LP.org: Ineffective Eyesore

Suppose you wanted to market your organization as a large, growing, robust and effective organization that appealed to newcomers. How would you want your marketing material (website) to look? Would you want it to appear as though it was thrown together by an amateur in a short period of time — basically telling the reader that you really don’t care much about them or what they think? Or would you want it to be simple, appealing, informative, well thought-out and easy-to-use? The former may sound a bit silly but that is exactly the image the Libertarian Party is portraying.

On the other hand, there are some third parties that appear to have grasped at least the basics of marketing:

The LP’s website is visually unattractive, boring, unorganized, cluttered, outdated and filled with irrelevant information. No, the LP didn’t become the third-largest party with a fancy website. However, there are a lot of people dissatisfied with the Democratic and Republican parties right now and we really don’t need to give them another reason to dismiss us.

  1. I heartly agree. I’d actually like to use a few &%$**** words to make the point in large caps as well. I feel that it is less than the best we could do, but I have no idea how to do a better one.

    There is one point that has always bugged the hell out of me and the Greens seem to get the idea. They list ten key issues up front. The LP needs to do something similar.
    Whoever builds the next site needs to take a look around the web and see what different groups are doing and how they design their sites and that should look beyond just political sites.
    This is a retail sales business and we need to understand that. It is not just about designing pretty web sites. I cannot emphasize the need to be upfront with ten key issues. And if it was up to me I might only do six issues. And my comments are probably a waste of time.

  2. Wasn’t there a redesign in the works? I seem to recall one…you still get it when it decides that your blog comment is spam (which, apparently, includes linking anything from blogspot.com.)

  3. I can be as critical as the next guy, but I find the lp.org site as is to be just fine. If one compares it to the Green Party or Communist Party sites I would have to say all three provide what I expect a political party web site to offer.

    I think the header banner is a shade darker than I would choose, but maybe it was chosen to be dark for a reason.

    Simple, informative and easy-to-use are great attributes however not all goals can be accomplished (e.g. Utopia is not an option). Make the site simple-er and you may sacrifice how informative it is. Easy-to-use is largely subjective (everyone has their own opinion).

    I am all in favor of the best web site possible but I posit that even if the maintainer of the LP site read your article it would be rather difficult to gleen any actionable ideas from this post.

    Disclaimer: I have no connection with the lp.org site nor any particular association with any individuals or companies that design or maintain it.

  4. Lastly, all the sites mentioned above render fine using Ubuntu Linux 5.10 with Firefox EXCEPT the constitution party’s. And even then as I mentioned before, utopia is not an option. Sometimes expecting a site to render in MS Windows and Macintosh OS X is all one can reasonably expect from a person or company implementing a site.

  5. Thane,

    I don’t think a revamped website is an unreasonable expectation, especially considering that the LP does very little other marketing.

  6. I’ll add one critique about the site. I would like to see one graphic of a person on the home page. I’ll give points to the Greens too, there are two faces on their site and it looks like 10 actual human faces on the America First Party site (Ron Paul even!–I wonder how often his face shows up at gop.com? {not too often})

  7. Besides, Mike, what’s up with you and shitlisting other Libertarians’ websites? What’s the point? Not every website can look amazing, especially since opinions of what’s “amazing” differ from person to person. Personally I think the background on HoT is wierd and distracting, but that doesn’t stop me from coming here.

  8. It’s not the best looking website, I’ll agree. But how excatly should it look like? Why don’t you find out who manages the website and send them some friendly tips on what he/she should do to improve it? What should it look like?

    I agree with you Mike, but what can we do to help?

  9. Nigel,

    You’re right. They shouldn’t even put in the effort that they do. I mean, they aren’t in existence to attract voters/members or anything…

  10. DAP,

    No it isn’t necessarily “bad”. However, take a look at the GOP and Democratic Party websites, or even the Green Party website.

    Perception is everything. Have you ever wondered why the Green’s have elected state congressmen and the LP hasn’t? I am not saying it is due to their website, but their website says something about them – that they are a well-run organization. The LP website paints a pretty accurate picture as well.

  11. The LP should just hire Stephen Vandyke for a website design, I love the sites that he creates and/or works on.


    Seriously, those sites rock in my opinion. I love how Peirce has a very good message on the front page to really attract the attention of first time visitors. Hell, Mr. Vandyke needs to develop a standard format for the LP and its candidates.

  12. Nigel,

    What looks “funny” about it when displayed in Firefox? I see no difference.

  13. As for the LP website, I’m sure it won’t be winning any prestigous awards for design, but it seems respectable enough to me. I honestly don’t think the other party sites linked are substantially any better, particularly not the America First Party or CPUSA.

  14. The Green Party’s website is the best of any party that I’ve seen. Besides that, they all seem equally bland.

  15. In my professional opinion, I would say the LP.org website does lack a few key things including modern design, easier navigation, and better branding. The LP brand needs to stand out more clearly.

    I would say it does keep content fresh, which is good, and for the most part the site is functional and respectable. Can it improve? Of course.

    Also, a few libertarian websites I’ve worked on have been http://www.lpmn.org, http://www.suejeffers.org, and http://www.libertyinstitute.org.

    I also have another libertarian website coming out later this year.

  16. You are right. A website needs to be good. We in the Free State Project had/have the same problem. But, we got a bunch of people working on it and a not-100% new website up.

    I also noticed that most state LP websites are out of date or kinda lame.

  17. Within the Georgia LP, I’ve got a volunteer who can make simple but nice looking web sites. They’re not fancy, they’re not marvelous, but they look good and they’re simple to edit. They’re going affiliate to affiliate helping to either update their existing site or replace it with a new one… it’d be nice to see volunteers step up to do this for state parties.

  18. Florida’s LP site needs a complete overhaul. Considering the size of the state, it’s even that more embarrassing.

  19. Often the first experience anyone has with the LP is the Party’s website. If people already have a perception of Libertarians being unelectable, fringe, unprofessional, etc, the website will confirm that prejudice rather than counter it. This is not to say we’re going to convert anyone with a screen shot of our site, but a glossy, professional site that explains our values, promotes our candidates and attracts voters is not that daunting of a task.

    The issues with the LP site are some of the same issues Mike N. and I have with Badnarik.org. But as that site and the campaign are above reproach, such legitimate complaints only resulted in flaming and accusations that we were being too negative, etc.

    Concerns about the LP site have been going on for a long time and it is quite clear that nobody cares. I can’t believe some of the comments here suggesting the site is OK or comparable to that of other parties.

  20. The idea that our largest marketing tool might be as good as that of other parties is indicative of a losing attitude. We can and should look better than they do. Our message is vitally important, why shouldn’t the delivery of that message look as good as possible?

    It would be enlightening to see the duration of time unique visitors spent on our site. My guess is that they glanced over the homepage for a few seconds before leaving with a worse impression than they arrived with.

  21. If there is one word to describe the LP website, it is boring. I go there about once a month as I see little changes and not very interesting stories. The tab Member Center is about worthless. Why is the weak forum placed under the Liberty Store? It has very few posts.

    Many folks did not like Steve Dasbach but his articles were very well written, humorous and to the point. It would be nice to see a return of that style.

    Under Today’s Issues, the War on Drugs, War in Iraq, Terrorism, Restrictions on Freedom come to mind that are missing. The topic of Immigration should be updated to reflect current concerns.

    I’d give good marks for the Organization Tab and the quick response of hyperlinks on a rural dial-up modem. Finally, there should be a ‘Libertarian Links’ page to a variety of websites that may be of interest to committed, interested and potential Libertarians.