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I don’t think doing it for free is a mistake.

It’s exactly how I got into Wedding Photography by photographing my friends wedding. The key here is to work your ass off and over deliver. This client will be your word-of-mouth for many years down the line. So are you really doing this for free. No. There are many intangibles that you can not quantify.

Now, just because it’s free doesn’t mean you don’t need a contract or some kind of agreement. This will limit the scope of the project, your friend might keep coming back to you time after time for more more more… You need to set limitation and boundaries.

The contract doesn’t need to outline any legal crap. Just a scope something like:

[Client Name] and [Your Name] agree to following terms and conditions.

Then just list, in detail, what needs to be completed. Mention that you are not collecting any funds and that’s it… Simple.

As for the topic of CMS. If you decide to go with WordPress, please don’t build “themes” but rather solutions that your friend requires. For a simple site there’s no need to take out a sledge hammer when all you need is pliers.

Hope that helps. -Alen