Make more money from your website or blog by hiring a custom website design expert

When I started out thinking about creating a website – I had no idea what I needed. So, I hired the first inexpensive web designer that I came across and asked them to design my site. The result?

An absolute mess.

Nothing looked professional – I was desperately unhappy with the color scheme, the font, and the usability. But I was stumped.

I didn’t exactly know what had gone wrong with the process or how I could make it better.

SavvyinHK stayed in a bad shape for a long time until I gradually understood what improvements needed to be made.

Eventually, I prepared a list of questions and I came up with a list of website designers to interview – this time around I was going to make an informed decision.

This article explains my experience of trying to find the best affordable website designer – I am so happy about what I learned that I want to share this journey with you!

Thinking of creating your own website? Want to get your website whipped into shape? Since I’ve been on this path for a while, I’m going to share with you: 

  • Why getting an affordable website designer on board is important
  • How to find the right web designer for your site
  • The companies I went through before I found the right fit
  • Who I use for my website design

Plus, I’ll tackle some of the questions that land in my inbox about how to start a website. 

Looking for an SEO website design company? Here’s everything you need to know.  

Looking for the TL;DR version? In three sentences:

  • Websites are hard to build, and cheap websites will need redoing, fast
  • Mean Creative offer the full package – design, SEO, email templates, copywriting
  • We absolutely love our fresh look for SavvyinHK, and it’s all thanks to Mean Creative

If you want to give your website the same treatment, head over to the Mean Creative website.

Why did I need a custom website design package? 

It's so important to select a high quality website designer - we used and love Mean Creative.

Have you ever tried to create a website? 

If you’ve done any research at all, you’ll know that WordPress is the place to be. If you’ve ever tried to make a WordPress site, you’ll know how useful having an expert website designer is!

It’s one thing knowing you need someone to do it for, but then you’ve got to think about:

  • How do you even go about finding a website design package? 
  • What should you be asking before hiring a website designer?
  • What’s a good value and affordable website designer going to cost? 

When you’re exploring a new website or a redesign, these are the challenges you’ll come up against, too, no doubt. 

Back when I was planning SavvyinHK, I’ll admit I started out cheap since I didn’t know anything better. 

My thought process went something like, “the design isn’t important; it’s all about the content – that’s all I need to get right.” 

I was right about the value of the content, dead wrong when it came to getting the website design spot on. 

My experience with website design companies

I went through three iterations with three different website design packages, and if you’ve been coming here a while, you may remember them…

  1. Awful colors, no style, sloppy, and no attention to detail – if you were here then, I apologize to your eyes!
  2. More professional, things got a little tighter, more professional, but still, things weren’t quite right.
  3. What you see now, with actual design and consideration to how things present to you – welcome!

How did I get to the third generation of SavvyinHK? I got savvy, of course. 

How to interview an SEO website design company

Along the way, with the first two SEO website design companies, I picked up a thing or two and figured out what was important. 

The questions I asked, which you can adapt based on your website design needs, were:

  • Can you work with the Divi theme on WordPress?
  • What are your key recommendations to improve my website? 
  • What do you do in your design to make it SEO-friendly?
  • Can I see samples of previous websites you’ve designed?
  • How long do you anticipate the redesign to take? 
  • What’s the total cost, including newsletter design? 

Once you know what to ask, you’ve then got to find the people to start interviewing.

Researching custom website design

Before deciding on Mean Creative, I did a lot of research on custom website design.

To start researching custom website design companies, I started to look at the internet differently. I began looking at sites that I liked and figuring out why I liked them. 

I narrowed it down to three sites that looked beautiful and were user-friendly. From there, it was time to find out who designed them and make contact. 

Here are the places that I looked at and my rationale when choosing who to work with. 

I knew that I wanted a better-looking and more professional-looking blog, so I started paying attention to websites that I liked. I did this for a few weeks and came up with three website design possibilities. 

WeCreate Hong Kong 

The first company I look at was WeCreate Hong Kong, a local SEO website design company. 

What they offered:

  • Very high standards of design
  • Strong branding and attention to detail
  • A broad portfolio of beautiful websites

The dealbreaker:

  • The company is a premium website designer
  • The price was too much to be investing right now

I had to put this one in my pocket for another time. 

Mog Designs

Taking the search internationally, I looked at Mog Designs, based in Manchester, UK. 

What they offered:

  • Moji was lovely to chat to and very personable
  • The discovery call was free of charge
  • There were very affordable website design packages on offer

The dealbreaker:

  • Copyrighting wasn’t available as part of the package 
  • I needed a company that could take more of a design lead – I wasn’t sure what I needed

Mean Creative

Run by British-born Mellissa, Mean Creative is based in the Spanish mountains and does SEO and website design. I approached Mellissa after being very impressed with the clean and simplistic feel of Pivot Point Hong Kong. 

