Why Political Website Design?
As I said above, this is the first in a series of posts in the political space. The reason I start with Political Website Design is that all marketing (and getting elected is marketing, just like selling a product), for me at least, starts with a well designed, well optimised website. Everything you do after that, the right course has been set by your website.
If you are a politician, or you hope to be in the future, I suppose the first, and obvious question is… “Why do I need a website?” It’s a fair question, and there are a number of reasons why. The first, is control of the search results. When your name is Googled (and if you are successful it will be, a lot) you want to be in control of the content that people see. A website is an important part of this. The second is content. You need a place to publish articles, and other written content such as press releases, so that voters can read about who you are and what you believe in. Social media plays a role in this, but your website leads the way.
Think of your website as your online constituency office; it’s your base, the first port of call for your constituents. They can contact you, they can find out about you, they can volunteer and donate to the campaign, they can stay up to date with what you are doing and where. Good Political Website Design wins new voters, and keeps them voting for you for many years into the future.
First Impression is Everything
Meet Andrew Dillon. In this post we’ll be using him as a demo for Political Website Design. Click the button above to view this demo site. He is of course, completely fictional, but we are going to use him, his demo website, and in future posts, his content, to demonstrate all the requirements of Political Website Design.
This section seen above, is the first thing people will see when they arrive on your new website, it has to be good. First impressions are just as important to a website as they are in person. This image needs to be many things at once; it has to be professional, it has to be in a working environment, but it also needs to be welcoming.
The text need to be short, and to the point, there’s plenty of room in other areas of the website for detail. Tell people who you are, and what you stand for. Include the party logo, if you are a member of a party, and social media links if you have them (link to your party in the meantime). The menu at the top might be a little different for each candidate, but “Contact” is a must, and implementing a donation system is also a really good idea.
Political Website Design Highlights
The content of any homepage is dependent on the website, but here are some ideas that are especially applicable to Political Website Design. Image 1 is taken from the Carly Bailey website designed here at FutureProof Digital in 2019. Carly Bailey is a local council member in Dublin West for the Social Democrats.
Trust is a key ingredient of a website like this; people vote for candidates they trust. Adding elements of trust is easier than you think, an e-commerce website displays credit card logos. In politics, this trust can come from your party. We took colour scheme and some design inspiration from the Social Democrats website and we featured a quote from the party leader endorsing Carly Bailey.
The second homepage section of the Political Website Design demo features links to policy pages. Of course, these pages will contain content written by you/us, but it can be party material, or link directly to a party website. In a future post in this series we’ll take a deeper look at content.
A product has a USP, a unique selling point, what sets it apart from the other products. A political candidate has this also. Choose policy areas for the homepage that you feel strongly about, or that your target voter feels strongly about, environmental issues if you are a green party candidate, farming if you are in a rural constituency for example.
The more people that get in touch you the better. If they are contacting you then they want more information, about you, about your party, about your policies. It’s important to make it as easy as possible for people to do this; forms, buttons, phone numbers, email address, social media and newsletter updates.
Content is the most important aspect of any website. Politics presents an opportunity that very few websites have; and endless supply of topics to write about. Every news story, every party policy (your party and the others) and everything you do in your role is an opportunity to create new content for your website, and share this content via social media.
This may sound daunting, but it’s surprising how quickly you get into content creation. Regular contact with voters is very important, and an excellent way to do this is by sending out emails every time you publish new content.
There is, of course, much more to Political Website Design than what we have looked at above, but I hope that this post gives you a number of thought starters, and aspects to consider if you are in this space. In future posts we will take a closer look at exactly what is required for each of the sections outlined above, and the content areas of the site that these sections represent. Something only touched on in this post is social media, but it’s importance in future election campaigns cannot be overstated. Next in this series a post entitled “Targeting Voters on Facebook,” see you then…