again to shorten that URL and to get it out there. And sometimes you want to be a little less obvious of what the destination is back to the main URL, sometimes not. But what's so bad about using, say, a bitly shortcut URL? There's some other tiny URLs, there's another one that I use sometimes, but you kind of remind me of the branding opportunities. So tell me that why is it so bad to use bitly shortcut to start with?

[00:05:42.820] – DJ Chuang

Well, at the very two reasons. One, it's dangerous. So when I see a bitly link, my immediate reaction is I'm not paranoid on the internet, I'm pretty public and thank God I haven't had identity theft in 20 years. And people have been online even less have identity theft, but I take other precautions. But whenever I see a shortcut link, like a bit leaner, tiny, I never click on it, just as a habit that I formed because I don't know where that's going. And it's so easy to disguise URLs now with spamming and fishing. So I use something that's called redirect. Let me get the right URL here, redirect li. I use redirect li to deconstruct those URLs and that works across all the shortcut URLs or for a bit, the link. You can actually copy and paste that bitly link and add on the end of it and it will show you the destination.

[00:06:57.110] – Kenny Jahng

I love that redirect. Put any Bitly link or any shortcut URL and it just expands and it tells you what it is before you go there.

[00:07:05.610] – DJ Chuang

Number one, it's dangerous to just click on a link that starts with Bitlier, tiny URL or some other shortcut maker. And the secondly, they're really hard to share. Now, I was at a prominent name brand megachurch in the state of Texas. I'll give you that little hint and sitting there in the 8th row and they were an awesome church, very hospitable. When they found out we were visitors, the usher escorted us to the sea. We had a clear view of the pastor and during the preferred slideshow they were going through different announcements and I was surprised to see a bit lealin without any custom wording. So it was letters and characters randomly just alphabet C. Oh, how'd you know? So it was a Bentley link for a skating party. And if I had access or if they look how many people actually clicked or type that link for that skating party, I'm pretty sure it would be zero because people are sending them to you. They're not going to catch the alphabet soup of characters and numbers and letters to type it in and go to the URL to sign up for the skating party.

[00:08:31.050] – DJ Chuang

So it's useless to just put a link out there with random characters. And then thirdly, you mentioned it's a lost opportunity for branding. Again, because we're in attention deficit society, every little bit that we can bring repetition and impression and reinforce our church brand is a positive thing because then when someone sees a link that's associated with your brand, it does two things. One, it reinforces your church brand, your church name and increases that affinity. And secondly, it's a trusted link. Someone at the church created that link so you can have more reassurance and less competition to have to check over.

[00:09:23.350] – Kenny Jahng

Time, right, over time used by the church over and over again. It's a little bit safer now. Okay, I get it. Especially for your church. We shouldn't be using these other shortcut services potentially. So you're saying how can a church have its own shortcut URL? Especially when the URL the church sometimes is not short. There's a lot of times where the main website address is long. What do you suggest in that situation then?

[00:09:54.200] – DJ Chuang

Yes. Right? Yes. So I did some research and on the church space there's a URL shortener that's being used at IABC church and that domain is connected to a platform called Rebrandly. So Rebrandly is a shortcut maker that you can share with a couple of your social media team and your web team to say. Hey. When you have a shortcut URL related to an event. A sign up form. A landing page for a ministry. A call to action. Log in to Rebrandly and create a custom link at IABC ChurchEaster or IABC Church Christmas. And I have it go directly to that longer URL that is the church's destination. Now, what's nice about the shortcut URL? It fits in a Tweet better, it sits on your social media graphic better, and it's more memorable. So IBC Churchkeyword is much easier to include in your announcements, in your social graphics than something much longer. And many churches have long URLs, and, well, it's saddened to see when people say, go to our church and search for the keyword. Whatever, come on, are we still having to use so many words to bring a call to action? And the longer it is, the more words you use, there's a diminishing return.

