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Political Website Faux Pas

Your Political Website is Annoying

annoying political website 150x150 Political Website Faux PasYou may very well be the next best thing in the political world since the establishment of democracy but your downfall can be something as simple as too much digital flare.  Your website can indeed cripple your campaign and there’s a good chance that if you have an annoying website then potential supporters and visitors are going to transfer those feelings over to you.

Many of the tactics (tricks and gimmicks?) used by candidates and many commercial businesses are unfortunately designed to hold the attention of the visitor but often at the expense of patience.  A commercial operation might be able to bully someone into a sale using hook and anchor tactics in squeeze pages but that kind of tactic is less effective when it comes to political campaigns.

Kid Gloves on your Political Website

It’s easy to forget that the basic principal behind a political website is to keep the visitor and supporters informed, inspired, and to become your online and offline promoting army.  What many think is a masterpiece of design and innovation with flashy graphics is nothing more than an unattractive fly trap for the casual visitor.  Here are some site features that are not only annoying, but can do serious damage to your political campaign.

Political Website Don’ts #1 – Do Not Waste Time…You Have 4 Seconds To Connect!

Website visitor psychology states that you have 4 seconds to capture a visitor’s attention.  Remember, when they come to your site, they are confused and need direction.  If you do not connect, the easiest thing is for them to hit the back button.  Greet them like you would if you had a retail establishment.  You would introduce yourself, thank them for coming, tell them how you can help them, etc.  It needs to be humanized, and for the political world, it needs to be inspiring and express leadership and a desire to listen to them and help them. Remember, people do not “buy” from a website, they buy from people.  The site needs to resonate and give a visitor a sense of who you are.

If you get past the first 4 seconds, you will have earned yourself more time.

Political Website Don’ts #2 – Do Not Forget Multi-Media!

Nowhere is multi-media more powerful than in politics.  This is especially true for video, but podcasts work well too.  You goal is to be eye-to-eye, speaking directly to an attentive audience.  When the play button is hit on a video, you have their attention.  Use video to introduce yourself, state where you stand on key positions, and how they can get involved.  Two other important suggestions.  First, make the ask.  Don’t you want them to do something after they get done watching?  Ask them to forward it to others, Like it on Facebook, Tweet about it, etc.  Second, keep each video short.  Statistically, viewing trails off after 2 minutes.  That is why it makes sense to have a video for each key issue that is a minute in length, plus or minus…so get to the point.  These steps are also important for your ranking on search engines like Google, because you want to build social popularity, which is generated by social signals (Likes, Tweets, Votes, etc.), and you want people to watch the entire video.

Political Website Don’ts #2 – People Love Multi-Media!

Nowhere is multi-media more powerful than in politics.  This is especially true for video, but podcasts work well too.  You goal is to be eye-to-eye, speaking directly to an attentive audience.  When the play button

Political Website Don’ts #3 – Be Social!

It is hard to imagine that anyone running for office, or doing anything where the goal is growth and benefit from the net, is not embracing social media.  Just in case, let’s say it here, “this is something you must do,” especially for politics.  In addition to building a support base, you need to build social popularity.  What do you pay more attention to, the person who has received 10 Likes on Facebook or 10,000?  Why?  It is a vote of confidence.  If 10,000 people Like you or have become a friend/fan, there must be a reason.  You need to take great effort to build your social popularity as quickly as possible.  As was stated earlier, don’t hesitate in asking people to do it.

Political Website Don’ts #4 – This Ain’t Vegas

And even if it is Vegas, the flashing lights belong on the strip – not on your website.  A themed page is fine, and themes content can help sell your position, but there’s a point where too much is just… too much.  Your home page and landing pages should never have to come with a warning for those prone to seizures.  Loud music on a site (or any music at all) as well as explosive graphics and heavy animations or flash detract from the message – they don’t support it.  Keep media in a specific section of the website and tone down the disco effect.

Political Website Don’ts #5 – Stop Pitching Fastballs

A strong sales pitch has its place, but it’s not meant for a political website.  Support your messages and state your political stance clearly, have the necessary call to action but don’t spend the bulk of your content space on your site clamoring for visitors to buy into you like a Mary Kay sales rep.

You’ll gain far more support with honesty and authenticity than hype.  Results from hype are, like fads, always short lived.

Political Website Don’ts #6 – Keep It Fresh!

Do not just build a website and stop.  You must be adding content and staying engaged.  This includes maintaining an active blog.

Political Website Don’ts #7 – Being Arrogant Is A Turnoff

Political website content should talk about you, but it should do so in a way that lets supporters form their own opinions.  The last thing you should be doing on your political website is taking an arrogant stands.  The content should say good things about you in a friendly manner, in relatively simple language without the hype.  Boasting flamboyantly about how you’re the best politician, with an unfurled list of pros about you, can turn people off in a big way.  When initiating political marketing, remember that voters/constituents are looking for someone who can inspire, lead, and represent them with humility.

Keep your political website relevant to the problems, thoughts and concerns of your campaign and the supporters – not about your greatness.

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