2016 Presidential Candidates’ Websites Ranked

A student’s perspective on each candidates’ website design, layout, and choice of colors. (Originally written in February 2016)

I recently read a post by Alhan Keser that points out the A/B testing the Bernie Sanders’ digital team has been doing with their website. A/B Testing is a method of comparing two versions of a webpage or app against each other to determine which one performs better. For example, comparing combinations of different pictures, colors, and CTAs (call to action) simultaneously against one other to see which results in better website traffic, and, for political campaigns, means more email signups and more donations.

This then led me to read How Obama Raised $60 Million by Running a Simple Experiment by Dan Siroker, Director of Analytics for Obama's 2008 campaign. Siroker and his team ran twenty-four variations of media and button combinations. The winning variation had an improvement of 40.6% in sign-up rate which roughly translated as 2,880,000 more email addresses than the 2008 campaign would have gotten if they stuck to their original design.

After reading all of that, I wanted to rank each of the eight remaining 2016 candidates for President by their website. My final reasoning came down to easy access to social media pages, how strong their CTA is, how their splash page picture resonates with their CTA, and overall color usage on their website.

  1. Ted Cruz

Cruz’s site has a great call to action for the GOP primary, the social media links stand out, and it’s easy to find where to donate. I think the color choices of a darker blue and red come off a bold and presidential. Overall, it’s really easy to get to where you want to go on this website, and more likely than not you will either decided to donate money or at least click on the social media links on the right. The colors work, the site is sleek, and the navigation is simple. (Bonus: The ES option in the right corner).

2. Hillary Clinton

Like Cruz, Clinton’s CTA is as motivational as it is useful. The “I’m with her” slogan with a picture of a diverse group of supporters is sure to connect with the voters in the Democratic Party. I think the site does a great job of pushing visitors to either donate or sign up for her email list. Also, note the En Espanol option on the top right like Cruz’s website. The one negative thing I would say is the social media accounts are all the way at the bottom of the page. They don’t stand out at all. Overall, I think this website inspires democrats and reaffirms their support while successfully pushing visitors to the donate.

3. Marco Rubio

What placed Rubio’s website in the top three is not the picture (definitely not the picture), but what’s featured if you scroll down. It’s very up to date and sleek. The colors are great. Great use of red and blue for everything political, yellow for a page on Hillary, and then green for anything related to donating or volunteering. I really liked everything else about the website except for the first image you see. They need to use a different picture — maybe one of him and his family together?

4. Bernie Sanders

This is your movement! Fantastic first impression of the website, but if you scroll down you will be underwhelmed (the opposite of what Rubio’s does). Not much color for the background, not as organized or compact as the websites listed above, and doesn’t really show the energy that represents the candidate. This picture by itself is powerful and easily beats Rubio’s picture, but everything else in this website falls flat.

5. Ben Carson

Easy to navigate but with an awful choice of different colors for the logo. On the right you see a candidate for President, on the left you see something inspired by the Toys R’ Us logo.

6. John Kasich

A bit too bloggish and not too presidential. I’d like to be able to see the social media options and the issues tab on the same page and the sign up.

7. Jeb! Bush

Even though it’s attempting to be, the website really isn’t too inspiring or motivating from that picture or use of the word, freer.

8. Donald Trump

A website like this may appeal to an older generation, but for me, seeing the slogan not making it on the page is straight amateur hour. Also, the font (typeface) is too rigid and not exciting. It gets the job done, but it’s not helping inspire donations or bring in volunteers like a solid website (Cruz and Hillary) should do.

But maybe I missed something about one of these candidates and their websites. Feel free let me know below how you would rank these websites.

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