HomePodcastHow To Make the Best First Impression for Your Church

How To Make the Best First Impression for Your Church


Today's episode focuses on how to make the best first impression for your church. Why do first impressions online matter? How important is it? What can your church do to make your best first impression online? Listen in on the conversation with Kenny Jahng and DJ Chuang as they discuss this critical topic in today's hybrid ministry world.


.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 FIRSTIMPRESSION at www.name.church for a discount offer made available to CTT community members.


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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!

[00:00:02.230] – Kenny Jahng

Hi friends. Kenny Jahng here with the church online podcast. We've got another episode here today. We're going to talk about how to make the best first impression for your church online. What are the first steps that you need to do in terms of taking care of your first impression? Before we go to the episode, let me just share a word about our sponsor for today's episode, that is Church. Church is a top level domain name that's used by tens of thousands of churches like Campus Church and Life Church. And they use it to connect and engage with visitors online. It's part of the Identity Digital portfolio and they have the church domain names just like others that come with added security and phishing protection. And sitting across from me is DJ Chang, the ambassador for Church Domain names, and he's known as a thought leader who basically helps churches and nonprofits learn how to use the latest digital technologies that are available to us today. DJ, welcome to the show today.

[00:01:11.270] – DJ Chuang

Hey. It's wonderful, Kenny. Thank you for having me.

[00:01:16.130] – Kenny Jahng

We've had some good conversations here, DJ, and I want to continue some of the threads and I'm glad that you made yourself available in your busy schedule. One of the first things that we always talk about, there's a couple of hot topics that most church leaders are really interested in, and one of them is first impressions, right? And so let's camp out on that topic today. First of all, what's the big deal about first impressions? Why are church leaders so obsessed or really focused on this all the time consistently?

[00:01:50.930] – DJ Chuang

Well, there's a saying in common knowledge that we only have one chance to make a first impression. And so for visitors that come to a church experience, often it's fraught with uncertainty and discomfort and fear because people that don't go to church stepping into churches, it's an unknown, it's an uncomfortable thing. They don't know the ritual. They don't know how to walk, look and talk. And so to ease that experience, the first impression makes a big difference. So churches work really hard at the parking lot experience and then the greeting experience as people walk up to the entrance, make sure there's signage, and then as they enter the building, there's ushers to help people find their seats. So every step along the way makes a big difference in terms of a person's first impression. And if someone doesn't have a good first impression, then they've actually made the decision before they hear the first word of the sermon. Many people have already decided, it doesn't quite feel right. I'm not comfortable. There's something not making a good first impression and they're not coming back. And so first impressions are very, very important for churches.

[00:03:10.890] – Kenny Jahng

Now, DJ, we know that churches work very hard, right, on this first impression thing. It's really important, especially as you're trying to gather and build the church up. But what is the first impression look like when we're talking about online? Is there a first impression online? What does that mean? How should pastors be considering that?

[00:03:32.340] – DJ Chuang

Yes, so first impression has moved from in person to online, as we've experienced over the past two and a half years with the Global Pandemic, where most churches were shut down and everyone nice, experienced churches had to present their online worship services through streaming or on demand video. And in fact, when I was part of a church plant, back in our church website was one of the top two ways people were finding out about our little church plant. Second was word of mouth. And word of mouth. So either people invited someone or people found us on the search engine. And that was nearly 525 years ago. And now we've got iPhones, we've got iPads, we've got all this technology seamlessly into our lifestyles. 97% of people, when they're looking for something local, they're looking online through their search engine. And so the first impression has moved from the parking lot to the web browser, whether that's on your mobile or your device, and through the search engine. And so not only is that first impression happening at your church website, it's even the step before that, before someone gets to the website. And what we're going to talk about is domain names and why that's important as a part of the first impression.

[00:05:08.670] – Kenny Jahng

Now they're pastors and their leaders that always come up in conversation. They quote things like Hebrews, what is it? 1025, I think we're not to be giving up meeting together right, as someone in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day approaching, et cetera. What would you say to that crowd? Isn't the goal of a church website really primarily to get people to the worship service because that's where the church is gathering the people per se?

