Tom & Bill at Shopify / Edward Ocampo-Gooding

My friend needs a website

Are you a “computer person” who’s been asked for advice on making a website? Here’s my heartfelt, boilerplate response. Let me know if it works for you too.

Hi <VALUED INDIVIDUAL>,

The web is really about content, which in this case is just words, or in industry lingo, “copy”. Given that you’re the subject matter expert here, you should be writing at least the first draft of your web page.

The first step is to write a letter to a friend of the family describing the services your company offers. Include your hours of operation and the best way to reach you. When I say “letter to family member”, I mean that your tone should be straight-forward, friendly, and not condescending. One or two customer testimonials in here would help.

The second step is to find a local web designer. Tell them that you want a typographic treatment of the letter you wrote. By doing so, you let them do what they do best – turn existing copy into something soothing and obvious to the eyes. If you do not do this, they will first have to play detective, which wastes time, money, and in the end, give you something that looked like guesswork.

Stick with good copy, clear typography, a clean grid for layout, and you are set. There is no need for graphics or anything else.

Edward