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Tools You Use: Seamus Kraft on WordPress in Congress

BY Personal Democracy Plus | Monday, July 9 2012

The House Oversight Committee launched its new website on WordPress with this video.

For Personal Democracy Plus subscribers, techPresident is asking some of the folks out there on the leading edge of digital politics and government to point out just one tool or service that has become a mainstay, a must-use or just incredibly helpful in their work. There's one rule: It can't be something the person has built or the person's company is selling. We're asking folks to pay some karma forward here and highlight an innovation coming from elsewhere that makes their work easier.

Seamus Kraft is digital director for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In March, the Oversight Committee relaunched its website with the popular open-source content management system WordPress. These are his lightly edited answers to our questions.

What's the Tool/Service?

WordPress.

What do you use it to do?

Oversight.House.Gov runs on WordPress.

How is it changing your work or making your life as a digital
professional that much easier?

Like our launch video says, WordPress is so easy even a Congressman — or staff — could use it. With shrinking budgets and so many sites to maintain and monitor, using WP to power our main web site removes a ton of the hassle of keeping the site fresh and engaging while delivering to our visitors the best user experience possible. But the biggest value in WP is its massive development community and universe of opensource plugins/widgets/modules. If we want to add a functionality to our site, there's almost always an app for that already built or mostly built that our devs can drag-and-drop into the site or tweak slightly. We had to fight hard to get WP into the House for the first time, but I think it stands to change the Congressional website game like it has outside the Great Government Firewall. It's about as hassle-free as you can get.

See also: Nancy Scola's excellent take on congressional committee websites — ed.

Join the conversation about the tools that are making your work easier as a digital pro in politics, government, or advocacy. Send us your nomination for Tools You Use.