Who, what, where, when and how much are the most critical questions to answer when developing an event website, but how you do so could be the difference in piquing interest or losing a potential attendee.
Internet users are savvier than ever and want to navigate websites in fast and user-friendly fashion. It is especially important to communicate all of the details regarding the event in both a clever and structured fashion. Posters, ads, pamphlets and verbal promotion remain useful, but event websites have become a must-use tool for planners.
A key strategy for your niche website includes being clever with the creation of content.
Cornelius advised website creators to make sure the site is visually appealing and the content compelling. All relevant information concerning the event should be readily available and formatted in an organized style. Possible attendees want to be entertained by the website, as it is their preview of the event, but the main goal is to inform people of the details.
“Be clever in design but also tell me why I want to come to this event and, most importantly, tell me who benefits and how much it costs to attend,” Cornelius noted. “Is it casual or dressy? Is there a theme for attire? I want all of these questions answered.”
Cornelius is concerned with website content. Charley Sexton, creative director at Moxley Carmichael, is concerned with how it looks.
Sexton’s primary tip is that good graphics go a long way with website viewers. Eye-catching graphics will be memorable when you click through a well-designed website. Great graphics also effortlessly draw in the viewer to read detailed copy.
“Use the graphics to deliver important information,” Sexton said. “Always use the event logo, especially if it is an annual event, for recognition and awareness. And make sure attendees can make a ticket purchase or donation directly on the website.”
One of the most vital uses for an event website is the way in which people are prompted to purchase tickets. Prospective event-goers can be deterred from attending when purchasing options are difficult to find, the mobile version is inoperative or the website layout and design are cluttered.
“No mobile experience or an insufficient one are common digital pitfalls of event websites,” according to John McCulley, digital media manager at Moxley Carmichael.
The first things McCulley will notice about an efficient event website are an easy-to-find ticket purchasing option and clear, concise copy. Being succinct, keeping your design original and maintaining technical proficiency in operation are the keys to having maximum attendance and hosting a fantastic event.
“Bells and whistles are not what I need,” McCulley said. His best tip for event website designers is to “keep it simple.”
“A well-designed website will have everything an attendee needs, but it will never look cluttered or be difficult to navigate,” he said. “You set the tone for your event before the first person ever arrives.”
Kelly Ryan, a fall intern at Moxley Carmichael, is a senior at the University of Tennessee studying public relations with a minor in business. When she’s not riding a camel in Egypt, you can find her worshiping Stevie Nicks, watching marathons of HGTV’s Property Brothers, drinking vast amounts of Coca-Cola and relaxing on the sunny little island of Hilton Head.