In the 2nd part of our 10-part series on building an award-winning congressional website, we cover the importance of keeping the information on your site up-to-date with items like new press releases and recent floor speeches.
If the latest information in the issues section is more than a year old, and the list of the Member's sponsored and cosponsored legislation is from the previous Congress, it can significantly impact the credibility of the entire website in the eyes of the user.
The content of the entire website need not be rewritten every few months to accomplish this. For example, it can be as simple as adding the latest press release or floor statement on a topic to the appropriate issues page, and ensuring that all legislative links point to the current session of Congress.
Characteristic #2: Timeliness
Questions to be answered:
- Is the information on the Member's website up-to-date?
- How current is the information in the issues section, press section, and elsewhere?
- Have the links throughout the site been updated for the current Congress?
The specifics we look for:
- The issues section of the website includes the hot topics of the current Congress.
- The Member's priority issues are not left over from previous sessions of Congress.
- The Member's specific accomplishments are from the current Congress.
- Updates are done weekly at a minimum—daily if a major debate is occurring on the floor of the chamber and making news in the home district or state.
- The issues section avoids generic statements with no reference to recent actions or actual position taking, such as "I support a quality education." These can frustrate users and harm the credibility of the Member.
- Links to THOMAS, Roll Call votes, and others redirect to information for the 113th Congress, not the 112th.
Award-Winning Example: Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)
10 Characteristics of an Award-Winning Member Website: