April 16, 2019

By Lily Doctoroff

Why Have a Campaign Website?

Being a candidate these days means establishing a digital presence. This can mean a number of things. Setting up a Facebook page or Twitter account for your campaign (preferably both!) or setting up an email list to keep your supporters up to date with your events or election updates. But, one of the most important components of your digital presence is your campaign website.

Your website is the one, central place where supporters can find information about you, your campaign, and how they can get involved.

Moreover, a website is a quick and efficient way to meet people where they are. This helps you reach your campaign goal—more votes!

The Look of Your Campaign Website

A campaign website shows you’re running a serious campaign. It’s important your website looks professional.

This means being selective about what you include. We know you have a lot of ideas about how you’re going to improve your community. That’s great, but the fewer words, the better. Focus on the key points you want your audience to take away about your campaign and what you stand for.

To make a professional looking website there are plenty of website templates to help you keep yourself organized and reduce unnecessary clutter. This will make it easy for visitors to find the information they came for.

Programs like Squarespace, wix.com, and WordPress are good options for easy to use website builders that allow you to build custom websites for relatively low prices.

What to Include on Your Campaign Website

Four major elements compose a good campaign website;

  • A candidate’s information and story
  • Volunteer and involvement information
  • Donation options
  • Voting information

These four components will allow voters to find any information they need/want to know about you quickly and effectively.

Candidate Information and Story

This is pretty obvious, but your website has got to tell people who you are. Your name, your picture, the office your running for, and when your election is. This all needs to be prominently displayed on your website.

However, just your name and office aren’t enough to draw people in. You need to explain why you’re running and why people should vote for you. This is where your story comes in.

A candidate story is a short message (seriously, only a few sentences) that gets to the core of who you are, your motivations for running (i.e. the issues you want to tackle) and your promise to voters if elected. This is not your full life story. Just a simple message so people who don’t know you can understand why they should vote for you.

The formula for your story is: (1) a story + (2) your why + (3) your promise. This should convey to voters who you are and why they should trust you to do the job you’re running for.

To learn more about creating a good campaign message check out our course on Crafting a Good Campaign Message.

Volunteer and Involvement Information

Part of the reason many people come to your site is to figure out how they can get involved with your campaign. Volunteers are incredibly important to any campaign, so your website should make it as easy as possible for people to get involved.

The easiest way to do this is to create signups for your email list and volunteer opportunities. Signups allow you to communicate with your supporters and engage them in your campaign. For example, your email list can help share opportunities for involvement like knocking on doors, making phone calls, and helping at events.

Donation Options

Every campaign needs money, but how is your campaign supposed to get it if your supporters don’t know where or how to give it to you?

That’s why it’s important that you include a prominent donate button on your website. Someone coming to your site should be able to clearly see where they can donate. The last thing you want is someone not giving you money because they couldn’t figure out how to give it to you!

(Sidenote – make sure your website is connected to an account with a credit card processor that will allow you to accept credit card donations. ActBlue and CrowdPAC are both good donation processors to check out)

Voting Information

The final element that you should include in your website is information about how, where and when people can vote. Since your website is a tool that helps achieve your campaign goal (more votes!) part of the site needs to be dedicated to informing your supporters about how they can vote for you!

The key information you want to include is:

  • When the election is
  • Where people can vote
  • Voting eligibility
  • Advance voting options

Make sure all this information is up to date and correct – it’s important!

Get Building!

There’s a lot more to creating your digital presence as a candidate, so make sure to check out our Digital 101 course that covers everything from social media to content creation.

A website with all this information will help you spread awareness of you as a candidate and your campaign, but that will only work if you let people know about it. So make sure to promote your site anywhere you can – flyers, posters, social media, etc. Anywhere you can!

So, what are you waiting for? Get building!

Lily was raised in Medfield, Massachusetts, a small town outside of Boston. She currently lives in Chicago while she attends college at the University of Chicago studying Political Science and Religious Studies with a concentration in American Politics. She is a member of the Communications team at NDTC.