A friend was asked (at very short notice) to run as a candidate for election to the Irish Parliament. There were only 6 weeks from the day he announced to the date of the elections, so there was a huge amount of work to do in a very short period of time. I was tasked with building his website.
Given the lack of time available, we focused on a couple of key issues:
- The website needed to be ready as soon as possible (I had one weekend!), so a simple and clean design was not just desirable, it was necessary. There was no time for a extended design process.
- However, it couldn't just be a static site - it needed to have a Content Management System (CMS) as other (non-technical) people would be editing and adding and updating content throughout the election period and in the future, so some flexibility was needed.
There are a number of ready-to-go, hosted CMS, such as:
They allow you to generate a (responsive) decent-looking website quickly with a custom domain and a CMS for a relatively small amout of money.
Having already used Squarespace for a number of clients, I decided to use them again. While the content for the site was being developed - as a candidate you need to have an opinion on a lot of areas and you also need to make sure that matches your political parties' views as well - I could get on with designing the look and feel of the site, adding photos, embedding social media feeds and so on.
Using Squarespace's CMS made it easy to then add that content at a later stage without breaking the design of the site.
I built the first version of the site in a weekend, and added more features as they were needed throughout the campaign (donation buttons, press releases page). This speed was only possible with a hosted CMS.
Did Your Friend Get Elected?
Sadly, no. He got really close though and finished just behind a Government Minister, so an amazing achievement for his first attempt and given the limited time he had to run his campaign. I get the feeling that it won't be the end of his political career...
While I wasn't involved in the day-to-day election campaign, I did get to witness it from a distance.
The sheer amount of work that's required is incredible - so as a candidate, having a strong team around you that can just 'handle' things without your input is really important. My friend was at press conferences, talking to journalists, and campaigning on doorsteps every single day so unless it was absolutely required his input, he simply didn't have time to do much else.