A conference website shouldn’t be complicated; it need to be vibrant, clean, mobile responsive and well structured. The aim is to give your delegates all the information they’re looking for to entice them to register.
Use these simple tips to learn how to structure your conference website in the order of what is the most important to delegates:
As a rule of thumb, keep your navigation simple. Don’t overload it with unnecessary items and lengthy drop down menus. Delegates shouldn’t have to drill down far to find the information they are looking for. Your top level should only include the ‘must know’ information. Keep your website updated to reflect your marketing activity. Utilise social media and newsletters to update delegates on new information and drive delegates back to your website.
Add multiple register buttons throughout your conference website. The goal of your website is to get delegates to register, so give them plenty of opportunities to do so.
The banner is what delegates see the instant they land on your website. Use it to set the tone for your conference brand. Add in the name of the conference, when and where it is. The example below does this well in a very clear way without the banner becoming cluttered.
Write a compelling short paragraph (3-4 sentences) about the theme/overview. This needs to sell your conference to delegates and make them want to register on the spot! Link to full background papers to provide more in-depth information.
Speakers attract audiences. Add your top 3 speaker’s photos with a few sentences about who they are and why/what they are presenting. Add in the speaker’s social media links for your delegates to follow them in the lead up to the conference.
See the example below – the images are bold and the information is easy to find without having to leave the page (just a hover with the mouse). They could have added a sentence or two about the speaker to save an extra click.
Abstracts and papers
Calls for abstracts are an important part in the conference process. Attracting the right speakers means getting the right delegates. State what you are looking for, add a submission button and link to more in-depth submission criteria, previous year’s talks and the submission form/button.
Resource: Free abstract management guide – everything you need to know about managing abstracts, including what to add on your submissions pages. Get the book here.
Many conference websites have this in the navigation bar, others link to it throughout the website. There is no right or wrong way, it really depends on where you are at with your conference activities and setting the agenda/program.
In the early stages a program or agenda button is sufficient and can be included in the About, Abstracts, Speakers and Registration sections. As your program is finalised a navigation tab becomes more important.
UXSalon provides a great example of a well presented, easy to follow agenda. Delegates can click on each item to find out more information about the speaker or the function. Icon and Highload Strategy are good examples of how to display the agenda for multiple streams or days.
Display registration costs in a clear simple way (see the example below). Remember to add a register button to this section! This section should be updated to reflect marketing activities e.g. when early bird rates finish remove and replace with current rates.
Connecting and networking with peers and conference speakers is a valuable experience at any conference. As many social functions are ‘extra ticket items’, it is important to add a few enticing sentences about the function to attract more delegates. This is a great place to add in a register button.
A few sentences about the venue is nice but not as helpful as providing a Google map of the location, and information on how to get there by public transport and where to park. Delegates can use this information to plan accommodation and then again on the day to help them to get to the venue.
Include all special hotel rates on your website with the relevant information your delegates need to make their bookings. The same goes for special airline rates. Offer some suggestions of nearby hotels if you don’t have special hotel rates. Make it easy for your delegates to attend! Add an extra touch to this section by providing information about the city and/or links to local tourism websites.
Give your sponsors some love and display their logo (and level of sponsorship) in a clear, respectful way – this is very important if you want to attract further sponsorship. Not only do your sponsors give you money, they also give you credibility.
Find opportunities throughout your websites to provide extra value to your sponsors. If they are sponsoring a session or an event, mention them in the relevant section and add in their logo.
Make it easy for delegates to get in touch with you. List phone numbers and email addresses for conference organisers either as a separate navigation item or in the footer of each page. Alternatively, add a contact us form that is automatically sent to the correct person in your organisations – don’t let enquiries slip through the cracks.
Utilise the website footer. Not only is it a great place to add contact details but it’s where you should add your social media links (remember to add in your conference hashtag). Including social links adds another way for delegates to contact you and gives them an opportunity to engage with the conference from the beginning. Be sure to include a newsletter sign-up form in the footer too. See a great example of this below, it is simple and has all the essential information. You may want to add a first and last name box.
Remember, your website is for potential delegates, speakers and sponsors. Use it to market to them in a clear, enticing and compelling way. Keep the structure simple, don’t bury content. Keep content fresh and up-to-date. Use strong imagery (conference branding, previous year’s photos, speaker’s photos and imagery of the venue and host city). Most of all, make it exciting and inspiring, after all this is what you want your delegates to think about your conference.
Ready to entice your delegates to register with a beautiful conference website? Find out more about our mobile friendly event and conference website.