Kansas Republican online efforts lag

If online political activity has any value, Kansas Republicans aren’t providing much. Many Kansas Republican websites and online outreach efforts are stale and lagging behind in providing timely and quality information.

As of today, the most recent post on The Kansas Trunkline (promoted as “The Official Blog of the Kansas Republican Party”) is dated November 30, 2009. That’s coming up on three months old. If blogs have any defining characteristics, one is frequent updates with timely material. That’s not happening here.

This blog is promoted on the front page of the Kansas Republican Party website. That site doesn’t fare much better with regard to timely updates. The most recent news item is from January 25. The Twitter feed displayed there has four posts for all of 2010. The site doesn’t have accurate information about who is — and how to contact — the executive director of the party.

On the Kansas Republican Party’s Facebook page, the most recent post is from December 1, 2009. The Kansas Young Republicans Facebook page, however, does better.

Even efforts using cutting-edge technology from campaigns aren’t doing better. SamForGov — that’s Sam Brownback’s campaign application for the iPhone — has an event from November 2, 2009 as the latest campaign event. Under “Campaign Updates,” the only item is a news release from September 3, 2009. The front page of the app still displays an invitation to Kansas Days. That event took place nearly four weeks ago.

Some local Kansas Republican Party organizations do better. The Johnson County Republican Party seems to be up-to-date with useful information. The Sedgwick County counterpoint doesn’t fare as well.

The Kansas Democratic Party has a revamped blog that allows for “community bloggers,” although so far only one has signed up. The blog has 10 posts so far for February. Not exactly a fount of information, but better than the stale Republican blog and websites.

There’s a saying: “You are who Google says you are.” Google, of course, finds relevant websites based on what people say they’re looking for. But when Google (and other search engines) returns these websites with their stale news and out-of-date events, people lose confidence in the organizations that created the sites. Having visited once and finding little of value, people are not likely to return again.

This is the case if Google even returns these sites in response to searches, as freshness and frequency of updates is thought to be a major factor Google uses in deciding which sites to display to users.

As a Republican activist, I urge those in charge of these sites to make a commitment to providing fresh, timely, and relevant content. Part of how to accomplish this is to avoid delegating responsibility for the websites and blogs to “tech guys.” That’s because when it takes communication with technical support — and the possibility of receiving an invoice — to update a website or blog, the hassle factor means it doesn’t get done.

Instead, party leaders, staff, volunteers, and activists need to know themselves how to update websites and blogs. This requires that these sites be built upon technology platforms — like WordPress blogs, for example — that allow for and encourage end-user updates and maintenance. It also takes a commitment by leadership and staff to be trained, and then ongoing disciplined effort to keep the sites updated.

9 Comments

  • Dismal Scientist -

    I guess the Kansas GOP’ers are just taking it for granted that they have it “in the bag” as far as winning elections in November. Do not count your chickens before they hatch! In the 4th Congressional race I am 100% behind the campaign of Jim Anderson. He is a Ron Paul Republican, a Constitutionalist and a Patriot who is not a part of the neo-conservative establishment.

  • Bob, I agree. I was searching out information last night on the current candidates for the different districts. It is amazing how hard up to date information is to find.

    I hope they will heed your advice.

  • Bob, Right on. Keeping a web site current takes a lot of work and constant checking of links and material, but if you have one you need to do it. I do the JoCo site, which is why I’m still up tonight.

  • And I’m sure the KS GOP is working diligently to get the site updated. As I’m sure you are aware, they have been conducting an unending series of fund raisers and training sessions throughout the state and that has left them a tad short on available time.

  • Ashley McMillan -

    Thanks, Bob, for the comments about the party website. We are currently transitioning to a whole new platform. Everyone stay posted as we work on launching the new site. If you have any input, please feel free to email me directly with your thoughts at [email protected].

    Looking forward to seeing many of our 4th District friends at our KSGOP day on Saturday in Wichita. Candidate and Grassroots training followed by Platform Town Hall and a Meet and Greet. See you there!

  • Hello Bob,

    The Johnson County Republican Party (JCRP) also has a weekly email blast that goes to all Republicans that desire to be kept up to date. We call it our Friday’s Fast Five. This keeps our most highly engaged people informed. Anyone can be placed on the list to receive the material by emailing [email protected].

    All our efforts are performed by volunteers and funded by financial gifts and labor, usually from many of the same volunteers. We have now passed the 120 mark for active volunteers working on behalf of JCRP programs. The local intensity is high in Johnson County — motivated people that are fed up with what is happening in Washington DC. A common phrase we hear is … there is fire in their belly!

    Thanks for keeping people engaged state-wide. We will win in 2010; a clean sweep for all Republicans.

  • Great observation Bob…but you always are on top of things. You can have a dozen sites, you can have a new site but if you don’t work on it every week at a minimum it goes stale quickly. I have to update the event calendar on http://www.Kansansforliberty.com every few days. We need ACTIVE Republicans in the party. Cudos to Johnson County of course.

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