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Most Political Campaign websites… are awful, and ill-serve their campaigns. In this video, how to make yours great.

Looking for Help in Your Campaign? Call Jay at (845) 458-1210. The call is FREE.

What makes a good website?

This is the definition of a bad one. Grainy pictures that don’t flatter you, convoluted copy that is difficult to read or comprehend, with a homepage that looks the same day by day and week by week. We’ve all seen those. That kind of website will not serve you well.

What is a good website? I’ll start with the basics. Use photographs that flatter you. If you need to hire a professional photographer to get them, do it. You’ll need good pictures for your printed material anyway.

The home page should be sticky. Meaning it should be updated frequently with news articles, information on campaign events, fundraisers or commentary so that it has a unique look every time a viewer visits.

In fact, most of my clients put the feeds from their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts right on their home page. Content that constantly changes makes your website more interesting, and encourages your visitors to join the discussion.

The banner at the top of the home page should clearly display your slogan, and links to the social media that you are using.

The main menu items on your navigation panel should also include the following:

  • An about page, where voters learn something about you.
  • An issue page, where voters learn about your positions on important issues.
  • A News page, which contains your press releases, good photographs, news, endorsements and pictures from the campaign trail.
  • A YouTube page, where you post video messages about yourself, your positions and events on the campaign trail.
  • A contact page, where people can find you.

A little about the content of each section:

The ABOUT PAGE is your biography. I always suggest it be done in two forms.

1) A chronological biography, easy for the press to read so that they know where you were raised, the schools you attended, the jobs you held, the charitable causes you have been involved with and the honors you have received.

Your biography is not a place to exaggerate what you have done. If you embellish or inflate, or claim degrees you have not earned, it will come back to haunt you, so make sure your biography is dead on accurate before you post it.

2) In addition, I usually suggest that my clients post their story— what is called your signature story. It’s a story about some seminal event in your life that changed who you are and what you became; a story that helps voters understand why you view the world the way you do; one that helps the reader understand your deeply held beliefs and moral principles.

Putting your signature story on the about page lets votes know what makes you tick, and it makes you more interesting.

The ISSUE PAGE is where you let people know where you stand on issues of our time, and matters that may be of concern to them. How many and what issues do you cover? That depends on what you are running for, and the major concerns of the electorate in your jurisdiction.

A few examples: Spending. Debt. Jobs. Immigration. Zoning and Development. Budget Deficits. Entitlements. Taxes. The Tax Code. Wages. Schools. Climate change. Healthcare. Campaign Finance. Ethics reform. Religious Freedom. Crime. Education standards. Campaign Contributions. Gay Rights. Privacy. Terrorism.

You don’t need to address all of them, but you will need to clearly state your position on those that matter to your jurisdiction. 2-3 short paragraphs on each, along with pictures or a video embedded in the copy to make this section of your website visually interesting.

The NEWS PAGE is a great place to put endorsements, press releases, videos and pictures of you on the campaign trail, pictures of press conferences, speeches, flattering photographs, factory tours, town hall meetings and just about anything else you are doing on the campaign trail.

Doing this tells viewers that you are an active and passionate candidate. It lets your contributors know that you are doing what you need to do to win the election, and it gives volunteers a chance to be seen and given credit for the work they are doing. It also gives news reporters a better sense of who you are, your energy and passion for the job.

Your YOUTUBE CHANNEL should be embedded on a page of your website for a number of reasons:

  1. Video is a great way to communicate your story, your issue positions, speeches,
    press conferences and campaign activities. In fact, many voters much prefer video to words pasted on a screen.
  2. When you are on camera, voters see your body language, your facial expressions, your passion and energy.
  3. When voters see your videos, or you talking, they better remember you and what you said.

YouTube videos are easy to do, inexpensive, and an entertaining way to share your message with both reporters and voters.

The CONTACT PAGE is just that. It lets voters know your headquarter’s phone number and physical address, and how to email a question or comment.

You’ll note that I did not suggest a special tab for the CONTRIBUTION PAGE OR VOLUNTEER PAGE. That is because those items should be on every page of your website, along with your phone number and social media icons.

Why? Suppose a voter reads something on the issues page that compels them to contribute to your campaign, or share what they just saw or read. You want to make that as easy as possible. Don’t make them hunt for the tab to give you money, or some other section of the website to volunteer. Make sure that it is always easily found by putting it on every page.

A key function of your website is to capture the email addresses of people willing to leave them. Give something away if you have to…a subscription to your newsletter, an insider’s guide to the campaign, a map with your name on it, an autographed window poster. The email addresses that you accumulate are gold.

It’s a central repository of people who have already expressed an interest in you. —a list you can use to ask people for money, for help passing out literature, going door to door, or attending a rally.

There is an excellent tool called GOOGLE ANALYTICS that does a marvelous job of telling you who is visiting your website, how much time they spend on each page, and how they found you.

You cannot monitor what you don’t measure. And if you wake up one day to find that your website traffic skyrocketed you won’t know why or from where those visitors came from unless you have the Google Analytics tool installed.

FACEBOOK makes it very easy to insert a code on each page of your website so that you can re-target those who have visited your website with ads they will see on their Facebook Newsfeed.

You can also insert a GOOGLE ADWORDS code on every page. It will capture information about your website visitors which you can use to reach them with internet advertising.

You can learn more about these tools on Google.

Make sure you put your WEBSITE ADDRESS on every handout, flyer, in every email you send, every sign, every mail piece, in every TV or radio ad.

Don’t know how to do a website? Easy. Go to Google. Type in ‘how to build my own website,’
and you’ll find plenty of tools, software and companies that make it easy and inexpensive.

running for office

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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