Building Your Campaign Website — Tips and Tricks | National Democratic Training Committee

A campaign website is a key component of your digital presence as a candidate. It’s important that it looks professional and is easy to use. But remember: you’re running for office. Your goal is to win the election, not to become an expert in web design.

Luckily, website builders like Squarespace and Wix make it easier than ever to launch a website that’s beautiful and easy to use. There are even companies that specialize in website templates for political campaigns.

But even with these web design tools, creating a campaign website can still be intimidating. Don’t be — following these tips and tricks will help make the design process go smoothly.

Hint: A lot of planning is done before you start to design the pages on your website.

Create a Site Map

Good web design makes it easy for visitors to achieve what they set out to do. In your case, people viewing your campaign website are likely looking for more information about you, your campaign, and how they can get involved.

You’ll want to make it easy for people to find this information by organizing it in a way that makes sense. A site map—a high-level diagram that shows how the different areas of your website are organized—is an effective planning tool that can help you organize the information that you need on your website.

Not sure what content should be on your website? Use our Website Building Blocks template to help you get started.

Solidify Your Message

Your website is an ideal place to show visitors who you are and what you stand for. But you only have a small window of time, about 10 seconds on average, to grab your visitor’s attention before they decide to leave your page.

You must assume that visitors are always in a hurry, so focus on the key points you want your audience to take away about you and your campaign. Our course on Crafting Your Message will help you identify and clearly communicate your campaign’s core message.

Additionally, make sure your language is simple and concise. Editing tools like Hemingway can help you improve the “readability” of your content.

Create Clear Calls-To-Action

Calls-to-Action (known as a CTA’s) are elements on your website, typically buttons, that prompt your visitors to take action. Using a CTA is a great way to encourage visitors to take an action that aligns with the goals you want your website to achieve.

For instance, one of your primary goals as a candidate should be raising money for your campaign. Therefore, you’ll want to include a “Donate” button on your site. Following best practices for CTA’s, you should:

  • Use clear language. The word “Donate” should suffice
  • Use a contrasting color to highlight the button
  • Consider making the button larger than the surrounding elements
  • Place it in a prominent place on the homepage

Create a Color Palette and Prioritize Accessibility

If you’ve already decided on your campaign’s branding, stay consistent with the colors you’ve already chosen. If you haven’t already made decisions about your campaign’s visual identity, this guide from Smashing Magazine will help you choose an attractive and cohesive color palette to use across your campaign materials. While reds and blues have been the norm for political campaigns for years, don’t be afraid to choose colors that are authentic to you as a candidate.

No matter the color palette you choose, always make sure that there is sufficient contrast between text and backgrounds. Text that has low contrast with its background is difficult to read, especially for people with visual impairments. You can check your color contrast using the WebAIM color contrast checker, aiming for a ratio of at least 4.5:1.

Test Your Website

Once your website is built, don’t stop there! Make sure everything works the way it’s supposed to. If you built the website yourself, don’t be the only person who sees it before it goes live. Ask your friends, family, and/or volunteers to help test the website.

At a minimum, you should:

  • Proofread your content. Even if you’ve read everything, read through it again. Have someone else read it. Trust me, you’re bound to miss something, so catch it before your site goes live.
  • Check all links. Make sure they lead to the intended page.
  • Test all forms. For example, try subscribing to the mailing list and make sure any automated messages arrive as expected.
  • Make a test donation. You want to make sure this experience is as seamless as possible.

For more ideas on what to test, check out Squarespace’s Site Launch Checklist.

 

There’s a lot more to creating your digital presence as a candidate, but these tips and tricks should help you get started. For more in-depth training on building campaign websites, check out our Digital Campaigning: Website Basics and Building a Campaign Website courses.

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