This is a practical teaching on how to build and create a political campaign website for election; in summary, you need just five things:
- A domain name
- Webhosting for that domain name
- A mobile responsive WordPress themes
- Unique and eye catching pictures of you, your promised projects and mission statement
- An approximate start up/set up cost between USD150-USD350
Table of Contents
- What’s your brand?
- Getting a mobile responsive WordPress themes – Website template
- Using your brand on domain name registration
- Webhosting of the domain name
- Installing WordPress software
- Set up and configuration of the website ( MUST READ)
- Maintenance of the site
- Getting index with Google search console
- How to use social media to get your needed attention and traffic
- Power of PPC Marketing- Using and leveraging on it
What is your brand?
When building a campaign website for a politician or for anybody going for an election, it is important to leverage on the brand of such a personality and/or the party the fellow belongs to.
For example, Donald Trump has a brand, and his brand is his name ‘Trump’; in addition, he crafted out a slogan which also helped his brand for the election purpose, (MAGA – Make America Great Again).
Donald Trump’s name is his powerful brand and he used it to the fullest advantage; perhaps the biggest and greatest weapon of any politician is his/her unstained and untarnished name.
You also need such brand and a slogan that will catapult and push forward the acceptance of your personality and the campaign website.
Once this is clear, we are going to incorporate this into the design concept. Let us begin.
Getting a mobile responsive WordPress themes – Website template
You can build a site by writing codes i.e. programming languages all by yourself or you can simply save time, energy and your stress by making use of WordPress. In this tutorial, it is WordPress I am recommending.
WordPress software’s and its themes presently powers about 85% of websites worldwide. To create a site of this niche, I am recommending the use of ready-made professionally built website templates (called WordPress themes).
These templates are SEO packaged, fast loading and most especially, they are mobile responsive. Being mobile responsive means they are fluid, they adapt to any viewing direction on any mobile device, including PC, palmtop etc. Being mobile responsive means when viewing on any mobile device, you do not have to scroll up and down to view your contents or even have to stress your eyes. They adapt in size and dimension on any viewing device.
Though we have lots of WordPress themes out there, but I only deal with reputable and respected companies that makes these products, the companies below are recommended ones that I am confident of their products and services:
The following are recommended WordPress themes specifically built for a political campaign website:
What you will do is to check and view them, view the demos and look for the one that will suit your campaign agenda, promises and statements. Once you have the right one, then you will need to make a purchase of it (typically, it will not cost more than USD345-USD120).
After the purchase, you will be given a download page to download the purchased item in ZIP file format, download it to your laptop or PC. Continue with the next step, I will explain how to use this file.
Using your brand on domain name registration
The first step towards actualizing the presence of a site on the internet starts with the checkup and registration of a domain name.
A domain name is the internet protocol understood by the World Wide Web; domain names are issued out by ICAHN and as such, you need to register a domain name first.
Going back to branding; as a politician, your name is your biggest brand and it is very much advisable to register your name as the domain name.
One important advice about getting a domain name is that it should be unique, short and easy to memorize (remember); examples of domain names are illustrated below:
- barackobama.org etc.
So, to get your domain name, you have to check first if it is available to register or not. To do that, you can use the form below from bluehost Webhosting Company.
With this form, you can check different domain name extensions e.g. for .com, .org, .info etc.; so it is not just restricted to a .com name extension.
After checking and you are able to get an available name, I advise that you register it immediately. If you delay, other people may be checking and doing the same thing, probably 10klm or 700 kilometer from you. Delay is dangerous.
Register the domain name immediately and you know it has been secured forever!!
Webhosting of the domain name
Webhosting of the domain name means you are buying a space on a web server that will house and accommodate the domain name and all contents you will upload on it.
Webhosting is crucial and without it, there is nothing called website; for optimal and high performance, it is recommended to always buy your hosting from a reputable company like Bluehost.
Now, from the above i.e. the domain name registration processes, the hosting of the domain name happens simultaneously, though it will be an option if you want to also host the domain name.
I recommend you get the hosting from Bluehost for many reasons, summary of which is listed below:
- You have access to a whole lot of added features, for example, when you host, you are also given free storage space to open email accounts e.g. you can have an email like this format ( it is just examples); firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com etc.; other webhost do not offer these features.
