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Political Candidate Websites at Online Trade Marketing.

A Political Candidate Website sells a product in the same way that an E-Commerce website does. The difference being that a politician’s product is an idea. 

Carly Bailey is a former Vice-Chair of The Social Democrats. At the time of writing she is a candidate in the 2019 Local Elections for Rathfarnham-Templeogue and in the next General Election for Dublin South-West.

Domain Name & Hosting

The Domain Name was simple, the client already owned carlybailey.ie. It is always best to go with your name as a political candidate or public representative, people will be searching for your name. Some include the name of their party, I would advise against this, it can make the URLs too long. Your party affiliation will be made clear throughout the website.

We include the Domain Name, registration and between 2, 6 and 9 months of hosting (depending on the package chosen by the client) with our web design packages. After the specified period the client can choose to move the website the their own hosting plan or continue to have us manage it for them.

Web Design Process

Websites can be broken into two main categories; websites that sell products, and websites that offer information. A Political Candidate Website, or that of a serving Minister, TD, Councillor, public representative or body of any kind falls into the information website bracket.

Searchers will be looking for info on local or national issues, they may be reading up on policy from the candidates in their area, they could even be journalists looking for background on an article they are writing.

This website does have a small amount of user interaction. There are option to use a contact form, volunteer to work on the Carly Bailey campaign and a donation page (more on this later), but the primary function is information.

Online Trade Marketing

Lets take you journey to online success together...

Your website is the most important advertisement for your business and good web design is a vital component of your future success. Online Trade Marketing are you one stop shop. Start your online adventure today.

Working with Online Trade Marketing is like employing a part time member of staff, who works from home and delivers results month after month. Our SEO package is based on us providing a minimum of 10 high quality content, code and analysis hours per month.

The following text is taken from the design proposal. The design proposal is a 10+ page document that every client receives before the website build starts. The first page is probably the most important, it has two headings; Overview and Goals. This page determins the direction of the entire design process. Some of it is obvious, but you should always state and outline what the website is, what you want it to do and what success looks like.

Overview

Carly Bailey is Vice Chair of the Social Democrats, a relatively new Irish political party. She is running as their candidate in two forthcoming elections; local Elections (Dublin City Council, May 24th 2019) and the next General Election (unconfirmed date, September 2020 at the latest). This proposal outlines the design, build and implementation of her website, how visitors will interact with it and its relationship to her existing social media platforms and the central Social Democrat website.

Goals

  1. Publicise Carly Bailey & her policies: The first goal of any almost every website is the most obvious but should always be stated. When designing a website structure it’s important to have one or more of these goals in mind for every page.
  2. To raise funds through donations and recruit volunteers: The website must create two distinct calls to action, although a single page can perform both functions. An E-Commerce website has a distinct customer journey through the pages. But in fact every website should have, for example; Home Page > Blog Post (an issue they feel strongly about) > What’s next? > Donate/Volunteer.
  3. To gain traction in Search & Social for her own & the Social Democrat platform: A website should always have a larger purpose, especially one promoting an idea as opposed to a product or service. Carly Bailey is not only a candidate in the upcoming Local Election but also in the next General Election. Her media presence will have to be increased tenfold. This website should be her shop window.

We can't do everything...

This may sound obvious, but we design websites, not policy. We can create content from very little, sometimes just a yes or no answer, but we do need your policy positions on all the issues you want to feature on your website. It’s a good idea to develop policy ideas on an on-going basis. Be ready for breaking news with content to deliver to the search engines. Freshness is a major ranking factor, especially in Google News.

The Visual Web Design of a Political Candidate Website

Website Structure

Some websites have an extremely complicated structure with thousands or even tens of thousands of pages. This type of website has a simple hierarchy of top level pages, with blog posts, and their categories, acting as policy statements. There are four categories; Local Issues, National Issues, In the Media, News and opinion. 

Political Candidate Website Structure Diagram

So for example; If Mrs. Bailey appeared on a current affairs programme, a post would be created with a number of features. A video of the programme, a written transcript, some featured quotes, 300-500 words of discussion on the issue including a policy outline and a link to the party policy page. This post would nest in both the media category and the national issue category. 

