The North is now offering websites as part of our start-up package and as a stand-alone product priced at $1,000 and $1,500.
We focus primarily on helping Democratic and issue campaigns build field, voter contact, and community engagement programs.
Here’s why we’re also offering a website package. We’ve seen a few campaigns spend too much money on websites.
If you have a budget under $50,000, consider an effective but basic website. We recommend Ruck.Us, an optimized website that charges only $20/month. That save you money that you can invest in field, voter contact, and communications programs that better help your party, advocacy group, or campaign.
Over designed, complicated, janky websites aren’t only a waste of money, they make it harder for campaigns to get their messages to voters. More users are looking at sites on their mobile devices and they expect clean sites that load quickly and drive people to act. Developing a lean and cost effective website isn’t just an issue of cost and spending priorities: over designed websites with long load times don’t effectively drive people to take action and are less effective on mobile devices.
We’ve spent the last few months talking with designers, campaigns, local parties, and marketing staff (inside and outside of politics) to get a sense of what a solid campaign website should entail. We reviewed software solutions and developers to find what works best, and we worked with a designer and website developer to help make the process of site creation to launch streamlined and efficient.
We used the redesign of The North’s website to work through some of these systems and processes,
All of the sites include a long list of features:
- A design that drives people to sign up or donate.
- Navigation best practices (breadcrumbs, navigation bars, social links in the right spot, and the right amount of scrolling).
- SEO plugins. Most campaigns are short term, and they face challenges as a result. Campaigns should plan to invest a little in Google PPC (search ads). By the way, we’ll make sure your site has a few tools to help boost your SEO.
- Security plugins that help keep your site safer. No website is fully safe from hackers, but by taking some reasonable steps we can help make sure your site is protected.
- Image compressing and other tools to help your site load faster.
- Integration with your CRM and donor system.
- Tracking (pixels installed already) to help you see results.
- A thorough check for the little things, like favicons, functioning links, and more.
- Minimal amount of plug-ins to help the site load quickly and effectively. We paired down the add-ons to what most races really need.
The package includes all of that and a few extras:
- Site updates for the election cycle. If security updates or other needs come along during the election cycle, we’ll update the site at no cost. That helps keep your site safer and functioning better.
- Online training on how to update your website. We’ll provide you a quick on-demand training on how to make basic updates to your new website and some broader ideas on how to use your website to improve your online presence.
- Setup of a content management system to allow you to give different levels of access to different people on your campaign. If a volunteer can help draft, but your campaign manager wants to approve each post, we’ll set up that access for you and show you how to add others.
Here are the only additional cost:
- Logo design (if you have no logo, we can help – budget $250)
- Drafting content. We like helping and can chip in (sometimes it’s just easier if we write something), but there would be some limits if you need a lot of content (and don’t have a team that can help). Let us know what you’d need and let’s see if we can make it work.
- Integration with non-traditional CRM’s or fundraising platforms.
- 2 revisions at each stage of our process. To offer sites at this price point, we have a process that we’ll need to stick to. We begin with a questionnaire to make sure we have all the technical details we need (domain, hosting, email connections) and what you might be looking for in terms of style. From there we show you an initial concept and ask your approval. Then we build out sites – typically in two stages.
- Advanced scheduling and volunteer systems. Membership sites, gamification, volunteer tracking systems, event RSVP systems, and other advanced features are additional. We’ll be rolling out each options for some of these features, but we couldn’t include this with the product.
- Other custom integrations.
Lastly, whether you work with us or not – please, stop spending $2,500 on a website (if you’re a local campaign) and seriously stop spending $20k on websites. Invest in lean, effective and affordable sites that drive people to act (and spend that saved money on voter contact, digital ads, grassroots organizing, or fundraising).
Thanks for reading. Please let us know if you or anyone in your network is looking for an affordable and effective website for their political project. We’d love to connect and see how we can help.