The election is over. As a candidate, you’ve either won or lost. All the advertising has ended, the final bills are paid, and the signage comes down. But don’t forget the campaign website – it’s still out there! Here are some ideas for dealing with your website after Election Day.
Make a final update
No matter what you do, you should post a final election update to your site as soon as possible. Won or lost, you home page should acknowledge the results. Thank your friends and supporters for their help – they deserve it.
If you have a domain name that is year based (electsmith2014.com), you should keep the website up for a few months, or until the end of your hosting period. You site may still get traffic from those interested in the outcome of the election or what is happening with the candidate. With a date-based name, odds are you won’t use that same name/website again.
If you have a name that is position or name based (smithforsupervisor.com or joesmith.com), consider the long-term benefits of keeping the site active until the next campaign vs shutting the site down completely. Even if you have a domain name that is date-specific, you can still keep your existing website, but just change the site’s domain name. (We can do that for you.)
Keep the campaign alive
To keep volunteers and fundraisers available and in the loop, elected officials and PACs should never truly shut down their campaign organizations. You may want to shut down certain pages or sections of the campaign website, but continue to run the site with relevant news and event updates. In other words, if you are planning on running again, use the site to keep the interest alive until the next campaign.
Keeping the site active also gives you a head start when it comes to fundraising for the next campaign. Having supporters already in the loop will make it easier to get them involved again when you need their help.
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Convert the site
If you are done with politics altogether, your website can always be redesigned and re-purposed for another use, such as an organization or personal site. If you run a business in your name, you can either switch the entire site over or point the domain to another site.
If you like the Online Candidate content management system, we offer a non-political version of our CMS. We can set you up with a new site or even convert your old one to a WordPress site. Contact us for more information.
Redirect your domain name
Instead of having the domain name point to your campaign website, you can have the name point to another website or web page. Depending on the elected position, your newly-won office may already have an official web page waiting for you. Use the traffic that would have gone to your old website and send it there.
Shut down the site completely
For many Online Candidate clients, this seems to be a common – and unfortunate – end to their websites. When the hosting period ends, they don’t bother to renew and let the domain name lapse.
There are a few downsides to completely shutting down a campaign website and letting the domain name go:
- Someone else can pick up the domain name, and you’ll probably have a tough time getting it back.
- You’ll have no control over a new website that someone creates with your lapsed domain name.
- All the links that you built up over the last campaign will now go nowhere. There’s no guarantee that those links will still exist the next time you revive your website (assuming that you have not let your domain name lapse in the meantime).
Even if you want to completely shut everything down, we suggest that you at least keep the domain name active – especially if your domain name matches the candidate’s name. Keeping a domain name registered is a nominal cost, and it keeps the name in your possession.
You have a number of options for your campaign website and domain name. If you have any questions about keeping or converting your existing site, feel free to contact us.