Candidates looking to get their campaigns up and running quickly often turn to website builders. There are many different platforms that promise anyone can create a professional website fast.
There are all purpose platforms like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress, as well as political focused tools like Ryvall. All of these tools are different Content Management Systems (CMSs).
So, what’s the difference between these editors? Which is the best website builder for political campaigns? To understand all the options, we first have to understand how they work.
Whats the difference between website builders?
Instead of having to write code yourself, A CMS does all the hard work for you. You only need to edit the content.
Standard CMSs work very similar to most text editors. You write the content and then a template takes over. Most of the design work is done by the template. This is how WordPress and Ryvall work.
Other platforms use a drag and drop editor. This means that users build directly on a page that looks like their website, with the ability to drag and drop elements and alter their appearance. This is how Squarespace and Wix work.
Each of these tools offers different benefits and challenges. If you’ve used one of these website builders before, it may speed up your process and make decision making easier. If you have never made a website, let’s walk through the pros and cons of each platform.
What is the best Website builder for Political campaigns?
Every campaign is different, so deciding which website builder to use will depend on your needs.
Do you want complete control over even the most minor elements of the site’s appearance?
You probably will want a drag and drop editor like Wix or Squarespace.
Be careful: It’s easy to end up with elements of different sizes and colors and individual pages that look inconsistent. All of these problems are easy to fix, but take time. If you’ve never used one of these editors before, be sure to set aside time to learn.
Do you want a site that goes up fast and takes care of the design for you? You probably want a standard CMS like Ryvall or WordPress.
Watch out: For these website builders templates drive the appearance of your site. Make sure you’ve looked at example sites and know that the templates meet your needs.
Obviously, we’re biased and think that Ryvall is the best website builder because it’s designed specifically for political campaigns. Every site comes complete with the features to link to your donation platform and collect emails and volunteers without any complicated set up.
When picking a site builder, the political website templates matter
Every CRM will have different templates, themes, or styles that you can choose from. The first thing you need to look for is themes that are specifically designed for political campaigns.
Some website builders say they have templates designed for political candidates, but look at their examples. Do they have the features already that you need, like forms, donation buttons, and sections for your biography and issues?
Many sites look great because they are driven by large professional images. Try and look past these examples and focus on the function of the site. If the template doesn’t have the features you need, it’s probably best to keep looking.
Some website builders like WordPress will let you buy premium themes. Many times, these can be worth the money to give your site a custom look. Just be sure to factor in this cost when you’re comparing different platforms.
A warning on buying wordpress templates: WordPress is open source, making it easy for anyone to offer features and templates for sale. When the WordPress platform offers updates, your template may break and cause issues with your site if the designer doesn’t update their template as well. Look for a reputable seller that is well reviewed, and templates that offer updates. You don’t want to buy a cheap template that breaks down the road. If the seller has gone out of business or doesn’t offer updates, you’ll be back to square one.
Once you’ve picked a website builder, you have to make your site
No matter what platform you use to make your website, you still need to build it yourself. Even a well-designed template will look bad with low resolution photos and little content.
Once you’ve decided which tool is right for you, invest some time in great content. It doesn’t need to take hours, but set aside a dedicated moment to perfect the substance.
Getting high quality photos taken will go a long way in making your site stand out.