Many a times, counties try to develop their own website. In this article, I’ll tell you a better way forward by integrating the county affiliates as sub-pages to your state site. Note I’ll use the term county, but if you use regions you can apply the same strategy.
County affiliates should focus on real political work, not back-office operations. That means putting energy towards recruiting and running candidates, hosting events and conducting outreach events.
To start off, the high level reasons why creating independent sites separate from your state site is a bad idea:
Explaining what is a libertarian and other basic information is already done at both the national and state level. There is no need to do this again.
Secondly, well-intentioned volunteers try to put together a website but more often than not do not have all the skills necessary to do so. I have personally seen many county websites that are out-dated, were started but were not finished and are no longer maintained. Sometimes, they have blog entries or candidates sections that are 2 years old! In my estimation, only about 10% of county sites are acceptable websites that give a favorable impression.
You also are having to do steps that are just not necessary. You need to do the setup work to install your CMS and configure your theme, buy a hosting package and domain. You also have to do styling to match the branding of the state and national sites. Instead, you should use the framework that your state party already has setup.
People are looking for county affiliate information and they want it quick. So what is a better way? To integrate county sites as sub-pages to your state party site.
To start off, generally what people are looking for in relation to county affiliates is:
The first thing you want is a interactive map(an example from Arkansas) so people can visually see where there are affiliates and to directly click a county to direct them to the sub page.
For each active county, create a sub-page at www.statesite.org/county. Here is an example from Arkansas.
Within each sub-page, add the officer contact information and Facebook link. For events, I recommend you have 1 calendar page at www.statesite.org/events that has all the events in your state. This enables a one stop place for people to connect in person with your organization. You can also categorize events by regions or by county to enable easy searching. This same idea applies to blog entries. Most states do not have active blogs. You should encourage counties to contribute to your state party blog and again, if you want to get fancy, you can categorize them.
County sub-sites should be one pagers. However, if you need a separate page, that is easily done as well. Additional items to post to county pages are bylaws, a way to donate (if they have a bank account), and meeting minutes.
If you have questions on ways to format this, please do not hesitate to contact us.