I recently created a quick website for a really sweet friend whose husband, Tony, disappeared in Brazil a few weeks ago. The site’s purpose was to create a space which the family could give to the media to raise funds for the search. There were two main issues that came up with this exercise:
- how to continue to build trust for random people (i.e. not friends and family) visiting the site so that they felt they could trust donating money through it
- whether or not to leave a link back to my business in the footer
The first version of the site just had very basic information and a single link to the only news story I’d found that day. I wasn’t fully satisfied with v1, but it was after midnight, and I thought I did a decent job for two hours worth of work (I love you, Drupal!). By morning, though, I couldn’t get the situation out of my head, so I took another look at the site and decided that it was pretty thin with its single media report. I’d asked for pics and any known media reports so that I could put them on the site and encouraged them to update the site through blogposts for all interested friends, family, and kind strangers. But I knew that my friend, Lori, and her loved ones were overwhelmed with things to do, so I decided to do a bit more on my own. A quick Google search turned up more links and even a video through KING 5 news, so I quickly populated the site with links to them to help give more credence to their cause. Not sure if that really helped or not, but ah well.
The bigger issue I faced came in the form of a link in the footer of the site. I’ve seen “donated by” links on all sorts of non-profit sites where a company has “sponsored” the site either by development or hosting, and as such, puts a link somewhere back to the sponsor. I tortured myself over it and came very close to asking a bunch of people what to do. On one hand, Lori is a friend, and if I create a site to help her, it should be just that– something I do with no thought of getting anything in return other than Tony back safe and sound with his family. This is the Hawaiian way, the way I was raised to think, and this is largely how I live my life.
Lately, however, The HR Audit has occupied all of my non-existent free time (between two classes and a 40-hour workweek, it’s tough to find time to work on the business), and I’m always looking for ways to improve traffic to it. Thus, as a business owner, it’s logical to link from Tony’s site to mine since I 1) bought the domain name, 2) created the site, and 3) host it on my server for free. There was also opportunity cost involved because by creating the site, I was forgoing working on my business, resulting in possible lost revenue. This is the passion-less, objective, business point-of-view. Get return on my time investment, right? I didn’t put any ads on the site or anything else tacky like that. Just the link which simply says “donated by The HR Audit” at the bottom.
Update: Sad News
As some of you may know by now, Tony’s body has been positively identified. The Brazilian authorities and media are painting this as a suicide, but… it seems really too weird to be true.