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Blog: Event marketing

Why your event website needs its own custom domain

24 May 2024 minute read

Andrew Green
Technical Director

What does every event website have in common – apart from a button that says: ‘REGISTER NOW!’ ?

That’s right, a URL.

URLs direct people to the website or landing page you’ve created to promote your event and drive registrations.

The URL is front and centre whenever you link to your event site or include information about it in off-line advertising content.

And the most important part of your event site’s URL is the domain name. By definition, a domain name is ‘the part of an email or website address on the internet that shows the name of the organisation that the address belongs to’.

Most event platforms, including AttendZen, supply generic or platform-branded domains by default, but using a domain of your own is highly recommended if you want to build a strong event brand and keep control of it over time.

A custom domain (sometimes referred to as a vanity domain) is a branded domain name that is unique to your event. Domain names can be purchased from providers like Google Domains, Namecheap etc, to fit your event brand.

For example, say you have an event called the Tech Summit and you purchased the domain:

Instead of using a generic URL like:

you would simply use:

Image of a generic URL and a custom URL

The benefits of using a custom domain

There are a number of benefits to using a custom domain ranging from stronger branding to discoverability, and even trust in your events online.

Let’s take a quick look.


You wouldn’t email customers from a Hotmail address (at least I hope you wouldn’t). It would look unprofessional – perhaps even a bit sketchy?

And yet, when your event website is located on a generic, platform URL, those are kind of the vibes you’re giving off.

If you want to show prospective attendees, speakers and sponsors that you mean business and they should take your event seriously, you really need to ditch the free domain URL and get something custom.


Similarly, if you’re using the generic platform URL, you’re going to have the name of the platform literally in your domain name. That’s someone else’s brand (Eventbrite, Cvent, whatever) vying for your customer’s attention in one of the most important pieces of information you use to market your event.

The only brand your customer should ever engage with at this level, is yours. Using a custom domain gets you exclusivity and makes sure your event stays front-and-centre.


It’s also worth asking yourself which of the following someone in a rush, with 50 other things on their mind, is more likely to remember:


Which would you rather print on a t-shirt?

Image of a custom domain and and Eventbrite domain

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

You need customers to be able to discover your event online and, ideally, to out-rank the countless other events and products being promoted to your prospective attendees.

If you’re using a generic platform-provided URL, it’s still possible for you to rank in search engine results – but it’s a lot more difficult.

Having your own custom domain allows you to build up a store of trust, authority, backlinks and other good stuff on your own domain name.

Free domains only tend to rank for incredibly niche search terms – keywords that people type in very rarely.

If your event serves a topic or a community where there’s competition from other meetings and content providers, you really need your own domain if you’re going to cut through the noise on search result pages.

Using a custom domain can help improve your search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines look at the root domain on sites. A custom domain that reflects your brand is typically more relevant to what a user is searching for than a generic domain. If that’s the case, then your site with the custom domain will likely be ranked higher. Plus, the more campaigns you run using the same domain, the higher your search ranking will be. When you run new promotions under the same domain you used for previous ones, those new campaigns have a better chance of being seen toward the top of search results sooner.


With all the phishing scams and other fraudulent activity taking place on the web nowadays, it’s hardly surprising that people are wary of clicking on a URL they don’t recognise. Using a custom domain that is clearly connected to your organisation can encourage customers who trust your brand to click the link to view your programme or register.

Lots of events use a custom domain for their website or landing page, but don’t map it to their registration and confirmation pages.

So the customer may start out browsing the event at, but as soon as they hit the ‘REGISTER’ button, they’re re-directed to the platform’s URL like:

Image of Cvent URL

This isn’t great because it leads to a disjointed experience, introducing an element of friction and doubt.

Your customer has probably never heard of the registration platform you’re using. All of a sudden, they’ve been bounced to an unfamiliar domain. This is bad practice because we’re all hyper-sensitive to subtle changes is the URL because that’s how so many on-line scams and cyber exploits take place.

So now your registrant has to pause, think and reassure themselves that this is all still legit and there’s no need to be worried – they can trust your registration provider. And this tiny moment of friction can be enough to cause them to abandon the registration altogether.

By using your custom URL – with the name of your event or organisation that your community trusts – you avoid this bump in the road.

Give your registrants a seamless transition from your landing page, through the whole registration flow to the confirmation screen on one domain and they’ll be less hesitant to share their sensitive personal information and credit card data.

Image of a long domain name and a sceptical woman with a laptop


What happens when you want or need to switch providers?

If you use a custom domain, it’s yours, you own it and you can easily have it point to your event website on AttendZen or (almost) any other platform.

You stay in control and all the name recognition and SEO ranking remains intact.


