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What does it take to have a high performing candidate website?

by Julie Clarke-Bush, on Jul 8, 2019 2:13:48 PM

HighPerforming WebsiteIf you’re running for office or working on a political campaign, you may be suffering from an underperforming website. This means voters can’t find it on Google. It could also mean people aren’t reading your website. A website that doesn’t attract volunteers, voters and donations are also signs of an underperforming website. 

So what should you do? How do you know if your website is helping our hurting your campaign? Keep reading. We have a list of what to look for, a quick optimization checklist and tips you can implement today. 

As your campaign ramps up for 2020, you know it’s time to get your website set up and optimized to tell your story. Whether your website is managed by a consultant or DIY, use this checklist to ensure your website is optimized and working as hard as it can to make your campaign successful. 

What can your website do for your campaign?

Your candidate website is: 

  1. How you present yourself to the world. Just like a bow tie or a pantsuit, it leaves an impression about you and your priorities. It’s a component of your brand. 
  2. It’s a tool for recruiting volunteers, get more donations. 
  3. A list-building tool.
  4. A way to establish trust. According to research from Stanford, 75 percent of website visitors judge the credibility of an organization based upon their website’s design.
  5. Most importantly: Your website acts as a touchstone for voters to learn about you, your stand on issues and the value you provide to the community

What does it take to have a high performing candidate website?

  • It has to follow SEO (search engine optimized) rules. I’ve outlined the six most important things your website must include if you want voters to be able to find your website.  Use this Basic SEO Checklist.
  • It needs to be visually pleasing and modern
  • Consistent branding with logo and colors
  • i-love-how-mobile-responsiveIt's mobile responsive. That means that it will view well whether it's viewed on desktop, tablets or a smartphone. 
  • It needs to include Calls to Action or CTAs. Ask the viewer to engage -  go from being a visitor to something more. Here are the three CTAs all high-performing websites have. 
    1. Email Signup. You’ll thank us later when you have a way to re-engage the people who have visited your site.
    2. Volunteer. Offer a place for people to raise their hand and donate their time. 
    3. Donate. If you don’t ask...
    4. Vote. This is a common one people forget. Ask people to vote for you. Seems obvious, but don’t that it for granted. Specifically say, “Please vote for me for [insert the office you’re running for] on [insert the date of the election]. It speaks to someone who’s just learned about you, someone familiar with your campaign, all the way to your evangelist. 

How do you know if it’s performing?

So let's say your website includes everything listed above. Did you do it right? Is it ok if you skip one of the steps above? How are you to know if it’s working or not? Managing a high performing website means you monitor and make decisions based on the data gathered by a tool called Google Analytics. Whoever manages your digital should always keep an eye on your analytics. It’s free. It’s the industry standard for monitoring websites. Don’t skip this one

Check on this yourself or have your digital consultant do it. Have them send you a monthly report (or weekly during campaign time). Your report needs to include these basic metrics.

Number of Visitors

Do you have more visitors this month or fewer? Ideally, it’s increasing. Flat or decreasing numbers indicate an underperforming website. This is a key metric that can’t be ignored. It’s like stepping on a scale in the doctor’s office. If you’re unhealthy, it’s time to get in shape.

Traffic Sources

Social Media - do people come to your site from social media? If not, add CTAs to your social posts.

Email - Do people come to your site and make a donation from the emails you send? If not, consider upping your email game. 

Referral traffic - Is there a website that is sending you traffic? Maybe you’ll learn about a new organization supporting you.

Organic - THIS IS THE BIG ONE If your organic traffic is low, it means people can’t find you on Google

Paid - if you are paying for ads, make sure you have traffic coming from paid ads.  It’s paramount you monitor this. 

Most popular pages - Do you see a trend in popular pages? That’s how you know what your website visitors are interested in. Make sure the pages most people visit are in top shape. On the other side, consider how you can improve less popular pages

Now that you know the importance of a high-performing website, you’ll want to make sure your website follows these basic guidelines. Download the SEO checklist, make sure your website has your keywords in the correct places. Then make sure you have Google Analytics set up and running on your website. 

Once this is done you can monitor your website’s performance and can take action if it needs improvement. 

SEO Guide for Political Candidate Download



The Digital Candidate 

If you want to govern like Elizabeth Warren, then you need branding like Beyonce.

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