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Presidential hopefuls love WordPress

WordPressAs you may know, we love WordPress and use it for the core of every site we build. We have our reasons for using it, but I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at the websites for some of the presidential hopefuls from both parties to see what technologies were behind them. We looked at 17 Republican candidates and five Democratic candidates (all listed at the bottom of this post). Of the 22 websites we looked at, 12 were using WordPress — 55%! Of the remaining 10, no single platform was used by more than one candidate.

(side note: I was unable to determine the software behind some of the sites. See the table below and leave a comment if you can help fill in some holes.)

Of those that are on WordPress, only three were running the latest version (4.3), but the rest were either on 4.2.4 or else had the version number well-hidden.

The websites are remarkably similar — all are mobile responsive, and all feature a huge hero image (or background video) on the home page, with an immediate call-to-action to either sign up for their newsletter or donate money. They also all (except for Lincoln Chafee) feature a “Paid for by” box at the bottom which is completely transparent with a border around it. Not bad, per se, but interesting that they all used the exact same format for that information.

Hiccups

All in all, the sites are pretty solid, though there were a few minor miscues. For example, most of them were not tracking demographic information in Google Analtyics. You can debate the value of that information for some sites, but for a candidate it seems that it would be invaluable.

Some other issues I saw:

  • Chris Christie has auto-playing audio on his home page, which is a huge no-no.
  • Marco Rubio had my browser prompt me to “show notifications” from his site; I don’t think so.
  • Three of the candidates had the cheesy “designed by” links in their footers (which we’ve hated for years).
  • Lindsey Graham hasn’t set a “favicon”. Minor mishap, but sloppy.

2015-08-29_14-46-59

Speed

We also ran each site through the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to gauge how well-optimized the sites are and how quickly they load. All in all, they were pitiful. You can see the rightmost column on the table below for details.

The table below lists our findings alphabetically by first name. Please leave a comment below if you have other data you’d like for us to add, and note that any politically-motivated comments will be removed — there are plenty of other places to share those opinions online.

[table id=1 /]

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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