How to create a great event website
Your event website may be the first interaction your target audience, prospective exhibitors, or sponsors have with your event. It’s often the place where people take action on their interest in your event; whether it’s registering, buying tickets, becoming an exhibitor, or something even more out of the box.
Your event may only last a few days — or even hours — but your event website has a much longer life.
It's critical that you use good usability, SEO optimization, and digital marketing principles in developing and deploying your website. This will ensure that visitors are able to get the information they need as quickly and easily as possible. This can ultimately determine how successful your event is, how much revenue it generates, and what people say about the event to other people.
Keep reading to learn how to create a great event website.
The template for a successful event website
Clearly display event information
It might seem like this is stating the obvious, but there are few facts about your event that are vitally important. You'd be surprised how many event websites do a poor job of displaying basic information like date, time, and location. This should not be information your audience should have to search for. Your website should answer any questions about when and where the event is taking place up front.
Make it easy for website visitors to buy tickets or register to attend, exhibit or sponsor
Isn’t securing registrants, exhibitors, and sponsors perhaps the biggest reason you have a website for your event in the first place? Make registration links evident. Use different colors to highlight calls to action. Make sure your copy is relevant and stimulates action.
It's been widely suggested that call to action buttons do best when they are located "above the fold". This means that you want this information located inside the viewable browser area that prospects initially land on. Interested in seeing what's generally viewed above the fold on your website? Try using Google's Page Developer tools. Simply enter your home page URL and use the mobile and desktop tabs to toggle the different screens; allowing you to see thumbnails of what's above the fold (basically what's viewable inside the screen)
Finally, look at the website through the eyes of a prospective visitor. Is it inviting, would you use the navigation the way a user would, is it intuitive? The bottom line is this; if your event is first class, the website that represents it should be as well. A generic online template created through an event website aggregator doesn't give your event the professionalism needed to properly reflect the value proposition of your event.
Be up front with your pricing on your event website
There is quite possibly nothing worse for an attendee than having to start the registration process and fill out a bunch of fields before getting pricing. Don’t do that to people! It's been proven that this is enough of a chore to discourage prospects from moving forward.
Display your event pricing in a way that is easy to find and easy for people to understand exactly what they are getting for their money. Simple graphics or well-organized charts are great ways to display this information. Using a tool like Canva or Easel.ly will allow you to do this without a heavy investment in graphic design, but will require a creative eye to determine the best way to display the information.
Provide justification data
A great way to increase attendance or participation from exhibitors and sponsors is to provide them with justification data. Give them the scoop about how past events have gone and who was there. Offer tips and printable documents that they can share with their higher-ups to justify attending or sponsoring your event. Share attendee demographic information with potential exhibitors and sponsors. Let them know what value they will be getting from your event. Show them the data and make it shareable!
This information can be a great lead generation tool. Make it easy to get, and easy to consume.
Help attendees get to know speakers, exhibitors, or entertainers
Be sure to include speaker photos and bios on your event website with your event session pages and perhaps even create speaker landing pages to help showcase them. Link out to their own websites and social profiles as well. This helps your attendees feel more connected to the speakers and can sometimes encourage people to register because they have an interest in seeing a particular speaker. This same model can apply for exhibitors, sponsors and entertainers.
Check out our upcoming conference page, and how we displayed our speaker information in an easy-to-digest format.
Include engagement elements, like social sharing and social media links, images, videos, etc.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and you can really generate excitement about your event by displaying pictures and videos of your past events on your website ((which is free) to install a share bar across your entire site (it also provides neat tools like heat maps and more...). This way your attendees can share your event with their networks, and you can track social engagement.
Provide easy access to your event schedule and content
Our software allows this to be easily embedded on our users website. We do this because conferences and events are about the schedule, so why would anyone skip putting a schedule on your website? You should include a full schedule with links to speaker/entertainer pages and bios and a printable at-a-glance schedule. You can even take it a step further and allow attendees to create custom, personal schedules.
Keep a continuously updated news/blog section
A blog is the first step in making your event or conference a year round affair, an indispensable part of your overall marketing strategy that keeps you in the mind of attendees throughout the year and makes recruiting attendees for the next event or conference easier, faster and actually less expensive than without a blog.
Content marketing through a blog can increase your organic reach and increase website traffic significantly. Confused as to what you should write about? Try using BuzzSumo to determine popular topics regarding your subject. Figure about what people are searching for and talking about. Google Trends is also a great tool if your topic is broad.
Running an updated blog is the best way to make sure your event website is always fresh, content rich and search engine friendly. Work out your content plan wisely and ensure that the content is informative, engaging and shareable.
Include event venue maps and interactive floor plans
Busy event attendees don’t have time to get lost in your event venue, so do what you can to make sure that doesn’t happen like including a printable venue map on your website. If your event includes an exhibition, and interactive floor plan is a great way for attendees to navigate the bustling trade show floor and access key exhibitor information at the same time.
List surrounding location hotel info, restaurants, and fun places to visit
When you’re attracting out-of-town visitors to your event, be sure to give them basic visitor information about hotels (especially those with which you have negotiated discount rates for attendees!), airport and public transportation details, local places to eat and explore, and so on.
Provide contact info
Who is the contact for questions and issues? If different people are responsible for different aspects of the event, provide contact details for each person. You may want to include contact details for individuals dealing with registration issues, sponsorship, program or speakers. Provide a phone number and email address, and most importantly, respond to inquiries.
Use responsive web design
Responsive web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. As the user switches from their laptop to iPad to mobile phone, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities. In other words, the website should have the technology to automatically respond to the user’s preferences.
This is becoming a really big deal! Google recently modified it's search criteria to show preference to sites with mobile-friendly responsiveness. Why deploy a site that is already out-dated. Is this what you want to say about your event?
Your attendees, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and stakeholders are counting on your website to provide them with the vital information necessary to support their decisions regarding attendance, sponsorship, and exhibition. Our experts at Ungerboeck Digital can help you design a site using the template above.