Planning events can be both fun and strenuous. Whether you’re working on the fundraiser of the year, a huge wedding, or an academic conference, you might be wondering how you can create an appealing online presence for the upcoming event.
Fortunately, creating an event website using WordPress can be fast and easy. As an open-source Content Management System (CMS), WordPress has a ton of built-in flexibility. Additionally, the platform has a vast community of helpful users and developers that you can reach out to for help.
In this article, we’re going to discuss why WordPress is a smart choice for your event website. Then we’ll walk you through all the steps needed to create your own event website using WordPress. Let’s jump right in!
Why You Should Consider a WordPress Site for Your Event
There are many reasons WordPress is an excellent platform for building an event website. For example, it offers both ease of editing and a high level of flexibility. Plus, the platform is always free to download.
What’s more, since WordPress is built using open-source code, developers all over the world have added onto the platform’s core functionality with plugins. This means there are many options for enhancing your site with event-specific, niche plugins that can help you easily track, promote, and share your event in order to boost registrations.
Another benefit to building with this CMS is that it doesn’t matter how big or how small your event might be — WordPress always fits like a glove! Fortunately, building your event website using WordPress doesn’t have to be difficult at all.
WordPress + DreamHost
Our automatic updates and strong security defenses take server management off your hands so you can focus on building a great event website.
How to Create a WordPress Site for Your Event (In 4 Steps)
To get started with your WordPress event site, all you need to do is follow these four steps. Each will help you get up and running as quickly as possible, so you can move on to planning and hosting the event itself.
1. Choose a Secure and Professional Hosting Platform
While the WordPress software is free, you’ll still need to host your site somewhere. Choosing a web host can seem overwhelming at first, but it’s an essential first step in getting your event site started.
A web host is where all of your site’s data is stored, along with the files that create the functionality you’ll need to manage your event. There are a few things to consider when choosing your host since there are lots of options out there.
You’ll want to make sure the host you choose has the support you might need for certain types of events. You may need to accommodate a live stream, for example, or your event might require higher bandwidth for heavy registration traffic.
Here at DreamHost, we have several Virtual Private Server (VPS) options that can suit a wide variety of event planning needs.
We recommend really getting a feel for all the different types of hosting out there. That way, you can make sure your event website is stored in the most secure, high-performance location possible.
Related: How Much Does It Actually Cost to Set Up a WordPress Website?
2. Select a Theme to Suit Your Event
Once you’ve installed WordPress on your hosting plan, you can move on to some of the more exciting parts of building a website!
Choosing a theme can be a lot of fun, and it’s also a vital step. That’s especially true if you are looking to create a cohesive brand or send out a certain “vibe” about your event.
There are two main ways you can obtain WordPress themes, including:
- Downloading free themes from the WordPress Theme Directory
- Purchasing premium themes from a theme marketplace or directly from a developer
Themes often come with built-in functionality or features that you’ll want to understand before installing them. If you know you need a certain kind of layout, footer, or sidebar, for example, you’ll want to make sure the theme you pick can handle that type of design.
Some of the free themes available in the directory are nearly as packed with features as premium themes that come with a price tag. Reading their reviews and checking to see when each theme was last updated are smart ways to decide which is best for your site.
Of course, it’s also important to remember that sometimes niche themes can be more helpful than general, all-purpose themes. For example, ShowThemes offers event-specific WordPress themes and lets you search its database by feature set so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
ShowThemes covers the full spectrum of possible events you might want to promote. For instance, if you just need a one-page site for a conference, the Fudge theme is a solid option. Not only is it already optimized for mobile devices, but it also has a clear and easy-to-customize design for your Call-to-Action.
Starting with a theme designed for the type of event you’re promoting can save you a lot of time, so it’s well worth considering.
Related: What is a Website Builder? Everything You Need to Know
3. Add Event and E-Commerce Plugins to Manage Registration
There are a few more universal aspects of event planning to keep in mind while building your WordPress event site. Typically, events require some kind of registration process, guest list, or check-in management (just to name a few examples).
Whether or not your event is free-of-charge or requires payment, adding event and e-commerce plugins to your site can be extremely helpful. There are a number of ways to build in the functionality you’ll need to handle ticket sales or registrations.
Event Espresso, for instance, is an all-in-one plugin solution that covers everything from setting up a registration form to using payment gateways.
While the free version provides plenty of functionality, you can purchase Event Espresso’s premium tier if you’re interested in add-on features such as printable tickets, ticket scanning, and waitlists.
If you need a plugin that specializes in managing a guest list and registration data, on the other hand, you might want to check out the RSVP and Event Management plugin.
Additionally, you can maximize WordPress’ flexibility by using plugins that make it possible to connect to outside event software, such as EventBrite, to help you manage your event. While this method requires you to have an account with the platform, it’s still an excellent option if you have specific event management applications you know and love.
4. Promote Your Event on Social Media
Once you’ve built your event site, you’ll likely want to start getting the word out and encouraging registrations. It’s no secret that social media is probably the best way to share your event with your target audience, as widely or as privately as you want.
One of the most straightforward ways to promote your event on social media is to let your website visitors do it for you, through adding social sharing buttons to your website. You can add on a plugin like Sassy Social Share, for example, and choose from over 100 social media and bookmarking site buttons to add to your site.
If you want to take things a step further, and proactively push your event content and site updates to a variety of social media sites, you can check out the free plugin Blog2Social. This tool gives you the option to set up automatic posts from your website to 14 different social networks.
With Blog2Social, you can also cross-post content, schedule updates, and automatically post new content. Additionally, you can customize your posts with comments and hashtags, for even more engagement and appeal.
You can even enable guests to register for your event via their existing social media accounts. Adding the Social Login plugin to your event site makes that simple.
Whether you’re looking to push content to social media accounts, or pull in guests and registrations via social channels, adding some of these helpful plugins to your event site can help you stand out from the pack and attract attention.
Related: 10 Easy Social Media Tips for Your Hard-Working Small Business
Easy Event Marketing
If you’ve been worried about how to get your event website off the ground, while also planning for all your other event-related needs, we hope this step-by-step guide has helped to ease your burden a bit. WordPress can help you get your site up and running quickly, which leaves you plenty of time to focus on all the other details that make for a great event.
Here at DreamHost, WordPress is always invited to the party. Check out our WordPress hosting plans and get your event website online today!