There's a lot to consider when building your event site. Learn how to build a great one by walking through the process we used for our own ProgressNEXT site.
Whether you are creating an event site for the first time or you manage events for a living, there are always things to consider when creating your event website. This blog isn’t meant to be a technical resource (although I’ll talk a bit about some technical aspects), but more an overall guide to be thinking about as you consider creating your next event website.
Clear dates and times, an agenda, the location, speakers, registration, entertainment (if there is any) and pricing.
A place to build and host it, registration software, agenda management, speakers/sponsors and an eye-catching homepage.
I would like to take our ProgressNEXT site as an example for this blog post. Last year was the first year we launched ProgressNEXT. Progress has hosted large events in the past but it had been a few years since the most recent one, so we were starting from scratch for content and site organization. We decided to extend our current Sitefinity website to include progress.com/next. Another way to handle this could have been to create next.progress.com instead, but we felt that it was faster and more efficient to create this microsite in a subfolder vs a subdomain. Either had its pros and cons.
The major hurdle for us was the agenda. We hadn’t built such a complex agenda module before and needed it to span multiple days and include many filters. I’m not a developer so I can’t explain how they created the module, but our team of Sitefinity developers was able to build the agenda module we had scoped out in about a month, including lots of customized flexibility that our users wanted and full mobile readiness. While that team was building the agenda module the frontend team was busy laying out our homepage, speakers, venue and sponsor pages. We were able to build those quickly in Sitefinity using previous page templates, which we could modify to our latest design for NEXT.
For registration last year we went with cvent, but this year have upgraded to a more customized solution so we could control the look and feel to give our users a more seamless experience. We decided not to build this ourselves because registration comes with lots of additional things to consider and we felt it best to buy a solution. For example, if you build registration yourself you need to make sure you can securely process payments, issue refunds, generate and manage coupon codes, add-ons such as bringing a guest to the party, exporting orders, and tracking the source of your registrations. Other providers are experts in only this, so we went with one of those.
Last but not least you need to consider your post-event items. Will you be announcing next year’s event and need a banner for that? Will you plan to post session recordings, and need to have a place to post them? If you are doing another event the following year how will you handle the archive of your current website?
Each year we strive to make the process faster and easier. Using Sitefinity makes creating pages and editing them easy on the marketer which significantly speeds up the whole process. If you are a current Sitefinity customer and want to learn more about the latest and greatest, please come to this year’s ProgressNEXT event in Orlando Florida. There will be lots of sessions focused on Sitefinity.
Hope to see you there!
Kate is responsible for leading Progress’ web presence and digital marketing activities. Kate has worked in the digital marketing space for over 10 years with expertise in web operations, web design, web development, search engine optimization, paid search, A/B testing, personalization, and more. Kate previously led the Digital Marketing team at Acquia, and graduated from the New England Institute of Art with a BS in Interactive Media Design.
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