Review of By-Election Candidate Websites

By admin, January 17th, 2011

With just a few weeks left in the by-election for Alderman in Lethbridge, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the websites of the 10 declared candidates to look at how they compare, what they’re doing right and what could be improved. Campaign websites are critical tools in most elections these days and can have a significant impact on success of candidate.

Before I get started, it’s important to keep in mind that most of these websites are being run on very low budgets and are likely maintained by volunteers (or the candidates themselves). I mean no disrespect to these people and hope they take some of these points as valid criticism in order to improve their websites.

I should also point out that we’ve worked a couple successful electoral websites. These comments are based our experience with those

With that said, let’s get into it….

Kay Adeniyi

What We Like – Text is large and easy to read. Has a short bio and photo on the homepage for people unfamiliar with who he is. Non offensive color scheme. Testimonials are a great idea.

What Could Be Improved – Empty pages (Discussion and Events), better to leave them off the nav than to include empty pages. Links page could be replaced with header/footer links to social media. A nice photo is ruined by the studio name running through it. Terrible URL. Domains are cheap, no reason not to have your own domain.

Bal Boora

What We Like – Nice concise and easy to remember URL. His big issue is up front on the homepage

What Could Be Improved – The readability of the text is terrible (small font, white on black). Nothing about the site says Bal Boora or Lethbridge even. Links turn dark blue after you’ve been to the page (which results in dark blue on black). Not a fan of “Surveys” as a section, should renamed that to Issues. At the time I went to the site, it was painfully slow. Speed is one of those things that no one notices until it’s a problem.

Jeffrey Coffman

What We Like – Looks more like an election website than most of the other candidates. Easy to tell this is a guy running for alderman in Lethbridge. Lots of information including on how to get involved. Header image associates him with City Hall

What Could Be Improved – Maybe a little busy. The blue used in the background and in headings is a little strong. I’d consider renaming Blog to News, more people will understand that term. I really hate right aligned text (block on the left side). Matt Mullenweg (the guy behind WordPress) called social network toolbars are “the mullet of the web”.

Wade Galloway

What We Like – Text is nice and readable, photo of the candidate on the homepage. Easy to get around the site. Lots of solid content

What Could Be Improved – The design is a template like many of the other sites, but it doesn’t exactly say “I’m running for Alderman”. The photo on the homepage is maybe a bit too casual. Should have some place on the site for people wanting to get involved supporting him.

Rod J. Hoeg

No website that I could find. The best I could do was a Kijiji ad (free hosting I guess, LOL).

Blaine Hyggen

What We Like – Clearly a guy running for alderman. Photo of the guy on the homepage. Feels pretty professional at first glance. Dedicated election URL.

What Could Be Improved – A little busy with all the side blocks. Content on sub-pages is really broken up, could be combined into a lot fewer pages. Broken links in the footer. Have to dig a bit to find his position on the issues

Kevin Layton

No website that I could find.

George McCrea

What We Like – Photo of the guy and bio on the homepage. Easy to tell that he’s trying to get elected. Tag line is nice (if a little generic). Lots of content, written fairly clearly.

What Could Be Improved – The “issues” are spread across 4 sections and about 13 pages, that could be consolidated quite a bit. Fonts aren’t very consistent across the site which makes it look less professional. Header image isn’t Lethbridge and doesn’t really match the rest of the site.

Lea Switzer

What We Like – Professional looking image of her at the top. Most professional looking design out of all the sites. Consistent use of fonts across the site.

What Could Be Improved – The text is a little dense (small text, small line-height, large paragraphs). Some links (like on the Education pages) don’t work or go to sites that don’t make sense. Feels more like a “resume” site than an election website. No “support us” section.

Ken Tratch

What We Like – Only site with endorsements. Lots of content.

What Could Be Improved – Sorry Ken, this is the worst looking site of the bunch, looks like it was designed in Word. Underlining text that aren’t links is a big no-no on the web. Fonts are all over the place (big, small, various font families, etc). Photos aren’t great.

General Observations

  • At the minimum a candidate website should have the following sections:
    • About me
    • List of issues and their position on them
    • How to support the campaign
    • Contact information
    • News and Events, but only if you have the time to maintain them
  • There should something stating clearly saying who you are and that you’re running for office
  • The more professional your site and photos look, the more professional you look.
  • For bios, stick to stuff that’s relevant to the job (i.e., education, experience, awards, affiliations, etc). I think for the most part, people don’t need to know your children’s ages and or your wife’s occupation.
  • Try to be concise. Don’t have 30 pages when 5 will do.
  • Social media is becoming more and more important, but it won’t win an election by itself. Be engaged, but don’t over do it.

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