What they offered:

  • My first conversation with them was free
  • As soon as the call was over, I got a scope of work, cost estimate, and expected delivery date in my inbox.
  • There was a clear and deep understanding of how to work with Divi
  • Copywriting was a part of the package

The dealbreaker:

  • I could be very hands-off and leave them to it
  • They had fresh ideas for the site, such as the email newsletter template and our HK Bucket List giveaway layouts.
  • The technical SEO would be improved, and the overall user experience would be boosted.
  • They offer the full package as an SEO web design company, so it’s just one point of contact.

Want to see what Mean Creative can do for you? Contact Mean Creative here

My experience hiring Mean Creative for SEO website design 

It's possible to get SEO copywriting included as part of a custom website design package.

We kicked off with a 30-minute call, free of charge, for Mellissa to get to grips with my brief and explain what she can do for my site. 

In the call, we established:

  • Mellissa has loads of experience working with Divi
  • We could work on the website, newsletter template, and a fresh logo
  • She could work on copywriting to add punch to my About and Work With Us sections.

On my side, I admitted that I wanted things to be more “professional,” but beyond that, I didn’t have much guidance for her. 

Unfazed, Mellissa said she could see where things needed a boost and that she had a lot of experience with different websites and she knew what she was doing when it came to blogs. This was exactly what I wanted to hear. 

Call over; I soon received an email from Mellissa outlining everything we’d talked about. It was better than the scribbles and notes I’d taken down in the chat, for sure!

I got a complete scope of work, the date she expected to get it completed, and a clear price. What more do you need when making a business decision? 

Custom Website Design with Mean Creative

Mean Creative is an excellent option for custom website design.

The lowest price isn’t what you should be looking for when you get a new website or redesign your current one – you need to get value for money. 

I learned the tough way, what is cheap isn’t always great, and good design is key when it comes to getting your blog on the front page of Google. 

Here’s everything you get with Mean Creative

SEO services 

Finding an SEO web design company is vital – not all web designers understand the nuance of search engine optimization. You might not think this is something too important, but it’s how your audience is going to find you. 

You can do all the keyword research you want, write the best blogs on the internet, build 100 backlinks a week – without the basics of a well-designed website; it’s all for nothing. 

I don’t claim expertise here, but basically, your website needs to load fast and work well to rank on Google. With that solid basis, you can then get your content in front of the right eyes. 

This is what Mean Creative has been able to do for me; make the site load fast and present well so we could focus on the content.

Branding expertise

I’ve got the writing down, I hope, but I’m not one for branding. 

To brand your site, you need to think about…

  • The font type and size
  • The color palette
  • The logo

All of which I’ve not really got a strong opinion on or even knew how to pick.

Mellissa presented me with just a few options of each to choose from –  all pretty easy.

Email templates 

Dear Readers, I’ll be honest. I’d been collecting your email addresses for over 18 months and haven’t sent a single email. 

Why? Because I don’t want to send you anything that’s not amazing – I needed a good newsletter template. 

An email needs to be consistent with brand identity, and until I started working with Mean Creative, I didn’t really have one. 

With a steadily growing email list, I still didn’t have the confidence to start communicating with you, my audience. 

In stepped Mellissa, who assured me she had lots of experience with emails and mailing lists and could build a strong template, and it wasn’t going to clock up the working hours. 

Added to the new email template to work with, she said she could optimize the new site design to help build my mailing list faster. I couldn’t have imagined that a single person could be solving my multiple issues.

Logo design

Swishy ticks, golden arches, a bitten apple. I may never get savvy to these dizzying heights of branding, but I know I needed a logo that would really make the brand stand out. 

Understanding I didn’t have much of an idea, Mellissa sent me to Pinterest and told me to pin some of the logos that spoke to me. I know I like clean and simple designs but I didn’t find too many that I liked and asked Mellissa to come up with a logo that was simple and professional. 

What was really useful was the follow-up call we had. She wanted to be sure we were on the same page before coming up with four different choices for me. 

When I saw what she created, I could choose one and give some tweaks for her to work on. I never knew logo creation could be this easy.  

Who is behind Mean Creative? 

Mean Creative is run by Mellissa, the person I worked with through the whole redesign process. 

She works across brand strategy, web design, and SEO with eight years of experience. Particularly as a small business, this felt like a great fit for me at SavvyinHK ; Mean Creative was a one-stop-shop for everything I was looking for. 

On the team is also Alba and Sandrine, who work on WordPress design and business strategy, respectively.

