(Political websites need an effective content management system)


Political web sites are how voters keep track of their elected representatives
Image Credit: Newfrontiers

Politics is all about communication, right? When we elect our leaders we do so with a great deal of hope that they are going to be able to carry our voices (along with our hopes, dreams, and desires) off to Washington D.C. However, that’s when the problems start to show up -- what’s the phrase, “out of sight, out of mind?”

If I asked you where the two senators from your state stand on any specific issue, could you tell me? For most of us the answer to this question would probably be “no”. That’s a shame considering how much effort these folks put into getting elected. They researched you and me, got to know what our likes and dislikes were, and eventually came up with position statements that they believed that we would support.

So what’s gone wrong here? The simple answer is that the lines of communication between our elected representatives in Washington and the voters back home has never been all that good and may have become even worse lately. Just think about it, how busy are you? I suspect that you don’t have a lot of time to sit down and think about the pressing political issues of the day. However, you would like to know how the discussions about these topics are going.

If this was a perfect world, your elected Senators would drop by your house once a week, perhaps sit down and have some coffee with you, and would explain what is going on in Washington. The ins and outs, why a bill that they introduced has gotten stuck in Congress and what their new appointment to head a committee will mean for the state. When they were done with their coffee, you’d shake hands and they’d let themselves out with a promise to drop by again next week.

Since there are too many of you and me to ever let this fantasy happen, there has to be another way. It turns out that there is and it all has to do with that thing that we call the Internet.

Every politician has a website these days. Now some of them are pretty good, but others are not so good. This is a shame because in order to really connect with the voters, a politician's website is probably the best way to get the word out.

I was curious as to who had the best political website and so I turned to my old friend Mr. Google and I asked him to show me the top political websites. I’m not sure if you are going to be surprised by this, but here are the top 10 political websites (source):

  1. HuffingtonPost
  2. The Blaze
  3. Drudge Report
  4. Breitbart
  5. NewsMax
  6. Politico
  7. Salon
  8. WND
  9. CSMonitor
  10. The Washington Times

So what’s missing from this list? Oh, the websites of any major U.S. political official! I understand that the most popular sites talk about politics, but wouldn’t you think that the people who are producing politics should have the most interesting ones?

What does this mean? Simple, our elected political representatives need to do a better job with their websites. There are three things that I think that we should demand from all of the people that we’ve voted for:

  • A Responsive Website: I don’t know about you, but I access the web from my laptop, my cell phone and my tablet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered websites that don’t adjust to the device that I’m using -- come on, it’s the 2000’s!
  • Easy Navigation: when I come to a politician’s website, I’m there for a reason. I want to find what I’m looking for and then I want to get on with my life. What this means is that I don’t want to have to spend my valuable time hunting around for what I want.
  • Fresh Content: Politics is something that changes every day. If a politician’s website represents the way that the world was last week, last month, or (gasp!) last year, then it is of no value to me. In all honesty, to stay current that web site has to be updated just about every day.

I’m not saying that we can change the world, but maybe if we pay just a bit more attention to what our elected representatives are up to we can transform how politics happens. A lot of very smart people spend a lot of time to get elected, let’s hope that they can figure out how to keep us informed about what is going on!

- Dr. Jim Anderson HillTop – Creating Political Web Sites That Get The Vote!™

GSL Solutions’ HillTop service provides politicians with a way to get voters more involved with the political process. HillTop has been designed by politicians, for politicians in order to provide easy-to-use tools that make updating a political web site with current and topical information easy to do. The web site becomes a powerful communication tool between the politician and the voters. More information can be found at: www.HillTopCMS.com

Tags: political website, campaign, voters, reelected, issues