Think a great festival website needs to be jaw-droppingly beautiful to capture people’s interest? Think again. According to usability experts at Nielsen Norman Group, you’ve only got 10 seconds to hook a visitor’s attention before they leave — and the best way to do that is with clear communication.

For your festival, that means you need a clear and catchy headline and description, as well as engaging visuals. Here’s the basic anatomy of a successful festival website so your team can build one optimized for sales.

Images of the event experience

The human eye processes images in 13 milliseconds, much faster than it can read. That’s why it’s critical to use engaging visuals of attendees enjoying your festival featured on your website.

Four ways to improve your photography game:

  1. Use images of satisfied attendees in prominent places on your website
  2. Highlight images of venue and performers further down your web pages
  3. Invest in a professional event photographer to get high quality images
  4. If a pro is too costly, you can use stock photography when appropriate to save money

Attention-grabbing headlines and descriptions

The secret to crafting headlines and sentences that pique visitors’ interest is understanding your event’s value proposition and being concise with your copy.

Five ways to uplevel your festival website copy:

  1. Use bullet points when possible to make it easier for people to scan
  2. Limit paragraphs to three or four sentences
  3. Consider using helpful and relevant links in your copy, like FAQs
  4. Use benefits, not features, in your headlines and descriptions
  5. Always use active voice (never passive voice)

Date, time, and location of your festival

Once your event website has piqued someone’s interest, make sure they can scan the page and find out when and where your festival is, as well as how much it costs to attend. The higher up this information is on your homepage, the better.

Two tips for prioritizing date and time on your landing page:

  1. In addition to including the date and time in the header of each page, make sure to repeat these important details again in the footer
  2. Embed a Google map into your “About” page, which also improves SEO

A call to action that drives ticket sales

Your festival website is a treasure map, and your call to action (CTA) is the giant red ‘X’ that says “Over here!” After an interested event-goer has decided to attend your event, they shouldn’t have to figure out where to go to buy a ticket.

Three best practices to help site visitors buy tickets:

  1. Put a CTA button up top on the homepage of your website
  2. Use active language, like “Get Tickets”
  3. Make it pop by using a contrasting color for the button

Your festival schedule or lineup

People want to know who’s performing and when. That information can’t be presented as a boring list, though. Your site visitors will expect an interactive and easy-to-read lineup.

Three ways to take your schedule from boring to exciting:

  1. Do research to see how your competitors’ present that information and what you like (pop-ups that overlay on the webpage are a popular approach right now)
  2. Gather talent bios and photos as soon as you confirm them, so you have the content.
  3. Make each description  punchy and engaging, whether it’s the artists performing or activities festival-goers will enjoy (see copy tips above)

List of event sponsors

From big-name festivals to smaller, local events, sponsors can add credibility and extra budget. And, giving sponsors space on your site is another activation you can offer them.

How to incorporate sponsors on your website:

  1. Don’t just feature sponsor logos on your website’s home page. Instead, tell visitors why they’re important partners and how they’ll enhance the experience.
  2. If you have a blog on your festival website, have sponsors write a guest post that encourages attendees to stop by and meet them in person. 

Put these tips into action with real examples

Your festival website should be the ultimate salesperson for your event. Find out how to shape it in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Event Websites ebook.