Liberal.ca, here is what you need!
UPDATE: Just came across a very good comparison between Obama and Mcain’s websites. Check it out.
After some interesting feedback from my last post on the liberal party’s online efforts, I met with a volunteer. He explained that each MP, under law, has no more than 80 000 $ for his campaign. As such, funds are closely monitored and any request for work by an outside firm is very difficult.
That being said, great websites can be done for little cash. Take a look at the Green Party and their Westmount Ville-Marie Candidate – both are very solid sites they certainly do not have the same funds as the Liberal party. This reflects that it is not the resources of the party, but rather their mentality. The Liberals are old dogs who need to learn new tricks, fast.
Simply put, the liberal party should offer all their MPs a:
- Simple Blog Software (with some pointers on how why they should blog)
- A Simple content management software for their sites (videos, comments, …)
- Some basic training on the online world
The liberal party itself needs to digitize its existing database of members and voters, create an online community, and promote donations online. The leaders of the party should be making short videos specifically for the online world. Barack Obama does a great job at talking to internet users and getting in their wallet.
These solutions should be open-source (i.e. WordPress for blogging and Joomla for CMS), which ensures that when the MP wants to modify the site, it can be done in house by a volunteer. These open source solutions have millions of contributors with free extensions for user tracking, videos, community building… With these tools and a bit of cash, we could build something better than the existing liberal sites in 2, maybe 3 days.
This could be a powerful tool and help bring about some grassroots support – which Dion got a lot of at the last convention.
I would love to help with this effort, so, Dion, if you are interested – send me an email.Published on August 26, 2008
Liberal.ca could be better – a lot better
The Liberal Party’s website could be a lot better. Compared to Obama’s, it looks like my high school project (which won some competitions in 1998). Of course that is not saying much; Obama has infinite sums of money and the best political website ever built, so far.
At a recent meeting at Concordia, I asked Stephane Dion, “There is a “révolution tranquille” currently going on. People of my generation (25 years old) now expect to be part of the process and they are very comfortable online, what is the Liberal party doing to respond to this shift in behavior”. His answer was along the lines of, “We realize the internet is a tool we have to better leverage for fundraising and mobilization, I am sure there are many young people here today who would like to talk with you.” And that is the problem.
Dion, and his like minded friends, consider the internet a tool in the same way television ads, radio addresses or pamphlets are. The internet is completely different. Why? Really, do I need to answer that? The internet allows for a two way, contextualized, instantaneous dialogue with anyone and everyone in Canada.
I am a liberal party supporter and a fan of “The Green Shift”, but they have to do more with their online site. They do not need to reinvent the wheel or hire an ex-facebook employee to run it (Obama did), just copy Obama. Let me state that again, “JUST COPY OBAMA!”
The first page should have the following (in either French or English):
1. A clear message (read: “The Green Shift”)
2. A field to input your email
3. A field to identify your general location (Postal Code)
As for the main page:
1. Make the donation button easy to find
2. Make the the party leader’s blog and that of your local MP (remember the postal code) prominent.
3. Less is more – take away things that do not need to be there. More information is not necessarily better.
4. List upcoming LOCAL events (remember the postal code)
Also bigger text fields, bigger buttons, nicer layout etc. Web 101
I have volunteered my time to the Marc Garneau’s campaign, but they do not seem to want it. Marc’s campaign at least has some thought leadership from an individual by the name of Wendy Corn (correction, post originally read: Clark). They developed a site called “Marc’s Stars“, which attempts to bring some social networking into the fold – but the site, also, could be better.
All the things I mentioned require no (ok, little) money and probably less time than what was already put in. One last comment, the site is coded in ASP, which some of you may recognize as a Microsoft enterprise technology. My feeling (and it is just a feeling) is that some Liberal party members said to each other, “We need a website”, and another agreed, “Yes, we do”. The first liberal then replied, “Let’s ask my friend Bob to build it, he has a small tech company so he must know how to do this.” And then it was built.
Wake up Liberal party or else Harper is here to stay!
P.S. Dion and Ignatieff had pretty good websites during their leadership race, what happened?Published on August 21, 2008