Hosted website system for party groups and individuals.
Foci2 is our affordable, custom-built, fully-featured, customisable website application for Liberal Democrat groups.
The service costs just £17 +VAT per calendar month with a one-off fee of £42 +VAT for setting up a new site. The monthly fee includes everything you need to get online:
- Telephone, email, and Facebook support from 9am to 5pm every weekday.
- Advice sessions at every federal Liberal Democrat conference.
- Complete online help documentation available within the management area.
- A choice of 31 professionally-designed template layouts and 8 email layouts. For an additional fee we can install a custom layout by any designer of your choice or we can build a design just for you.
- Search engine optimisation as standard.
- A mobile version of your site optimised for small displays, automatically shown to visitors using phones and tablets.
- An accessible version of your site that meets and exceeds accessibility legislation so that your content reaches the widest possible audience.
- The ability to add additional custom CSS to your site in order to completely personalise the design to your local party.
- Responsive design on an increasing number of skins, keeping consistency of brand across all platforms.
- Add content to your site from any computer using our secure online management area – no technical knowledge is required. Articles, events, pages, petitions, surveys, opinion polls and more.
- Take donations directly from every page on your site using our Go Cardless service, at around a quarter of the cost of taking donations via PayPal.
- Integration with Facebook and Twitter not just to allow site visitors to easily share your content, but also to get your content out via social networks as you add it to the site. Social networking links can use our exclusive you.lib.dm subdomains – keeping your message short but perfectly branded.
- Site management tools allow you to send Lib Dem branded and image led HTML emails to all site users, or groups of users, directly from the web site management area.
- Email campaign tools that track email opens and clicks, helping you identify the most effective messages and calls to actions to use in engaging your members and supporters.
- Automated checking of Lib Dem party membership status for users that supply their membership number and postcode.
- Integration with Connect and Salesforce through the ability to upload CSV files containing information exported from other database systems.
- Automatic email digests of new website content sent daily, weekly, or monthly to visitors who request them.
- Twitter, RSS Feed, Image Slider, and YouTube widgets built in, allowing you to add video, slide shows, news feeds, and Twitter timelines or lists to your site simply in a couple of clicks.
- Site statistics so that you can identify your most popular content, improving your campaigning and helping you to draw in more potential supporters.
- Bilingual support for Welsh Liberal Democrat customers.
- Full compliance with the EU Cookie Directive – protecting you from the reputational and financial risk of enforcement action or a £500,000 fine.
- Easily share content from any of our other Lib Dem sites and the UK Liberal Democrats website.
- Access to our library of thousands of free to use photos uploaded by us and our other customers.
- Automatic service updates whenever we develop new features for any client.
- Fast, secure hosting on 9 high-end servers which we own and colocate in a major UK data centre. It may be tempting to host your site on cheap shared or virtual hosting, but it will be vulnerable to hackers and won’t support the crucial traffic increase at election time.
- Daily automated backups of all your website content including images and documents.
- Free registration and automatic renewal of 1 .org.uk and 1 .lib.dm domain name. For an additional fee we can register more domains on your behalf.
- Unlimited forwarding email addresses which you can manage direct from your website. Effective spam and virus filtering is included as standard. For an additional fee we can also provide hosted email mailboxes.
The Benefits of Choosing Prater Raines
Our clients’ workloads are reduced by ease of use, ready access to common campaigning tasks, and intelligent sharing of content between the sites we host, freeing up their busy schedule for campaigning.
The service is backed by rock-solid hosting, performance-tuned code which can handle the massive increase in traffic during election periods, and daily backups of all data, documents, and imagery.
We stay in touch with our clients through regular training sessions and attendance at national and regional Liberal Democrat conferences. We provide phone and email support for the service in office hours.
Our Lib Dem content management system is our own bespoke code sitting atop the excellent Symfony PHP Framework. We use a MySQL database for storage and SQLite for cache data. It’s hosted on two of our own HP servers running Ubuntu Linux in an enterprise-class data centre in the UK.
Because we use the Model View Controller pattern we can easily redesign the site templates without having to alter the underlying code. This means we can offer a number of different designs “out of the box” as well as the option to have an individual design made up just for one particular website.
We are also able to display a wide variety of different representations of the same data: for example our petitions can be displayed on the customer’s own site, on a “white label” site displaying all current petitions, in an accessible display for the visually impaired, in a specialised mobile phone version if we detect a mobile browser, and as a PDF to print and collect signatures.
In 2001, while serving as their volunteer webmaster, Tim Prater rebuilt Bedford Liberal Democrats’ website to better support local campaigning, including tools to engage, inform and recruit new members of the party. The new site soon attracted interest from other Lib Dem local parties and organisations, who asked Tim to produce their sites too based on the same principles: a clear campaigning identity; simple to update and easy to use; and working together to share content, giving the Lib Dems an “economy of scale” for online campaigning.
As more and more organisations asked to use the service, Tim approached Matt Raines, a developer he had previously worked with. That conversation about the need for a scalable, hosted solution supporting a large number of campaign websites was the genesis of the Lib Dem “Foci” site service, launched in 2002, and the “Foci2” service, in 2010.
Our Foci2 service is now used by hundreds of Liberal Democrat sites across the country, making Prater Raines by far the most popular provider of websites to Lib Dem groups – from MPs to MEPs, local parties to party campaign organisations, council groups and regions.