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The challenge

Back in 2008, when True Clarity were approached by the creative team handling the redesign of the Conservatives website the brief was simple, build us a Sitecore website and build it quick ... we need it ready in time for the Party Conference in September, and by the way there are tens of thousands of existing news stories, press releases, speeches, biographies and articles that need importing.

Once the Party Conference was over, the focused moved to the run up too the election. The Conservatives website was to become the hub of a wealth of activity including one of the largest party email lists, an innovative paid search campaign, social media activity on facebook and twitter and the campaign site myConservatives.

Of course it goes without saying we needed the website to withstand the 6th May election day.

The solution

The first decision to be made was which version to build on, we quickly settled on using v6.0 and this would make this one of the first sites to launch on the new and improved Sitecore CMS. For the initial site launch for the 2008 Party conference here are some of the highlights are what we did:

  • To import the many thousands of existing items into Sitecore, True Clarity wrote some simple import routines using the Sitecore API.
  • Integrated the Sitecore Forum module to provide Blog and Forum functionality.
  • Hosted Video on Amazon S3 to reduce load on the main site.
  • Worked closely with Rackspace to deploy the initial server configuration.
  • Helped integrate a number of interactive areas of the site using flash, most noteworthy was the Video wall, where users could upload their own video, moderation taking place within Sitecore workflow and then automatically uploaded to S3 along with the other Webcameron content.
  • Build online payment mechanisms for donation, join as a member and join as a friend.

Following the initial launch and in the run up to the election the focus of the site changes slightly to reflect the growing importance of Social Media.

  • We help redesign the homepage (with a little help from a large London agency).
  • Integrate YouTube video to play in place, all managed simply by Sitecore behind the scenes.
  • Replace onsite photo galleries with images and slideshows hosted on Flickr.
  • Replace Sitecore blog with Wordpress to ensure an authentic blog experience.
  • Introduce Twitter feeds and MP Twitter addresses.
  • Design and develop the mobile website.
  • Smoothly transition the site from 2005 constituency boundaries to 2010 boundaries.
  • Upgrade the hosting at Rackspace ready for expected traffic volumes.
  • Continually improve the donation process, to focus on a higher volume of small donations.

The results

  • During the election campaign the website stayed up and running.
  • Following a single fundraising email by William Hague the site helped generated £100,000 in just 24 hours.
  • According to Experian Hitwise, which tracks online traffic, the Conservatives were the most successful party in driving traffic to the website.


To find out more about this project please contact Andrew Davies
or call 0117 932 1097

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