[00:11:38.250] – DJ Chuang

And while you're a church tech today audience, you're sensitive to every friction point and anything that's a hurdle that lowers response rate. So the tip here is use a nice clean shortcut URL, and you don't have to get a brand new domain. You can even get a sub domain in your existing URL if you already have AWS.

[00:12:06.790] – Kenny Jahng

Subdomain events. So it was like Event, ABC church Eastervps, they use the subdomain of the main stem of the URL for redirects.

[00:12:22.210] – DJ Chuang

So I'll mention three shortcut URL makers. So you can actually use a platform that does better tracking in terms of statistics, and then can give you that custom keyword that's normal and easy to share.

[00:12:37.330] – Kenny Jahng

Hold on.

[00:12:41.950] – DJ Chuang

Okay, we're going to add in the show notes. Just add it to the show notes. All right, make it easy for you. Again, we're here to serve people. At the end of the day, we're here to serve people. So we're not these in the show notes, but I'll mention them so that at least you've heard them, because again, repetition, repetition, repetition. So Bitly is very popular, but they offer a free service as well as a paid service under $10 a month. You can attach your custom domain name or a sub domain name to a Bitly platform and then use keywords to create links. Tiny URL also has a custom domain name option, and then Rebrandly has a custom domain option along with they're both premium, so free level, you get the opposite soup, and then you pay the $10 month or so and get the custom domain name. So I highly recommend the custom domain name. Not only does it make it easy for users to engage with you, you get a beautiful link plus statistics. Statistics are valuable because then you see what's effective. And if you're a larger church or you want to see what is working better in terms of your marketing, you can actually use two different URLs and see which one engages your pieces better.

[00:14:03.850] – Kenny Jahng

You can create multiple redirect URLs for the same destination URL and then use them in different channels. One for social media, one for email, one for on stage announcements, et cetera. That's a great way to do data trap I've done that before. Now, DJ, you've mentioned, I think there's a third way that you typically say that churches can use domains for social links. Can you share a little bit about that?

[00:14:31.630] – DJ Chuang

Yes, social links. This is kind of a novel way to use domain names, but we've found several churches doing that and there's a couple of churches out there in the church world that use it as a redirect to their Facebook page. So instead of having a website that's built on WordPress or some other content management system and by the way, like 43% of the Internet is using WordPress for their websites and that's probably true for many churches as well. So very popular. Free content management, content management assistant, free in terms of the software, you still need web hosting, but Ausweighga Church is a domain name that automatically forwards to their Facebook page. Oswego is spelled O-S-W-E-G-O. Had a link in the show notes and click right through and then they put down on the graphics. Oswega church is on their graphics, but it actually goes through a Facebook page, which is a longer URL, Facebook Comasuegocurch, which is kind of long to squeeze into a graphic housewifer. Church fits right on. Any social graphics, very cleanly, very nicely. And there's another one that we found, Respond Church pretty handy. It goes to a link tree of a Seacoast church that has a hyphen in their URL.

[00:15:58.120] – DJ Chuang

Put Respond Church, say, at the end of every service and say go to Respond Church and connect with us on the connect card and social media and whatever else. Very handy. Respond Church so you can make a domain name, your call to action without the slash, without the keywords, just a clean domain name. Call to action.

[00:16:19.270] – Kenny Jahng

So interesting, I'm just thinking through my head of use cases, andy Stanley features the URL for their top three every single week. But I think it is Northpoint.org top three. I don't remember top three or top three is a three spelled out. I actually don't remember right now. I remember him doing the call back. But they could do top three. Church right, and that's just easy. And then you actually go there every single week. That's a similar use case, right?