- Other features includes various ranges of themes, apps etc.
- With Bluehost, you get good value for your money, the pricing is economically friendly and affordable. You can get a very good reliable hosting for as low as USD3.5
- Excellent Uptime; Uptime of your site is important, especially for a political campaign website. How will you feel if people visits the site and the site is offline or cannot open? Bluehost understands this menace and that is why they have 99.9% uptime record.
- Bluehost offers a good refund policy, they refund back your money once you decide to cancel your hosting with them. No other web hosting company does that.
- I have been their customer for more than 8 years and honestly, I have never experience any problem with them at all.
- They are reliable, dependable and trustworthy
- They have excellent customer service support, running 24 hours a day, for 7 days a week non-stop.
- With Bluehost, you can free domain name registration if you decide to host the domain name, you save USD18.
Just follow the guidelines through the images below and get your site hosted now.
Installing WordPress software and configuration
This is the time to install the WordPress software; remember, the domain name and hosting has just been done, the next step that will pop up is the installation of this great software.
Do not stress yourself because Bluehost Webhosting Company does all these stuffs in the background for you.
Just give permission for it to install the software and everything goes on smoothly within 10 minutes. Follow the guidelines (image) below to fully understand.
Take out your pen (or write them down on the notepad of your computer or laptop) and note the following important issues down:
- WordPress Login Address and Bluehost Login address issue will come up later;
This is the difference, your bluehost login is your username (domain name) and password (created during registration of domain name and hosting) you will need to access www.bluehost.com; and you only do this if you want to contact Bluehost or solve any major problem.
Your WordPress login is your username (admin or email address) and password (created during the software installation). You will be using the WordPress login to access your dashboard for posting and maintenance of the site. Even this set up is done after you have logged into your dashboard account.
- Your domain name is ‘yourname.com ( just an example)
- Your political website URL address is: www.nameofsite.com
- Your WordPress Login Address: www.nameofsite.com/wp-admin) this is very much important, do not forget this format. When you type this address on the browser, the image below will show up
- Then put in your username and password (as explained above); once it becomes successful, you will now be brought to your dashboard and this is from where you can do anything on the site. For this tutorial, it is the next step we are going to.
Set up and configuration of the website
This is where we have been waiting for, this is the main practical teaching where everything will be discussed in plain a, b, c.
For this purpose, I will be making use of the themes below as an example.
We are going to look at 9 (Nine) essential points/areas of focus, they are listed below:
- WordPress themes ( Templates) Upload and installation
- How to set up and edit the header and Footer ( Including Logo)
- Menu Settings ( navigation structure)
- FrontPage / Homepage Set up
- Pages, category set up and creation
- How to upload videos and music
- Essential WordPress plugins installation and configuration
- Widget Settings
STEP 6 (1)
WordPress themes (Templates) Upload and installation
Please note, that depending on the type of WordPress themes (political website templates) you bought, some of them have specific instructions on how you upload and edit everything inside it. Some of these instructions may come with the downloaded ZIP files, may be present on the dashboard as ‘theme options’ etc.
However, following the general and standard protocol, we are going to install and configure the WordPress themes I told you to purchase, I mean those premium ready-made templates built specially for a political campaign website.
If you have made the purchase, follow the guidelines below;
- Login to your site i.e. WordPress login, go to appearance (on your dashboard, locate themes and click on add new themes;
- On the themes page, click on the upload box and upload the ZIP file you have downloaded)
- Click on install and activate.
- It will be done in 2-10 minutes
Demo upload and full installation
However, we are going to also upload and install the demo so that you can the exact replica design of the template you bought.
- Go to your ZIP file, UNZIP it and separate a file called demo (or.xml), it is in excel sheet format (XML)
- Go to your dashboard, scroll down to tools’ click on import and on the import page, click on add import plugin (just go ahead with the installation, do not be disturbed by any warning).
- Once done, click on import, then import the demo or xml file with the plugin, run the import instruction and everything will be imported in 2-15 minutes
- Go to your homepage, press F5 on your computer/laptop and your new demo design will be showing live on your website. Though some pictures may not show, you can always do this manually by yourself.
Watch the video below:
STEP 6 (2)
How to set up and edit the header and Footer ( Including Logo)
The image below is the header and footer; we are going to edit this to adjust and conform to yours.