[00:05:43.270] – DJ Chuang

Well, it is the most important thing for some churches to get people from the website to the church building. However, there are 17 million people who will visit church websites in a year and never visit a church building. And so those people are those that your church can be reaching with the good news of Jesus Christ. And secondly, people are going to make that first impression, that judgment, that decision on whether to even visit your church at your church website, if they have a good experience there, if it's easy to find information, worship time and worship location, which for me, I visit a lot of churches I enjoy doing. That unusual. I know. Can I tell you how many times.

[00:06:33.570] – Kenny Jahng

Your Monica has been the church connoisseur at times. Right, right. DJ like trying to visit someone.

[00:06:41.030] – DJ Chuang

I have used that on a few occasions and I cannot tell you how many times. It takes two or three or four clicks to find that worship time and to find that worship location. And churches make it so hard for me who wants to get to the church. And can you imagine how if you have any kind of friction and barrier for someone who's uncomfortable about going to church first time, what a lost opportunity and turn off it would be for those people. And then here's the thing. So before a person even gets to a church website, there's a first step, first impression, even before that, and that's the domain name. So when people are searching for a website or searching for information on the web, they're typing it into their search engine. Most people still use Google and they're browsing very quickly for a result that matches what they're looking for. Microsoft did some research a while back. They found that people are 25% more likely to click on a search result that matches what they're looking for. So if your church domain name matches your church name, you have a potential to reach 25% more clicks.

[00:08:00.970] – DJ Chuang

And that is an opportunity you do not want to miss out.

[00:08:04.420] – Kenny Jahng

Absolutely. And brevity matters or clarity matters, I think just putting a spotlight on this detail that I think it's easy to casually dismiss. But everything starts with just how you get identified and your name and your addresses, that first piece, it's just those small nuances, I think, that matter. If you are serious and really want to take advantage of everything that Google and the Internet has to offer you, I guess this is just the first place that we would do that, right? So in terms of first impressions, though.

[00:08:42.470] – DJ Chuang

I put together a little quiz.

[00:08:44.420] – Kenny Jahng

Okay, let's do it. I love quizzes.

[00:08:45.810] – DJ Chuang

DJ hey, Kenny, I put together a little quiz to show you how a first impression on a domain can make a difference. So if you see a web result that says gateway.com, what do you think of.

[00:09:02.970] – Kenny Jahng

Gateway? Well, it could be anything. It could be the computer company. It could be like a metaphor for a consulting company. I don't know. It could be anything.

[00:09:16.530] – DJ Chuang

Gateway.Com indicates a commercial company or a company, and then over the decades, it's become kind of a generic for any website. Like you were saying, gateway.com does go to the Gateway computer company, which you and I are old enough. Back in the day, it was the ones with the big cow branding on the boxes and mail order computers, pre Internet days.

[00:09:49.210] – Kenny Jahng

Apparently what gateway computers are. So it would be a guess for him.

[00:09:59.510] – DJ Chuang

Apparently it's still around. And I was happening in a magazine article the other day about toshiba toshiba laptops are no longer around. They were bought out by a sharp and rebranded. And so they were one of the first laptop companies and very reliable back in the day. I don't know if you had one of those. And now we're in the days of talking about MacBooks anyways, we diverge a little bit. So a second URL, gateway.org, what do you think that one is? And you might have a shot at this because this is in your home state.

[00:10:33.300] – Kenny Jahng

This is my homestate. gateway.org. I don't know. It's some nonprofit, I would think, but I don't know what the purpose is.

[00:10:41.530] – DJ Chuang

Yeah.org. Stand for some kind of nonprofit. This particular one is the Gateway pregnancy center in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

[00:10:52.460] – Kenny Jahng

That's right by me. But again, it would be a guess.

[00:10:58.650] – DJ Chuang

Yes. Okay. And then here we go. So if you saw the domain name Gateway Church boy, what do you think that would be?

[00:11:09.300] – Kenny Jahng

Well, that's pretty simple, pretty clear. Right. I think that's I think the reason why domain names matter, I think. Right. Obviously, church. If I heard about the church, it's probably easier for me to remember that URL, too.

