Optimizing Annual Conference And Event Websites

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DMScott speaking 9a.jpgI notice that most event planners who have a site promoting their annual conference delete the prior year’s pages, only displaying the current year’s conference information. That’s a mistake for many reasons.

Nearly all of your web content should live forever. It’s free to save pages on your site, so why delete them? Yet so many people do. I just went through about a hundred links to events that I have spoken atover the past few years and nearly all of them don’t display the event content from prior years.

Because media sites, speakers, bloggers, and exhibitors all frequently link to conference content like I do, if the pages are deleted soon after the conference ends, those links break. Anyone who tries to visit the site via those links gets an error message.

Besides being user unfriendly to the people who try to visit, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) benefits from the links are lost. Google and the other search engines won’t rank the site as highly if there are inbound links that are broken.

Make your content live forever!

A well-organized conference site is an important historical artifact that provides valuable information many years later. Who spoke two years ago? What panel discussions were held last year? What companies sponsored the event over multiple years? People want to know that your conference has thrived for many years.

There are some easy ways to make this work. Rather than using one conference URL, why not choose conference URL/2018 and then next year make it conference URL/2019 and so on? The homepage can then point to the current year’s conference.

That’s what The International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB) does. Even though the organization is promoting its IASB 2018 annual convention in April, the site still includes the content for the IASB 2017 annual convention, where I delivered a keynote speech. The IASB 2016 annual convention and other prior years are available too. So if you had attended one of those years and wanted to refresh your memory about the speakers and panels you attended, the content is available.

This is a really simple concept and is incredibly valuable. As you’re planning your 2018 events, remember to still love what you did in 2017.