How to make the best website for a conference or festival

10 minutes

The websites of conferences, festivals and other events of a recurring nature are living organisms. Few people need to be able to react flexibly to all the changes that organising events usually entails. What does the cycle of a regular event website look like? What should it be able to respond to, what shouldn't be missing, and how to build it so that the annual work is as easy as possible?

How does the conference cycle work? Prepare for all phases

Event organizers know well that they are in charge of creating something that is constantly changing under their hands. And it's good to be properly prepared for these constant changes. If you are standing at the very beginning, take your situation into account when choosing a web solution and its supplier. Emphasize this requirement to him, because if the tool you choose is not flexible enough, you will probably have a year full of unnecessary pain and unpleasant situations. But if you have a good foundation, you can get started without worry!

1. Before the event

What you are dealing with: Everything.

This is definitely the busiest planning period for any conference or festival. You have a lot of work ahead of you. From reaching out to partners, to finding the speakers and performers, to kicking off marketing campaigns to sell tickets. How do you keep up with it all? Break everything down into its individual phases.

Gradually uncover confirmed speakers. Split ticket sales by price over multiple dates. This will give you multiple opportunities to communicate a limited-time discounted offer during the sale. This can be just the right impuls for a spontaneous purchase. Of course, sponsors are also important. Reserve enough space for them on your website. Add new ones quickly and easily. Introducing the package will help potential supporters to get a feel for what kind of help you are looking for and in what form.

By the time you launch your marketing campaign, you should already have a system for registering or buying tickets figured out and implemented. Make sure you have a landing page where you drive visitors from the campaign. Create a simple landing page just for the needs of the campaign that doesn't distract with any unnecessary content and leads visitors straight to action.

2. During the action

What you're addressing: Fuckups.

Before you start, make sure all the information on the site is up-to-date and accurate at the last minute to avoid unnecessary complications. You will likely be needed on other fronts during the event and there won't be much time for any other things. Every now and then, however, a fuckup will unfortunately happen and you will have to respond to it. Change in the program? A problem with a sponsor? Moving the event to a different location? You should be able to communicate all of this on the site within minutes. Visitors will appreciate up-to-date information. Don't underestimate potential crisis communication either. It's better to be prepared for different scenarios and set rules for the whole team in time for these cases. Luck favours the prepared.

3. After the event

What you solve: How it was and how it will be.

This is usually a period of evaluation and balance. At this point, users usually come to the website to look at photos from the event or to find out the first information about the next year's event. They are sure to be pleased by the organizers' thanks for their participation. It is always good to build a community of contacts by using a simple email collection form. For example, you can offer users priority notification of ticket sales. However, you can also use the contacts for your general year-round communication.

And you're one round down, congratulations! But regular event organizers know that the work is never over, so you can soon resort to point number one again.

Elements that should not be missing on the recurring events website

1. Listing of speakers and their profiles

Speaker profiles are one of the main elements by which people decide to attend a conference. The speaker page should include photos, short biographies and an overview of the topics they will be presenting. According to a study by Event Manager Blog, 92% of conference attendees consider the quality of speakers to be a key factor in their decision to attend.

speaker presentations on the Brno Bold conference website

The Brno Bold conference decided to present the individual speakers in black and white. This is a great practice in case you don't have your own photos to match the colours of your brand identity. You can just recolour the ones sent by the speakers themselves and let your own graphics stand out on the subpage.

2. Ticket sales

A clear and simple interface for buying tickets or registering increases the conversion rate. If you need a visitor overview, you can make a registration form on the website, after submitting it, an email will be sent to the person with instructions to pay by bank transfer or QR code. Of course, you can have the visitor go through the purchase process directly on the site or add an embed code from a third-party platform that specializes in ticketing directly to the site, such as

3. Conference programme

A clear programme is a must. For faster orientation, the option of filtering by topic will serve you well. Think about the fact that many visitors will be viewing the programme on their mobile phones. A responsive website is a must today.

programme on the spectaculare music festival website

In the programme it is important to mention all the factual things - the name of the performer, if you have more than one location, don't forget to mention the location for each item, the time is a given, and the spectaculare festival has added the icing on the cake in the form of the visuals of the individual performers, which is always a good idea for cultural events.

4. Information on transport and accessibility

A detailed guide on how to get to the venue, including information on public transport, parking and accessibility for people with special needs, is essential. 33% of event visitors consider this information to be crucial when planning their visit.

5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The FAQ section helps reduce the number of customer support queries and improves the user experience by providing answers to common questions such as details about parking, dining and how to participate. This streamlines participant planning and reduces potential stress.

accordion block used to answer the most frequently asked questions on the Tady Vary festival website

Festival Tady Vary has used the Harmonica block for the FAQ section. It is ideal for this use, because it doesn't take up space and everyone can read only what they need. The space saving is especially useful on mobile.

6. Language versions

For international conferences it is essential to have a website available in several languages. This means that participants from different countries will feel welcome and the information will be understandable to them. A study from CSA Research shows that 72% of internet users prefer to purchase products with information in their native language.

7. Gallery and feedback

A section with photos or videos from past events and the opportunity to leave feedback not only shows the success of previous conferences, but also encourages future participation.

distribution of galleries of photos from previous years on the Sport Film Liberec website

When you have several editions, it is definitely a good idea to divide the visual report from them into several individual galleries, as Sport Film Liberec did. Don't overwhelm the user with too much material. Select only an adequate number of photos for your web gallery and use the rest on social media.

8. Social media and sharing

The integration of social media, allowing participants to share content and engage in discussions, strengthens the community aspect of the conference. According to data, sharing on social media can increase awareness of an event by up to 24%.

9. Support and contact

Readily available contact information and online support ensure that participants can quickly resolve any issues that may arise before or during the event.

map on the contact page of the Organ Festival website

The map is definitely a good tool for every future visitor to your event. Usually it can be found on the Contact page. It will simplify your journey to the venue and help you to find your way around on the spot.

10. Think ahead

If you are going to hold your event regularly, simple management of your website is key. Don't change your website from the ground up with each edition, and focus on just a few elements that you simply edit or rewrite each time. In solidpixels, you can also work with a new identity for each event. Just change the design of the site in the settings.

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