Your homepage is the doorway that welcomes visitors into your site. You want to make a great first impression on as many people as possible.
The trouble is that homepage trends differ based on the type of website. Recently I wrote about small business homepages and in this guide I wanna talk about conference homepages.
Usually the goal here is to encourage signups, share information about upcoming events, and sell tickets or booths.
You can do this with a great design and strong copy but there are some overlapping trends that you find on most event sites. So let’s dive in and see how you can use those trends in your own work.
Strong Event Photos
Visuals work better than text and you should always include some photos on your website. The question is how many photos and how to get them fitted naturally on the page.
I recommend event photos that help sell the event with action. Show speakers on stage, or show people talking in a group on the showcase floor.
Your goal should always be to sell the event as a positive experience for everyone involved.
With these photos you can give people a small taste of what to expect.
Naturally with events you really need to be there to experience it all. But with the right photos you can show what it’s like to be there & what people might get from attending.
On the Mobiconf homepage you’ll find a few background photos littered between page sections.
Again these show off the event floor whether that includes booths from sponsors, speakers for keynotes, or just social events. All of these photos encapsulate what it’s like to attend and they should give your site more believability.
When people can see what your event looks like it feels much more “real” than just words on a page.
Even a huge event like EmberConf uses a rotating carousel of event photos to sell the speakers and the conference as a whole.
You can use whatever you want from carousels to thumbnail pics, fullscreen backgrounds, or whatever else you can think of.
The goal is to just include pictures of the event somewhere on your site. And if this is your first year running be sure to grab photos so you can use them on your site next year!
Promote The Speakers
Every major conference features a bunch of speakers. These are usually part of the draw to encourage people to attend in the first place.
Do your best to promote these speakers. There’s a lot you can do with each person and many different angles to sell such as:
- Experience & relation to the conference
- Topics discussed in the presentation
- A photo of each speaker
- Social profile links
Take a look at the Lead Dev Conference homepage and scroll down to the speaker section.
You’ll find a photo of each person along with their work experience and what qualifies them to be onstage speaking. It’s a great design that should captivate anyone new to this conference.
Naturally this little section includes a CTA button leading to a full list of all speakers.
You should do this too if your speaker list is long. Maybe reference the top 5-8 speakers and use those as bait to encourage people to click and learn more.
OpenVis Conf is another great example with prominent speaker pictures.
Try not to let this take up the entire homepage but definitely include a small section on your event’s speakers. They’re a huge part of every conference and you want to get people excited for their presentations.
Date & Location Info
Every conference needs to run somewhere and some time. This could be a 3-day conference in Berlin or a 5-day conference in Argentina.
Doesn’t really matter where or how you host your conference. Just make sure that the time & place is clearly visible right on the homepage.
The worst thing you can do is make people dig around your site just to figure out where the conference is held. This is vital info and it should be accessible right away.
On the Affiliate Summit page you can clearly tell all the information right at a glance. Hosted in Las Vegas for a total of 3 days in early January. Simple.
ASW has little icons to draw your attention towards these bits of info. You might try something similar if you aren’t sure how else to grab attention.
But some conference homepages use simple text like TNW Conf.
You’ll find date and location info right underneath the main header at the top of the page.
Yes you’ll need to do a little reading to find it, but this is still pretty simple to find within a few seconds of the page load.
So long as your event’s date & time is clearly visible there should be no headaches for people looking to attend.
I placed this tip last but it’s a big one.
Every website needs a CTA button for whatever action you want users to perform. An ecommerce shop wants people to checkout while a software company wants people to download their program.
A conference site typically wants to sell tickets so your CTA should lead towards a registration/purchase page to increase attendees.
This CTA should also be visible right near the top of the page and use relevant copy that grabs attention fast.
Take a look at the homepage for A Day of REST. The entire design relies on very subtle shades of blue & gray but their CTA button(plus links) all use bright orange.
Over time visitors learn that the color orange means “clickable”. So with a bright orange CTA above the fold this conference is sure to get plenty of leads.
Likewise the SEO conference UnGagged follows a similar format with two CTA buttons.
The first appears directly underneath the homepage header and it follows a bright orange color. But if you look in the navigation bar you’ll find a lime green CTA also leading to the ticket purchase page.
Give people options and grab their attention in the most prominent page sections: the navigation, the header, and the footer.
If you run a sticky navigation you can even do something like SmartWeb Conf by fitting the CTA into the top corner.
This navbar scrolls for all users both desktop & mobile so it’s a great way to encourage signups.
Whatever style you choose just make sure it fits with your site and encourages people to click.
If you’re designing(or re-designing) an event site it’s crucial to keep the end goal(s) in mind. Your goals should be to increase total attendees and provide as much information as possible.
The homepage is where you really sell the event so this is the best page to fit everything.
Follow these trends and see what else you can come up with for your own design. You can even peek around the web at similar conferences to study what they’re doing on their own websites.