Now, for the header; it houses three important elements;
- Menu ( the most important element, will discuss later on its set up guidelines)
- Brief description
Now, you can edit the header, the footer and even the logo (uploading your own logo) through:
The theme options
You will have to check the dashboard very well for this, not all themes have this features, but some have it and it is from there that they packaged all editing instructions, for example, all themes purchased from Mythemeshop has this feature.
The widgets is more than just an element, it is like the brainbox of the entire site and virtually anything you want to do on the site can be done right from the widget. The widget is located in the appearance icon ( as shown below).
The footer is located at the bottom of the site (you can see the image below), that is the footer. You can place some important navigation links in the footer etc. I suggest you check on your fellow political website to have an idea of what you can insert inside the footer.
STEP 6 (3)
Menu Settings (navigation structure)
The menu is part of the header and it is created to provide navigation and easy of movement for the visitors. Though, being a small element, it is an important part and making good use of it can actually increase your chances of getting high conversions.
However, you already have a menu created for you (because we made use of the imported demo content from the original templates you bought); what you are going to do now is to simply edit the menu and insert your own details.
To edit a menu is easy, follow the guidelines below:
- You will see ‘Menu’ under ‘Appearance; click on it and you will be taken to the menu settings page.
- Once there, you will see all displayed menu, just start removing/adding/editing the elements you do not want.
- You need to be observant because you may have more than one menu, so check the settings page very well and carry out any adjustment deem necessary.
To learn how to create a menu and/or carry out editing task, the video below will be of much needed help.
STEP 6 (4)
FrontPage / Homepage Set up
The FrontPage is the most important element and part of the overall design of the political campaign website. Depending on the themes you bought, you may need to upload/edit pictures etc.
Generally, to edit the FrontPage/Homepage, the following steps will be taken by you:
- From the FrontPage directly
It also depends on the theme purchased. On some themes, you can edit and adjust the FrontPage because you will see the edit icon at the top of the page. If this is present, then you can easily upload pictures, edit/remove some elements you do not want.
If these feature is not there, then check the other two options below:
- From the theme options ( all theme from Mythemeshop) and some from Themeforest has this feature, including StudioPress;
This feature is not common with all themes, however, some of them have e.g. the ones listed above.
If your theme has it, then it becomes so easy to edit and adjust the FrontPage because every detailed guidelines and instruction to do so is stated there.
- From the widget
This is the last option and it is actually the most valid options for all themes, you can adjust everything on the homepage simply by going to the widget settings. Most themes packages all instructions inside the widgets.
STEP 6 (5)
Pages, category set up and creation
However, some of the pages will have been created, so check the page settings, confirm and either edit or publish new pages.
Your category is important if you decide to be publishing news and latest development (this will fall under posts and not pages.
However, with the demo sample you have uploaded already, all these things should not pose a serious problem for you.
- To create a page, just check for page in the dashboard, then click on ‘add new pages’, on the displayed screen, give it a title and hit the published button.
It is as easy as a, b, c.
- The same concept goes for category creation, just locate ‘category’, seen under the ‘Post’ icon by the left hand side of the dashboard
- Click on it and create a new category.
Post is for news and updates, to publish a post; locate post on the dashboard, click ‘add new posts, give it a topic, write the posts content, then hit the publish button.
Study the image below on how to publish a post/news/update and create a page
How to upload videos and pictures
This is an important issue, and it is best I explain how you can get it done.
You can watch the video below on how to do this:
However, you can follow the simple steps below:
From the dashboard, you will see ‘Media’, towards the left hand side of the dashboard (below posts).
Click on it and you will be taken to the media section as seen below:
- Click on upload (it works for music, video and pictures), locate the source and upload
- Depending on the size, it will be uploaded within 2-10 minutes, if not, repeat it again.
- That’s it.
So, depending on where you want it to be placed, just go to that area and click on upload, then go to the media and upload your desired item.
For Pages and Posts
For pages and post, you can insert any images/videos directly in it, either from YouTube or any other source.
To do that, follow these steps:
- Open the page or posts
- At the top, you will see different icons to edit a page/post
- Check and you will see the icon to upload or insert a picture/image or video
- Click on it, locate the source of the images/videos and upload.
