Dear Event Doctor:

We are in the process of revamping the website for our largest national event. We think the current site—which hasn’t changed in a few years—provides decent information, but we’re sure we can do better. What is essential and what is less important when it comes to information on an event website? What’s the most important thing to convey there?

—Caught in the Web

Dear Caught:

OMG. IMHO the best way 2 provide deets 4 ur fans is thru apps & social media.

We’ll get back to that in a minute. But first, let me try to answer the question you asked. Decide what you want your website to accomplish. Is it the place people will be directed to learn about your event from advertising, or the place they will visit to dive deeper into content about which they already have a passion? These are both great reasons to have robust, easy-to-navigate websites. Try to have an obvious call to action—a way to sell or distribute tickets over the site. Provide a page from which fans can download information and print what they need (e.g., event schedules, maps, driving and parking directions, recommended arrival times and information about hotels, transportation and local attractions). Of course, you’ll also want to promote your sponsors and partners.

But relying only on your event’s website is so ’90s (LOL). If you have the budget, develop an app for your event. More and more fans are using smartphones and tablets as their main computers, which means they will access information more often using an app, even during the event. Provide all the information you would make available on the website, and consider adding more—like up-to-the-minute statistics, results, replays and other fun content.

Don’t have the time or money to develop an app that you can be proud of? Make sure you at least have a Twitter account and a Facebook page. You can communicate with fans, and they can tell you what’s on their minds. It’s a two-way conversation, so don’t just read their posts and comments. Make sure you respond to their concerns and thank them for their thoughts. Social networks, of course, can also link users back to the event’s website pages for more detailed information. Be concise and informative in your posts. Watch what people are saying during the event itself—it’s a good early warning system on emerging problems. You can also provide up-to-the-second information, announce changes, and promote special offers while your fans are at your event.

Note 2 event organizers: It takes practice delivering ur msg n 140 characters or less.

This first appeared in Sports Travel Magazine and appears here courtesy of SCHNEIDER PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC.