The basic human interactions that make events so wonderful may not have changed, but the ways in which we hear about events and how we access them have. If real-life events are revolutionized with Virtual Reality and Gamification, then you can bet that the sites that market these events have been too.
The purpose of these trends aren’t just to let you know what you need for your next event website. I want this to be a playbook that walks you through the steps you need to take to make your site state-of-the-art. I’m going to talk about getting your site set up, the designs and optimization tips you’ll need, as well as some external resources to help put the cherry on top. So, just what makes a website cutting edge? Let’s see!
They’re Not Necessarily Built from Scratch
The days of hiring a website designer to create a fully functioning site for thousands of dollars are over. With out-of-the-box solutions and website builders galore, creating an event website is something you can do yourself! You can still hire a designer but it will be much less expensive.
The second option is to use a blog software and then purchase a ready-made theme off of sites that produce them for blog software. Themes can range anywhere from $45 to the hundreds. Make sure that you have the most updated version of blog software and that the theme you purchase is the most recent.
A big benefit of using these solutions is that you can edit them at any time without needing to contact your website’s designer. And even with a designer, you’ll drastically reduce the costs associated with your site since the framework is already there.
They're Mobile Friendly, or Drop The Flash
“I GET IT ALREADY”, I can hear you yelling (or maybe you’re just rolling your eyes). If you’ve followed my suggestion above of using a website builder or getting blog software, then you’re already set to be mobile optimized. If you have opted to have a website designer build your site, you need to make sure of a couple things: 1. that the site is mobile friendly and 2. that the site doesn’t use Flash, as it doesn’t show in mobile and loads slowly on desktop. Over 50% of all traffic most sites get is mobile as confirmed by Google’s mobile update, so this is an easy win. Pretty simple stuff!
They’re Heavily Optimized for Search Engines
You’ll see website builders and designers talking about how their sites are Search Engine Optimized. What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO), anyway? It’s a process in which you design your site to rank high on search engines so more people see your site. How you’ll accomplish this is by making it as easily accessible and user friendly as possible. You’ll also be obtaining backlinks and social media mentions to rank better on search engines. There are design elements in which you’ll make your title tag be a keyword you want to rank for, and you’ll include it in the paragraphs you write.
The best SEO’d sites will have a title corresponding to the phrase they want people to search for, while also having backlinks and mentions from social sites like Facebook and Twitter. They’ll also be mobile friendly.
Note: Due to the complexity of SEO, you may want to have someone handle all of this for you. Beware of people who call themselves SEO writers - they often use outdated methodology such as keyword ratios that can cause you to lose ranking.
They Have An Emphasis on Design
Event websites can look beautiful, too! They’re definitely in the minority, however, and there is a lot of opportunity. If you want your event website to be cutting edge and draw in more purchases, you’re going to need to go beyond the call.
One of the easiest ways to have your site looking amazing is to include a background video that plays on your site. These videos tend to be short - not more than 5-10 seconds, but make your site look extremely professional.
Another easy way to make your site look great is to have slides of high resolution photos of past events that play on the main page of your website.
You can’t see it in this picture, but the stars above and the water in the lake move! Can you believe that this site was built with a out-of-the-box website builder?
If you want to design your event website yourself without the help of a designer, it will be helpful for you to study some basic design tips such as a color theory and fonts.
I’m a big fan of avant-garde design, and this event website for Ruby developers called “Keep Ruby Weird” certainly keeps in theme with their name! Fun design implements: the “Keep Ruby Weird” icon on the top right scrolls down with you and changes colors. There’s also music playing to keep in with the Austin music scene.
They Use Event Ticketing Widgets
Many event websites are not just about telling people about the event - they’re for selling tickets, too! While online ticket sales software may not be new, there are widgets that are more recent in the past 1-2 years that make gathering registrations for your event a breeze. A widget is simply a piece of code that you can paste onto your event website that allows potential attendees to register and pay for entry into your event. It’s extremely easy to use and widgets are inconspicuous by nature - important for branding.
They Use During/After Social Media Widgets
Another way to keep on top is by using social media widgets that display photos from Instagram and Twitter as a sort of memorabilia on one of your event website’s pages. This is important not only for staying in contact with your attendees after the event to keep them interested for next year, but it’s also great for making your event look better.
So, if you want to have a cutting edge event website that stays with the trends then you’ll want to get a solution that you can easily edit and manage. Following that, you can have solid designs as well as search engine optimization to get to more visitors with your site. Finally, you’ll be able to sell them more tickets while keeping attendees in contact before, during, and after the event.