Your event web-site is a resource that everyone involved in your conference or exhibition can share. Also, this resource is one to which everyone can contribute. Reviews of previous year’s events, FAQs, and so on, represent a knowledge-base furnished with the experience and reflections of previous participants.
When a prospective attendee or exhibitor, or speaker phones up and has a question, ideally, the answer can always be “it’s on the web-site.” Of course, one might not always want to give this answer since it doesn’t always contribute to good customer relations, but that answer should always be possible, at least.
Your web-site, as well as being a fount of event specific information, should also be the focal point of your marketing strategy, if the event is to be public. Press adverts should reference it, as should any blog posts (and third-party web text generally). Social networking promotional activity will also tend to revolve around it.
What should it contain then? Well, as has been implied, everything really, here’s a fairly comprehensive list:
Name of the event.
The company/organisation running the event (link to main web-site).
Purpose of event (on home page).
Dates and times.
All the above to be on the home page, along with links to the following:
At least a page of information for each distinct type of participant (attendee, exhibitor, speaker, and so on)
A List of speakers/exhibitors etc, so far booked with a link for each. This is an advertising revenue opportunity.
As with all web content, an eye should always be kept on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) issues. If, for instance, there is a set of speakers who are all concerned with one particular topic, or cluster of topics, then consider putting the details of their contributions on a separate page. The ‘meta’ for this page can then consist of a set of keywords relevant to the topic(s).
The look of a web-site should, of course, be appropriate to its purpose. Which means, in this case, appropriate to the event.
Cast an eye over the web-sites associated with the major UK music festivals. These are not un-professional in any way; music festivals are amongst the largest ‘events’ of any kind in the world. Their web presence reflects the music festival ethos, and also, of course, the organiser’s marketing strategies.
These sites are full of highly original (and expensive) artwork, animations, etc. A web-site for sales professionals should probably not look in any way similar, but the same creative effort, and diligence should be applied to making its design fit for purpose and attractive to its target audience.
A web-site is, these days, central to any commercial or professional endeavour. For many purposes, and to the outside world, it IS that endeavour.
An event web-site will be there year on year and represent its on-going image and ethos.
Great care must therefore be taken, to ensure that it projects the right image, both in terms of professionalism, and in terms of the purpose and culture of the event.
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