Election Day Website Best Practices

Written by Kelly Cook

https://f.hubspotusercontent40.net/hubfs/158743/white-ipad-street-vertical.png
Election Day Website Best Practices

Downloadable Checklist

Download Now

Election season is here! We want to remind you of some tips and tricks, creative ideas, and best practices to help your election season be successful. At CivicPlus®, our experience developing and hosting over 3,500 local government websites has revealed simple but essential best practices to keep citizens informed and local government websites fully operational and optimized for high traffic volumes during election season, but your preparation matters!

 

Election Examples from other clients

Key Features to help manage Elections

  • Pages
  • Alerts
  • News
  • Department Header
  • Notifications 
  • Sitewide splash modal
  • Info Advanced
  • Calendars

 

Prepare in advance for High Volume Spikes

This year, because of mail-in-voting options, expect huge spikes in volume to last longer than previous election years, possibly for weeks while citizens await results. If not properly managed, big data and large traffic volumes could wreak havoc on your civic website this Election Day, so following this advice will help.

1. Communicate expectations.  Using all platforms available (email, social media, etc), communicate in advance when you expect to post election results and how mail-in-voting will impact election results and timing. This will help to mitigate high volumes of repeat traffic throughout the day or weeks before results are available.

2. Create and Use a Designated Elections Page. THIS IS ESSENTIAL. Post election results or information as content within a designated site page, rather than as a separate document. This will help to ensure your site speed is not impacted. To further protect site speeds, post election summary data only.

  • Link all citizen communications to an Elections Page. Link all communications sent, including Alerts, News, Social Media posts, etc. directly to your election website page.
  • Direct External News sources to Elections Page. Provide the specific link to your elections page to news outlets, and post to social media to route citizens directly to the appropriate page.
  • Mobile Friendly. Most citizens will check election results from a mobile device, so it is essential all election results and information are provided through a means that is mobile friendly. By posting your election results within a site page on your CivicEngage® website, your page will automatically be mobile-responsive. Remember to limit graphic and the use of tables for best experiences on mobile.
  • Optimize Keywords and Metadata so search engines pull your election page up and citizens find it. Your CivicEngage website is designed to be optimized for search engines, but you still have the flexibility to customize your page title, menu text, description, and keywords to apply to the intent of your page, which helps search engines to find your page. Use short descriptive words and phrases for your metadata. For example, create a Short applicable Page Title such as “City Name 2020 Election Results” and keywords such as “City Name Election” “City Name Election Results” and “Election Results” utilizing different combinations of search terms citizens would use.

3. Add a Homepage Graphic. Create a prominently displayed, temporary graphic link from your home page to make it easy for citizens to find your election results page. The more quickly users navigate to their destination page, the better your site performance.

4. Use a sitewide splash model. A pop-up modal on your homepage or all pages will help direct interested traffic straight to your election’s results page.

5. Add an Alert Bar pointing to your Elections page. Use the Alert Center feature to create an Elections alert that links users to your elections page. However, it is essential that any alerts point to a PAGE on your website for best performance. This will help get traffic to your elections page quickly.

6. Do NOT utilize Documents, Graphics, or Infographics. Do not post election results in the form of a document such as a PDF or Microsoft Word file and avoid posting many graphics or graphics of large file sizes. The repeated request to serve up large files will slow your site speed and impact site accessibility. Additionally, do not use infographics to share election results. Infographics are typically large files, which will slow your site speed. On election night, when traffic volumes will be high, post results in text format only. If you do intend to create an engaging infographic for your citizens regarding local election results, we recommend sharing it via social media or email instead of on your results page.

Election Web Design Checklist

 

Security

Your number one priority during elections will be the security of your citizen and civic data, so our security specialists have outlined some recommended best practices for security during Election season.

Election Day  Security Best Practices