BarackObama.com: 100% Focused on Visitors Taking Action
Campaign season is heating up so much that it's easy to forget that there are still 13 months until the 2012 election. While challengers need to be working to raise their name ID, spread their message, and likely engage in a primary, incumbents have the distinct advantage of already enjoying widespread recognition and familiarity among voters.
Most incumbents use this advantage to simply wait a little longer in updating their web presence since they don't have to put out new information about themselves to constituents. This usually manifests itself as the previous election's site remaining up through the off year and having no tools available. This tactic wastes the precious time an incumbent has to focus on building and mobilizing supporters.
The Obama campaign realizes that, at present, issue statements and a candidate history are secondary to raising contributions, registering volunteers, and connecting supporters. The screenshot above shows the current state of the Obama campaign site where the full top portion of the site is geared toward uniting visitors and pushing them to action.
The site is fully focused on action, dedicating the majority of screen real estate to ways that people can get involved with the campaign and to coalescing them around the campaign effort. The extent of the Obama site right now is really just a landing page. There is no main menu and are no links out to news stories. There is just a single page focused on converting visitors to donors and volunteers. The campaign is using their time as an unopposed incumbent to get a headstart in fundraising and organizing.
Contrast that with an incumbent like Senator Bob Menendez who has a site that still focuses on promoting himself (I feel bad picking on Menendez, but he came to mind quickly). He is one of scores of incumbents that are failing to leverage this period of time to focus full force on donations and organizing volunteers.
Obviously the Obama campaign has an extremely sophisticated tech team, but any campaign could set up a similarly action-oriented landing page for little cost while waiting to unveil the rest of the site when the time comes. As your campaign spends time on choosing the perfectly tested phrases for issue titles and the best lit pictures for the homepage rotation, it is in your own interest to take a lesson from the Obama campaign and put up a landing page that is focused on pushing visitors to action to start gathering data for the long road ahead.