The Ever-Changing Landscape of Event Websites
In today’s digital age, an event website has become the virtual gateway for regional events. By understanding the lifecycle of an event website and tailoring its content to specific phases, you can harness the power of online presence to grow your event and create a positive impact for your community.
Where most event websites go wrong
By its very definition, an event is a unique moment in time when something happens. And that means that your event is either in the future or in the past … for everyone.
This is really different from an e-commerce website for example. It’s absolutely ok to have a “buy now” link on your homepage if you are selling shoes or kitchenware. But having a “buy your tickets now” on an event website, 3 months after your event has wrapped up instantly makes your event website look unloved and unprofessional. And yet we see it all the time.
But there’s more.
We all agree that making stuff easy to find on your website is the one key priority, right? And, conversely, we know that the moment we make it hard to find things then people get frustrated, your visitation drops off, and people go elsewhere. And that’s not great for you, your eventgoers, or your sponsors/partners.
So changing the content on your website (or at least on the homepage) as you move through the event lifecycle ensures that your website not only looks current but is giving people just the right information at the right time.
Makes sense, right!?!
Life-cycle of events
Broadly, the life cycle of your event website can be broken into four phases. These work whether your event happens once, annually, or some other way.
- Pre-Event Phase: This involves all the preparations, marketing efforts, and anticipation-building activities that take place before an event. Your website will likely focus on generating interest, securing registrations, and setting the stage for a successful event.
- Event Phase: This refers to the actual event when attendees, speakers, exhibitors, and stakeholders come together to experience live competitions, performances, interactive sessions, networking opportunities, and engagement activities that contribute to the overall event experience.
- Post-Event Phase: After an event ends, event organisers aim to celebrate the event and everyone that made it happen, gather feedback to evaluate its success, and sustain its momentum to the next event. Your website may focus on sharing event highlights, conducting surveys, gathering testimonials, and analysing data to improve future events.
- The Rest of the Year: This is the period after the event and before the next event cycle. It is an essential period to focus on keeping engagement and interest alive among attendees and the community. This phase includes communication, content creation, community building, and promotion of future events to maintain the event spirit and long-term relationships.
As you can gather, the kind of content that needs to be featured on your website should change depending on where you are in the life cycle of your event.
Let’s do a deep dive into the top 2-3 things that you need to consider showcasing on your website in each phase.
Igniting the Spark: Preparing for a Spectacular Event [Pre-Event]
During the pre-event phase, your event website serves as a vital tool for building anticipation and generating interest. The top priorities for your website include:
- Event Details: Display clear and concise information about the event, including the date, time, location, and a compelling description. Make sure potential attendees can easily access this information and quickly grasp the value and uniqueness of your event.
- Registration and Ticketing: Provide a seamless registration process and highlight early-bird discounts or exclusive perks to incentivise attendees. Make it effortless for visitors to secure their spot and create a sense of exclusivity around your event.
- Program and Event Highlights: Showcase the highlights of your program and the event schedule to pique curiosity and demonstrate why people should attend your event. Use captivating visuals and engaging content to create a buzz around your event.
Live and Thriving: Immersive Experiences in Real-Time [During the Event]
Once your event is underway, your website should transform into an interactive hub where attendees can access essential information and engage with the event community. The key priorities for the during-event phase are:
- Live Updates and Highlights: Keep the website updated with real-time updates, including photos, videos, and key moments from the event. This fosters a sense of inclusion for remote participants and showcases the event’s vibrancy to potential attendees for future events.
- Interactive Features: Incorporate features like live chats, Q&A sessions, and social media integrations to encourage attendee interaction and foster a sense of community. Empower participants to connect with each other, share their experiences, and connect during the event.
- On-Site Navigation: Provide a comprehensive on-site guide, including maps, session locations, and exhibitor directories. This ensures attendees can easily navigate the event space and make the most of their experience.
Beyond the Grand Finale: Keeping the Event Spirit Alive [Post-Event]
After the event, your website can continue to nurture engagement, reinforce the event’s impact, and extend its reach. The top priorities for the post-event phase are:
- Event Highlights and Recaps: Share compelling recaps, testimonials, and highlights from the event. Use multimedia content to convey the energy and success of the event, reminding attendees of the value they gained and enticing potential attendees to future events.
- Feedback and Surveys: Encourage attendees to provide feedback and insights through surveys or interactive forms. This not only helps you gather valuable data for future event improvements but also demonstrates your commitment to continuous growth and improvement.
- Content and Resources: Offer post-event resources, such as recorded sessions, videos, or downloadable materials. This adds value for attendees who may want to revisit key insights or share them with their friends, further extending the event’s impact.
For more ideas of what to do on your website in this phase check the 7 Things To Do On Your Website After An Event.
Beyond the Event Horizon: Year-Round Engagement [Rest of the Year]
While the event itself may be over, your website can continue to play a pivotal role in keeping the community engaged and nurturing interest throughout the year. The top priorities for your website through the rest of the year might include:
- Upcoming Events and Announcements: Showcase upcoming events, workshops, or other occasions in the community, ensuring visitors have something to look forward to. Highlight early-bird registration and exclusive offers to maintain excitement and encourage repeat attendance.
- Thought Leadership and Industry Insights: Share relevant content, articles, or blog posts that align with the event’s theme or industry. Position your event website as an authority in your space, attracting a wider audience and establishing credibility within the community.
- Community Engagement: Foster ongoing conversations and engagement through forums, discussion boards, or social media groups. Encourage attendees to connect, share ideas, and collaborate, creating a thriving online community that amplifies the positive impact of your event.
Unleashing the Potential: The Power of an Evolving Event Website
By embracing the lifecycle of an event website and tailoring its content to specific phases, you unlock the power to grow your event and create a lasting positive impact for your community. From building anticipation and excitement to sustaining engagement throughout the year, each phase presents unique opportunities to connect with your audience and nurture a thriving event ecosystem.
Harnessing the Journey: Your Event Website’s Endless Possibilities
Remember, a well-crafted event website goes beyond a mere digital presence. It becomes a catalyst for regional events’ success, enabling you to grow your event and make a bigger impact in your community. By prioritising the right information during the pre-event, during-event, post-event, and rest-of-the-year phases, you can create an engaging user experience and build a loyal community that eagerly awaits your next event.