STEP 6 (6)
For the permalinks settings, just follow the instruction and the images below:
- Go to settings, and under settings, locate permalinks, click on it and change the present settings to a name based URL structure.
- Click save and exit the page.
STEP 6 (7)
Essential WordPress plugins installation and configuration
For the site in question, it is not yet over because we are now going to install and activate the most important part of what will make the site to function properly.
These items are known as WordPress plugins, and without them, a WordPress powered website will not function optimally.
The following are important plugins you need to install and activate for your political campaign website.
- Yoast SEO plugin: Very important for SEO.
- W3 Total Cache: it makes your site to load fast.
- Akismet Plugin: Removes and blocks spam.
- Jetpack plugin: A multipurpose plugin.
- Sumo plugin: Good for social media links and sharing buttons.
- Real Time chat plugin: Important for instant messaging; very good, it will allow the politician to interact with visitors on the website.
The next step is on how to install and activate these plugins? Follow these steps;
- Go to plugins, (seen on the dashboard, after appearance), on the plugins page ( as seen below):
- Search for the plugin of interest (I mentioned them above), once it comes, click install and then activate. It takes less than 5 minutes to install and activate the particular plugin.
You can also watch the video below
STEP 6 (8)
And finally, we have the widgets; the widget, as earlier mentioned is like the brain box of everything. With the widgets, you can turn the site up and down, edit, remove and add elements based on your choice.
Just study and understand the widgets, study and look at it very well. You can do amazing designs using just this element.
Maintenance of the site
For now, the website is totally ready and you should simply publish necessary pages and adjust anything required.
The next step is on how you need to maintain and run the website because it is built on WordPress software.
WordPress software runs regular updates in making sure its framework is secured and free of intrusions/attack.
To maintain your site is by simply updating the WordPress software version, updating the plugins and occasionally updating the themes you are using.
All these updates appears (notification to update) on the dashboard and you just have to accept and run the update by clicking on it.
Getting indexed with Google search console
We are done with all the technical and non-technical guidelines to build a site; the next phase of our tutorial is showing you how you can get the much needed traffic (visitors) from the search engines (Google and Bing).
Without the search engines, nobody will know about your site and I am sure you do not want such scenario.
We shall be discussing the following:
- Getting index using Google search console
- Creation of sitemap and the submission on Google search console
Getting indexed using Google search console
Google search console is a powerful single platform developed by Google on which you can easily get the attention of Google to a new website.
To use this platform, follow the steps below:
- Open a free new Gmail account
- Go to google.com/console/ , log in using the new Gmail email address
- Sign up for the services, follow the instructions displayed on the screen, submit your site for indexing and verification.
- Starting with verification, you will need to verify that site on Google search console; to achieve this, you need to make use of the installed Yoast SEO plugin I earlier mentioned.
- Go to the left hand side of your dashboard, locate the Yoast SEO icon, click on it and go to the settings, under settings, go to Google console verification.
- Follow the instructions to have your site verified
- Once verified, login into your search console, you will see the sitemap features at the left hand side, click on it and submit your sitemap.
Creation of sitemap and submission
- You can create your sitemap using the same Yoast SEO plugin ( follow the above mentioned guideline to do this)
- Once the sitemap is created, submit it to the Google search console.
- Again, you will notice the ‘fetch as’ feature in the search console, open it and submit your website URL address i.e. http://www.yoursite.com/ ; Doing this makes the indexing of the site very fast.
If you need help and assistance, kindly reach out to me.
How to use social media to get your needed attention and traffic
The social media networks cause a paradigm shift and game changing mechanism to the American election that brought in Barack Obama (former president of USA) and Donald Trump (the present president of USA).
Social media networks, especially twitter was the winning weapon Donald Trump used to crush his fellow democrat counterpart.
Social media is big, social media is powerful and social media is a MUST!!
Go on Facebook.com, twitter and Instagram; open a free account for them using your domain name.
Get active on these sites, acquire followers, get engaged and you will be surprised at the high level of interaction and traffic you will get.
This tutorial on how to build a political campaign website is well detailed with practical examples using videos and images. I hope it has been helpful to you.
If you need further help and assistance, kindly reach out to me.
NB: Kindly share it on twitter, Facebook and also link back to it (that is the favor I am asking from you).