Are Carol and Shane real people?
Yes, we are! It’s funny how many people are actually surprised when one of us answers the phone by name.
If I am running for local office, should I have a campaign website?
Definitely, because voters will look for you online.
Whether you are running for Senate, Town Supervisor or the local school board, a website can be an essential component in your campaign. Well over half of all Americans are now online, and a growing percentage of the voting public seeks election news and candidate information on the web.
A campaign websites gives you more freedom to get your message across than other delivery methods. A candidate isn’t limited by the size of a brochure size or the time of a radio ad. It costs far less to raise one campaign dollar from your website than through direct mail, telemarketing or prospecting lists.
A web site can be used to invite feedback, recruit volunteers, solicit contributions and share media ads and news reports as they happen. In a recent survey, over half the volunteers recruited from candidate
websites had never before volunteered for a political campaign.
Having a custom web site built by a professional can cost thousands of dollars, and each update can become an additional expense. On the other hand, having an amateur build your site can end in a less
than desirable result.
Online Candidate provides a professional-looking, full-featured website that candidates or campaign staff members can easily create or update without the assistance of programming talent.
We have four different website options: Regular, Enhanced, Lite and a Monthly Option. Our Lite Website Package and Monthly Option are designed for smaller campaigns with limited budgets. The Regular Package includes custom template design, while the Enhanced Website Package includes a custom design plus initial content setup.
Why Online Candidate?
- Our system is simple to use and specifically designed for political campaigns.
- Fast and easy ordering and setup.
- Our clients love us. We have great customer feedback.
- We do all our own design and programming work. Nothing is ‘outsourced’.
- Some competitors only provide support or contact via email. Our 800 number is right at the top of the screen. Call us – 866-460-0995 – how can we help you?
How long have you been creating campaign websites?
We worked on a local campaign and built our first campaign website in 2003. The site was successful and had an impact on the race. It forced the opponent to spend (a lot of) money on a competing site. It also helped raise issue awareness. In the end, our candidate won!
After that, we had the idea of using our web skills to help other local candidates. Most local campaigns don’t have a lot of money, so Online Candidate was envisioned as a turnkey solution to allow campaigns to create and update their own sites. But the key was to make the sites not look like cheap ‘turnkey’ site that you find with other website building platforms. That’s where the custom templating and support comes in.
Do you work with Democrats or Republicans exclusively?
We work with Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Green Party, etc. We don’t run a partisan service. Small and large campaigns are welcome!
Big Question – What are differences between the campaign website packages?
All sites contain the Online
Candidate website platform and built-in site tools.
Our Lite Website Package and Monthly Option is perfect for candidates on a budget. This package includes a content management system and built-in tools. For the design, select from a wide selection of header images, color styles, and font types to create a unique look. From there, add your site content and go live. It’s easily upgradable to a custom design so you can grow your site with your campaign.
Our Regular Campaign Website Package includes a custom design that reflects your campaign. We create a website header with your campaign colors, logo, background and candidate head shot. We also modify colors, font and background to create a consistent look.
The Enhanced Campaign Website Package features the custom design aspect of the Regular website package, but also includes the setup of your initial site content. We’ll arrange your site text and images for a pleasing design and optimize your content for search engines. After that, it’s all in your control.
All campaign website packages include exclusive free access to OnlineCandidateResources.com.
To compare the platform features, check out our Package Comparison Matrix.
What is the Monthly Option?
The Monthly Option is for clients that prefer a month-to-month solution. The Monthly Option includes the full online candidate website CMS and tools. It is similar to the Lite Website Package in that you can select from a wide selection of header images, color styles, and font types to create a unique look. From there, add your site content and go live! It’s easily upgradable to a custom design so you can grow your site with your campaign.
It is billable monthly until you cancel online through your client account.
To compare your options, check out our Package Comparison Matrix.
How does the Online Candidate process work?
When you order your website package, your domain name and hosting will be set up for you. Then check your email for a special link to create your primary user account. Once that is done, you can log in and start setting up your website. If you have a custom design package (Regular or Enhanced), we will begin a design mockup based on the design questionnaire you complete during your site setup.
Short on time? Choose our Enhanced Website Package, where we set up your content for you! Text and image information must be provided in electronic form. The site setup is performed once with the materials provided. After that, it’s all in your control. (The Content Setup option can also be added to other site packages during your order.)
The website packages are upgradable. For example, with a Lite Package, you can easily upgrade to a custom design and 6 months additional hosting without losing any of your existing content. The price? Only the difference between the packages!
