The Value of an Awesome Website
by Stephanie Casassa, on October 13, 2020
A congressional website’s primary purpose is to promote a free exchange of information between a representative and their constituents. The style, clarity, and efficiency of a website strongly affects the site’s ability to disseminate this information efficiently. As former congressional staffers ourselves, Fireside gets the need for clear and informative sites. As techies, we can translate that information into beautiful websites that balance the needs of a congressional office with the atmosphere of modern web development and inspire your constituents to further engage with your office online.
A Website's Purpose
A congressional website should provide clear information while simultaneously inviting constituents to engage with that information. Your office should strive for a site that's accessible, efficient, trustworthy, and, ultimately, serves your constituents through its use.
Since about 94% of people implicitly decide whether to trust websites based on their design, a lot of thought should go into this aspect of the site. Fireside follows modern website trends that favor clear, clean lines and simple layouts. In a congressional website, this might look like a clearly outlined home page that highlights the current struggles of the constituency, with an obvious Contact Us box to the side of the page.
Easily Accessible Information
When should a website skim the surface and when should it dive deep? A balanced site strikes a happy medium between the two. Your constituents won't expect your site to be the ultimate resource for every topic, but it's helpful to direct them to reliable sources if they want to learn more. You can expand upon issues that your office champions through navigable topic pages from the main menu if needed.
Sometimes, just one page doesn’t cover all information that you might want. Try directing your constituents to a scrolling landing page for a bit more space to expand ideas. Many offices have used landing pages for issues like Covid-19 because of their ability to logically divide an issue without complex navigation.
Expand Your Digital Footprint
A website has the potential to connect your constituents to your office's other internet outlets. News outlets and social media accounts are worth highlighting on your website to show how your office engages the outside world. News articles especially can lend credibility to your member’s viewpoints and efforts on the Hill. Draw attention to these mediums with a clean scroll bar to the side of your site to give your constituents real time updates with your engagement.
Time to Redesign?
Do you feel like your website could use an update? Website formatting has been progressing toward clean and precise layouts over the past few years. Our minds have gotten used to looking sites like this, so a website that diverges from this norm could throw off readers. Take stock of your current site and pick apart its weaknesses and strengths. If it seems cluttered, has confusing navigation, or is just a little illogical, perhaps it's time to go through a redesign.
Improve Your Engagement
In the digital age, your website is the primary means of contact between your office and its constituents. If your site is easy to view and distributes valuable information, your constituents will visit it more than once. Engaging with your website will encourage them to share their ideas with your office and potentially generate opt-ins for further communication. Improving your engagement hinges on a good website.
Interested in learning more about Fireside's web services? Check out our portfolio!