How To Prepare To Be a Dandy Cat Design Client

 
An orange- and blue-striped background behind a white banner with black text and the Dandy Cat Design logo serving as the main image for this blog post.
 

So we’ve had our introductory chat and we both know we’re a good fit to work together.

I’ve got your design period reserved in my calendar.

You’ve paid your project deposit.

What’s next?

Well, all the hard work comes next, but the hard work is where all the magic happens. It’s probably my favorite part of the whole website design process because it means we both get to do some creative problem solving.

Who out there doesn’t like feeling a little heroic?

I’ll consider you my own personal hero when you provide me with all the material I need to have at the beginning of a website design and build. The preparation that’s done at the outset helps me in immeasurable ways during the two weeks when I’m building a new site.

You’ll be my hero, but I also want to be your hero. One of the best ways a person can help someone else is letting them know exactly how they can succeed.

There are five categories that each new Dandy Cat Design client needs to work through to help ensure success for our project. They’re all related, but require their own focus.

Trello board

I do all my project task management inside of Trello. Its unique method of presenting projects and duties as movable cards on a board is the sort of visual system I love working with.

 
An image of a standard website project board created using the project management app called Trello.
 

In the welcome email I send to all new clients is an invitation link to Trello where they can make their account (if they don’t have one yet) and be directed to their board. Each client gets their own personal and private project board within the Dandy Cat Design Trello account.

You and I are the only ones who can see the board we share. There’s no worry about anyone else snooping in on how your website is progressing or seeing any of the business information you give to me.

I love using Trello because it not only helps me keep track of the many steps making a website entails, it also allows you to view my progress in real-time. As I move task cards to the “Done” list, you’ll see those cards move, as well.

That sort of transparency is super cool.

Questionnaires

In your Trello board, I provide you with links to three separate questionnaire forms. Each form helps both you and I understand who you are, what your business is, and who your ideal customer is.

 
An image of a Google Form designed to gather general information about a Dandy Cat Design client.
 

But Sean, I hear you saying, I already know what my business is all about. What more do I need to know?

I hear you. I thought I knew exactly what my website design business was all about when I first created it. It wasn’t until I answered the questions in those forms myself that I learned so much more than I thought I knew.

It’s a healthy thing to think deeply about what your business truly is and who you should be marketing your services/products to. Extra knowledge is never a bad thing. Plus, it gives me all the information I need to help tailor your website to exactly the sort of people who are most interested in what you’re doing.

Text copy

While I may offer copywriting suggestions, nobody knows how to talk about you and your company better than you do. If you already have the perfect business copy and you want to stick with it, then we should absolutely do that.

I provide you with a link in your Trello board to a shared Google Drive folder. There is a subfolder within it that gives you a specific place to provide all the website text you want. You also have the chance to tell me where on your website you want each bit of text to live.

 
An image of a shared Google Drive folder featuring a Google Doc that holds information about the text copy on a website.
 

I say as often as I can that I want this to be your new website, not mine. Giving me the words you want to have in your website is an opportunity to make sure your website is a reflection of your business.

Image content

Along with a subfolder for text copy, there’s another that’s dedicated exclusively to all the images you want to use and feature on your website.

 
An image of a shared Google Drive folder featuring several folders that will all hold images for the pages of a website.
 

Because the Google Drive folder is a shared one, anything you place within it will be immediately viewable and usable by me on my own computer.

When you place your main banner image—the one you want your visitors to notice the moment they see your site—in that folder, I’ll be able to upload it to Squarespace. A few clicks of the mouse are all it takes to place your favorite images on your site.

It’s delightful to see how quickly progress can be made from our collaboration.

Account logins

There are some places I just can’t access without your help.

If you already have a domain that you’ve purchased and want to use for your website, then good on you for taking charge. However, I need to be able to hook it up to your Squarespace account myself.

I can’t do that without having access to the account you have with your domain provider. In the first of the three questionnaire forms, there are places where you can provide me with that information if any of it applies to you.1

I’ll take the time now, and I’ll reiterate it when we start working together, to say that I don’t care about whatever personal information may be on those external accounts. Not one bit. I use those accounts for the sole purpose of making your site accessible to the world.


I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I think becoming a Dandy Cat Design client is a really cool thing. Not because I feel that I’m the best around,2 but because I love to work with new people on making their business extraordinary.

A website is a perfect way to do that.

I hope this post helps illuminate a little more of how I work with new clients. As you can see, it’s not a very complicated process, but the results are amazing. Plus, I’ll be there with you every step of the way.

I guarantee it, cats.

  1. If you don’t have, for instance, a domain name or old blogging platform for me to access, then this step won’t apply to you. ↩︎
  2. But really, I do. ↩︎