Monthly Option clients can also order a custom design at any time.
What payment options to you accept?
In addition to online ordering, we can also take website orders over the phone. We also accept payment by money order, check and e-check. We can invoice you as well. See full payment options.
How soon can my website be set up?
You can start working on your site as soon as you order and create your user account. For sites with custom design or content setup, allow 2-3 business days from the time we get your materials.
In a time crunch? Call us.
What do your sites look like?
Our custom designs are just that – custom. We’ve designed hundreds of sites for all types of candidates, organizations and races. View our Sample Gallery for more samples of our work.
What is the content management system (CMS) based on? Is it open-source?
The Online Candidate CMS is a proprietary system specifically designed for our purposes. The main issue in designing a CMS is balancing features and usability. While platforms like WordPress or Joomla are very powerful, they require significant configuration and can be difficult to use for less technically-savvy users. Online Candidate provides system that allows for an attractive, full-featured website with all the necessary tools and features already already built-in. It’s simple to use and simple to update.
Check out the Demo Section to get a feel for how it works.
How much does an Online Candidate package cost?
The price depends on the package, but all prices are inclusive. Your website order includes domain setup, configuration of the CMS and your initial hosting. Regular and Enhanced website packages include header/template modifications. See our features page for a fill list of features. Additional website services and campaign products are also available.
Check out our Gallery for samples of our work.
Are there any hidden fees or recurring costs?
No. Everything is up-front and the prices are inclusive. There are no extra fees or autobilling (unless you are on the Monthly Option).
What are the website design limitations?
All of our website designs are custom, based on your specifications. The page template header, colors and page fonts can be edited to create a unique look. The headers can be tall or short, we can add backgrounds or match any campaign color scheme.
You can see different designs in our Site Design Gallery. See something you like? We can match it!
What is the ‘Content Setup Option’?
This is an optional add-on for any site order, but is included FREE with our Enhanced Website Package. We’ll arrange your site text and images for a pleasing design. Text information for each of the pages must be in ELECTRONIC form. After that, it’s all in your control. For fastest results, have your website content written and ready BEFORE you order. This site setup is performed ONCE with the materials provided. See the full list of addon options.
What is the ‘Website Launch Package’?
The Website Launch Package can be ordered as campaign website option or as a stand-alone service. This service is designed to help your campaign get that initial promotional boost to rank well in the search engines. It includes:
- Google account setup: We will create Google account and install Google Analytics on your site so you can monitor your site traffic and see where your visitors are coming from. Setting up your Google Webmaster account will allow us to submit your website’s sitemap and ensure your new and future pages are quickly indexed.
- Website review: Your site can’t rank well if it isn’t optimized. We’ll check your site for basic SEO to make sure the site is search engine friendly.
- OnlineCandidateLinks.com profile: We’ll create and optimize your candidate profile on our onlinecandidatelinks.com directory. Your listing will help tie together your website and social media profiles while providing an additional place to control your message.
- Site launch press release: You provide some basic information, and we’ll draft a press release announcing the launch of your website. Once it’s approved, we’ll post the release to a press release syndication site.
- Initial bookmarking: Links are the currency of the web. To kick off your initial links, we will bookmark your website, press release, OCL profile, and your existing social media accounts to a number of bookmarking websites. This will ensure that your content is indexed by the major search engines.
See the full list of addon options.
What online fundraising options are available?
Online Candidate is designed to integrate with either PayPal or Raise The Money. However, you can link to outside sites or embed content or widgets from any other sources. Our clients have used a number of online donation services over the years.
For the full list of fundraising features, see our full features list.
What about foreign (Non US) websites?
Online Candidate campaign sites are tailored for an American audience. The admin system is in English, and the forms are all in English. If you are looking for multi-language site, we recommend either creating language-specific pages or to create separate language-specific sites. We can perform limited language updates, such as form edits or currency changes. Please contact us to discuss before ordering.
We can provide standard .com and .org domain names, but if you are looking to register a country-specific domain name, you will need to register the domain name yourself and point the name servers to ours.
How can I upgrade my website package?
On the Dashboard of the Lite and Monthly site administration is a link to the Client Portal where you upgrade your package to a custom design or extend your hosting.
Designs are typically completed within a few business days. You’ll want to have a candidate photo ready ahead of time.
On what servers do you host Online Candidate websites?
All Online Candidate websites are hosted on our own private servers. The only websites on these servers are websites we control and other Online Candidate sites.
I don’t need hosting for the entire period. Do you discount for shorter hosting times?
