The last time I went to a conference the process started out something like this; I figured out what type of professional development I needed, searched online for conferences about that topic, visited websites, and made a spreadsheet of what I found to present to my boss.
The spreadsheet listed conference names, the topics covered, dates, location, cost, and links to their websites. The interesting thing was that some of the events were over – yet I still used information from their existing website to gauge whether or not the conference would be worth attending. That’s why keeping your event site live, even after an event, is so important.
The content in context.
You want to deliver the right information at the right time. If you’re gearing up for your next event, post information about sponsorships, applications for trade show booths, and invitations for industry professionals to serve as presenters.
As your event gets closer you’ll need to add attendee registration information, agendas, hotel and travel information, attendance justification letters. Add social media feeds to your site to allow attendees, speakers, and sponsors to start their networking early.
If your event has just ended post recaps, pictures, attendee survey results, and ‘Save the Date’ information for your next event. By constantly updating the content, you keep your event live in the minds of attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and speakers.
A seamless experience.
A recent study found that 57% of consumers will not recommend a business if they have a bad website. If your current website was designed for computer screens only, you may be inadvertently providing a bad experience for those seeking you out. Given the rise in popularity of handheld mobile devices, you should consider a site that uses responsive design.
Simply put, responsive websites are designed to work as well on a smartphone or tablet as it does on a desktop or laptop. Some organizations choose to create a standard website and separate native sites for various mobile platforms. Keep in mind that this requires you to make sure information updated on your main website is also current on those separate mobile friendly sites, requiring manual entry and accuracy checking.
Make it easy to choose you.
Going back to my experience researching conferences, two were crossed off the list early for extreme flaws – for instance on one conference website I couldn’t find any pricing, another didn’t have conference dates listed. The conference I chose to attend had an impressive speaker list, pre- and post-event workshops, and a very active community.
To this day, I can go back to the organization’s conference website and pick up recordings of the sessions, read social media feeds, and connect with other conference goers. They’ve taken their event website beyond an invitation to a single moment in time and have created an ongoing experience. In fact, I just visited their website and found a blog post asking for, “Your wish list for next year’s conference.”
If you’re not creating a reason for your audience to come back to your site throughout the year, you’re missing out on opportunities to remain top of mind.