Websites and social media pages are often the first or second point of contact between voters and a candidate. Judging a book by its cover has never been truer for campaigns. A website needs a good design and vital information to show that they are a serious contender for public office. Failing to do either one of these could cost the campaign a good first impression, or worse, a vote.
There are countless website design companies that can help with website design, but content is just as important as layout. Below are key elements to include.
This is the most important feature. A contribution button should be available on every part of the website. Campaign contributions are a vital part of a successful campaign, and having them on your candidate's website improves the chances of getting them. A button or link should be easy visible on the homepage, and never far from the click of a mouse or touch of a finger on mobile devices.
Endorsements are another crucial part. To put it bluntly, voters want to see who supports the candidate. They want to see if their local elected official supports them. Endorsements from higher ups like state officials, congressmen and congresswomen are just as important.
Endorsements from incumbent politicians show voters that a candidate is a serious contender. But just as important are endorsements from local business owners, community leaders, and respected citizens. Balancing political and community endorsements shows that political insiders and outsiders alike stand behind them.
Also, if you want to highlight important endorsements, list those persons or groups first, or have a special section that highlights them.
Next to financial backing, every successful campaign needs manpower. Like the contribution section of the candidate website, a volunteer link or button should always be easily visible. Phone banking, precinct walking, and “get out the vote” efforts on Election Day are all crucial roles for volunteers. Make it easy for people to sign up and help out.
Biographies are another crucial component, but they are also the most dangerous. What's included in a biography could hurt their chances of being elected by simply providing too much or not enough information.
A voter should come away from a biography knowing about experience, background, and reason for running. Flooding a biography with detailed information or throwing up a few sentences gives a bad impression.
A great biography is the chance to succinctly sell someone on why a candidate will make a good public servant and encourage them to vote, volunteer, and/or donate to the campaign.
Like the biography section, too much or not enough detail in the issues section can be harmful. This serves as the policy platform for the campaign will want to ask this question when listing them: Do the issues listed represent the candidate’s experience or do they resonate with the community?
Listing issues that they are unfamiliar with, or may not even understand, will not help their credibility. And listing an issue that has no importance or connection to the community on the website shows the campaign is out of touch or ignorant. Issues play an important role for the campaign. Pick carefully.
Visuals are important. A well run campaign regularly updates the website with photos from events and meetings. Voters want to see the candidate in action!
In the News
This is a quick and easy section on the candidate website that shares links to positive press stories.
What People are Saying
This section can be included with the endorsements or as a separate part of the candidate website. Highlight the great comments from local leaders, elected officials, or everyday citizens that offer positive comments about the candidate.
Ways to Get in Touch
Last but not least, be sure to include social media icons, a phone number, and email or contact form somewhere easily visible on your website.
Like a campaign, the website should be run professionally and intelligently. Having one or two of these sections without the others may turn voters off or give the appearance that the campaign is not prepared. A good website that is regularly updated with a modern layout and plenty of information shows that the campaign is serious and professional.
Be sure to call Campaign Now for not only help with your candidates’ website, but also fundraising to help keep your campaign moving forward.