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Topics: Websites, Content, Branding, Elise Stefanik, Digital Acquisition, Social Media, Design

8 Must-Haves for Republican Campaign Websites

What You Need for Your Campaign Website

Campaign websites have come a long way since Republican Bob Dole ran for President in 1996. While some candidates were slow to adapt to digital technology, others recognized campaign websites as a new opportunity to communicate with voters.

What do I need for my campaign website?

Campaigns set out to build “big websites” that were complicated and had ambitious content creation expectations. Many campaigns even set out to build their own “social networks.” These “social networks” were attempts at bringing political advocacy into the 21st century. Most fell short of expectations.

The “big website” trend continued into the 2010s. Over the last several campaign cycles, the landscape has shifted for Republican campaign websites.

There’s been a big move toward more straightforward and streamlined websites, with a greater focus on purpose and function.

Whatever form it takes, your campaign website is your digital headquarters. All the bells and whistles may be overkill these days – but there are several critical features that every campaign website should have to serve your overall digital campaign plan.

In 2020, 52% of voters sought out candidate information online – with 20% visiting a candidate’s campaign website. We have put together a list of 8 must-haves for Republican campaign websites to help you maximize these opportunities to connect with voters without your website growing out of control.

8 Must-Haves for Republican Campaign Websites

 

Keep reading to find out The Prosper Group’s 8 Must-Haves for Republican Campaign Websites.

1. Mobile-Friendly

Mobile-Friendly

Your website must be optimized for smartphone users. Your website team may use terms like “mobile-friendly,” “mobile-first,” “fluid,” “responsive design,” or “adaptive design,” but it is essential to emphasize how it will show up on your iPhone or Android. More and more web traffic has moved from desktop and laptop PCs to mobile devices over the last decade – in February 2021, mobile accounted for nearly 47% of all web traffic in the United States.

2. Online Donations

Online Donations

You must have the ability to accept online donations from DAY ONE when your campaign website goes live. 62% of campaign contributions now occur online! Financial support is the lifeblood of your campaign efforts, and you’re going to need all the resources you can raise to tell your story and win.

3. Email Acquisition

Email Acquisition

Ensure that sign-up forms for your email and SMS (text messaging) programs are front and center, fully functional, and automated on the back end to feed new subscribers directly into your house file email and SMS programs. Email and SMS are vital to your efforts to communicate directly with campaign supporters and ask them to take action – everything from sharing Facebook posts - to donating online - to getting out to vote (GOTV).

4. On-Brand Creative

On-Brand Creative

From color scheme to fonts to image and video usage to bio and issue content, make sure your campaign website reflects your overall branding. You want to reinforce your brand within the website rather than open the door to any distraction or confusion. If you don’t have a logo and color scheme as you prepare to develop your website, have one professionally designed ASAP.

5. Great First Impression

Great First Impression

Instantly pull visitors into your website. We’ve all heard the quote – “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” The image visitors see when first landing on your website homepage should pull visitors in by being eye-grabbing and 100% on-brand.

It’s also ideal to prominently feature a “hero shot” of the candidate that conveys some combination of confidence, strength, competence, and personality while helping to tell the story of what the campaign stands for.

Here is a great example from Congressman Jerry Carl's website:

Jerry Carl for Congress

6. Social Media

Social Media

Connect site visitors to your presence on social media. Growing and maintaining engaged social media audiences is an ongoing effort, and you must ramp up rapidly when launching a new campaign.

Your campaign website should prominently feature links to your social media properties (Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram page, etc.) and encourage people to visit them and follow you. It’s also a great idea to directly embed your social media feeds on your website – this will help direct attention to important content you’re sharing online while cutting out the “noise” on social platforms.

7. Tell Your Story

Tell Your Story

The website is your forum to introduce yourself to voters and frame the conversation for the campaign.

Storytelling Content

Tell you story with these three vital areas on content on your campaign website:

  • About Your “About” page is where you share with voters who YOU are – how your life experience has shaped you and your political beliefs, what you’ve done and accomplished in your life, and an introduction to your family.
  • Issues Your “Issues” page is where you detail your stances and policy prescriptions on the issues important to you and you’re campaign.
  • News & Media Your “News & Media” page is where you publish your campaign’s press releases and links to articles, op-eds, and other published media regarding or relevant to your campaign.

8. Easy Navigation

Easy Navigation

Ensure visitors can access the content you've created for them. Quality control is essential – don’t let your efforts to engage website visitors go to waste!

Go back and ensure every feature is easy to find, easy to navigate, and works. You, your kids, AND your parents should all be able to understand how to get around. Ask folks outside of the team creating your website to test it for ease of use and functionality.

Pro Tip: Protect visitors and campaign donors by making sure your website is secure [LINK].


Get Started

With an in-house team of designers, developers, and digital professionals, The Prosper Group is here to help Republican campaigns and right-of-center organizations with all their digital needs from online fundraising to advertising and voter contact and digital advocacy to strategy and creative.

Our expert strategists at The Prosper Group can help you take your campaign further with digital.


INFOGRAPHIC: What do I need for my campaign website?

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 Must-Haves for Republican Campaign Websites

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The Prosper Group is an internationally-recognized, award-winning digital marketing agency headquartered in Indianapolis. The firm specializes in online media, strategy, and fundraising for Republican political candidates, advocacy organizations, associations, and non-profits. The Prosper Group's best-in-industry work has been recognized for awards dozens of times by prestigious organizations such as the American Association of Political Consultants and Campaigns & Elections.

The firm has worked in tandem with Trump for President 2016, Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Ted Cruz, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Congressman John Katko, the National Association of Manufacturers, Fox News, and many other candidates and organizations.

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