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Politics Thu, 29 Nov 2012

Expensive Campaign websites

*Expensive Campaign websites-Okudzeto Ablakwa Follows Akuffo Addo, JM is


third, Nduom Last*








Now, the USA elections are over and done with political campaigns. Ghana is


close to elections and the campaigns are seriously at their last minutes.


Like most Ghanaians say, last days are dangerous therefore it is hoped that


nothing would be left to chance.





I was writing this article when I witnessed the hacking of the Ministry of


Justice and Attorney Generals Department’s website on Monday. I must call


on the National Security to treat this issue seriously. They should contact


the Argentine government as well as report the issue to Interpol for


further investigation.





Anyway, my main topic is about how political websites are currently faring


during the campaign. Research we conducted have revealed that the most


active political websites in Ghana today and are in good shape for the


elections are,





- · www.okudzetoablakwa.com


- · www.akufoaddo2012.com


- · www.johnmahama.org


- · www.pppghana.org





Our researchers also looked at the development, management and seriousness


it has attached in the use of social media. And was able to suggest the


cost of their development and management based on the functions used in


their design and development as well as management.





All the above websites used content management systems (CMS) which are

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wordpress, joomla and drupal. That alone made them more of a web 2.0


website- interactive, modern and technologically effective.





On cost, many web developers our researchers spoke to who use CMS quoted


not less than USD 5,000 for a basic and regular website. These according to


them includes, a custom design to reflect the clients campaign, CMS


allowing the client to easily update pages, create a poll and add events.





In addition, it allows them to expand their site with more pages, create a


multi-level site menu, add multiple user accounts to allow and restrict


site administration access to different users.





Indeed political websites are not cheap. They communicate to a larger


audience both home and abroad. It allows people to follow the activities of


the political parties and the politicians.





I am also impressed with the way the www.johnmahama.org has been


advertised on all billboards and other political campaign tools. I recently


saw the same on the new campaign billboards of Honourable Akuffo-Addo. This


is not to say who started first but it shows the importance our


flag-bearers have attached to their online campaign.





The most expensive of all could be www.akufoaddo2012.com. It is well


updated and has a lot of features and functions which may require expert


developers to manage and maintain. I am also not surprised about the


dedication of time and energy on this website,


www.akufoaddo2012.combecause the party made it clear from the onset


that it will use the power


of online media to support its campaign efforts. This website could cost


over USD10,000 with management of over USD 3000 a month.



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Following closely is the Website of the Honorable Deputy Minister for


Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa. His campaign website,


www.okudzetoablakwa.com has improved especially with news, videos and


photos. It has also been clearly advertised on facebook.com and other media.





It still stands tall as one of the best parliamentary candidates' campaign


website. And like I said in my previous article, I am yet to see other


individual campaign websites aside presidential websites beaming with life


and fairly appropriate for this campaign season. Just like


www.akufoaddo2012.com, web development experts are required to develop and


main such a website.





It should cost the honourable minister over USD 8000 to develop this kind


of website and must be paying over USD2,500 a month for its management.





The PPP website, www.pppghana.org is also very informative and well


branded. It is has every information you would need about the Progressive


People's Party. It is also well maintained and I guess it is not expensive


to maintain as it lacks functions that would make it require the expertise


of programmers. This website looks more like a blog and not expensive to


develop. It could cost about USD 700 to develop and a maintenance fee of


USD 100 a month.





The new entrant, www.johnmahama.org is a website to watch out for. This


website is updated with speed. As soon as I hear on any radio online about


the President's campaign, I am sure to find it on the website with


exclusive and well captioned photos. This website could cost over USD 7000


with management of over USD 2000 a month. It also satisfies the rules of


website usability. It loads fast and easy to navigate. You are able to find


what you want on this website.



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Over all, I think these websites are doing well. But I must say again that


campaigning online isn't an option for politicians. It is indeed a


necessity for presidential campaigns all the way down to parliamentary


elections in Ghana.





Voters are going online to research candidates and their positions, what


they have done before, their future aspirations and all. “ if people are


interested in you and your campaign, they'll be searching for you on the


Web.” Kelvin, a web developer/








Perhaps the most misunderstood medium in all of politics is the website.


Partly because it is (relatively) new, and partly because it is


“technical,” consultants, candidates and volunteers often overestimate the


power of a website, and fail to see the real ways it can help their


campaigns.





It is true campaign website can be very expensive especially when they are


that of the ones mentioned above. But they are powerful tools in successful


campaigning. When used right, however, websites can and will be a great


benefit to your campaign.





A political campaign website also helps to get information out quickly and


cheaply – The Internet is a great way to get press releases, issue papers,


articles, and even campaign posters out to the public in a short amount of


time. Of course, no one will know the information is there unless you tell


them about your website (we’ll discuss promotion later), but the web is


still a great way to make campaign materials available to your organization


and the voters at large.





In my last article, I mentioned that as Ghanaians living abroad, it helps

us to know how to support elections in our various constituencies. For


instance if I am able to view the projects my Member of Parliament(MP) is


undertaking in my constituency online and his future projects, it gives me


an idea of what is going on, I can even speak to my family back home to


give him another chance and because I am the breadwinner of my family and I


support over twenty(20) of my family members who are over 18years, I know I


can lobby at least 20 votes to support my MP in December or make him lose


the same figure if he is not doing well.





It further provides extra information for those who want it – Your campaign


website is a great place to post your issue papers, reports, responses to


your opponents’ attacks, etc. In your political mail pieces, you can talk


about an issue, and then direct those who want more information to your


website.





Similarly, you can let reporters know that additional research items for a


story are available on your website.





I will urge the teams working on the various websites to continue feeding


the website with lots of information to enhance the work our politicians.








This is my opinion. What do you think? I am proud to be Ghanaian coming to


vote!





*Author: Mahina Lawal


Visual Communications Consultant


Former Student, North Carolina Central University, USA*





*Email: mahinalawal @gmail.com*

Source: Lawal, Mahina