It goes without saying that every conference needs a web presence, so here are a few things to think about before starting to create your conference website.
1. Include it in Your Association Site or Create A Separate Site?
This will depend on a few factors. How big is the conference website? Is it a minor symposium your association is putting on or is it a major separate event with its own identity?
In regards to size, my rule is that if your event page has more than 6 subpages it is worth looking into making it a separate website.
If you set up a separate site, you can either get a completely new domain name, or make it a subdomain of your current site, example event.yourcompanyname.com. I would personally go with the subdomain as this has advantages of utilizing all the search engine optimization (SEO) that your association website already has.
2. Separate Areas for Delegates and Exhibitors?
Delegates and exhibitors will be looking for very different information about your event. My suggestion is having the bulk of the website be dedicated to delegates with a separate section that has all the information exhibitors need.
For delegates, you will need all the standard information such as locations, times, fees, venue maps, schedules, and information on anything else your event will have.
For details on setting up event registration please read our blog article Simple Tricks for Creating an Effective Conference Registration.
3. Have Downloadable PDFs of Your Most Important Content
Having a downloadable PDF with all the information in one spot is a great thing to for viewers. This is especially true if you have exhibitors at your event. You want to make the process as easy as possible for your exhibitors and having a downloadable Exhibitor Guide makes it that much easier. This Exhibitor Guide will have everything an exhibitor needs including, event dates and locations, hotel and travel information, details on shipping and venue amenities, floor plans as well as other advertising opportunities.
Once an exhibitor has registered you can send them a more concise Exhibitor Manual, which focuses more on details of the show itself. Info such as setup information, floor plans, move in/move out times, booth information, etc.
4. Embed Content not Just Linked PDFs
I know I just told you to have a PDF of all the information on your event, however your event website cannot just be a few links to downloadable PDFs. The main purpose of most websites is to get information to the user.
Exhibitors will want to know a few specific details before they decide if they want to participate in your show, whether it’s attendance numbers, booth price or something else, you want them to be able to find this information quickly and easily. So make sure your event details are on the webpage and not just links to downloadable PDFs.
5. Mobile Friendly
People on are their phones more than ever, and while desktop/laptop use is still high, you need to make sure your website is mobile friendly. In the past, this meant needing to make a second “mobile site”, but now with responsive webpages, images and text adjust to the size of your screen.
When your event is underway you may want to look into an event app to help delegates stay up to date. You can learn more by reading our blog article Using Event Apps for Your Association Conference
Of course there is a lot more to building an event website than just this, but if you sort out these issues before you start building it will save many headaches in the future.