Q: Our current website is no longer meeting the needs of our internal and external audiences. I’m in the market for a web redesign, but I don’t know where to begin. Do have you any pointers?

A: Whether the site is narrowly focused on a signature event or more broadly focused on your overall organization, there are a number of steps you can take to build a successful and buzz-worthy website. Having recently undergone a significant web redesign, here are seven of my key lessons learned.

CAREFULLY CHOOSE A PARTNER. Serious websites require serious expertise. If this expertise truly resides within your current team—bonus. If not, carefully select a partner you trust who is capable of delivering your vision. Peruse websites they’ve designed within the last two years to quickly narrow the field.

IDENTIFY YOUR PRIMARY AND SECONDARY GOALS. Whether it’s increased awareness, reputation or revenue, it’s important to articulate your top two goals. Then ensure all future design and development decisions align with these established goals.

CONSIDER YOUR MUST-HAVE ASSETS. Scan competitor websites—and those you envy outside of your industry—to determine your complete asset wish list. This may include professional photography, a promotional video and/or regularly updated content. 

REALISTICALLY DETERMINE YOUR INVOLVEMENT. Writing or securing some of the content and images for the new site will likely cut down on costs, but it’s important to realistically determine what you and your team will have the time, energy and resources to achieve. Likewise, if you will be photographed or videotaped, be sure to account for this time commitment up front.

ESTABLISH A BUDGET AND TIMELINE. Price points for websites can vary greatly depending on your identified outcomes and deliverables. Determine early on how much you have to spend and a reasonable timeline for launch—then build in a buffer for each. Regularly check in with all key stakeholders to ensure the project remains on time and within budget.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE REVIEW TIME. Whether it’s simply to comment on the wireframe or to provide more in-depth testing of key features, don’t underestimate the review time needed during the design, development and launch phases.

PLAN A TWO-STEP LAUNCH. Plan a smaller beta launch where team members and other champions can review, test and provide feedback on the new site. Then follow up with an official launch. Consider and leverage all available communication channels (e.g., social media, email, print) along with a special offer (e.g., registration discount, highly anticipated whitepaper) to attract attention.


Aaron Wolowiec is a learning strategist and meetings coach for leading trade associations and individual membership societies across the United States. Committed to the latest research and trends on learning, intentional networking environments and meaningful transfer exercises, he launched Event Garde, a professional development consultancy, in 2011.

First came COVID. Then came the tornado.

The northern Michigan community of Gaylord was just starting to rebound from the pandemic with its groups and events business as a new season was getting underway when a rare EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour struck May 20.

Two people were killed and at least 44 were injured, according to official reports at the time. West Michigan meteorologist Bill Steffen said it was the strongest tornado to strike in the U.S. that month. 

 

A conference or convention venue might be described by meeting planners as offering ease and convenience for multiple reasons. It may be because its address is easily accessible from numerous compass points. Or perhaps it’s the destination—with a variety of opportunities for activities and entertainment close-by. And of course, it could be that the venue itself offers a peaceful, easy setting with all the comforts you could want. 

Well, at Treetops Resort, it’s all of the above. 

 

Read tips from two bestselling pros on the challenges and opportunities of managing the modern meeting. 

Like it or not, hybrid meetings are here to stay. Managing these gatherings, where some attendees are in the room and others are Zooming in, requires new skills from meeting planners.