WP theme for European political parties

There is a huge need and opportunity for local European political websites!

I look after the websites of a few local German political party offices, and there is a huge need for a theme. However, most of the themes seem to be for US senatorial campaigns, and they just don’t fit the purpose.

Bad examples (For this purpose)

Bad for two reasons mainly:

  1. US political party design is conservative and old fashioned, where European design is more daring, bolder, more colorful
  2. European campaigns work differently. They are much less reliant on donations and volunteering, but much more concerned with topics/issues, and with getting the members to stay active and involved

I see this as a great opportunity for theme developers to make money. In my country there a five major parties. Each has a national site, multiple regional sites, plus a plethora of local and hyper-local sites. So, only one party needs 200 to 400 websites - I never counted them.

You will never get the national and regional sites because those are done by agencies for serious money. But the local and hyper-local sites are done volunteers, and you can have them all!

What you can do:

  • Check out the national and regional sites. Then simplify based based on those. (Yes, I know, they change very 4 years or so.)
  • Take note of the colors and fonts. They matter a lot!!!
  • Ignore most of what you know about business themes. They are not relevant and a bit embarrassing for a party - too showy, not serious
  • Ignore US style. No TimesNewRoman, no blue, no shields, no eagles, no flags, no religion
  • Be bold but not yuppie
  • Don’t focus on one person (candidate) but focus on the team, the community, on political topics, news, issues, on facts not emotion
  • Ignore BuddyPress, forums, membership, login - that is dealt with by the main office, mostly for privacy reasons but also to save money
  • Newsletters are a difficult topic, some do use MailChimp, but the further left, the less. Offer it but don’t make it central
  • If you can host local fonts instead of Google-hosted you are star.
  • If you can disconnect the site entirely from any tracking, your are a super star. We don’t track at all, because it is against the politics that we stand for, but also because we just don’t need the deep knowledge that GoogleAnalytics give.
  • No shop
  • Donations system yes, but not as pushy as in the US
  • “Become a member” should be central and obvious - but most often as a link to the national party site, because membership is done the HQ
  • Gutenberg in posts is ok, but really, posts are most often simple text plus one image.

There a these main parts:

  • Home page: Welcome, news, directing to the main sub-pages
  • Team page = who is running this local thing. Who is my member of the various parliaments (European, national, regional, local). Remember, these people are elected so they have to be presented in a serious and comprehensive way, but also democratically - there is no boss, it’s all about the team.
  • News page, loop. Many category/tag archives
  • Sub-pages for hyper-local offices. And sub-pages for working groups. These can/should be extended post category pages. The header should contain info about the office/group (Title = name, logo, intro text, email address, external links to social media). But lower down they are post archive loops based on post categories
  • The usual technical pages: Contact, imprint, data protection etc
  • Events, but simple
  • Election campaign pages. Yes, we do need those, yes they do have on, two three candidates, and yes they are bit more like the US sites, but all of what I said still applies. Mainly: Less candidate-ego but more community-focus and topics-central.

Nice to have and would make me buy right away:

  • ACF for the sub-pages for local/hyper-local offices and working groups.
  • The reason is that admin, author, editor access should be simple to split between post vs page access

Remember:

  • The people who work on these sites change often. Elections are every two, three, or four years. So, it needs to be simple to hand over. Meaning, as much vanilla WP as possible, and ACF can be made to look like like vanilla WP.
  • If you use ACF, you can assume that they would e ok to buy ACF Pro

Money

  • These local offices do have money in the bank, but the spend it wisely and only on campaigns - like websites.

Examples of local offices that you can do much better:

Examples of their national sites (same order as above)

Good luck!

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Would serious political organisations use a sub $100 template for their website?

I agree that some of your examples are not at all inspiring or complicated but the potential risk or considerations from a security perspective that comes with using an off the shelf solution seems like something that would be avoided?

In your list above it is important to understand the difference between a stock theme and a very niche or specific request.

Things like keeping or removing certain generic function, the choice of emblems or images used in demos, fonts and styling etc. are all perfectly possible once a buyer chooses their theme. The whole point is that stock themes are meant to be versatile and functional for the masses and with the option to change thigs to suit individual needs or preferences.

I can’t comment on our political preference but writing off tracking entirely is not at all sensible or advisable. How would you know how many people have visited your site? What the performance, preference or pain points are? What if something breaks and you don’t then know about it?

That all said, it is great to share ideas for authors especially in this level of detail.

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Would serious political organisations use a sub $100 template for their website?

Certainly not the national and regional offices. But the local ones, yes definitely. For them, I use Astra, Trawell, Gridsome, and others. They all lack in the terms I stated above, because they are blogging or business themes.

@zumaxb This is excellent - thanks for sharing!

We’ve seen many examples of US political figures using sites built on ThemeForest templates, but it’s a great callout about the ways that customer usage varies around the world.

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