It’s amazing in this day and age how some notable candidates and elected officials can have terrible web presences. At its core the web is an amazingly efficient communications tool. But, many candidates and elected officials don’t give it enough respect.”
The thing is, unlike TV and radio campaigns, candidates do not need deep coffers to have a powerful and persuasive Internet presence. Fairly inexpensive sites will work just fine as long as they avoid the seven most common mistakes:
1. Inadequate or Amateurish Contact information
Many sites do not include the most basic contact information, such as a full address, phone number and a basic email address for the campaign’s office on every page. Some sites forgot the information altogether, others relegated it to a “contact us” page, forcing visitors to click over to get it.
Also, if you are running a professional campaign, your email address should reflect it. “It is unbelievable how many high ranking elected officials and candidates use Yahoo or AOL for their work email!” Candidates and their staff look amateurish when their email does not use the campaign Web site’s domain.
2. Forgetting to Include Basic Background Data
Candidates are so close to their race, that they often forget everyone visiting their site is not equally familiar with them. A significant portion of campaign sites lacked one or more of the following essentials:
– A picture of the candidate
– A platform statement, or notes on critical issues
– Basic election and/or district information
3. Easy-to-Figure-Out Domain Names
Both human beings and search engine spiders look for campaign Web sites first and foremost by trying the candidate’s name.
URL usability does not stop there. You also need to purchase domain names of common typos for the candidate’s name, as well as domains (such as “name”sucks.com) that adversaries may purchase to post negative information. Any competent webmaster can easily make these alternative domains shadow your main site, so anyone typing them reaches the right place automatically.
4. Overly-Fancy Web Site Design
Stratton notes, “A big, fancy website is a waste of money. Yes, for big campaigns the branding image is important – but your Web site is a communications tool – not a TV ad. Spending several millions on a political website in this day and age is ridiculous.”
When planning a site, first consider why constituents and press will visit it. Generally they are seeking information. They want to know how to contact you, what you stand for, how to donate to the cause, etc. People treat the Web as a cross between a directory and an encyclopedia – not a TV set.
So, make sure your site pages load in less than 10 seconds, even on a fairly slow dial-up connection (this means almost no images beyond your candidate’s picture). Plus, avoid Flash intros or opening splash pages people must sit through or click through to get to where they are going.
Stratton recommends that instead of investing in fancy Web graphic design, candidates ask their developer to include a very easy-to-use content management system that in-house staffers can use to change or add information to the Web site at a moment’s notice.
You do not want to pay a Web consultant $100 an hour and sit around waiting whenever you have a new press release, platform statement or other news to add to the site immediately. A content management system puts the power in your hands.
5. Not Collecting Supporters’ Email Addresses
Every campaign Web site should prominently feature a box to collect the opt-in email addresses of supporters and interested press. Then campaigns should use this collected list to send out a regular email newsletter.
This tactic has proven to be immensely powerful, yet few candidates do it. Stratton notes, “It shouldn’t be expensive nor should it be time consuming.” A simple text newsletter is easy to write, and costs almost nothing to distribute.
Jrango Tech is set launch websites for campaigns around Nigeria. We attend to clients from local city council , commissioner campaigns , state legislative ,state primaries,political parties ,governorship and presidential electoral campaigns. We have different packages available depending on your campaign’s goals and resources.
Each site we work on is custom designed, ensuring that you are delivered a campaign website that aligns with your campaign’s messaging and is consistent across all media. Our sites are powered by a modern Content Management System, which will allow campaign staff of any technical ability to quickly and easily edit content, add multimedia, issue press releases, and more. Jrango Tech works to always be on the cutting edge of online campaigning, which ensures your site will be outfitted with the latest social media and web best practices.
The Jrango Tech staff is made up of experienced online campaign strategists who are available to our clients at all times to advise on online strategy or support the campaign with their technical needs. Get in touch today to see how we can help your campaign.