[00:11:26.850] – DJ Chuang

Yeah. Gateway. Gateway Church is actually a very prominent church in Texas, one of the largest ones in Texas, and they're currently using that domain name not to its maximum, but they're holding onto it, and they're having it redirect to their old URL, which is Gatewaypeople.com. So if there was a way I could speak to their pastor, pastor Robert Morris, fantastic pastor, taught me a lot about generosity, and they're doing fantastic ministry. Love michael Jr. Being there and bringing some laughter and joy to us through Christian comedy. It's a very simple change in the website configuration to have Gatewaypeople.com redirect to Gateway Church and begin that process of using Gateway Church as part of your branding, part of your alignment, part of your communication and call to action so people can engage more deeply with your church activities.

[00:12:29.630] – Kenny Jahng

I guess having that redirect is that first easy step, and I think there's some stat that says I don't know what percentage, but of the top 100 largest churches, the majority of them are actually using church either as the main one or, like, LifeChurch or Canvas church, et cetera, or redirect. Right. The majority of the largest churches are using them right now.

[00:12:52.750] – DJ Chuang

Yeah. Not quite majority yet, but we're looking at 35% and growing. The tech industry is very excited to see that again.

[00:13:04.470] – Kenny Jahng

I think this is one of the things. Here's the quiz. How much is the church domain name? It's not a lot. It's not like $1,000. Right. Like most domain names for church, it's a very affordable thing. It's probably something you probably don't even need authorization from the accounting.

[00:13:23.090] – DJ Chuang

Right? That's right. It's around $50 a year for most church domain names.

[00:13:29.930] – Kenny Jahng

That's not much at all. Well, in terms of first impressions, I think you're right. We should be thinking about the domain name and how we might be using the domain name both as a primary. I think that might be probably the clearest and easiest way to identify your church, but there are probably many other ways to use it. I'd love to figure out maybe to invite you back and to brainstorm or to share some of the things of how other churches are managing the church domain name in other ways. But in terms of first impressions, DJ, can you just maybe share some of the pieces that go into making the best first impression online for a church?

[00:14:15.590] – DJ Chuang

Yes. So we've talked about how the website experience needs to be clear and engaging so people can find the information that they want. And I also know churches that want to bring together the inspiration and the information. So the church website needs to be inspiring and informative both at the same time. So, good web design, good performance. We're going to dig a bit more into that in a different episode about having the best website experience. But before a person can even get to the website, you need a good web address. We've talked about the Dock church domain name being the clearest and the best. And I know I'm biased the domain extension to help churches be identified as a church clearly proclaim who you are and get that alignment and get the best impression so that people will come to your church website.

[00:15:15.990] – Kenny Jahng

Now, again, I would love to see some ways that we could actually increase engagement using URLs, like thinking through that process, I think if we need to convince leadership and a senior pastor, et cetera, we probably need some good ideas or some good examples. So maybe next time you come back, we can talk about ways of increasing engagement from the URL level. But in the meantime, share with us what is the best place to actually look up and actually see if that church domain name is available locally for our own church?

[00:15:54.810] – DJ Chuang

Yes, the web address is name. Church is placed to find your domain name for your church name church. And as we are speaking, there's a limited time, low price discount that's available for churches and listeners of Church Text today. And of course, Church Domain Names is available at any of the popular retail registrars where you can buy domain names, GoDaddy, Google Namecheap and wherever else.

[00:16:25.490] – Kenny Jahng

Well, thank you DJ for spending some time with us today, everybody. We'd love to get your questions on Domain names. DJ is an expert in this area and has extensive experience with ICANN and registrars and registries and redirects and all that kind of stuff. So we would love to hear your feedback. Email me at kenny at Church Text today with your questions and we'll consider it for future episodes. But in the meantime, stay tuned because next time I'm going to sit down with DJ and hopefully he'll be able to share with us a couple of different ways to actually increase engagement online using the domain name and content, et cetera. That topic of digital engagement is so important to us today and we'll do that next time here on the Church Online podcast. DJ Chong, thank you so much for being with me today. I'm Kenny Jang. We'll see you here next time on the church online podcast. Hi.

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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