A Two-Minute Guide to Building a Successful Political Campaign Website
Your website is the most powerful tool in your campaign’s outreach efforts. Compared to the cost of advertising and direct mail, it’s also the best bang for your buck. Your website provides an affordable and easy way for prospective voters to learn more about you, volunteer their time and make financial contributions to your campaign.
What Does a Successful Campaign Website Look Like?
Your website should include a candidate biography that briefly covers your relevant professional experience and personal history. Your issues section should clearly and concisely state your positions and plans. Your voter information page should include voter registration deadlines, polling locations (where applicable) and election dates. Your site should include a contact page where voters can easily reach you, a page to receive online donations, and a volunteer signup form.
The Most Common Mistake is a Surprising One
Believe it or not, the most common error we see on local and state political candidate websites is a failure to include the candidate’s full name (as it appears on the ballot), and their city and state. These omissions make it almost impossible for search engines to include a site in search results to prospective voters. For example, the website may say “Candidate for City Council Seat 7, Springfield” – but without including the state, search engines don’t know if you’re in Missouri, Illinois, Massachusetts, or one of the other 31 states with a city or town of that name. Be sure that your content includes this (and any other information) that voters may search for to find your site.
Top Goals for Your Campaign Website
The most common priorities for a candidate’s website are:
- Increasing name recognition
- Connecting with voters
- Collecting email addresses
- Recruiting volunteers
- Raising money
Whether your website is primarily intended as a political fundraising vehicle or simply about communicating your positions on the issues, the structure of your website should reflect your goals. In most cases, visitors will see your home page first. Use your home page content to drive visitors to any other parts of your site you've prioritized (to the donations page, volunteer form, etc).
Don't Overlook Email
Email is one of the most powerful tools you have as a candidate. Once a voter gives you permission to email them, you can maintain that connection on an ongoing basis leading up to election day. The most effective way to collect email addresses on political websites is email signup forms. If you’re using a Campaign Partner website, you can include an email signup form on any of your pages.
Finally, your website should include highly visible "Contribute" links, ideally one in your top navigation, and a fundraising feature or other call to action in the body of your main page (example here ). Your contribution page should also offer instructions for mailing in a donation, for visitors who are reluctant to use their credit cards online.