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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Basic elements of a good campaign website

Campaign websites run the gamut from great to horrible. The websites that you've probably seen most often are the ones that have budgets far beyond the cost of your entire campaign. They're bad comparison points because you'll likely never be able to compete with them.

There are also an endless stream of companies, vendors and 'friends' who will want to build a campaign website for you, and give you the best rate they can give you, usually $1000 or something astronomical. For what you need, and for what you want done, you can easily get by spending $100-200 on a campaign website, with few frills. Don't pay the unemployed recent college grad a thousand dollars for your website, you're not getting anything and they're getting their beer budget donated to them for the summer.

So, decide to do it yourself, and let's go over a quick list of things that should be on your campaign website.

Issues - list out and discuss the top three issues facing your district. Don't get into a policy wonk discussion on each issue, because each extra issue you discuss means you made the pool of potential supporters smaller. You want to be clear, smart, wise and consistent on the main issues of the day.

Gallery - put up at least two dozen nice pictures of your candidate and their family and friends. Keep it plain. You want people to see your candidate in a few different settings, talking to people, at their work, talking to people in the community.

Contact - you don't need a physical campaign office, but you do need a mailbox. Also, it's very easy and simple to set up a Google Voice account so you can at least receive voicemails and respond to people who inquire. Have a separate number for 'media' inquiries, realizing that 95% of those who will call this number will likely be obnoxious bloggers looking for a scoop.

Donate - make sure you have a system set up to accept donations. Paypal is an altogether horrible service for accepting campaign donations. And several campaigns I know have had their entire paypal accounts frozen until after election day, when the released funds did them absolutely no good. There are a variety of donation providers who can process donations for you.

Make sure you can update this site, and that more than one person has access to it.

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