Some people understand how cars work pretty well, while others don’t. When taking a crippled car to the shop, some will use words like “carburetor” and “exhaust system” while others will simply say, “It’s loud and broken.” After diagnosing the problem, the wise mechanic will explain what needs to be done differently, based on an owner’s familiarity with cars. This same concept rings true in almost every profession; doctors, lawyers, insurance agents, financial advisors, social workers, etc. Really, any person working in a profession involving technical knowledge and language will have to assess the best way to communicate insider information to an outsider asking questions. The ability to share information in different ways to different types of people is also essential to a church’s online presence. This is especially important when you are trying to figure out how to reach two church audiences with organic traffic.
Unchurched & Churchless
People peruse the Internet for all sorts of reasons. The amazing algorithms of Google work hard to pinpoint those specific reasons, giving those searching the most pertinent information possible. When it comes to church, the Internet serves as an awesome tool to proactively connect with different people searching for spiritual things. Some of those searching are considered “unchurched”, meaning they are more than likely not following Christ or have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. Then, there are those called “churchless”. These are individuals who more than likely are Christ-followers, but do not have a church home. Perhaps they moved to the area, or their old church split, or sometimes it’s common that a divorce too place and now one of them needs to find a new church.
Like the wise mechanic, the wise church will work hard to cater their website’s information to different types of spiritual seekers. Instead of focusing on one group and ignoring the other, your church’s website should extend it’s reach by embracing Collin and Porras’ concept, the genius of “the and”, and focus on both (Built to Last, p. 43). But, the question is how?
The secret to connecting with these two very different groups of spiritual seekers on one site is through the use of a “subdomain”. A subdomain refers to a small part of your website set apart by its own web address. This is key when you are trying to reach two church audiences with organic traffic. If your website is like a house full of rooms, think of a subdomain like the kitchen, if the kitchen had its own special address. If a church’s normal website is www.yourchurch.com, then any word placed in front of “yourchurch” instead of “www” would be considered a subdomain. For example your church could create a felt needs subdomain dedicated to serving called serve.yourchurch.com.
You could easily use a subdomain on your church’s website to increase your ability to communicate to both the unchurched and the churchless. Here are a few pointers for using a subdomain to reach these two different audiences.
- Use the main church domain
- Audience is unchurched people who already know they need a church
- Optimize your main domain to keywords people search when looking for a church
- Send their keyword traffic to your church’s main domain
- Use words in writing that experienced church attenders know
- Provide functions that cater to people who are looking for a church
- Offer call-to-action that encourage church attendance
- Should load in 4 seconds
- Okay to have some fancy elements that slow page load time down
Example Paragraph about Sunday Services for the Unchurched on your main site:
Join us this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. for an exciting worship service that will grow your faith and encourage your heart. Our live band will help you feel closer to God while our pastor’s Biblical preaching will stir your soul and help you live out your faith in real life.
Our church loves kids and is passionate about developing your family’s faith, so make sure to bring your kids this Sunday. They’ll love our amazing children’s ministry, they are ready to teach them the truth about Jesus in a relevant and understandable way. Our vibrant program is ready for children of any age, from birth through 12th grade. We’re excited to meet you this Sunday.
- Use a subdomain
- Audience is churchless people who don’t already know they need a church
- Optimize your subdomain to words people search for answers
- Send their keyword traffic to your church’s subdomain
- Use words in writing that people who don’t know Christianese know
- Provides functions that cater to people looking for answers
- Offer calls-to-action that encourage incremental ministry involvement
- Must load in 2 seconds
- Can’t have fancy elements that slow page load time down
Example Paragraph about Sunday Services for the Churchless:
At New Church, we understand everyone has questions. We wonder why we’re here and about the purpose of life. We have questions about faith and struggle with doubts. Also, we sometimes wonder if life has any meaning at all.
Wherever you are and whatever you’ve been through, we want to let you know there’s hope. We believe life does have meaning and there is hope that tomorrow can be different from yesterday. Also, we believe we do have the ability to move on from our past and that forgiveness really is possible.
We want to invite you to check out New Church this Sunday. Our service is at 10:00 a.m. Feel free to dress casual. We want to let you know that our church was created for and filled with people just like you.
If you have kids, make sure to bring them because our church loves kids. During the service, we have programming for kids from birth to 5th grade that we believe they’ll love! We can’t wait to meet you this Sunday!
Using subdomains gives your church the ability to clearly communicate and cater information to two very different groups of people searching for spiritual matters online. You have the ability to meet both where they are and hopefully invite them to a place where they can hear the truth about God’s love through your church.
Subdomains and Ministry
The decision to use subdomains on your website is not only about clear communication. Using subdomains can also increase the page rank of every ministry in your church, thus increasing overall exposure and web traffic. Imagine individuals in your city searching for parenting, marriage, counseling, or youth and the ministries of your church are the first ones popping up again and again. This will not only benefit those ministries, but your overall church as well. Here are a few pointers about using subdomains:
People who are searching Google for answers that your ministries address need a different user experience than people who already attend your church and the subdomain can provide this experience.
Your core ministries for parenting, marriage, care, youth, women’s and men’s activities, etc., need a fast loading landing page that is optimized to the keywords that people search when they are seeking support.
Your main domain’s primary keywords are watered down if they coexist with other keywords. Google calls this “mixed content”. Mixed content confuses Google and lowers your search rank. Find out what keywords your church website is currently optimized for with our Keyword Analyzer tool.
The Keyword Analyzer tool helps evaluate the content and SEO optimization of your church website. It crawls your website to detect the presence of commonly searched ministry related keywords in the H1/H2 Headings, Meta Descriptions, URLs, and text. It then gives a score from 0% to 100% for each selected keyword group. This information can help you identify opportunities to have your church's ministries found more often in Google searches.
Your church can influence how it connects with those searching in Google today. Subdomains not only give your church the ability to communicate clearly to different groups of people, but they help to increase your church’s search rank. The higher your search rank, the more quickly Google will send those searching to your site. The more people finding pertinent information on your website, the more potential people will start attending your church for the first time each Sunday.
We’re here to Help you to Reach Two Church Audiences with Organic Traffic
Using subdomains for the first time can seem overwhelming. The good news is you don’t have to walk this road alone. Missional Marketing has a team of professionals ready to help your church take the next step with their online presence. We want to help your church connect with people far from God and increase your ministries’ ability to connect with those who so desperately need them.
Missional Marketing is a dedicated Christian communications firm working with Christian Churches and Organizations across the country, and we are also a Top 5% Certified Google Partner. So get in touch today, and we can get started.