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.
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 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.
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 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’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.
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’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’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.
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.
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.