How much does a campaign website cost?

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The cost to build a campaign website can range from just a few hundred dollars to thousands. Why do political websites range so much in price? It all comes down to how complicated a site your campaign needs.

Larger campaigns for congress or state-wide elected office usually pay a web designer to build a custom site. Smaller, local races often choose to make a DIY website using a campaign website builder.

The cost of building a website can be broken down into design cost, hosting fees, and domain name registration. 

Website Design Costs

The largest cost for a custom website is the design. If you have the money, hiring a designer can be a great way to get a professional website. Some web designers will bill by the hour, while others will cost out the entire project. 

No matter how the designer handles billing, most custom political sites cost between $1,000 and $5,000. Even more complicated websites for presidential candidates can cost three or four times that.

When a designer is figuring out how much to charge for your site, they will factor in many different things. More pages, more forms, interactive features like calendars or directories will all increase the cost of your site.

If you’re looking to keep costs low, try and simplify your design and focus on the pages that matter to your campaign. Most campaigns don’t need more than a biography and issues. A complicated website can become expensive, difficult to manage and a distraction from important voter contact.

Management Costs

Once your site is built, you will need to decide how it is managed. Some designers will manage your site for a monthly fee or by the hour, and can handle the updates for you. The cost of management will depend on how frequently you need updates.

Unless you’re running for President and need a dedicated webmaster to handle frequent updates and complicated features, paying more than a few hundred dollars a month for your site management alone should raise red flags.

One big exception: Many vendors will bundle a site along with other services like graphic design, mailers, search and digital ads, or social media management. Don’t expect to get all of that for just a few bucks.

Larger political campaigns will have staff who can take over the management of the site, while smaller campaigns may be managed by the candidate or a volunteer. 

Keeping your site simple not only saves on the initial design cost but also on the management. Campaigns can save a lot of time and money by avoiding designs that require frequent updates. 

If you’re running for city council in a small town, you probably don’t need to worry about having a news or events section on your website. You can always keep voters up to date on social media that are free. 

Fill your site with quality evergreen content that is good year-round, and you can save a lot on expensive management.

Website Hosting and Domain Registration Costs

Website hosting and domain registration costs shouldn’t be confused with management costs. While some vendors will wrap these up with a management fee, even if you are handling the management yourself you will have to pay these.

What is the difference between hosting and domain registration? Hosting is the server space to actually store all the content of your website. Domain registration is the address of your site and the information needed to point visitors to your hosting servers.

The hosting and domain registration can be done with the same service, though they don’t need to be. Some hosts will offer a free domain name. Even if you decide to skip paying for the design and management of your site, you will have to pay for hosting.

What should it cost? It’s generally only a few hundred dollars per year. Your host may include features to build your own website, charging more for security and design tools. 

It’s totally possible to find cheap web hosting that costs less than a hundred dollars a year. Beware, many of these are introductory rates that may skyrocket after a year.

Cheap hosts may not offer design help and require using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) solution to load your own CMS (Content Management System). If you’re reading this article, you probably don’t know how to do that, and it’s best to stick to a reliable hosting plan with better features.

If you’re paying more than a few hundred dollars for hosting alone, it’s probably because you’re paying for a lot of capacity or dedicated server space. This really only matters if you have a high traffic website that gets thousands of hits per day. 

99% of campaign websites would be lucky to have a few hundred hits on their best day. Don’t over pay for hosting capacity you aren’t using.

Cost of building Your Own Campaign Website

If you don’t have the budget for a custom website design, you can use a website builder, like Ryvall, Squarespace, or Wix. These will wrap up the design, management and hosting all in one.

These options are the most affordable, with plans generally between $20 to $50 per month depending on the features. 

Read our guide on how to build your own campaign website.

All these platforms will come standard with enough free website templates to get your campaign started, but not all website builders are easy to use.

Other platforms can overwhelm with features meant for graphic designers. Ryvall is designed for candidates.

With other editors, you have to manually build contact and volunteer forms, and connect donate buttons. These are standard features with Ryvall’s campaign website builder.

When you build your own campaign website, the largest investment is time. On a political campaign, spending too long on your website can cost you valuable time that could be spent knocking doors and persuading voters.

Get started with Ryvall

Basic Plan

Most frequent questions and answers

Why choose Ryvall?

While other web design options exist, Ryvall is built exclusively for campaigns. While other drag and drop website editors can make a beautiful site, they fall down when it comes to function. From day one, your site will collect valuable emails and volunteers that you can download easily. Additionally, Ryvall provides every candidate managed updates, so you never have to fiddle with the back end of your site. Instead, just send us an email and we will handle the updates for you, making editing your site painless. (Of course if you’re a tech savvy campaign that wants the freedom of access to the backend we can provide that as well).

What is included in the basic plan?

Every plan includes your domain name registration and hosting. Our hosting is backed by the Google Cloud Platform, delivering incredible reliability. Each site also includes a free SLL certificate. We handle all of the technical details so you don’t have to manage any hosting accounts and get lost in technical jargon.

What do I need to get started?

You will need to set up a way to accept contributions, write a short candidate biography, and have some kind of slogan for your campaign. With those items we can get a site up and running in three business days. Many candidates will also want to write short statements on the issues that are important to their campaign, as well as have professional photos taken. We can build a functional site with as little or as much content as you want.

Do basic plans include email?

Basic plans do not include email accounts. Instead, your website has a contact form that will be directed to the personal email of your choice, providing constituents a way to get in touch. If you need more advanced email features, consider upgrading to a standard or premium plan.

What design options come with the basic plan?

To start, you can select from three custom templates that are designed specifically for campaigns. Each template is mobile responsive, so your site will look great no matter what. With a basic plan you can upload a logo and select custom colors, or pick from one of our easy ready to go color palettes.