[00:16:50.550] – DJ Chuang

Yes, that would be a similar use case. And while we're at it, let me mention one more use case, one more example of how to use domain names to increase engagement. So promotional links, I have three examples of those I want to share with our viewers and listeners. So there's a church down in where is this, I think it's in Texas called Blessed Hope Fellowship. And as part of their billboard campaign, they use BHF Church right there on the billboard. When people are driving by at 65 miles to an hour, they probably don't have time to catch a long URL with keywords and all that. So BHF, Blessed Hope Fellowship, actually it's in southwest New Mexico uses the billboard and puts that URL very short, clean domain name, easy to remember for drivers to come by. They have that impression BHS Church, and when they go home, they can type that right in and respond to engaging with that church. So, great promotional through your whatever marketing billboard campaign. Another example is event based. We mentioned that a few times, but I wanted to show you an example. Bettertogetherevent Church. So this church is Victorylifepeople Church and they use it to redirect to a long URL.

[00:18:27.130] – DJ Chuang

Victorylifepeople Church. Very long URL. Right. But not very easy to share. But by using a domain name that goes directly to that landing page, bettertogetherevent Church makes it easy to share, makes it easy to promote promotional URL for their Christmas event. It's generic enough. They could use that for other events throughout the year, easter and summer party, whatever. Better together. Go ahead, you can say it with me.

[00:19:07.010] – Kenny Jahng

Other long, crazy URL that you have mentioned.

[00:19:11.510] – DJ Chuang

Yes, I know there's some churches that do call in response and you can just have people practice that and add another impression. Memorability domain name for further engagement. And then one more. Beyond Sunday church. I love that domain name. This church was very creative. This church is Mayfair Bible Church and they're using it as a landing page for things that people can do. Beyond Sunday. Yes, get it? Beyond Sunday church. They provide resources for prayers, small groups, Q and A videos, surf teams, how to deepen your faith. It's all conveniently located on that landing page at B, which is so interesting.

[00:19:55.140] – Kenny Jahng

Because it's actually non branded in particular. Instead of being branded, probably because they want it to be even more shareable outside of even their own community. Reduce that friction. Because I see here that their main URL is Mayfair Bible Church. And so you're removing that branding, make it easy for someone who's exploring Christianity or questions about Jesus for the first time, or even someone who is new to the church to try to get more attached to the community. Wow. So you've given us a lot I've taken a lot of notes. What we're going to do is we're going to put a lot of these links in the show notes. DJ, as we cap out today's episode, what would be like, the number one piece of advice you would give to someone who needs to bring it back to their team and say, hey, I'd like to try to use a beautiful web link and a secondary URL to be able to use in our marketing communications. What would you give that person advice? How to bring up the subject or what's the best approach for it?

[00:21:02.410] – DJ Chuang

Well, the easiest way is to show an example. Social proof is very easy to understand and to take action on, and once you've experienced it, you'll want to pass it on. Sorry, I'm a bit old. That's an allusion to an old song, some of your older listeners might catch it.

[00:21:20.910] – Kenny Jahng

I'm a young gun.

[00:21:21.690] – DJ Chuang

That's it.

[00:21:22.260] – Kenny Jahng

I'm a young gun. Well, thank you for spending the time with us today. Next time, I'd love to have you back because I want to talk about the mechanics and just the practicality upgrading domains, because I think as people start to revamp sites and get ready for the next chapter of their digital footprint, et cetera, upgrading their site in that perspective, I think is really important. So I'm looking forward to that conversation and for you guys today, if you are actually using a redirect, we'd love to catalog more examples of how you're using them. If it's a secondary URL too, would you reach out to us and let us know? I'd love to hear from you. It's great to hear the stories. It's encouraging and also helps us provide more like you just said, more examples and social proof to other leaders so that they can actually start to increase their engagement by using these advanced techniques of communications on the web. So email me at kenny@churchtachtoday.com and we'll be back here next time here on the church online podcast. DJ Chong and Kenny Jang here. We'll see you next time here for another conversation about web websites and domain names.

CTT Staff
CTT Staffhttps://churchtechtoday.com
ChurchTechToday is the #1 church technology website for pastors, communicators, and leaders. With the goal to provide insight into a variety of topics including social media, websites, worship, media, mobile, and software, ChurchTechToday aims to shed light on how church technology can empower and position churches for impact and growth.


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