Whilst working with women wasn’t the biggest priority, most of the team working on SavvyinHK are women, and it felt like a great fit to be working with smart, engaging women who really knew their stuff. 

Is Mean Creative legit?

Take a quick look around – what do you reckon? 

The new-look that SavvyinHK has got is a big part of the work that Mean Creative have done. They’ve made the site look and feel how I wanted, and it’s loads better for you as users. 

In the background, details have all been polished up – you probably won’t notice much difference, but they’ve got the technical stuff, what’s called Core Web Vitals, on point. 

From my perspective, yes, Mean Creative is legit, and I couldn’t recommend working with them enough!

If you’re still unsure, there are strong testimonials on their website, too.  

Why choose Mean Creative for custom website design?

Mean Creative is our top recommendation for an SEO web design company because: 

  • They create something beautiful – from the overall site to the color scheme, layout, and photos; they have a keen eye for design.
  • You’re fully involved – I got regular but not overwhelming updates from Mellissa, meaning I was confident that I’d like the end result.
  • Advice on extra details – there were other little bits about the site that needed improvement, which were passed on to me in a positive way.
  • Everything is done in one place – no searching for a graphic designer, SEO specialist, email template designer, and web designer; you get it all in one place with amazing expertise.
  • Powerful copywriting – not only do you get a beautiful website, but you can get great copy to go with it and really build your story.
  • Long-term partnership – if you’ve run a website before, you’ll know stuff can go wrong, so Mean Creative can work with you long-term to keep on top of the site.
  • Strategic services – as well as the services I used, they have full business and brand strategy available to get you going in the right direction.
  • A new social media team – to build your presence across your different channels, you can use their social media strategy and creation services, too.

Custom website design FAQs

Building a website is something that lots of us dream about. It’s easy to stumble at the first hurdle when you understand the work that goes into making one that actually looks good. 

Since we’ve got the know-how, we’re going to answer a couple of common questions we get. Drop your questions in the comment, and we’ll be sure to keep this updated for you.  

How much does a basic website design cost? 

There are many ways you can go with basic website design, and the price will vary accordingly. 

A rookie website designer or a student still in university can be as little as a few hundred US dollars. You do get what you pay for, though, and it’s probably not going to be exactly what you want or will see you through the next few years. 

Affordable website design doesn’t mean cheap.

Cheap will have you getting a new website design in the near future and spending more money. Affordable means a design that can scale with you and not cost you hundreds or even thousands in redesigns and fixes. Spend the bigger money on a good and creative website designer now, and you’ll see the returns faster as you work to make money from your website. Learn from my experience and go with a good SEO website design company from the start!

How much does a 5-page website cost?

From a first-time or inexperienced developer, you could pay as little as US$750 to US$1,000 for a basic website. However, for a good quality website that your users will love and will generate leads, you should be looking to pay more than US$1,000 for something basic, with prices rising as features and requirements get added. 

What are the benefits of affordable website design?

Bringing in an affordable website designer will take a whole load of hassle off your plate. Don’t believe me; go look at how to build a WordPress site, read about Core Web Vitals, read an article or two about design principles, and come back to me when your head explodes!

I’ve found that bringing in a website design package:
– Saved me time, which in turn saved me money
– Gave me something better much better than I could do myself
– Produced a website that was much faster than before
– Freed up my capabilities to focus on the parts of the site I know and love

As soon as Mellissa moved my website over to the new design, the traffic to SavvyinHK jumped by 25% instantly and consistently stayed at these levels. It wasn’t a one-day wonder. Need all this for your website? Book a call with Mean Creative today. 

How much does a beginner website cost?

If you’re paying a university student to build you a beginner website, it might only cost you around US$200 or so. If you pay for a professional developer or designer to build you a website, you can expect to pay upwards of US$4,000. From our experience, we would strongly recommend going with a professional developer or designer. If you go the seemingly cheap route, you will pay little money for an inferior site but, it’s likely you’ll end up having to pay for a complete overhaul.

Why do I need a custom website?

A custom website created by a professional developer or designer will be able to give you a professional-looking website. A high-quality custom website provider should be able to offer an extensive list of services, including:
– high levels of design
– strong branding and attention to detail
– copywriting
– newsletter template
– social media
– logo design



Whether you’re a budding digital entrepreneur or an established business in need of a website refresh, you need to find the right custom website designer for your site. 

There’s plenty of other business features that you’ll need to think about, such as bringing in a virtual assistant or a part-time CFO

Keep on with the hustle and get in touch if you want to talk about working with us here at SavvyinHK.

If we’ve missed any tips or tricks on custom website design, please let us know in the comments below. 

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