I don’t watch politics for fun. In fact, I don’t like politics very much at all and I often find their behaviour childish. Childish in a way I wouldn’t tolerate from any actual children…
Yet I am going to write a blog post inspired by a politician and Saturday’s election. It is mainly about their communications so no need to hide from another political statement!
Checking my options
I am proud of Australia and am willing to welcome refugees.
Earlier this week, I went to a number of websites to find out more about the smaller parties. Namely because I can’t bring myself to vote for either major party this year – blocking refugees asking for help is simply wrong.
On each site, I looked at their policy ideas and details on their candidate in my area.
Learning from their websites
Based on reviewing a few sites covering the same basic idea (ie what the political party stands for and why we should vote for them), here are some useful website tips for us all:
- Summaries and simplicity are good.
A short summary of each policy area with a link to greater details made one site much easier to read and quickly gave me an overview of the party. The lists of actual policies were also brief and to the point. It was therefore easy to decide whether or not I liked them.
Other sites waffled on or gave me a long list of policies to choose from which was more intimidating than a single-page summary.
- Dead links are frustrating and reduce your credibility.
One site had my local candidate listed but every link on his name took me to an error page. Given I found the rest of the site a bit vague, I really wanted an impression of him to make a decision. Instead, I was frustrated and didn’t feel the party was very professional or reliable.
- Explain who you are fast.
One site (and I spent very little time on their site once I started reading their offensive nonsense, so maybe there’s a reason for their web design!) had a huge banner and blog posts on the home page. It gave me no idea of who they were (not even that they are in fact a political party) which is what I wanted to know – their latest news is in the realm of politics I don’t care about!
A clear tagline, an introduction or useful imagery can give information to site visitors quickly and makes life easier for people.
- Show information, or don’t – changing is annoying.
I clicked through to an inner page which was basically a list of questions. Initially, I saw questions and answers but as I was part way through reading the start of one answer, it disappeared to show me a list of questions. Obviously, their software is set to narrow the content to just the questions but the loading time was so slow it showed answers first. Very frustrating to deal with as a site visitor.
Have you checked how your clever settings actually work for site visitors? Often a simple solution works consistently so is better than a fancier option.
What characteristics are important in choosing where to vote or spend your money?
Learning from the candidates
Remember how I couldn’t find information about my local candidate above? I found a media release about him and some others in his party which my local candidate had replied to in the comments.
There is both good and bad to be learned from those comments…
His first comment was long. Maybe a third of a page without paragraph breaks long (lack of structure may be due to the software, which is on the party not him, so I’ll give him a pass there!) It started with a lot of impressive words strung into a sentence or two that made absolutely no sense. Instantly I had no faith in him and no desire to vote for him.
The lesson – make sure anyone representing your business online can write reasonably well or do it for them. A genuine message is better than trying to impress readers.
However, I will give him credit for answering multiple people’s questions to the media release. Responding to comments and questions showed enthusiasm and passion, and listening to people is a precious commodity when it comes to politicians.
Yes, some of those answers were long winded and were nice ways of fobbing off hard questions but he was trying.
The lesson – respond to people online to build rapport, show your personality and gain another opportunity to explain your purpose or skills. Remember, people may see this rather than your carefully crafted profile – especially if a link is faulty!
What have you learned from this election?
Have you come across examples where a politician or political party has communicated well or poorly?
Maybe some of the above examples have inspired you to check your own website with a different perspective. If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below…
While I am not going to vote for a party just because they did the best job with their website, being able to easily understand the party does influence my choices.
Just like as a business owner or consumer I am not going to buy something just because you have the prettiest website, but I am more likely to trust you (and thus give you my money!) if your site is professional, simple to use and inoffensive.
But based purely on my descriptions of their websites, who would you vote for from the above examples?
Personally the first site I mentioned would get my vote – their summaries and easy-to-navigate site made it easy.