Main Menu & Website Navigation

The navigation of the website reflects to simple structure. The main menu items are; Facebook and Twitter (social media is vital in any election campaign), these are links to her public figure profiles. Get in Touch and Volunteer (these link to the same page, but we wanted to have to links in order to guide visitors), Donate (more about this page shortly). The first, and most important menu item is a drop down that features three items; What I Stand For is a large menu style page with links to post detailing policy, both internally and externally via the Social Democrat Website

Political Home Page

This page is where most of the design and design time was spent. It will probably be the page that generates the most traffic and needs to impress every visitor. A high proportion of these visitors will be potential voters.

What does success look like?

With an e-commerce website you know how many visitors like what they see… the percentage you buy a product. Same goes for trade website… the number of calls and emails. With a Political Candidate Website it’s a little harder to measure the success of this, and other pages. 

Two metrics I’ll be keeping an eye on are “Time on Site/Page” and for this page specifically, “CTR (click through rate).” These metrics will give an indication of how interesting and informative the website is. The data is monitored using Google Analytics, read this Moz beginners guide to Google Analytics if you are unfamiliar with the platform. You’ll need a working knowledge of Google Analytics to run any website.

Banner Image, Opening Copy & Call-to-Action

As a client Carly Bailey was a real pleasure to work for. At the very start of the process I received endless emails of content, especially images. Most of these these were large, high quality professional shots, perfect for publishing on the web. All the copy all the top of the page was also provided by the client. It’s an overview of the candidate, what she stands for and some detail about upcoming elections and her constituency.  

A Call-to-Action refers to a website element that encourages website visitors to take an action, an action that meets one of your goals (outlined above)

Two of the goals are covered by a full width banner below the main image. “Candidate for the Social Democrats in Rathfarnham-Templeogue,” Followed by two buttons; Donate and Volunteer. This tells visitors what the goal is and how they can help.

Trust Signals

The Google Search Rater Guidelines have been in the spotlight recently. Google employs search raters all over the world to perform searches and manually rate the results according to a list of criteria. The rating does not directly affect ranking, it’s more that the data is fed into the algorithm.

Since 2015 these guidelines have emphasised E-A-T, Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. A Political Candidate Website needs E-A-T. On the homepage we created this in three key areas; a large banner quote from a party leader, endorsing Carly Bailey. links to media appearances, including video (we are lucky here that this politician has appeared on prime time TV and in national broadsheet newspapers). And third the overall impression of being part of a wider organization; colour scheme, other local candidates etc.

Online Trade Marketing

Lets take you journey to online success together...

Your website is the most important advertisement for your business and good web design is a vital component of your future success. Online Trade Marketing are you one stop shop. Start your online adventure today.

Working with Online Trade Marketing is like employing a part time member of staff, who works from home and delivers results month after month. Our SEO package is based on us providing a minimum of 10 high quality content, code and analysis hours per month.

Political Candidate Website Home Page - carlybailey.ie
Carly Bailey Political Candidate Website Home Page

Pages Needed for a Political Candidate Website

So you have you Home Page nailed, what’s next? Well, the rest of the website has to expand on the outline given on the Home Page. In the case of a politician’s website, or a Councillors website, or a Senator, Minister or even the President this means POLICY!!

On carlybailey.ie this is done in two way and can be divided into two sections. We created a What I Stand For page which acts as a policy overview. This contains headline policy with links to the main party page website (more of the E-A-T we talked about earlier). The second policy page is the blog, this is where anything and everything is kept. For example; you can see a large block of policy areas on the Home Page, using image, headline, extract and link. We have public transport, the environment, childcare and others (these can, and should be, ever changing, depending on the national or local situation). These blocks link to blog posts. 

What I Stand For Page. Large policy blocks with links to posts and Party pages
Blog Post are vital for Political Websites.
Blog posts act as policy documents for a councilor or TD website
Trust Signals, Endorsements and Achievements are the silver bullet on Political Websites .
Video by Party Leader, adding weight and authority to a Political Candidate Website
Blog post acting as a housing policy position for a Political Candidate Website

Thank you for reading this post, I hope it explains the requirements of a Political Candidate Website. If you are running for any form of public office get in touch with us today, use the contact form in the top right hand corner. 

The way people consume content is changing and winning votes is getting harder to do. A clean, simple, well designed website is a must. We can also look after your social media adverting, especially Facebook and Twitter, gaining you greater exposure and a strategic advantage over other candidates.