Mapping your custom domain has another huge advantage, namely that all the outbound emails (marketing, invitations, confirmations etc) you send via your chosen platform can be sent from your own domain.

If you don’t map your own domain, the ‘from’ address will include the name of your platform (Cvent, Eventbrite etc).

As with your event website, a custom domain builds brand consistency and looks more professional because the emails appear to come from your organisation, instead of a generic platform address. And people are more likely to open emails from sites they know.

Sounds like a no-brainer

And it is. The advantages to using your own custom domain for your events are overwhelming. And registering your own domain is fairly quick and easy. So why then do so many organisers still use platform-branded domains?

There are a few reasons – none of them good!

Gratuitous fees

In some cases, it’s to avoid hefty extra fees from their event platform.

For example, Cvent and Stova both charge clients in the region of US$ 1,500 for the privilege of mapping their own custom domain name to an event website. That’s the fee for one domain, and it doesn’t include the cost of registering the domain in the first place.

Other platforms charge varying fees, from the reasonable to the utterly outrageous.

No wonder lots of smaller organisations and not-for-profits don’t bother.

In case you’re wondering, we do it for free.

Image of a man carrying a huge brown paper bag full of cash

Technically impossible

It’s also worth pointing out that some platforms simply don’t allow you to use your own domain. That’s not how they’re built.

Take Eventbrite for example. No matter what you do, they’re always going to add the last part for you (

This is because Eventbrite’s business model is that of a marketplace for lots of events – rather than a service provider to event organisers. So it’s more about getting people to visit Eventbrite than it is about building your brand to your community.

You pays your money and you takes your choice – as they say.

Not realising how easy it is

The domain name system is not terribly complex, but it’s just complex enough that not everyone understands how it all works.

And because managing domain names involves a few acronyms and technical terms like ‘DNS’, ‘CNAME’, ‘Nameserver’ etc, it can appear a little intimidating for non-developers.

But in reality, mapping your domain is a breeze and usually takes a couple of minutes. AttendZen clients can do it themselves by following a few basic steps on our platform, then logging in to their domain provider account and simply updating those records using information we provide them with.

Of course, our clients can call our support team and we’ll walk them through it and check everything’s working correctly. What we won’t do is pretend it’s a massive piece of work and charge them the price of a weekend break in Paris to sort it out!

This stuff is easy and you have a right to expect it as part of the service you already pay for from your event platform.

And while we’re on that subject, it’s worth checking with your provider that they’re also taking care of a few basic measures needed to keep your domain and your visitors safe.

A word about domain security

Your event platform will (hopefully) have security in place to protect their services, their own website and the websites they make for their clients.

But a couple of extra considerations kick in when you use your own custom domain instead of their free generic one.

SSL / TLS certificate

Make sure the platform has taken care of setting your website up with an SSL certificate, otherwise browsers, Google and other search providers will actively prevent people from visiting it.

Image of secure and unsecure URLs

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and an SSL certificate is what secures the transmission of data between a browser and a server. These days, certificates are actually based on TLS (Transport Layer Security) which is an updated version of the original SSL encryption. So a modern SSL certificate is technically a TLS certificate, but people still refer to it as SSL. Too many acronyms I guess.

A website needs an SSL certificate in order to keep user data secure, verify ownership of the website, prevent attackers from creating a fake version of the site, and gain user trust.

Without it, your visitors will be told that your site is not secure and they’ll be strongly advised to navigate away from it. Not a good look.

SSL certificates are inexpensive and easy to install. AttendZen uses a trusted authority to automatically create one for each custom domain used by our clients. Amazingly though, we see several event websites without a security certificate every month.


Another thing you want your platform to take care of is protection against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

DDoS attacks are malicious attempts to disrupt the normal operations of a targeted website by overwhelming it with a flood of spurious internet traffic.

AttendZen uses the market leader in DDoS protection to absorb and mitigates attacks within seconds, analyse incoming threats and ensure our clients’ sites and registration forms stay 100% available.

Most platforms will use DDoS protection for the platform itself, but not all of them spend the extra time and money extending their coverage to clients’ own domains, so when you have them map your own domain name, check that it too is individually protected against DDoS exploits.

So there you have it.

Mapping your own custom domain to your event website helps strengthen your brand and build trust and credibility for your events.

It also enables you to build up precious SEO points so your events show up higher in organic search results, and it enables you keep full control of your event’s presence on-line.

Best of all, it’s quick, easy to do and (shouldn’t) even cost you any money.

So talk to your event platform, or your IT people, and start reaping the benefits of a custom domain.

If you need help, feel free to call us, and one of our helpful techs will be happy to point you in the right direction.