For the Lite, Regular and Enhanced Website Packages, the hosting time is included with the package. It is not severable, so we do not provide pro rata discounts. The additional hosting time is beneficial in that it gives you more time to ramp up your online campaign. The earlier a website is launched, the more effective it can be.
If you are looking for very short-term solution, consider the Monthly Option.
How do you handle e-mail?
Most campaigns work well with email forwards, meaning an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org will be forwarded to one or more different email accounts. POP email accounts are also available. You can create your own email accounts through our client portal.
A basic mail list system is included in the platform. If you are running a larger campaign with greater email needs (autoresponders, HTML messages, tracking), we recommend using a professional service like AWeber or MailChimp. You can easily integrate outside products or services directly into your site.
Can I use my own domain name?
If your domain name is already registered: Online Candidate websites reside on our dedicated servers. After you order, you will be provide information where and how to ‘point’ your domain name to our servers.
If your domain name is not already registered: You can register your own domain when you set up your website. We include one free .com, .net or .org domain with each package. Specialty domain extensions such as .republican, .democrat and .voting are also available.
For more information about choosing a good domain name, read Should Your Campaign Register A Dot Com, Dot Org Or Both?.
Is my website my own or part of another domain?
Your website will be completely stand-alone. You will have your own domain name and 1GB dedicated server space. Some of our competitors let you have your own domain name, but actually redirect the name to just a subdirectory on their own website. That hurts the ability
of voters to find you online, which defeats the purpose of having a website in the first place.
What support do you supply?
Our success hinges on your success. We want your site to look sharp, both in design and content layout.
Some of our competitors only do support by email. Tickets are best, but if you are really stuck on something, give us a call.
We always welcome feedback or suggestions for our product.
Would you do a website for my opponent?
We cannot guarantee that an opponent will not order a website package. It has happened a few times. We do not solicit the opposition of our clients, but at the same time, that does not stop them from finding or ordering from us.
If I have a problem or a question, what should I do?
How soon will my website appear on Google or other search engines?
Our websites are designed to be indexed easily by search engines. We’ve seen new websites appear on Google in as little as a few days, but it can sometimes take longer.
You can accelerate this process by linking to your site from different sources, such as your Facebook, Twitter or online resume profiles. We also have a free candidate directory at OnlineCandidateLinks.com that helps tie your website and online profiles together.
For more information, read getting discovered by Google.
We also offer a Website Promotion Package option to speed the process along. This can be ordered with a website or at a later time.
What happens after the campaign?
For Lite, Regular and Enhanced website packages, the site will remain active for the remainder of your hosting time. After that, you can continue to keep your site active for $240/year.
If we registered your domain for you, annual domain name renewals are $20/year.
For more information, read What To Do With Your Website After The Election
What other products/services do you provide?
We carry a great line of digital products designed to help local campaigns. They include:
- Campaign Letter Templates
- Campaign Slogans Ebook
- Political Brochure Templates
- Our exclusive Running for Office as an Online Candidate e-book.
- Digital Combo Packages
For your print needs, we offer Print Design Services for custom brochures, flyers, and so on to put together a winning identity.
Online Candidate clients get FREE access to OnlineCandidateResources.com This exclusive website is designed to help candidates get the most from their online campaigns. The site contains articles, exclusive tools, resources and a member forum to help you create a powerful online strategy.
I am a political consultant or marketing service. What can you do for me?
Every election cycle, hundreds of candidates use Online Candidate as the hub of their online campaign. Political consultants regularly use our services because of our quick turnaround, great designs and personal support.
If you are interested in having us provide your candidate’s website platform, please see our consultant’s page. We look forward to working with you!
Can I get design files if I want to have print materials made from my site design?
Yes! If you have a Regular or Enhanced website package, we can send you high-res files for use in your campaign print materials. Just send us a support ticket with the request.
Can Online Candidate be used for non-political campaigns?
It certainly can! Obviously, some of the political features and pages would need to be turned off, but otherwise that system can power websites of any type.
The business version of Online Candidate is called Professional Sitebuilder. The system works very well for small business and personal websites. We can either convert your existing website or create a new site for you..
What are the cancellation or refund terms?
Due to the time incurred in account setup and custom design work, we can only provide partial refunds on our website packages once they have been ordered.
Hosting is included with the website packages. It is not severable, so we do not provide pro rata discounts.
For the Monthly website, you MUST cancel before your next billing date. Instructions on how to cancel are located in your site admin dashboard.
After all this? That’s okay – feel free to contact us!