Arts organizations often turn to WordPress for their websites and it’s easy to see why. There are so many themes that highlight visuals, using big graphics that are perfect to spotlight paintings, photos and more. But what about events? WordPress sites are also great for things like galleries, exhibitions and artist appearances. And for that, a WordPress calendar is non-negotiable.
It can be tricky to figure out how to showcase events on your site if you site crosses many disciplines. Perhaps it’s a pop art exhibit, the next day it’s a piece of performance art, and the next day it’s a foreign film screening. Keeping track of events across categories can start to become a real headache.
But there’s good news. By optimizing your WordPress calendar, there are lots of ways to showcase events that are both user-friendly and easy on the eyes. You can take your calendar from chaotic to inviting in no time with a few quick tricks!
Today, we’ll share WordPress calendar tips inspired by the Arts & Cultural Council of Rappahannock (Rapp-Arts for short). Rapp-Arts is an organization that makes the most of its calendar to highlight local arts and culture events across a wide range of categories.
Takeaway #1: Use a custom search bar to connect art buffs to the events they want
We love the events search bar that’s front and center on the Rapp-Arts homepage:
Rapp-Arts hosts lots of events across a huge range of categories, from art opening to summer camps. Notice how visitors can choose from several key categories directly from the main navigation to cut through the clutter. Similarly, visitors can jump to the search area and narrow down the results there. Super smart!
We’re also impressed at how Rapp-Arts carries the search experience over once the visitor is on a category page. Search is still prominent, but moved over to a sidebar that gets out of the content’s way.
Takeaway #2: Highlight headliners right from your homepage
Your most prominent events deserve a seat of honor at the top of your homepage. Rapp-Arts uses this handy featured events tool to quickly draw in visitors with the help of colorful images, short-and-sweet event descriptions, and event dates on prominent display.
Takeaway #3: Make your WordPress calendar page a work of art
Take a cue from Rapp-Arts to make your main events page pop. They use featured images for event listings which automatically populate in their event list. As a result, they’ve added visual flare to the page. And again, the “Find an Event” and “Find a Venue” tools in the sidebar don’t look too shabby while still serving a useful purpose.
Pro tip: You can feature your events anywhere on your site—not just on the event page. Add a single listing or full calendar view on any page, or use a widget to create a nifty event countdown by embedding calendar content or using widgets.
Takeaway #4: Help artists submit their own calendar events
Arts councils tend to host lots of events from multiple artists, museums, and event organizers. As a result, an arts council calendar is kind of a community calendar. Use a simple, intuitive form to make event organization easy on yourself and your partners in the community. For instance, this one from Rapp-Arts is an excellent way for people to easily submit their events to their calendar. If you’re already running The Events Calendar, use the Community Events plugin to make crowd-sourcing events even easier!
Pro tip: Include a page on your site like this one that provides clear information about how to submit events. Not only is it informative, but it sets good expectations about how your organization determines which events are eligible for inclusion.
Your WordPress calendar is a powerful tool for promoting art events
Rapp-Arts is just one example of how a WordPress calendar can be a powerful tool for promoting local art events, even across a wide swath of categories.
By putting a powerful search bar front-and-center, spicing up your event listings with featured images, and streamlining the process for crowd-sourcing event listings, you’ll spend less time helping users find events and fiddling with your website and more time finding new ways to promote your local arts scene!
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