Website Designs of the 2012 GOP Presidential Candidates

This op/ed article was submitted by Dmitriy Gamarnik of Blue Fountain Media.

In 2008, Democratic nominee Barack Obama showed how the power of social media and articulate website design could influence a presidential campaign. Through these two vehicles, he was able to raise over 650 million dollars in campaign funds—nearly double that of his closest rival—and dominate the poles, becoming the first president to have over 20,000,000 Facebook followers.

This lesson has not been forgotten by the Republicans. And though the next election is over a year away, many republican candidates have already put together impressive websites and social media campaigns. Candidates have begun writing blog posts, creating vast online stores, tweeting obsessively, and even performing constant AB tests. As a result, the fields of social media marketing and ecommerce website design have improved greatly over the past few years.

And with a new election getting closer and closer, I thought it’d be interesting to view the best websites of the bunch. Enjoy.

Michele Bachmann

Website for Michele Bachmann

Asking for donations is a little less straight forward than asking for a website visitor to buy a product. In the latter case, the visitor has something to show for their money. In the former case, they visitor is investing in an individual. In her call-to-action, “Meet Michele”, it’s easy to see that Michele understands these subtleties, which should pay off for her come election time.

Herman Cain

Campaign Website for Herman Cain

Herman Cain has a very attractive layout. He has a large, scrolling flash banner with product pictures, and he features testimonials from his supporters. Not a bad strategy to drive people to buy the T-shirt. This layout shows what visitors buy when they support the candidate, and the photos below act as trust badges.

Newt Gingrich

Campaign Website for Newt Gingrich

In terms of it’s color contrast and verbage, Newt’s website has one of the clearest calls-to-action among the ten candidates. Make no mistakes about his website; he wants your money, and he wants it now.

Jon Huntsman

Campaign Website for Jon Huntsman

Jon has one of the more distinctive layouts—even amongst “creative web designs.” The navigation is on the side of the website, and the call-to-action seems to be “Connect to Facebook.” Great idea if his intention to grow his Facebook fanbase. It’s the softer way to raising money.

Gary Johnson

Campaign Website for Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson’s site is cool. It’s draped in red, white, and blue, and he has his promotional video on the home page. The call to action, “Donate”, is exteremly subtle and less in your face like Newts. However, in my personal opinion, he should have opted for a color picture of himself. The black and white makes him seem drab, unlike is cool website.

Fred Karger

Campaign Website for Fred Karger

Clean site, and a form of a trust bade with the “The Rachel Maddow” embedded video. And the site has two calls-to-action, “Contribute” and “Watch now.” It’s sparse, but a great site.

Ron Paul

Campaign Website for Ron Paul

Campaign Website for Ron Paul

Ron Paul’s website has an “older statesmen” vibe. In the header he has a great picture of himself, and the over all website color scheme is toned down compared to other candidates. He also has social media icons and two calls to action, “Receive Updates” and “Donate Today” all in the highest point of his website. Very functional design; he has one of the best website’s in the group.

Tim Pawlenty

Campaign Website for Tim Pawlenty

Tim’s design is a little closer to the artsy than functional. He’s got two headers: one a real header, and the other a pseudo header with a page view counter embedded. The call-to-action isn’t a pronounced as the other candidates, but it is separated physically from the other tabs. Decent website.

Mitt Romney

Campaign Website for Mitt Romney

Romney, perhaps one of the more well-known candidates in the bunch, does a decent job with his website design. His call to action is clear (i.e. donate), and his site navigation seems easy to understand. The one confusing thing, however, is his use of a j query slider AND video on his homepage. It’s a bit distracting, in my opinion.

Rick Santorum

Campaign Website for Rick Santorum

Our final candidate, Rick Santorum, does a decent job with his call-to-action, “Contribute.” His entire site is washed in gray, making his primary call-to-action stand out more. In terms of functionality, however, Rick’s site lacks a clear navigation structure, irritating those looking to learn more info about Rick.


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  1. michaelrydell says:

    Social media is such a massive and important way to communicate a message. Look at Twitter, Facebook. I’m sure some folks even receive the majority of their news by connection to the main social media outlets. People retweeting and reposting puts a personal referral on the message or headline or article, and people are more likely to engage because of this. I wonder what social media may be like 10 or 20 years down the road, and how it will be used in politics.

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  2. Diane Lane says:

    I love this. I’ve never seen an article quite like this, and I found it to be a very interesting approach to comparing Presidential candidates. I would love to see an updated article for the 2016 field. My interpretation of Gary Johnson’s black and white photograph on the vivid patriotic background is that he’s conveying that his campaign is all about the country, not about the man. In other words, he’s a means to an end, which would be to fix what is wrong in the country by electing him, which is a pretty effective and self-effacing way to self-promote.

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  3. Ruth Martin says:

    Running for an office of any kind can not be easy. I cannot imagine the stress or strain those people live with!. There is no way they can lead normal lives….

    It is surprising that in our fast advancing world of the internet that the political world has only now realized its power! Good to hear that they are all becoming more social – it does allow people to be more tapped into what is going on.

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